Manchester City season review: December

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho shakes hands with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on September 10, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho shakes hands with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on September 10, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images) /
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What a season it’s been for the Blues. Records have fallen and the Premier League has been won in a very special way. We have seen some highs. We have seen some lows. Questions on Pep’s style of play answered and, for the most part, domination of the English game.

In December the games came thick and fast and began with the return of Pablo Zabaleta to the Etihad. Still a City fan at heart West Ham, his new side, were struggling in the League. Despite suffering another defeat you feel he enjoyed the crowd still chanting his name, six months on from his move.

With that win, City went level with the 1960-61 Tottenham team as far as record points from games (when converted to the three points for a win we currently enjoy). Next up was a chance for a rest, with City already qualified top of the group in the Champions League.

The visit to Shakhtar saw Phil Foden and Tosin Adarabioyo start, which saw Foden become the youngest Englishman to start a Champions League game. Next up was a trip to Old Trafford, and a chance to increase the gap between us and United.

Facing Manchester United, City were victorious with another dominant performance. United only had 35% possession with only five shots. Despite this, Mourinho still couldn’t accept defeat, stating afterwards that City were protected by luck and Gods of football are behind them.

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There was a fall out afterwards as us, the ‘noisy neighbors’ played music too loud in the away dressing room after the match. The FA required statements from both clubs, but nothing significant happened as a result.

Our third straight away win in three different countries then took place in Wales with a 4-0 defeat of Swansea. That set a record successive back to back wins for City, enjoying 79% possession and an amazing 23 shots overall.

Then it was the game of the month, with an attacking minded Tottenham visiting. The hope, from the rest of the League, was that Pochettino could slow us with a similar style. David Silva was missing for the first time for personal reasons, and rumors began. Of course we now know why he was afforded time away in the middle of the season, but rumors at the time speculated he was off.

Both Harry Kane and Dele Alli should have seen red cards in the game, but then suspension would have seen Kane not break the calendar year scoring record! Of course that is very cynical of me, and in the end it didn’t matter as City blew the Londoners out of the water, 4-1.

The Carabao Cup Quarter Final followed against Leicester, and rotation was again key. Jamie Vardy scored a late equalizer in the seventh minute of stoppage time, with Kyle Walker having been judged to have fouled the English striker. There would be no goals in extra time and so it went to penalties, with Bravo being the hero yet again. Saving two penalties, City progressed through to the Semi Finals.

At the halfway point of the League, Manchester City had only dropped two points. That first home game against Everton being the only dropped points. Scoring 100 goals in the calendar year on 2018 with the 4-0 win against Bournemouth.

The year finished with a bit of a whimper with a very subdued couple of games. City went to a very defensive Newcastle, who almost got a draw. The Benitez tactic, it seemed, was to just keep all players at the back.

Next: Season Review: November

Nothing showed this than the very first kick of the game. From the start, Jonjo Shelvey launched the ball toward the City goal, and was easily collected by Ederson. From then it was a case of an unstoppable force against an immovable object. Two days after Christmas, Scrooge Benitez was not in a very festive spirit.

The final game of the year, away to Crystal Palace, gave City the chance to get 100 points in the calendar year, a feat we fell short of. Roy Hodgson set up in a similar way to Benitez, but managed to keep his goal in tact.. City enjoyed a 75% possession at Selhurst Park, yet only managed a point. It was a lucky point, to a certain extent, with Ederson having to save a last-minute penalty.

City would enter the New Year fourteen points above second place Chelsea, and fifteen above Manchester United. With 17 games remaining Manchester City were only 22 points away from what would be Manchester United’s end of season total. In fact, had City not gained another point for the rest of the season, they’d have enough points at this point to secure seventh spot.