Men's Team

Writers' panel: Match of the Season

Writers' panel: Match of the Season
The matches that helped define a never-to-be-forgotten season...

City’s record-breaking 2017/18 campaign has produced countless memorable games that will live long in the memory.

With so many remarkable matches to choose from, our panel of City journalist were asked to nominate their own stand-out fixtures… which games did they select?

Rob Pollard: City 4-1 Tottenham 

This was a special performance, one led by the brilliance and determination of Kevin De Bruyne, who delivered arguably the finest individual display the Etihad has ever seen to dismantle one the Premier League’s best sides. 

Tottenham started strongly and looked capable of ending our 15-match winning run in the Premier League. But City’s class soon told, with our high-intensity game too much for the North Londoners to handle. 

Ilkay Gundogan gave us the lead in the first half, but it wasn’t until the second period the scoreline began to reflect our dominance. 

With 20 minutes remaining, De Bruyne took over, combining artistry and industry to devastating effect. He scored one with a powerful run and finish, before his range of passing helped picked Spurs apart time and again. 

He won a penalty, which Gabriel Jesus missed, before Raheem Sterling added two more to give City a four-goal lead, with De Bruyne at the heart of everything. 

The only disappointment was Christian Eriksen’s goal three minutes into stoppage time denying us a clean sheet. 

“I have no words to describe what he has done with the ball,” City manager Pep Guardiola said of De Bruyne afterwards. 

He wasn’t alone. No one could quite articulate the brilliance they had witnessed. 

David Clayton: Arsenal 0-3 City

City fans have grown used to travelling to the Emirates Stadium (and Highbury before it) and returning empty-handed.

Of course, things have improved in the last few seasons but it’s still a ground where the Blues have suffered a disproportionate amount of poor results stretching back years.

This season, however, City travelled to face the Gunners just days after comfortably beating them in the Carabao Cup final.

It was a scintillating performance and with little more than half-an-hour played, the champions-elect were three goals up.

It looked as though the Blues might go on and post a cricket score as Bernardo Silva and David Silva put City two goals up – but it was the last goal on 33 minutes that demonstrated just how good this team are.

A passing move at speed that began in our own half and sliced through the Arsenal midfield and defence with precision and grace until Leroy Sane almost walked the ball into the back of the net.

No team on the planet could have stopped City that night.

Caroline Oatway: City 7-2 Stoke

Goals galore, beautiful football and an unwavering resilience… the visit of Stoke to the Etihad Stadium portrayed multiple traits of Pep Guardiola’s City in one breathless encounter.

Time after time, the Blues sliced open the Potters' defence with sumptuously-crafted waves of attack, sprinting into a 3-0 lead before the half-hour mark. The hosts were quite literally queuing up to convert.

With such a commanding lead, admittedly City relaxed their foot off the gas, allowing a spirited Stoke to claw themselves back into the contest with a goal either side of the break.

It proved a surprising setback, given the home side’s dominant display, but in response, the Blues simply thrust down the accelerator and ran riot.

In a frantic 25-minute spell, Guardiola’s men netted four more goals – all wonderfully created and expertly finished – to produce one of the most enjoyable and entertaining clashes of recent memory.

(Spare a moment for your media team though. Imagine trying to tweet out a goal description while another is being scored… twice! Chaos!) 

Neil Leigh: City 2-1 Southampton

In a season of quite sublime football, City also demonstrated another vital component in their armoury at various stages of the campaign… namely the side’s ability to fight until the very last whistle.

And never was that unquenchable spirit and penchant for drama better illustrated than in our dramatic late, late midweek triumph at home to the Saints back in late November.

Having gone into the Etihad clash seeking a 12th straight Premier League success, all seemed set fair when Kevin De Bruyne ‘s 46th minute free-kick was deflected in via Virgil van Dijk.

However, a 76th minute equaliser from Oriol Romeu looked set to deny the Blues victory with the visitors mounting a determined defensive display.

Lesser sides would have accepted that it just wasn't to be and taken the point but, as we have seen so often, Pep Guardiola’s City never ever give up.

With the clock showing 96 minutes Raheem Sterling, who had seen an effort disallowed moments earlier, cut in from the left, exchanged passes with De Bruyne before curling a stunning shot past despairing Southampton ‘keeper Fraser Forster to sparks scenes of wild delirium amongst City’s players, staff and supporters.

And following hard on the heels of dramatic late wins against Feyenoord and Huddersfield where Raheem had also struck decisive winners, it confirmed that City were on the cusp of something truly special.

Abigail Withey: City 5-1 Leicester

I felt spoilt for choice in trying to select my game of the season. Of course, our derby win at Old Trafford stands out as does the final game of the season away at Southampton when we became the Centurions, but for me City’s 5-1 victory to Leicester back in February was truly something special.

Whether it’s City’s free-flowing football, the comeback from our draw to Burnley, KDB’s hat-trick of assists or Sergio Aguero’s four goals it was truly a treat to witness.

While all of those moments made that second-half at the Etihad one to remember, it was the final goal which cemented it as my game of the season.

Yes, Sergio’s strike was superb (and probably my goal of the season) – as his thunderous shot smashed the underside of the crossbar – but it was Phil Foden’s assist which symbolised something exceptional as he sashayed his way around two Leicester defenders, remaining balanced, slick and composed.

Just months earlier I’d watched Foden at the Academy Stadium achieve a similar move, when he slalomed around the Tottenham Under-23s’ defence in a Premier League 2 clash, before submitting a truly beautiful volley into the roof of the net.

However, it was something else watching a 17-year-old from Stockport assist the Club’s all-time top goal scorer at the Etihad.

I was in awe of his hard-work and achievement, which later would see him named as the youngest ever Premier League champion. Amazing.