2011/12 SEASON REVIEW
After the greatest season in over 40 years City's staff, players and fans were looking forward to a new season that would see Champions League football for The Citizens for the first time.
dry on the young French defenders four year contract The blues were stunned by a statement from captain Carlos Tevez as he announced he must leave the club before the season starts, citing his need to be in a country where he can be with his children. The question was who could afford to buy him and pay his wages!
Just a few days later the club, fans and ex players paid tribute to legend Mike Doyle at his funeral in Ashton Under Lyne, the former Blues captain and City's most decorated player had tragically lost his fight against a liver disease at the age of 64 on 27th June 2011.
Roberto Mancini then again added to his defence by bringing in 20 year old Montenegro stopper Stefan Savic from Partizan Belgrade for a fee of around £7M
On the day the squad flew out to the US for a pre-season tour City announced a deal with Etihad Airways which included naming rights for the stadium and surrounding areas and an improved shirt sponsorship deal thought to total over £200M over ten years.
Whilst the club were training in the US the first bid came in for Carlos Tevez from an unexpected country as Brazilian side Corinthians offered a reputed £35M for their former player, the bid was turned down as it did not reach City's valuation.
although it was only a friendly the Blues put up an impressive performance to beat Inter Milan 3-0 and to lift the first Dublin Super Cup.
It was a third trip to Wembley in four months for City as they met Manchester United in the traditional season curtain raiser, The Community Shield, and although City led 2-0 at half-time United took the trophy eventually winning 3-2.
And so the season started and City certainly put down a marker, as they beat Swansea 4-0, to go top of the league, with Bolton. City had 30 attempts on the Swans goal and Kun had the perfect debut as he came off the bench with less than 30 minutes left and scored two and made another with a headline making performance his father in law, Maradonna, would have been proud of.
With both City and Bolton scoring four goals without reply on the opening weekend of the season they both sat at the top of the table and the two teams met at the Reebok where The Blues turned on the style again and won 3-2 to top the table with Manchester United in second place.
Out of favour Emmanuel Adebayor then joined Tottenham on loan for the rest of the season, Young belgian defender also went out on a season long loan to Bolton.
Samir Nasri made his debut at White Hart Lane in an amazing team performance that will be talked about for many years by City fans. The Blues tore Tottenham apart in a scintillating 5-1 win with Edin Dzeko scoring four goals to become the Premier League's top scorer with six in just three games.
As the transfer window closed The Blues announced an unexpected signing when former England and Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves joined City as a free agent on a one year deal.
A two week international break followed and also the controversial resignation of Gary Cook as he became embroiled in an e-mail faux paus with Nedum Onuoha's agent and mother Dr Anthonia Onuoha. City carried on after the international break with another entertaining performance as they beat Wigan 3-0 at The Etihad Stadium to sit equal top of the Premier League with Manchester United, both teams having taken twelve points from their first four games.
And so to the the Holy Grail that is the European Champions League, as City met Napoli in their first ever game in the competition, an almost capacity Etihad crowd saw City draw 1-1.
Back in the league and The Blues dropped their first points as they lost a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 at Fulham. Roberto Mancini then gave his first team a rest and made eleven changes for the 3rd Round Carling Cup tie at home to holders Birmingham, and a very strong second string team won 2-0 with Owen Hargreaves scoring on his debut.
three days later and 11 further team changes back to the strongest 11 in the Premier League City overcame their bogey side Everton beating them 2-0 in front of a home sell-out crowd.
The UEFA Champions League then brought City their biggest challenge of the season as they played Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena and lost 2-0, the defeat was overshadowed by the accusation by Roberto Mancini that Carlos Tevez had refused to come off the substitute's bench with half an hour to go, the Argentinian was subsequently suspended for two weeks pending an enquiry.
The Blues put their first defeat of the season behind them with an impressive 4-0 win at Blackburn in the Premier League, before the international break.
City then issued a statement to say that their findings from Carlos Tevez's investigatory had led them to believe that he had broken his contract and a disciplinary hearing was to be held shortly.
After the international break City went two points clear at the top of the league as they beat Aston Villa 4-1 in an impressive display at the Etihad Stadium, David Silva picked up the Barclays player of the month award for September before the game, the
with an amazing goal difference of +26 after just nine games.
The Carlos Tevez saga continued as City found him guilty of five charges as a result of his disciplinary hearing and announced they would be fining the Argentinian four weeks wages, however the PFA intervened and cut the fine back to two weeks wages.
Roberto Mancini put off the field problems to the back of his mind and named a totally different starting eleven for the 4th Round Carling Cup tie at Molyneux, the new starters didn't disappoint as they beat Wolves 5-2 to move into the Quarter-Finals.
Back in the League it was back to the Mancini's first eleven but the same opposition in Wolves and City beat them again, this time 3-1 to cement their five point lead at the top of the table.
A great performance in Spain saw City beat Villarreal 3-0 in the Champions League to leave qualification for the knock out stages in their own hands, with Napoli away and Bayern at home to come. With four straight wins in the Premier League in October, and, in the process scoring 17 goals it was no surprise when Roberto Mancini picked up the Barclays Manager of the Month award for October, and the victories carried on into November as City beat Queens Park Rangers 3-2 at Loftus Road to stay five points clear at the top as we entered another international break.
Further disciplinary issues were making the headlines whilst most players were away on International duty, first Carlos Tevez left the country to fly back to Argentina without the club's permission and then failed to fly back for training, in addition City announced that Kolo Toure had been fined six weeks wages following his six month ban for doping offences.
The board then announced a £195M loss for the financial year 2010/11, however any debt was cleared with the issuing of new equity by the Sheikh.
The Blues then broke a Premier League record as they won their eleventh game out of the first twelve with a 3-1 victory over Newcastle in front of a record crowd for the Etihad Stadium.
City travelled to Naples for the fifth game in their Champions league and unfortunately Napoli took qualification from the group out of City's hand as they beat the Blues 2-1. City will now need to beat Bayern Munich in the last group game and hope Napoli don't beat Villarreal.
in domestic football however City couldn't be beaten, they travelled to Anfield and drew 1-1 against Liverpool in the league and then booked a place in the Carling Cup semi-finals beating Arsenal 1-0 at the Emirates Stadium.
In their 14th league game City made it an amazing 48 goals this season with a 5-1 win over Norwich to keep a five point buffer over United.
in the Champions League although City won their final match of the group 2-0 at home to Bayern Munich, results elsewhere saw The Blues finish in third place in Group A and they would now be in the draw for the knockout stages of the Europa League.
City then suffered their first defeat in the league, losing 2-1 at Chelsea, The Blues were now just two points ahead of their nearest rivals, Manchester United.
In a home game where both teams contributed to a fantastic game of football, Mancini's team disposed of Wenger's Arsenal, 1-0. Then in one of the most one sided games seen at the Etihad, Stoke were demoralised as City won 3-0.
City played just one game over Christmas, and the Boxing Day match at the Hawthorns saw City draw a blank for the first time since April as they drew 0-0 against West Brom, a result which guaranteed The Blues top position in the Premier League albeit only on goal difference from Man United.
Yaya Toure's fantastic performances throughout 2011 were rewarded as he won the African Player of the Year award.
New Years Day saw The Blues lose at Sunderland 1-0 despite dominating the game. Luckily rivals United lost as well and so City stayed top of the table.
A great 3-0 home victory against Liverpool got City back on track.
The transfer window was now open and City's first piece of business saw Burnley complete the permanent signing of defender Kieran Trippier for an undisclosed fee. And although not leaving the club Yaya and Kolo Toure flew out to play for the Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations and would be sorely missed.
An eagerly awaited 3rd Round FA Cup tie at The Etihad Stadium against Manchester United began controversially as United took the lead in the 10th minute and two minutes later Vincent Kompany was inexplicably sent off for what only referee Chris Foy saw as a two footed tackle. The Blues seemed broken at half-time, 3-0 down and with just ten men, however in the second half they launched an amazing comeback, but couldn't quite force a replay, losing 3-2.
Three days later The Etihad Stadium was the venue for the 1st leg of the Carling Cup, and without the services of the Toure brother's, Vincent Kompany, who's appeal fell on deaf ears at the FA, and David Silva, who had picked up an ankle injury in the derby defeat, Mancini's team struggled and lost 1-0 against against Liverpool.
David Silva was back in the team for a short trip to Wigan in the league and City controlled the game from the start and won 1-0 to stay two points clear at the top.
Former captain of the triumphant 2008 FA Youth Cup winning side, Ben Mee who was on a season long loan at Burnley, made the move permanent after making just one senior appearance for the Blues.
City then met Tottenham who were serious contenders to catch City at the top, however an amazing game ended 3-2 to City with Balotelli scoring the winning goal from the penalty spot in the last minute of injury time. However controversy is never far away for Super Mario and after the game the FA charge him with stamping on Spurs' Scott Parker. Mario pleads it was accidental and City officials believe referee Howard Webb saw the incident during play, although Webb denies this. City appeal but the FA will not listen and they impose a four match ban.
More refereeing controversy followed in the Carling Cup semi-final second leg at Anfield, when Phil Dowd inexplicably gave a penalty to Liverpool in the first half for a 'handball' by Micah Richards when the whole world watching apart from the official saw it was accidental and should never have been given, Mr Dowd then conveniently missed a blatant foul in the penalty area on Edin Dzeko. City drew 2-2 with Liverpool and so were out of the Cup, you couldn't help but wonder if there was an agenda against the Blues and Brian Marwood put in a request to meet with the the head of the refereeing Association for some clear pointers on refereeing consistency. Out of favour Nedum Onuoha was then transferred to QPR for a fee of around £3m, where he would link up with former City manager Mark hughes who had just taken over the management role at Loftus Road. Wayne Bridge, who had also failed to impress Roberto Mancini, moved to Sunderland on loan until the end of the season.
City next visited Goodison Park and lost 1-0 against 'bogey' side Everton, the race for the Championship was now hotting up, City were now only top of the league on goal difference with Manchester United now on the same points and Spurs five points adrift in third as we entered February.
with a 1-0 win at Aston Villa.
the team from Old Trafford.