By any measure it has been a remarkable and historic 12 months for our Under-23s, with a maiden Premier League 2 title triumph clinched in May while a phalanx of exciting young players have gone on to make their senior first team debuts
City were crowned PL2 champions under Enzo Maresca’s guidance in 2020-21 and, following his departure to take charge of Italian side Parma in the summer, Brian Barry-Murphy has guided our Under-23s forward to continued impressive effect.
However the impressive impact of our Academy was arguably never more amply demonstrated than on a memorable night in September this year when six of our exciting young players were afforded their senior City debuts during our Carabao Cup third round win over Wycombe
Reflect on another fine year for City’s Elite Development Squad by checking out some of the numbers behind our success in 2021, including top scorers and biggest winning margins, below…
In 38 matches across 2021, our EDS have tasted victory on 23 occasions in all competitions.
That equates to a win percentage of over 60 per cent across the calendar year, with City tasting defeat on just eight occasions in that time.
The bulk of those victories have, unsurprisingly, come in PL2.
Having claimed a maiden title triumph under former head coach Enzo Maresca last term, City have impressed again this season under the tutelage of Brian Barry-Murphy who succeeded the Italian in the summer.
With the season at the halfway stage, City are poised in third place in the PL2 table just four points behind current leaders West Ham.
But, with a host of injuries to key individuals interrupting our momentum, the one frustration was our exit at the group stage of the UEFA Youth League after what had been a promising start to our European campaign.
City have found the net a phenomenal 100 times in 2021, averaging out at almost 2.64 goals per game across the calendar year.
Brian Barry-Murphy’s young charges found the net 12 times in our six UEFA Youth League group games with four more coming in the EFL Trophy. Meanwhile we accumulated 84 in PL2.
Delap finished as leading scorer in PL2 in the 2020/21 campaign with a 24-goal haul overall and was also voted as the PL2 player of the season.
Injury, unfortunately, has meant Delap has been largely been confined to the sidelines so far this term, but the striker will be looking to get back on the goal trail when he returns to action.
McAtee meanwhile has gone from strength to strength as the year has progressed with his eye for goal complementing his superb attacking midfield impact with the youngster also a potent threat from set-pieces.
An honourable mention too goes to Cole Palmer who also made a massive contribution, claiming 15 goals in all across a year which has seen him firmly establish himself as part of Pep Guardiola’s first team squad.
The 19-year-old’s impact was arguably never more evident than in a remarkable seven days in late August which saw the attacking midfielder claim back-to-back PL2 hat-tricks.
McAtee first struck a superb treble to help Brian Barry-Murphy’s side overcome Blackburn 4-2 at the CFA.
Having then scored again in a midweek 3-0 EFL Trophy triumph at Scunthorpe, skipper McAtee was at his inspirational best the following weekend, claiming another brilliant hat-trick to help City claim a 3-1 PL2 derby triumph at Manchester United.
Just for good measure, McAtee then went on to claim another hat-trick in our UEFA Youth League home clash with Club Brugge’s Under-19s in November.
Largest winning margin
There have been no shortage of impressive displays over the course of a memorable and goal-laden 2021.
Our EDS racked up impressive two separate 6-1 wins on the road during the course of the year and also hit the opposition for five on three other occasions across the 12 months.
The latter of those wins – October’s 5-0 home win over Leicester – memorably saw Cole Palmer net a superb hat-trick just hours after he had come on as a substitute for our first team against Burnley
But City’s 7-1 PL2 victory at home to Southampton back in March represented our biggest win of the past 12 months.
Full stat breakdown:
Premier League 2
Goals for: 84
Goals against: 35
Goals for: 4
Goals against: 7
UEFA Youth League
Goals for: 12
Goals against: 11
Overall record (all competitions)
Goals for: 100
Goals against: 53