THE BLOG

Has Manchester City's Season Been a Success?

22/04/2014 16:48 BST | Updated 22/06/2014 10:59 BST

It was just two days ago that Manchester City topped the global salary table ahead of Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona as well as Major League Baseball franchise the New York Yankees. This has come as a surprise to many although the general opinion of American sports paying far and away higher salaries to individual players has become an outdated one almost overnight.

With this in mind the on-pitch failings of Manchester City this season, in particular those in recent weeks have allowed for rival teams to mock the Blues' sky high wage bill yielding what is likely to just be the Capital One Cup for the 2013-2014 campaign. However with Manuel Pellegrini nearing the completion of his debut season managing in the Premier League the question is whether or not this season is a disaster for Manchester City and where do they go as a team from this point?

Manchester City supporters will be quick to tell you the by now clichéd comment regarding the significant strength of their squad is a fallacy. Manchester City lack depth in a number of key areas and it has shown as the season has entered its most testing period.

Manchester City do possess an excellent starting eleven with the spine of the team in Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, David Silva and Sergio Aguero as good as anybody's in European football however if you look at other positions such as left-back there are weaknesses. Neither Gael Clichy nor Aleksandar Kolarov are elite full-backs either defensively or going forward. In the middle of midfield, once you look past Yaya Toure and Fernandinho, there is very little behind them who can fit Pellegrini's complex 4-2-2-2 or inverted 4-4-2 system hence why there was such a concerted effort to try and bring FC Porto's Fernando to the club on the final day of the January transfer window.

All this is before we even mention the lack of quality to partner Vincent Kompany at the heart of the City backline given Manuel Pellegrini's concerns with regards to Matija Nastasic's recurring knee problems.

It is clear that Manchester City will reinvest this summer with the centre of defence likely to be a priority however with UEFA'S Financial Fair Play scheme impacting Manchester City more than ever following last week's report that the club's finances were under scrutiny by European football's governing body, wholesale change within the squad this summer is unlikely.

The season certainly hasn't been a failure. If you look at the three teams inside last season's top four to begin this season with new managers you could argue Manuel Pellegrini and City have made the most progress. Obviously we know the year has been one to forget for all at Old Trafford however Jose Mourinho has taken an already successful Chelsea team and perhaps just made them more confident in themselves and harder to play against.

Manuel Pellegrini has introduced a much more expansive style of football at Eastlands after the years of Roberto Mancini's effective if ever so slightly frustrating conservative approach to football, following this Pellegrini has taken City into the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time in the club's history which is one of the defining marks of progress the club simply had to make this term.

Manuel Pellegrini will have a years experience managing in England by the time the 2014-2014 season begins and the lessons learnt this year, in particular those regarding squad rotation will definitely stand the Chilean and City in good stead.

Recent results against Liverpool and Sunderland have cast a shadow over Manchester City's season that is for sure but it is just a temporary one. Manchester City will earn a top three finish in the Premier League at the very least and the club has won another trophy in the shape of the aforementioned Capital One Cup. Even with the finance required to assemble the squad taken into account that is still a successful season, no ground has been lost in terms of domestic progress whilst on the continent City have finally broken down the two year long barrier of being unable to reach the knockout stages.

It might not seem like it now but in around a month's time Manchester City supporters will look at this season as a positive campaign and with Pellegrini crucially now more aware of the dangers of having a rigid idea in mind of trying to outplay every team in the Premier League there will be yet more improvements next season. With City likely to bring in depth and quality to both the heart of defence and the middle of midfield the 2013-2014 campaign whilst it may not feel like it now for supporters, could be the perfect stepping stone onto a trophy laden year next term.