Man United and Man City Season Review: High’s, Low’s and Final Grades

By on May 30, 2016

Things can only get better in Manchester, after a season where United and City let themselves down and tumbled down the soccer rankings. Join us as we review the fortunes of the blue and red halves of the city.

Manchester United

Louis van Gaal man utd

It’s all Tim Krul’s fault. His penalty heroics against Costa Rica at the 2014 World Cup were regarded as a masterstroke by incoming manager Louis van Gaal, who had replaced first choice goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen with minutes to spare.  After the disaster under David Moyes, the former Ajax boss was just what United needed – old-headed, fierce, with a reputation beyond reproach.

Sadly, van Gaal hasn’t been able to imbue the side with any of his own self- confidence. The Dutchman has been sacked after a meandering season, with José Mourinho hoping to resurrect the hopes of the Old Trafford faithful next year. It’s been a woeful season  for United fans, who have watched their team labour to a 5th place finish without ever threatening to excite. They haven’t been helped by the catastrophic form of Wayne Rooney, whose impotence in front of goal was worsened by anonymous campaigns from Bastian Schweinsteiger and Memphis Depay. The impressive emergence of Marcus Rashford has put an unlikely sheen on a desperate showing. With José joining, you can expect a much improved display next time round.

Highs: They won it the hard way, but 12 years without an FA Cup was too long for a club of United’s stature. Jesse Lingard’s wondergoal secured a first trophy ofthe post-Ferguson era, meaning van Gaal has now won a domestic cup in 4 different countries. It wasn’t enough to save his job, and some of the more hard-hearted United fans may view the news of his sacking as the high point of a dismal campaign.

Lows: Losing to Liverpool in the UEFA Cup was an undoubted lowlight, while Memphis Depay looks in real trouble of becoming the next Bébé. The worrisome injuries of Bastian Schweinsteiger and the lack of trademark bite from Rooney have all fed into a lacklustre campaign, as Old Trafford gets set for another year without Champions League football.

Grade: C

Manchester City

If points were awarded for grace and class, Manuel Pellegrini would win the league every year . The Chilean has led his team in exemplary fashion, but he has struggled to live up to a fabulous title triumph in his debut season. A semi-final exit in the Champions League is nothing to be sniffed at, but the manner of their surrender at the Bernabéu signified their struggles throughout the season.

City have laboured all year, a shaky defence being compromised by the continuing absence of Vincent Kompany. The midfield is solid without imagination, and a lot is owed to the performances of Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero, who have done much to drag their teammates over the line. The news of Guardiola’s signature came at precisely the wrong time for the Eastlands club, who suffered a disastrous run of form in the Spring under what then became a lame-duck regime. Still, the rekindling of the Mourinho-Guardiola rivalry is one that the whole league will be looking forward to.

Highs: A hard-fought win over PSG in the Champions League quarters was the high-point of a decent European campaign. Sergio Aguero asserted himself once more as the Premier League’s best striker, whilst Kevin De Bruyne’s performances continue to slap Chelsea in the face.

Lows: Defeat at home to Leicester was the nadir of a dreadful Premier League campaign. The form of Eliaquim Mangala at centreback continues to cause dismay, whilst Yaya Touré is almost certain to leave the club in the summer after another forgettable season. It will be a sad end for a player who won City’s first title almost single-handedly, but City fans shouldn’t be too despondent. The arrival of Pep Guardiola means the future could get a whole lot brighter very soon.

Grade: B-

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