10 Things Manchester City Learned from the 2013/14 Premier League Season
City played some exhilarating football at times over the campaign, with Manuel Pellegrini also delivering the League Cup in his first campaign in England to make this a truly memorable season for the club's supporters.
But what did we learn about City over the campaign?
Here are 10 conclusions:
Manuel Pellegrini Is a Winner
With no trophies in Europe to speak of and memories of a fairly miserable time at Real Madrid, there were plenty of questions asked of Pellegrini upon his appointment at City in the summer.
The Chilean emphatically answered all of them in the end, delivering his club a league title and a Wembley success to make this one of the best seasons that City fans would have had in living memory.
A humble, some would say quiet manager, who lets his football team do the talking, Pellegrini also won lots of fans outside of Manchester during his first campaign in England.
City will hope that he's around for many more seasons to come.
Edin Dzeko Should Stay at the Club
At times a perennial substitute and having been seemingly on his way out at City on numerous occasions, Edin Dzeko stayed at the club and scored vital goals at the tail end of the campaign.
Strikes at Crystal Palace, Everton and at home to Aston Villa established City's advantage over Liverpool at the crucial point of the title race, and they proved just how important the Bosnian forward is to his team.
He's now scored 66 goals for City having joined the club in 2011, and whilst Jose Mourinho's claim that he should have been given the Player of the Year award might have been a little far-fetched (BBC), he is certainly well established as a part of the Etihad Stadium furniture.
City Don't Need to Rely on Sergio Aguero
Dzeko's fine form is part of the reason why City shouldn't be relying on Sergio Aguero to perform for them every week, with the Argentinean under less pressure to return from what were worryingly frequent injuries in the latter half of the campaign.
When Alvaro Negredo was in excellent goalscoring form in the winter it became clear that City had three excellent forwards all fit and firing, with Stevan Jovetic also returning toward the end of the campaign to complete a formidable attacking quartet.
The Martin Demichelis Experiment Eventually Worked out for the Best
For a large period of the season Martin Demichelis was considered a joke figure both by City fans and those of other clubs, but the defender's experience eventually proved vital in the closing months of the season.
Ever since Vincent Kompany was sent off early on at Hull City in mid-March, Demichelis grew into his role at centre-back, and he proved to be a hugely important leader in a squad who suddenly found their sparkle and began to focus on the title.
The European Elite Can Be Beaten
They eventually came a cropper to Barcelona in the round of 16, but City's come-from-behind victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League should serve as a reminder to them that they are capable of taking on the best sides on the continent and beating them.
After two domestic titles in three years surely the next aim will be to make an impression in Europe, and the evening they won 3-2 in December courtesy of goals from David Silva, Aleksandar Kolarov and James Milner should stay with them.
Domestic Competition Is Getting Fiercer
With Liverpool adding themselves to the title mix, Chelsea bound to improve, Arsenal looking to build on an at times impressive campaign and surely things not being able to get worse for Manchester United, City will know that the Premier League is going to be tougher than ever next season.
They'll have learned from this campaign that any mistakes will be punished by the big boys, i.e. Joe Hart and Vincent Kompany's errors against Chelsea and Liverpool respectively, and so they'll have picked up a renewed focus and desire to be battle-ready come August.
Fernandinho Was One of the Signings of the Summer
Paying £34m for a then 28-year-old might have been questioned by some back in the summer, but when you're Manchester City you can quite literally afford to make such purchases, and there turned out to be very little wrong with the signing of Fernandinho from Shakhtar Donetsk.
The Brazilian midfielder slotted seamlessly into the team as if he'd been there for years, and he was a key ingredient in the formula that Pellegrini installed into his team.
City fans can only wish they'd got hold of him earlier.
Joe Hart Benefitted from a Rest
Joe Hart's time out of the limelight allowed for Costel Pantilimon to play in a handful of games back in November and December, and the rest certainly did the England goalkeeper some good.
He responded by getting back to his best in time for the title run-in, most notably making two excellent saves from Steven Naismith and Gerard Deulofeu in the crucial game at Everton which took City one step closer to the trophy.
Pellegrini certainly helped his goalkeeper by taking the heat off him for a while, and that might benefit England this summer too.
David Silva Performed Better When Played Centrally
When Aguero was struggling for fitness and Negredo for form at the tail end of the campaign, both Dzeko and David Silva took up the reins to inspire City.
Dzeko provided the goals, but Silva was superb when deployed in the No. 10 role behind him, with the Spaniard able to flicker in and out of matches in an often devastating fashion.
He was brilliant in the defeat at Liverpool but also inspired many other victories, confirming that on his day there are few better in his preferred position in the Premier League.
Yaya Toure Is His Team's Inspiration
Kompany may be the captain, and there might be other, perhaps more vocal influencers within the squad, but when Yaya Toure plays well then he inevitably drags his team along with him.
Only the remarkable improvement of his brother's team Liverpool and some of their players stopped the Ivorian powerhouse from winning any Player of the Year awards, but that will only inspire him to reach even greater heights in the next campaign.
The thought of which will already be striking fear into the hearts of his opponents.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!