Men's Team

Best of 2015: Top five moments

Best of 2015: Top five moments
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Ferris Bueller wasn’t referring to City or the beautiful game when he delivered this timeless quote on his infamous day off, but he could have been.

Our 2015 may not have been as trophy-laden as the one that preceded it but there were still plenty of “I was there” moments to be savoured in the calendar year.

Because everything written online in 2015 must be divided into five point lists, here are @markbooth_mcfc's five standout moments from a jam-packed year full of dizzying highs (and the odd crushing low)…

Frank Lampard's goal v Southampton…

“You couldn’t make it up” commentators said after Frank Lampard scored against Southampton on the final day of the 2014/15 season… except you easily could.

Arriving into the box and scoring match-winning goals is what Lampard has been all about for the last two decades.

In Sliding Doors, 90s’ cinema’s seminal “what might have been” rom-com (a niche category, yes), Gwyneth Paltrow discovers what would have happened if she had caught a train and the story splits off into two parallel universes.

Watching Lampard net that farewell goal before delivering an emotional goodbye to English football, one couldn’t help but ponder what might have been if Frank had been wearing sky blue rather than royal blue for the majority of his Premier League career.

For City fans, that’s a far more attractive proposition than shacking up with John Hannah… with all due respect to the big man.

Five star Serge…

A solitary strike, a brace, a hat-trick, a four-goal haul… is there an existing term for five goals? If not, let’s call it “a Kun”.

Sergio Aguero was one game shy of his longest-ever Premier League goalscoring drought when Newcastle United arrived at the Etihad in October.

Five games without scoring qualifies as something of a crisis for a striker of Kun’s quality but you can’t keep a good man down and the Argentine ace took out all of his frustrations on a Newcastle defence which must have been left wondering what they’d done to deserve such brutal treatment.

There was a diving header, a left-footed drive, a sublime whip into the far corner, a dink over the keeper and a sliding back post striker’s finish – the full bouquet of the 27-year old’s prodigious talents.

A day that no-one present at the Etihad Stadium will ever forget.

A bright future…

Silverware may not rank as highly as player development and progression in the collective minds of academy staff but the Elite Development Squad’s International Premier League Cup win in May was undeniably special.

That 1-0 win over FC Porto was not only significant to a core of players who’ve been ascending the ranks together for more than a decade but it also felt like a landmark moment for City Football Academy which opened in December 2014.

The photo of George Glendon and George Evans, teammates for more than ten years, with their medals, was the enduring image of an unforgettable day and forecasted what looks like a bright future ahead.

It was also a fitting climax to, what turned out to be, Patrick Vieira’s final full season in charge of City EDS.

For me, the manner in which the Frenchman implemented the club-wide technical and tactical pillars of the game and blended them with the winning mentality he demonstrated throughout his playing career, was the aspect of his reign I’ll remember most.

A Sevilla-ly good performance…

The complete European away performance – it’s difficult to remember coming away from a City match quite so impressed.

This was a game that proved once and for all that the Blues had learned lessons from previous UEFA Champions League campaigns and showcased the full range of talents this squad has at its disposal.

City turned up to one of the continent’s real fortresses, the home of the Europa League winners, and simply blew Sevilla off the park in a scintillating, devastating opening 30 minutes.

With no exaggeration, Manuel Pellegrini’s side could have been 5-0 up inside ten minutes as Fernandinho and Raheem Sterling wreaked merry havoc at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

That victory proved to be the decisive game in Group D and lay the foundations for City to top a Champions League group for the very first time.

How significant will that prove to be? We’ll find out in Kiev in February…

Hanoi rocks…

Our pre-season game against the Vietnamese national team may feel like an awfully long time ago now but, from a personal point of view, it’s a day I’ll never forget.

Hanoi was an assault on the senses in the best possible way - an exhilarating, visceral place, truly in love with the beautiful game. From the moment we touched down at Hanoi Airport, we received an unforgettably warm welcome from the kind and passionate Vietnamese public.

What most struck me and what I’ll take away with me from the game itself was the excitement and the appreciation the supporters had for the talents on show.

There was no booing, no over-zealous tribalism or frustrated sighs when a player didn’t take on an impossible shot from 40 yards out, just pure unabashed joy at watching some of the world’s best players expressing themselves in this showpiece exhibition match.

Every time the ball went even close to either goal, the noise inside the stadium shifted up into an electrified, collective scream which then exploded into roars of appreciation as the ball crossed the line nine times in the 90 minutes.

I don’t think I’ve ever been less upset at the concession of a goal as when Vietnam reduced the deficit to seven in the final minute, leading to wild scenes of celebration across the stadium, sending all 40,000 people home happy.

It served as a stark reminder as to how lucky we are to watch world class football week-in-week-out and provided a real shot in the arm ahead of the new campaign… a shot that is still just about intact, but may be tested by the eight games in four weeks coming up!

Let's hope our final three games of 2015 against Arsenal, Sunderland and Leicester will provide us with at least one more moment to add to this list!

What are your top moments of 2015? Let us know on Twitter @MCFC.

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