'I would love to stay longer but I have to deserve it': Pep Guardiola enters fifth season with Manchester City

'I would love to stay longer but I have to deserve it': Pep Guardiola enters fifth season with Manchester City
'I would love to stay longer but I have to deserve it': Pep Guardiola enters fifth season with Manchester City

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - MANAGER: Pep Guardiola - 7: City have been thrilling to watch at times, particularly at home, but have also found ways to lose games they should have won. Hard to think of a trophy winning season as a failure, but such are the standards set by Guardiola that it seems like that after the defeat in Lisbon. Long-term injuries to Aymeric Laporte, Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane, before he was sold, didn’t help the cause, nor did Mikel Arteta’s departure for Arsenal in December. Plenty to think about over the break, but it would be a surprise if City weren’t stronger next season. AFP

GOALKEEPERS: Ederson - 7: Do any two statistics sum up City’s season so thoroughly as Ederson winning the Golden Glove for keeping 16 clean sheets in 35 Premier League appearances in a campaign when the club also conceded 35 league goals and lost nine league games? Ederson is the most complete goalkeeper in the Premier League and yet was prone to error too often this term. AP

Claudio Bravo - 6: Sent off against Atalanta in the Champions League after only coming on at half-time for the injured Ederson, his calamitous appearance in Italy seemed to sum up his time at City. Nevertheless, he collected winners’ medals in the Carabao Cup and the Community Shield, memorably saving one of Liverpool’s penalties in a man-of-the-match winning performance. Getty

DEFENDERS: Aymeric Laporte - 7: His early season injury exposed City’s frailties at the back. His recovery has helped shore up City’s defence, although he was shaky in an unfamiliar set-up in the Champions League quarter-final. Restricted to less than 20 appearances this season. AP

Kyle Walker - 7: He has been excellent on many occasions, particularly since restart, even if he was far from his best in City’s Champions League exit. Also went in goal after Claudio Bravo’s sending off in Italy against Atalanta and, memorably, kept a clean sheet. PA

Eric Garcia - 7: A breakthrough performer this summer despite being knocked unconscious against Arsenal, Garcia looked to be the answer to the persistent questions over City’s defensive issues. The news that he is likely to return to Spain soon clouds further judgement of him. EPA

Benjamin Mendy - 6: Has appeared more for City this season than in his two previous injury hit campaigns combined. Mendy has been both frustrating - his bad error at Chelsea let in Christian Pulisic - and thoroughly competent. His long-term rehabilitation from serious injury continues. Getty

John Stones - 5: Another tough season for the centre-back, who has struggled with injury and form. Despite rumours he may be shipped out this summer, he has vowed to fight for his place. AFP

Nicolas Otamendi - 5: Too error prone these days, but still capable of delivering a good performance on occasions. It would be a surprise if he is still at the club when the transfer window closes later this year. Getty

Angelino - 5: Endured a torrid time in the league defeat at Anfield, although he was hardly alone in that, and was subsequently loaned out to RB Leipzig in January, where he is still in the hunt for a Champions League winners’ medal. AFP

Oleksandr Zinchenko - 5: Arguably made his biggest statement this season while away on international duty by celebrating wildly after helping Ukraine qualify for the European Championship and then proposing to his TV presenter girlfriend Vlada Sedan hours later. Often asked to fill in as a utility player for City, which makes him hard to judge, but was clearly at fault when caught in possession in the defeat at Southampton.

Fernandinho - 7: Hard to criticise too much when asked to fill in at centre back after Laporte’s injury, but has looked out of sorts on some of the big occasions, notably in away defeats at Chelsea and Liverpool. Moving him into defence arguably took more away from the midfield than it added to the back line. Even so, he was often the side’s best-performing defender. PA

MIDFIELDERS: Ilkay Gundogan - 7: Often trusted by Pep Guardiola in the biggest games, Gundogan is a shadow player by nature, breaking up an opposition attack or providing a short pass to an attacking teammate, while others in the team provide the stardust. Occasionally wasteful in front of goal. PA

Phil Foden - 8: Capped off an outstanding season with a string of fine performances since restart after a man-of-the-match winning appearance in the Carabao Cup final. Close to 40 appearances in all competitions underlines how much he has progressed this term. Reuters

Rodri - 7: Took his time to settle in, but has looked increasingly comfortable. Claimed a Premier League passing record in February, completing a staggering 178 passes against West Ham. He has the potential to be a key player in the side for years to come. EPA

Kevin de Bruyne - 9: The best player in the Premier League was often close to perfection this year. Scored a brilliant free-kick against Chelsea after restart and a superb volley against Newcastle last November, both could easily have been goals of the season. He also equalled the Premier League record for most assists in a season with 20, but was strangely quiet in the FA Cup semi-final defeat against Arsenal and not at his best in the Champions League exit against Lyon. PA

Bernardo Silva - 5: Hugely influential in the two previous title-winning seasons, his form dipped after scoring three times in an 8-0 victory over Watford in September and posting a tweet about one of his team-mates for which he was rightly fined, suspended and reprimanded. Getty

David Silva - 7: Has been at his best on several occasions since restart and made an emotional final appearance in the Premier League in City’s 5-0 drubbing of Norwich City. His ten-year stint has been transformational at the club, even if European glory ultimately proved elusive. AP

Joao Cancelo - 6: Has belatedly begun to show the kind of form that persuaded Pep Guardiola to spend big money on him last summer. Will need to develop further next season if City are to reclaim the title. PA

Riyad Mahrez - 8: After taking his time to settle into the side in last season’s treble winning season, Mahrez has been one of City’s most consistent performers this year. Scored a stunning solo effort against Villa in January on his way to 13 goals in all competitions. He will feel he should have started against Lyon. Getty

ATTACKERS: Raheem Sterling - 8.5: Another stellar season for Sterling, despite his late miss in the Champions League against Lyon. He has been prolific since restart and was superb in the first half of the season when he bagged hat-tricks in both the Premier League and the Champions League, even if the goals dried up for a time early in 2020. Eventually scored 31 goals in all competitions. AP

Gabriel Jesus - 7: Divides opinions, but was electric against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu and in the return match at the Etihad. Suffers a little through having to deputise for Aguero, but still managed to score more than 20 goals in all competitions. His time may finally be arriving at the Etihad. EPA

Sergio Aguero - 7: The club’s record goalscorer was in devastating form when available, but an injury hit season restricted him to just 32 appearances in all competitions, his lowest in his nine years at the Etihad. PA

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