The Journeyman | Blue Moon: Part 3 – Season 1 Reflection

My first season managing in my English homeland was a huge success as I led Manchester City to a first Premier League title in 12 years in the 2036/37 campaign.

We also defended the club’s League Cup crown but again fell to Liverpool, who we beat comfortably in the league, in the Champions League. So our wait for a final, let alone being champions of Europe, continues.

Now we’ll take a look back at key players, award winners, and how we racked up against the rest of the Premier League.

Man City top performers

This season has really been a team effort, with no massively outstanding individual accolades to shout about. Colombian striker Diego Gutiérrez led the way with 20 goals from 41 appearances, but was truly terrible in the second half of the season – scoring once in 15 games. So it’s probably fair to say that another ex-Valencia man Juan Martín Sancho was our top performer with 16 goals and 10 assists in 42 games.

Big money summer signing Simon Roger Makengo chimed in with 14 goals and 10 assists, although he did score four in a single Champions League game. Striker Dean Martin also scored 14, while centre-back Baiano popped up with an impressive 12 alongside the ageing Sir Phil Foden.

Right-winger Celinho topped the creativity charts with an impressive 19 assists, alongside seven goals. Interestingly, only three players in our entire squad didn’t get an assist this season – none of which were our two goalkeepers, and one of which only made one sub appearance…

Statistically, young midfielder Jonathan Montagne was our best player with an impressive average rating of 7.37 average rating. Next was exciting young centre-back Márcio Bambam on 7.34, whose forced himself into our starting lineup as the season progressed, then Sancho and Baiano on 7.31. Only one of our outfield players registered an average rating below 7.

Award winners

Sancho took home the fans’ player of the season award with 34% of the vote, followed by Gutiérrez (30%) and Baiano (27%). Baiano won young player of the season and was named signing of the season.

Betinho won the Golden Glove and I won the Manager of the Year award, while seven of our players made the Players’ Team of the Year – including soon-to-be 37-year-old Sir Phil Foden, whose contract is up this summer and just announced his plans to retire at the end of next season. So we should probably try and retain him for another season to ensure he remains a one-club man.

Premier League team stats

We scored the most goals in the Premier League with 82, seven clear of Man United and ten more than Everton. And we had the best defence, conceding just 19 – which was seven fewer than Liverpool – and keeping 23 clean sheets.

We also had the joint-best cross completion ratio (23%), completed the fourth most crosses (319), had the third most shots on target (332), and the best shot conversion rate of 12%.

One major stat that jumps out is we ranked 17th out of 20 Premier League teams for possession, with an average of just 45% – the worst in the league was Aston Villa’s 44%. That is pretty shocking. We also had just the 12th highest pass completion ratio and only Aston Villa completed less passes than our 12,800 – over 6,000 fewer than Liverpool’s 19,100.

We did, however, have the best discipline with just 26 yellow cards and one red all season and committing the fewest fouls (289) and winning the least tackles (785). We also only conceded one penalty all season, which is pretty impressive.

Premier League player stats

Celinho was the most creative player in the league with 15 assists, which was four more than nearest challenger Liverpool’s Devon Simpson. Interestingly, Celinho only created 15 chances in the league – which means we scored from every single chance that he created. That’s quite impressive.

Sancho had the third best rating in the Premier League, with 7.35 only bettered by the 7.40 of Aston Villa left-winger Michael Shaw, who’s scored 16 in 30 despite having dreadful stats, and Everton winger John Smith, who was part of my England squads. Five more of our players were in the top 20.

Sancho and Gutiérrez both scored 14 league goals, which put them joint fifth. Chelsea striker Cristiano Bertoletti – for the third season in the last four – and Brighton’s Rade Tihomorovic led the way with 18 each.

Interestingly, Makengo covered the most ground in the entire league with 285.71 miles and the second most per match at 8.6 miles per 90 minutes. While Sir Foden had the best conversion rate in the league, scoring from 38% of his shots – well clear of the next best 26%.

Worryingly, we didn’t have a single player in the top 20 for key passes, which is odd for a team that scored the most goals! So I think the midfield is another we certainly an area we need to have a look at.

Betinho played in every league game, so he got the least goals conceded and most clean sheets.

A look around Europe

Elsewhere in Europe, our former club Borussia Dortmund won Bundesliga from Leverkusen, with Bayern only fourth. Juventus won their fourth Serie A in the last five years, PSG defended their Ligue 1 title, and PSV wrestled the Eredivisie back from Ajax.

While Bayer Leverkusen won their first-ever Champions League, beating Real Madrid 2-1 in the final. And Genoa won their first-ever Europa League with a 2-1 win over my former club Valencia.

Club World Cup

The season began very early – or the previous one finished very late, whichever you prefer – as we were entered into the World Club Cup for the first time in this save and only my second ever on FM in this iteration of the competition. And we got a nice draw alongside Mamelodi Sundowns and Sao Paulo.

We began with a solid 1-0 win over Sao Paulo thanks to right-back Leozao then a Diego Gutiérrez brace sealed a 3-0 win over Mamelodi. And that took us to the quarter-finals, which I’ve never previously reached in this competition. In the quarters we took on Inter Milan, who took the lead through former City player Ariel Viceconte. But we stormed back in the second half through a Bilal Luccioni screamer and Gutiérrez’s close-range header.

European champions Leverkusen were next and we had not only a raft of players still on holiday but also a mass of injuries. That didn’t improve as Simon Roger Makengo got injured and makeshift centre-back Pedro Ferreira got sent off inside half an hour. And unsurprisingly we lost 2-0. But we did wrap up third place in the World Club Cup with a 2-1 win over PSG led by another Gutiérrez brace.

And the reason I included this news in this post is because… I got fed up with being at Man City, and resigned! More on why in the next post when we find ourselves a sixth domestic job.

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