Roberto Mancini's 4 Best Decisions for Manchester City This Season
It's been a season of regression for Manchester City, and nothing compounds that like watching your arch-rivals regain the English Premier League trophy with five games to spare.
City fans will look back on this season as a failure, but there are a few positive points we can take from the 2012-13 campaign.
Here's Roberto Mancini's four best decisions as Citizens' manager this season. Enjoy the slideshow!
Swapping Stefan Savic for Matija Nastasic
Swap deals don't often come off too well in world football, so to see this cheeky little defensive switch end in success is a nice surprise.
Both managers can be praised for agreeing to the deal, as Stefan Savic has found a new lease of life out of the spotlight at Fiorentina, while Matija Nastasic has settled immediately into a key-player role.
Many felt Nastasic's consistent, superb form warranted a Young Player of the Year nomination this season. If it weren't for the Serbian's excellent adaptability, City's defence would have been leakier.
Trying a New Formation
The execution was poor and he stuck with it too long, but the idea of trying a new formation was the right thing to do.
As reigning champions, everyone wants to beat you; You're a coup to every team in the league, and if they can grab something on your own patch that's even better.
You have to stay fresh, mix things up and throw in some surprises, and Roberto Mancini's attempt to install a three-man defence was admirable.
Again, the execution was poor and it was clear the players couldn't take to it, but at least he tried something to keep City on top of the game.
Getting Samir Nasri Going
Samir Nasri has rarely shown his best form in a Manchester City shirt this season, and Roberto Mancini has grown more and more frustrated with his under-performing Frenchman.
The Italian coach challenged his midfield star to put in consistent showings, publicly suggesting he's not proven worthy of the £22 million they paid for him so far (via Goal.com).
It seemed to work, and since the turn of the year Nasri has been a much better player—not that anyone outside of City's ranks and fanbase noticed.
Selling Mario Balotelli
Manchester City will likely have to delve into the market for a striker again this summer after cutting a really promising, potentially world-class striker from their ranks in Mario Balotelli.
But the Italian was such a torrid influence at the club, Roberto Mancini must be applauded for saying "enough is enough"—selling him was a must, and recouping a large share of his value in the transaction to AC Milan was a real plus point.
Balotelli will now be the key play in Milan's rebuilding strategy and become an Italian national team regular, but whatever successes he goes onto achieve, he just wasn't a fit at the Etihad Stadium.