A late rally of results to secure second in the Premier League merely airbrushes the fact that this has been a disappointing, underwhelming season for Manchester City.

Never threatening to match Chelsea’s consistency in the league, a comprehensive bossing by Barcelona in the Champion’s League, and two fourth round exits in the domestic cups led to calls from some quarters for manager Manuel Pellegrini’s departure while a defence that previously prided itself on clean sheets suddenly appeared alarmingly exposed and ill-at-ease.

There were moments of brilliance; flashes of the dominance this team is capable of when collectively firing on most cylinders, but all too often lacklustre displays resulted in a reliance on the sensational form of Sergio Aguero or a thunderthwack from Yaya Toure to pull them across the line.

At times it felt like the limp ending of an era and an expected overhaul of the squad suggests this is indeed so.

So who can hold their heads up high this summer and who should be heading shame-faced to the exit door?

The Cutter has rated each player who appeared ten or more times for City this season from nineteenth to first. This means there is no Bony or Caballero (who each made only seven appearances) and it is also worth noting that potential or past achievements have not been factored into our thinking.

Let the arguing begin as we go from the dross to the gloss….

19th Edin Dzeko

The burly Bosnian has always divided the fanbase frustrating those who believe his work-rate is substandard and defended vocally by those who highlight his strike-rate and presence.

This season the argument got very one-sided.

An abysmal return of four goals paints a bleak picture framed by a going-through-the-motions apathy that was unforgivable. It was quarter-hearted application from a glorified training cone.

With Negredo’s departure reducing the striker roster to three and absences through injury for Jovetic and Aguero 2014/15 was Dzeko’s opportunity to make everybody’s minds up. He did.


18th Bacary Sagna

Remember when Sagna signed and the legitimate claim was that City now boasted the two best right-backs in the Premier League? That seems an awful long time ago now. Defensively sound but an inability to adapt to the Blues’ style of play meant that all-too-often attacks down the right came to a grinding halt when Sagna was involved. An odd-man-out.


17th Fernando

A friend, drunk on gigglejuice and thoroughly exasperated with the ‘modern game’, once suggested that the previous season’s top four clubs should all be handicapped with one shit player and forced to play them on a regular basis.

On every occasion – and there were many – Fernando miscontrolled a pass, sent an errant pass, or found himself wanting positionally I was reminded of this.


16th Stevan Jovetic

 The little game-time he’s been afforded due to injuries and a failure to establish himself in general has resulted in Jovetic being far too keen to impress. Hence the unnecessary flicks that amount to nothing and 25 yard sky-rockets that only trouble row z. The Montenegrin’s stats are credible however with 5 goals (one more than Dzeko despite playing considerably less) and 3 assists in just 9 league showings.

15th Vincent Kompany

Kompany’s decline has been equal parts dramatic and utterly perplexing. At the beginning of the campaign he was widely considered one of the top five defenders in the world – a classy, ever-dependable colossus. Ten months later he is a peripheral figure, his stock diminished. To persist for such a length of time it’s evidently not a slump in form or a confidence issue so perhaps Vinnie needs to spend his summer deconstructing his whole game. Go back to basics and start again with ABC. Alas it remains questionable whether he is prepared to do this.

14th Eliaquim Mangala

The media and rival supporters have already made up their minds. Mangala is an expensive flop. A liability. But, as Lloyd Grossman used to say, let’s look at the evidence.

Here’s a young lad burdened with an extortionate price-tag while adapting to a new league. Who has had to cope with all this while his mentor (Kompany) has struggled horrendously for form.

Mangala’s exemplary debut against Chelsea showed what he is capable of and what he can become. For now 14th is a fair assessment considering the gaffes and rushes of blood that has accompanied a steep learning curve.


13th Samir Nasri

Enjoyed a decent start and a sizzling December then….well, what happened Samir? A reported fall-out with Pellegrini, a well-documented lash out at Neymar in the Champion’s League that could – and should – have resulted in a red, all accompanied by a slew of anonymous outings. The Frenchman has always been a ‘streak’ player, capable of putting together months of brilliance before fading for sustained spells but unlike others of a similar bent it seems to be entirely down to mentality with Nasri. A diva in a season of struggle is of little use at all.

12th Gael Clichy

A real mixed bag of a season for the tenacious left-back which can be summed up by four days in early November. Following a superb Manchester derby performance full of energy and endeavour he was then one of several culprits to put in a horror-show midweek in the dire Champions League defeat to CSKA. This epitomises Gael all over – when he’s good he’s very good and when he’s bad he is abysmal. Alternating with Kolorov hardly helps his cause.

11th Jesus Navas

Eight assists in 2250 minutes of football and a solitary League Cup goal is hardly a brilliant return considering this is the speed-merchant’s pre-requisite for selection.

For a winger he does possess an admirable work-rate but his season equates to a magician turning up to a party and forgetting to bring his deck of cards.


10th Alexsander Kolorov

With a foot like a traction engine and whipped deliveries to die for there’s no doubting the steely Serb’s attacking contributions. Defensively however he remains suspect despite several key blocks throughout the course of the campaign. A late flurry of fine performances – including an exceptional 90 minutes v QPR – shows the value in continuity rather than the constant chopping and changing with Clichy.


9th Yaya Toure

A summer of tragedy and farce understandably left a heavy mark on Yaya who initially appeared a shadow of his former self. In time the trademark thunderthwacks returned along with the imperious barnstorming runs that catch a laugh in your throat as you watch grown men bounce hopelessly to the turf in a forlorn attempt to stop him. But let’s not be under illusions that this was anything like a banner year for Yaya, a situation not helped by greater emphasis placed on defensive duties that simply are not part of his locker.


8th Fernandinho

Took a while to shake off his World Cup woes but grew in statue as the season progressed with fears of a sophomore slump fading away. At times his play resembled a speeded up version of Whac-a-mole due to Yaya’s reluctance to track back and Fernando’s dithering.


7th Pablo Zabaleta

Such is the immense regard that Zaba is held by Blues that a sustained dip in form prior to Christmas brought no rancour, only concern that he looked bloody knackered. Indeed he was, an over-reliance by City on their marauding warrior and no summer respite took a toll and though – naturally – his commitment levels never dipped to 99% the legs looked heavy and his sharp mind that endlessly sought out the clever attacking angles appeared jaded. A few games for Sagna and all was well. The best right-back of his generation – yes I just wrote that and meant every word – was back hustling, bustling, sustaining regular head wounds, probing, over-lapping, and seemingly being two cloned players on the pitch at the same time.


6th Frank Lampard

Brought in to provide a steadying influence and bolster the midfield with his vast experience Frank more than fulfilled the mandate. His late equaliser at home to Chelsea was unquestionably one of the highlights of the entire campaign while eight trademark goals made his recruitment all the more astute.

It was noticeable too how much Silva and Milner in particular enjoyed playing with him and appreciated his availability through wily movement every time they were in possession. That in itself is a positive that should not be under-valued.


5th James Milner

Those who don’t see Jimmy play every week like to belittle him with the ultimate back-hander – that he is the antithesis of the glove-wearing fancy-dan foreigners who shiver in a breeze. A gritty Brit 100 per center. Yet as this season has proven beyond all doubt there is infinitely more to his game than mere industry.

Whether he was needed at right back, left wing, or emergency striker Jimmy certainly gave it full throttle, quarrying, tracking and contesting everything down to a foul-throw with the same urgency as a fan. But there was also creativity to spare in a stand-out season where all-too-often it fell to him to make things happen.

If his name was pronounced ‘Hah-mez’ Liverpool supporters would be drooling at the prospect of snagging him on a free.


4th Martin Demichelis

The Argentinean’s seasoned assurance would be deserving of plaudits in any season but especially one where he was surrounded by such chaos and exposure.

Shorn of the abomination that dangled from the rear of his head Demichelis’ excellent displays acts as conclusive proof – if proof were ever needed – that ponytails are never, ever a good idea.


3rd Joe Hart

Winning a third consecutive Golden Gloves award illustrates once again that Hart has the safest hands in the Prem. Regaining his statue as undisputed number one following an uncertain start where he found himself benched for Caballero shows the measure of the man as too does the improvements made to his game that suggest intensive training and introspection. Hart’s distribution is now….okay while his predilection for being beat at his near post seems to have been eradicated.

Joe has always been a superb shot-stopper – his recent fling at Swansea was quite simply breath-taking – but now it appears he is changing up on his weaknesses too.


2nd David Silva

Merlin’s magic may have dwindled a touch in 2014/15 but a good David Silva still equates to a peer playing a blinder. The stats meanwhile contradict the stray passes and uncharacteristically subdued performances I witnessed early in the campaign. A total of 95 chances created in the league alone is an astonishing figure and is enhanced further with 12 goals as Spanish Dave added shooting boots to his armoury.

But stats always seem impertinent when discussing Silva, like boiling sex down to a formula. The man is a maestro and some outstanding individual displays – including a one-man show against West Brom that bordered on the cruel – bring home once again the fact that without him City are a car minus its purring engine.


1st Sergio Aguero

Until he was Evertoned in December Sergio was waging a one-man war on the bar set by all on what is considered to be a decent season. He was a spree of muscle, trickery and lethal execution, leaving behind a vapour trail of trailing legs and opposition heartbreak. He was dwelling on another planet.

That Kun romped home with the golden boot despite missing a chunk of the campaign to injury and requiring another six weeks to get back to firing on every cylinder illustrates just how sensational he was from August to December.