Manchester City Player Ratings for the 2013/14 Season
After securing a double in the 2013/14 season, I thought it a good time to look back at the squad that made it happen. I haven’t listed the likes of Lopes, Huws or Boyata as they haven’t really featured enough to merit appraisal, though the future looks bright on that front.
Joe Hart – 8. There was a point in this season where such a mark seemed the stuff of dreams, but credit to England’s Number 1 for getting back on track. You could say “he could have done better there” numerous times since his return from exile, as you could with any keeper, but he has barely put a foot wrong for me in recent months and has his mojo back. Looking at the season as a whole he has done well and I haven’t docked him more points as during his shaky spell not all the mistakes were solely his fault, accompanied as they were by mistakes from those in front of him.
Costel Pantilimon – 6. Our Cup keeper won himself a cup medal, performed fine without excelling and proved able back-up, though I still wouldn’t be too confident in him having a long stint in the first-team.
Richard Wright – 10. Stunning performance against Al Ain.
Gael Clichy – 7. A player I find hard to judge. In match reports throughout the season you can see me mulling over how good a player he is. He’s certainly not made glaring errors and is a consistent performer, but for me is not quite top quality, and underwhelming form early in the season saw him share the left-back berth for the remaining matches in the season. Better defensively than Kolarov but inferior up the field, he has done ok/fine this season, without excelling, but has improved as the season wore on. Just don’t ever let him play at right-back again.
Aleksander Kolarov – 7.5. One of the surprise stories of the season was Kolarov’s “phoenix from the flames” revival after a public spat with fans in the last home game of the previous season against Norwich. I couldn’t see any chance of him staying at the club last summer, but he has dug in, and to quote the man himself, has improved his performances due to increased playing time. Thus the unthinkable has happened and now many consider him our first-choice left-back.
Micah Richards – 4. Most marks lost not due to ineptitude but for being made of glass. Such a crying shame, but his time is probably up at City. A fresh challenge is probably best for both sides.
Pablo Zabaleta – 9. He is the fornicating man. What more can you say? A cult hero, a consistent performer, a warrior – EVERYTHING you want in a player. Superb temperament means such an aggressive player rarely gets into trouble with officials (except after hospital passes from Gareth Barry). Only started 18 league games for City in our previous title-winning campaign, so his rise is more recent than you may think, but since Richard’s decline he has stepped in and taken over that berth. Another inspirational Mark Hughes signing.
Vincent Kompany – 7.5. The truth is this has not been Kompany’s finest season, but his value to the club is immeasurable, as always. Known as the “glassman” at Hamburg, our captain has had his injury worries once more and has made mistakes too. Michael Cox over at Zonal Marking argues that he always has a mistake in him, and what at first sounds like a ludicrous statement does have an element of truth in it. He has also put in his usual quota of excellent performances, grown in stature alongside Martin Demichelis and his mere presence on the pitch clearly has a positive influence on the team. Despite his troubles, his absence has seen some of our worse defensive performances over the past nine months and a settled partnership in central defence should see him regain total consistency.
Another inspirational Mark Hughes signing.
Martin Demichelis – 8. I was tempted to give him 10 as a two-fingered salute to no one in particular. Costing just a few million pounds and as one of City’s lowest earners, you could now feasibly argue he was the signing of last summer. Signed as backup and for his obvious experience, Demichelis immediately got injured then on recovering from that was thrown straight into a game at Stamford Bridge. Injuries have meant he has featured far more than may have been expected. Shaky form to begin with saw him labelled a liability by many if not most football fans, but he has grown and grown with each passing month, was a vital cog in the title run-in and even won player of the month for April. He may lack pace, but his experience and anticipation shines through.
Matija Nastasic – 4. A season wrecked by injury that then contributed to some shaky form meant this was one to forget for the Serbian after such a great campaign the season before. With pain in his knee that seemed to mystify the medical team, he is at last fit as the season ends, and hopefully can start afresh in August and develop further.
Joleon Lescott – 5. Once more, he’s top of the league. As expected has had few opportunities this season but has done ok when called upon. His time is up at the club, and he will be remembered as a top-class professional who helped contribute to a trophy-laden few years and he has been worth every penny of his transfer fee.
Yaya Toure – 9. I would only give a 10 out for a perfect player having a perfect season, and Yaya is not perfect, but perhaps I should have relaxed the rules on this occasion. My Player of the Year for one of the most complete midfielders in world football. Struggled occasionally against high-tempo teams that packed the midfield, but his season in general was phenomenal, both in goals scored, assists, the free-kicks and his general bossing of many a midfield. Surely the best season of his career? Twenty league goals and 9 assists to boot.
David Silva – 8. Only marked down as he was another player that had his injury woes. When he was fit he was simply on another level to most other players that shared a pitch with him. If only he could shoot. One of the best players to ever wear the shirt, just a joy to watch and a privilege. I LOVE YOU DAVID.
Samir Nasri – 8. An improved season for the Frenchman, though not enough to get him in the French World Cup squad, though I doubt that decision was made on ability alone. Evidence of what an excellent man-manger Pellegrini is, he nurtured Nasri perfectly and the player responded, filling the void in Silva’s absence and showing more consistency across the season. He still has his quieter days, but his ability has been there for all to see over the past nine months and his contribution was significant – the stats back this up.
James Milner – 7. Another season where Milner did what you’d expect of him. With a year left on his contract he may want to leave if he can’t be guaranteed more playing time. He had his bad days, he had his good days (Bayern Munich away being the best of the lot), but he always gave a disciplined, hard-working performance in a position still not considered to be his best. An excellent squad member to have in any team, he will be 7 or 8 out of 10 every season.
Fernandinho – 8.5. Oh how people laughed as City shelled out £30m for a player who couldn’t even get in the Brazil squad in an era when Jo could. In the early weeks of the season, this laughter did not subside as he struggled to develop an effective partnership with Yaya Toure, but thereafter the player has grown week-by-week to become one of City’s most effective performers. The end result was a call-up to Brazil’s World Cup squad, the only surprise being Pellegrini’s favouring of Garcia in the season’s closing weeks, but perhaps the long English season had taken its toll on the Brazilian. Either way, whilst Fernandinho is not a natural defensive midfielder, perhaps at last we can move on from Nigel De Jong.
Javi Garcia – 7. Another player who proved that sometimes it is best to give people a chance to develop. A basic player who does what he does effectively, Garcia has grown in stature throughout the season, one small step at a time, to become a useful squad member. As already mentioned, he was entrusted to protect the back four as City won their final five league games to secure the league. Will never dazzle or win awards or even have a song named after him, but at last he has proven he has a role in the squad.
Jesus Navas – 6.5. For me the second biggest disappointment of the season, after Jovetic’s disappearance act. Navas has not been a failure, but I feel we haven’t seen the best of him yet, as he hasn’t used his electric pace to destroy opposing full-backs enough, and thus hasn’t been a regular starter. He is great squad player to have though and I am hopeful of seeing much more of what he is about next season.
Stevan Jovetic – 5. A midfielder? Never mind, he’s staying here. This was the signing that excited me most of all last summer, but it has been a frustrating year for the young man who struggles to keep his clothes on. Injuries derailed the start of his City career, and he has never recovered. His absence was often not explained fully by Pellegrini, and there were rumours of him being unsettled, but the brief glimpses we have had of him make me believe my excitement was justified. Pellegrini still didn’t trust him at the end of the season, but as the cliché goes, I hope that come August he will be like a new signing and a big talent in the coming year.
Scott Sinclair – 0. Who?
Jack Rodwell – 4. Another wasted season and yet I am sure there is a wonderful player in there, but I doubt City fans will ever see that player. More injury problems, little time on the pitch and a frustrating nine months all in all. I’ve no idea what the future holds for Rodwell, but I dearly hope he can play regular football somewhere.
Sergio Aguero – 8. Talking of injuries – is Kun the biggest injury worry of all? Seventeen league goals show that he is as good as ever, but this was a season hampered by seemingly endless niggling injuries. The guy is sheer class, a little piece of dynamite, so we can only pray that other clubs keep their dirty mitts off him and that he can have a fuller season next time around. The number of muscle injuries suffered by City players over the course of the season is a worry though.
Alvaro Negredo – 7.5. It’s almost an impossible task to grade a player who had a season of two halves. For the first half, Negredo looked like the buy of the summer (for any team) as he forged a lethal partnership with Sergio Aguero, scoring 23 goals across all competitions in half a season, before injuring his shoulder in a game he didn’t need to play in, as City cruised to Wembley in the Capital One Cup. Since then, he has looked a shadow of the player we first saw, the confidence seemingly drained out of him, unless he was still hampered by that shoulder. A fresh start in August will hopefully rekindle the fire.
Edin Dzeko – 7.5. Another rollercoaster ride for Dzeko, who proved his worth once more, and at the business end of the season when it was really needed. Sixteen league goals showed once more what he has to offer though he continued to frustrate at times. Overlooked for much of the first half of the season, he took over from the flagging Negredo to help see City over the finishing line, scoring key goals throughout the final straight, from the opener at Crystal Palace to the crucial brace at Goodison Park. He is the same Edin Dzeko we have always known and mostly loved.
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini – 9. Robbie Savage said today that City should have won the quadruple, whilst only weeks ago a minority were questioning Pellegrini’s future, as many journalists did when he was appointed. Back in the realms of reality though, it is fair to say that overseeing a double and a club’s most successful season in your debut season in a new country can be considered something of a success, irrespective of resources available. The man oozes class and dignity, the holistic approach our owners crave, and has kept his head and his team’s head as those around him floundered or poked him looking for weaknesses. He has made mistakes, of that there is no doubt, and his maths isn’t the best, but the trophy haul at the end of the season says it all. The players clearly respect him, the mood around the club is harmonious and he looks like the late, great Dave Allen. He’ll do for me.