By any measure it has been another remarkable and historic campaign for our Under-23s.
A second successive Premier League 2 title triumph was clinched last month while a phalanx of exciting young players have also gone on to make their senior first team debuts
Having claimed a maiden PL2 title in 2020-21, under the stewardship of new lead coach Brian Barry-Murphy our Under-23s achieved the hugely impressive feat of retaining the crown.
A host of exciting young talent illuminated our season – and the work of our Academy coaching staff drew praise and admiration from first team boss Pep Guardiola.
The impressive impact of our Academy was arguably never more amply demonstrated than on a memorable night in September last year when six of our exciting young players were afforded their senior City debuts during our Carabao Cup third round win over Wycombe
Here, we reflect on another incredible season for City’s Elite Development Squad by checking out some of the numbers behind our title success in 2021/22, including top scorers and biggest winning margins, below…
In 26 league matches across 2021/22, our EDS tasted victory on 16 occasions, drawing six and losing just four matches
That equates to a win percentage of over 61 per cent across the season.
Having claimed that maiden title triumph under former head coach Enzo Maresca last term, City kicked on again this season under the tutelage of Barry-Murphy who succeeded the Italian in the summer.
Our exciting brand of attacking, expressive football once more garnered widespread praise and acclaim
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.
Across our six games against RB Leipzig, Club Brugge and Paris St Germain we recorded two wins, two draws and two losses, scoring 12 goals, and conceding 11.
A clutch of younger players – several making the step up from Under-18s level – also gained valuable experience by playing in our EFL Trophy campaign which saw us defeat Scunthorpe in our opening fixture before we then lost out to Rotherham and Doncaster.
City found the net an impressive 65 times across the PL2 season, averaging out at 2.5 goals goals per game across the campaign.
Barry-Murphy’s young charges also scored 12 times in our six UEFA Youth League group games with four more coming in the EFL Trophy to lift our overall tally to 81 across all competitions.
James McAtee took the plaudits for the highest number of goals across the season with our creative attacking midfielder amassing an impressive 18 goals.
That saw McAtee finish as leading scorer in the PL2 campaign to provide yet further evidence of his exciting potential and burgeoning talent.
McAtee’s stellar 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.
The 19-year-old first struck a superb treble to help 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, 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 2021/22 campaign.
Our EDS racked up three separate five-goal league victories across the season, one of which – 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
Fittingly however, Barry-Murphy’s side saved the best until last.
Our final day 7-0 rout over Everton at the Etihad Stadium saw us sign off in thrilling style ahead of being presented with the PL2 trophy.
FULL STAT BREAKDOWN:
Premier League 2
Goals for: 65
Goals against: 32
Goals for: 4
Goals against: 7
UEFA Youth League
Goals for: 12
Goals against: 11
Overall record (all competitions)
Goals for: 81
Goals against: 50