Manchester City’s Season in Review 2012/13: European failure and no trophies ends Roberto Mancini’s reign

By Paddy von Behr & Colin Henrys

Following final-day drama and their first top flight title in 44 years, Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City embarked on the campaign with high hopes.

However, despite a Community Shield triumph, failure to push Manchester United in the league and early European exit saw things turn sour.

An FA Cup run kept the fire burning, but defeat at Wembley caused more heartbreak for fans and the end of the line for the Italian boss.

Perhaps a season to forget for Blues supporters, but a new era beckons with a new man at the helm.


City’s season kicked off with the Community Shield, where the Premier League champions and saw off Roberto Di Matteo’s Chelsea with a spirited second-half comeback.

With Roberto Mancini’s third City trophy already in the bag, the Sky Blues opened the league season with a win over Southampton and an entertaining point at Anfield.

The early-season drama continued as Mancini ended an unusually quiet transfer window with a deadline day spending spree.

Javi Garcia, Maicon, Matija Nastasic and Scott Sinclair all signed up before midnight to join Jack Rodwell, who had moved earlier in the month, at the Etihad Stadium.

With a transfer bill totalling more than £50million, hopes were high as City looked to retain their first top-flight title for 44 years.


City opened September by beating last season’s final-day victims QPR at the Etihad, but a solitary point at the Britannia Stadium prompted a mini-slump.

The Citizens then suffered a last-gasp defeat to Real Madrid in their Champions League opener, courtesy of ex-United man Cristiano Ronaldo.

Mancini’s men could only manage a point when they hosted Arsenal, before Aston Villa came from two goals down to boot them out the Capital One Cup in extra time.

However, a trip to Craven Cottage finished the month on a high note, as Edin Dzeko struck late to sink Fulham and end the dry spell.


City continued to struggle in Europe, sharing the points with Borussia Dortmund at the Etihad Stadium, before suffering a 3-1 defeat to Ajax in Amsterdam.

However, things began to look up in the Premier League as the Citizens completed a spotless month, taking all nine points from their three games.

They coasted past Sunderland at home, before Dzeko played super-sub at The Hawthorns, snatching a late win from the grasp of West Bromwich Albion.

And Carlos Tevez continued a productive start to the season, netting the game’s only goal when high-flying Swansea visited at the end of the month.


City completed a busy November unbeaten, but two more draws in the Champions League extinguished their hopes of reaching the last 16.

They began the month with a goalless draw – their first since Boxing Day 2011 – against West Ham, before taking a single point from Ajax’s visit.

Back-to-back home wins – another late Dzeko strike against Spurs and a 5-0 drubbing of Aston Villa – sent City top of the Premier League, but a stalemate with Real Madrid sealed their European fate.

Another 0-0 draw, with interim boss Rafa Benitez’s Chelsea, was followed by a successful trip to Wigan’s DW Stadium, courtesy of Mario Balotelli and James Milner’s strikes.


City began the month with a 1-1 draw against Everton, before Dortmund compounded their Champions League misery in the final group game.

Defeat in Germany left the Citizens bottom of the group, without a win in the competition and well short of a consolation spot in the Europa League.

Robin van Persie heaped on the misery with his last-gasp free kick in the season’s first Manchester derby, giving United all three points at the Etihad.

Ugly scenes of coin-throwing and a pitch-invading supporter marred the occasion, but City bounced back with consecutive wins against Newcastle and Reading.

A disappointing 1-0 defeat to Sunderland mirrored the result in last year’s fixture, but Mancini’s men rallied to finish the year on the better side of a seven-goal thriller at Norwich.


City flew out the traps in the new year, recording league wins against Stoke City, Arsenal and Fulham and FA Cup victories against Watford and the Potters again, without conceding a goal.

Youngster Marcos Lopes scored on his debut against the Hornets within minutes of coming off the bench, while Pablo Zabaleta netted in both victories against Stoke, although Vincent Kompany was controversially sent-off at Arsenal.

And the month was marred by off-field controversies, as Mario Balotelli clashed with Roberto Mancini in training before joining AC Milan – despite Mancini’s vow to stand by him.

City also revealed Michael Johnson was released over Christmas, as pictures emerged of him looking overweight and bloated in a takeaway, and Carlos Tevez was banned from driving after misunderstanding the word ‘constabulary’.

The month ended with City drawing a blank at Queens Park Rangers – missing the chance to move within two points of United – while 18-year-old Godsway Donyoh signed on deadline day.


The Blues lost further ground on United, despite Sergio Aguero’s brilliantly-taken equaliser rescuing a point in a 2-2 home draw with Liverpool.

And a week later their title hopes lay in tatters, despite Yaya Toure’s return, as the Blues crashed to a 3-1 defeat at Southampton – leaving them 12 points behind United.

A comprehensive FA Cup fifth-round defeat of Leeds United eased some pressure, but in the face of more questioning about his job, Roberto Mancini swore at reporters in a press conference.

However, the Blues responded well on the pitch, beating Chelsea 2-0 through Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez’s goals, as England international Frank Lampard missed a penalty.

Off the pitch, young defender Courtney Meppen-Walter was jailed for 16 months for causing two deaths in a fatal Cheetham Hill road collision in September.


Driving offences continued to litter City’s agenda, as Carlos Tevez is arrested for flouting his driving ban just days after scoring in the 1-0 win at Aston Villa.

The Argentine striker showed no ill effects on the pitch however, bagging a hat-trick as the Blues thrashed Barnsley to book a Wembley FA Cup semi-final date with Chelsea.

A week later however, City incurred the wrath of Roberto Mancini after losing 2-0 to ten-man Everton at Goodison Park, slipping 15 points behind league-leaders United.

Away from the pitch Joleon Lescott’s future was questioned, after being initially dropped from the England squad, while Yaya Toure stunned the club with a contract ultimatum.

Mancini also clashed with captain Vincent Kompany, publicly slamming his decision to play for Belgium while recovering from injury, before announcing he sometimes wants to punch inconsistent Samir Nasri after City thrashed Newcastle.


Carlos Tevez escaped jail, after being caught driving while banned in March, and was handed 250 hours community service instead, but Samir Nasri was banned from driving the following day after admitting separate offences.

Yaya Toure gave the Blues a boost before the Manchester derby, penning a new four-year deal, and a resurgent City beat United 2-1 at Old Trafford to Roberto Mancini’s delight.

Six days later, at Wembley, goals from Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero saw City reach the FA Cup final, but the win was overshadowed by an apparent stamp by the Argentine on Chelsea’s David Luiz.

Despite a midweek league win against FA Cup final opponents Wigan Athletic however, City surrendered their Premier League crown, after ‘crazy defending’ cost them dearly in a 3-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur.

There was better news however for the club’s ladies’ team, after they were invited to join the restructured FA Women’s Super League, and Pablo Zabalata, who was selected in the PFA Team of the Year.


What was to become a manic month at the Etihad Stadium got off to a low-key start, after a goalless draw at Swansea City and a home win against West Brom sealed Champions League qualification.

However, on the eve of the FA Cup final rumours spread regarding manager Roberto Mancini’s future and the Italian was sacked two days after a 1-0 Wembley defeat to Wigan Athletic.

Amid rumours Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini was being lined up as Mancini’s replacement, assistant David Platt resigns as Brian Kidd takes charge of City’s defeat of Reading.

And the following day five more coaches depart, before Patrick Vieira is appointed head of City’s Elite Development Squad.

The Blues’ season ended with a home defeat to Norwich City, as they finished second – 11 points behind United – managerless and trophyless barring the Community Shield, with a summer of mass upheaval apparently beckoning.

Image courtesy of BBC, via YouTube, with thanks.

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