With the turn of the decade, we at The Hard Tackle take a look at the player who made their mark for Manchester City over the past ten seasons.
The last decade was very crucial for Manchester City as the Sky Blues chose to take it in their stride and started growing as a resurgent superpower in world football. From Sergio Aguero’s strike against QPR ended their 44-year title wait to successive Premier League titles under Pep Guardiola, Manchester City faithful have been blessed with some exquisite footballing display.
The decade saw a lot of success under three different managers but all of them were influential in their own way. Roberto Mancini started building the turn around which later resulted in winning the Premier League title while Manuel Pellegrini followed up with his stint and achieved a similar feat. However they became a dominant force in world football and played some eye-catching football only when Pep Guardiola joined the club.
In this period they have had some highly talented players and we at The Hard Tackle analyse what could be the team of the decade for the Premier League reigning champions.
The English custodian edges it ahead of Ederson who has been a revelation for Manchester City. However Hart was part of the resurgence at the Etihad and he was one of the core players around whom the new generation of Manchester City was built. The team which would rule over English Premier League in this decade was built around Hart between the sticks.
Hart was the first choice for both Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini and played crucial roles in their Premier League triumph in 2012 and 2014. In this time period he won the PL Golden Glove consistently for back to back three seasons and again won it in 2014/15 season. Although he did not fit in Pep Guardiola’s philosophy of playing it out from the back, Hart’s contribution throughout the decade cannot be denied.
A no brainer in this position after what Pablo Zabaleta has achieved with the Cityzens on and off the field. The Argentine was a leader in his own right and those nine years of wearing sky blue and playing for the badge has made him one for the history books at the Etihad. Not only City, but Zabaleta’s committed aura also makes him the best right back from the Premier League in this era.
The Argentine may not be the most gifted player but his reliability and passion for the club made him one of the fan favourites of the Manchester City faithful. Amassing a mammoth 333 appearances for City in total the 35-year old right-back was the leader of the pack around whom the resurgence of City happened in this decade.
The indisputable leader who has sported the armband with pride from the start to the end of the decade, Kompany was the general of this resurgent City side which reached the summit of English football multiple times in this decade. The Belgian was a mainstay in defence throughout this time period making 360 appearances for the club and played a pivotal role in the four title-winning campaigns for the Cityzens.
Kompany was so pivotal to the Manchester City defence that Pep Guardiola’s decision of not replacing the Belgian has turned out to be a bad call as he joined Anderlecht at the start of the season.
Despite being at the club for only two seasons in the last decade, the Frenchman edges ahead of everyone just because of his reliability and calm head that he brings to the Manchester City defence.
While there have been doubts over the French defender’s potential and ability, in these two seasons he has emerged as a stalwart in defence. Laporte has been instrumental in Manchester City’s triumph for both the season with his precise passing and calm and composed nature.
This season the former Athletic Bilbao man has been on the sidelines and the Cityzens are struggling defensively which speaks volumes about his presence. With his contract running for another five seasons the Frenchman and Guardiola can create magic at the Etihad.
Manchester City in all true sense have not found out a replacement for Kolarov after he decided to join AS Roma back in 2017. The left-back position has often been the chink in their armour in the recent past. However during the Serbian was a cult hero among the Manchester City faithful mainly with his exceptional left foot long rangers and inch-perfect crosses.
Kolarov amassed 247 appearances in his time at City as he faced stiff competition from Gael Clichy for the left-back slot. The 35-year old was one of the players whom Pep Guardiola wanted in his team despite his age which actually proves his worth as a player.
The Brazilian can be called Manchester City’s Mr. Dependable as he has been a very loyal servant of the badge and played with all his heart each time he has taken the field for the Cityzens. He played a pivotal role under Pellegrini and has continued the same aura under Guardiola. He anchors the midfield and breaks up counter attacks for the oppositions while he also slots in defence when needed and carries that responsibility with utmost honesty.
Fernandinho’s versatility and intelligence reflect on his performances over the last decade and therefore Guardiola holds him in high regard and claims the Brazilian to be one of the best holding midfielders in the world currently.
The Manchester City team of the decade is incomplete without the big Ivorian in midfield. Toure was definitely one of the most influential players for the Sky Blues as he spent his best years at the Etihad. He was a regular starter for both Mancini and Pellegrini and made vital contributions in their first two title-winning campaign in the early part of the decade.
The former Ivory Coast international was the only midfielder after Franck Lampard to score 20 goals in the Premier League as he guided City to multiple league titles. Amidst all his accolades there were also controversies during Guardiola’s tenure which finally resulted in his dismissal but one cannot deny the Ivorian’s influence in City’s resurgence in the last decade.
There cannot be a Premier League team of the decade without the Spanish midfield leave alone only Manchester City. David Silva has inspired the Cityzens with his precision, vision and Spanish panache to take Manchester City to great heights. David Silva has to be the most decorated player for Manchester City along with Vincent Kompany.
While his time with City is coming to an end at the end of this season, Silva has been the creative nucleus of this side all along the decade before someone like Kevin De Bruyne came to the reckoning. David Silva’s performances over the years have earned him the nickname of El Mago (Magician) among the City faithful.
Kevin De Bruyne
Once a Premier League flop for Chelsea came back to England two years later to prove his doubters wrong. De Bruyne has been a metronome for City over the years and have been a very vital part of City’s dominance in Premier League recently. He has reached 50 assists faster than any other player in just 123 appearances for the Cityzens with Mesut Ozil in second reaching the milestone in 18 matches more.
The Belgian’s exquisite passing ability and vision is second to none in world football right now and the way he adapted to a deeper role in Guardiola’s system is highly praiseworthy.
There was even a second thought about Sergio Aguero’s inclusion in this team. One of the greatest ever goalscorers in the Premier League and Manchester City’s record goalscorer, Aguero has been sensational for the Cityzens over the years. He has taken the mantle of scoring goals ever since joining the club in 2011 and went on to register his name in City’s footballing folklore in bold letters.
Considered as the best ever non-European striker in the Premier League Aguero recently equalled Alan Shearer’s tally of 11 Premier League hattricks. Aguero has shown shades of leadership, maturity and consistency for the Sky Blues. However above all was the iconic winning goal against QPR which ended City’s 44-year wait for the title.
The England international’s rise to prominence has been one of the highlights for Manchester city in this decade. Sterling received a lot of criticism for his controversial move from Liverpool and he was heavily criticised for the lack of end product in his gameplay.
However his emergence as a regular goalscorer and one of the lethal wingers in world football currently speaks a lot about his hard work and credit must also go to Guardiola for nurturing the youngster into a matured forward who plays a pivotal role in attack for the Cityzens.
Manchester City Team of the Decade (4-4-2): Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Aymeric Laporte, Aleksandar Kolarov, Fernandinho, Toure, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling.