For the first time in his career, Pep Guardiola was forced to spend last summer reflecting on a trophyless season, and it's certain to have been an experience that the Spaniard – along with Manchester City supporters – won't have enjoyed. But how they responded in 2018.
After investing heavily in the summer, City looked a side likely to do damage across all four competitions, and the writing seemed on the wall as early as September as City fans were treated to an early dose of Guardiola's unique brand of attacking football. After thrashing Liverpool 5-0 at the Etihad, City helped themselves to six at Watford, demolished Palace (5-0) and beat Stoke 7-2 on an unbeaten run that stretched to the middle of January.
From Raheem Sterling's last-gasp winner at Bournemouth on 26 August until City's 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace on New Year's Eve, Pep's side waltzed their way to 18 Premier League wins in a row (the previous record was 13). And that wasn't the only record to tumble. By the season end, City had: won more games (31), most points (100), finished most points ahead of 2nd place (19), and the best goal difference ever recorded (+79).
They easily brushed Arsenal aside in the Capital One Cup final, but defeats to Wigan in the FA Cup and a 5-1 aggregate loss to Liverpool in the Champions League quarter final, means that there are still targets and ambitions for Pep going into the 2018/19 campaign. So make sure you're at The Etihad to see Guardiola's men launch another assault on the Premier League and Champions League by getting your Manchester City tickets at StubHub today.
Man City transfers: more youthful City dominate after summer clearout
Out with the old, in with the new – quite literally at Manchester City last summer – as an army of over 30s were moved on. Pablo Zabaleta (West Ham), Gael Clichy (Istanbul Basaksehir), Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Willy Caballero (Chelsea) and Bacary Sagna (unattached) were all allowed to leave for free, while both Aleksandar Kolarov (Roma) and Nolito (Sevilla) were sold for nominal fees.
The departure of Pablo Zabaleta – a fan favourite and double Premier League winner – was particularly painful for City fans; even if the full back is in the autumn of his career. The continued marginalisation of Joe Hart, meanwhile, has divided supporters, as he was shipped out on loan again (this time to West Ham).
However, few fans would dispute the quality of the players that came into the club. Speedy full backs Kyle Walker and Danilo joined from Tottenham and Real Madrid respectively; 24-year-old Benfica goalkeeper Ederson proved a superb replacement for the shaky Claudio Bravo; while Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva – two of the stars of Monaco's run to the Champions League semi-finals two seasons ago – showed why they are among the most talented young players in Europe. Who City will invest in this summer is anyone's guess, but Europe's clubs will be on high-alert over bids for their most-prized assets.
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