Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Was Manchester City’s season a success after shock FA Cup defeat followed up Premier League glory?

Despite having a chance at winning a domestic double, Manchester City fell to Manchester United in the FA Cup final 2-1. Allowing two goals in the first half to the Red Devils, City ended their season on a down note despite winning the Premier League for the fourth consecutive season. Pep Guardiola did secure his first Club World Cup with Machester City as well as the UEFA Super Cup, but when multiple trophies are expected every season, was this season a success?

It’s hard to have a baseline for what success is for City after they’ve already won a treble during the 2022-23 season. It’s a hard feat to follow up. It’s easy to motivate a team that is missing something from its trophy cabinet but when it’s a chance at a second consecutive FA Cup final before going on holiday, it’s natural for heads to drop a little.

“For my decisions, we were not in the right positions to attack them,” Guardiola said following the match. “My mistake. My game plan was not good. Tactically, it was not good. I was not good, today.”  

Guardiola also mentioned the improvement in the second half and that he planned for players to be in different positions but that didn’t make a difference.

Manchester United wanted the FA Cup final more and despite City being one of the strongest teams in the Premier League across the entire season, that doesn’t matter when it comes to a knockout tournament. Collecting 15 trophies under Guardiola, there is a time during which it’s hard to motivate a team to achieve more which could be some of the reasoning behind Guardiola potentially leaving after next season.

“The reality is I am closer to leaving than staying,” Guardiola said ahead of the final. “We have talked with the club and my feeling is that I want to stay now. I will stay next season and during the season we will talk. But after eight or nine years, we will see.”  

That statement also could’ve seeped into his team but even looking at the season as a whole, when there was an extremely competitive race for the Premier Leauge, and there’s the fact that City had to deal with injuries to Erling Haaland and Kevin De Buryne, they were able to bounce back. 

When determining that the season was a success it has to answer the question of if City did what they needed to do, and despite coming close to retaining a treble, they did still win the Premier League, which was the number one goal when the season began. Missing out on the league to Liverpool in the 2019-2020 season would be Guardiolas least successful season in charge of City as they only won the EFL Cup and the Community Shield.  

Expectations are high as City are expected to win every competition that they take part in but that’s just not possible. Winning the league and adding another trophy along the way is a sign of a good season, even by City’s standards. 

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