Following yet another Manchester City season that will live long in the memory of supporters all over the globe, City Xtra writers have selected their winners for a number of in-house awards.
With such high-quality football, memorable moments, and stand-out performers showcased across the duration of the season, fine-tuning our categories to just a few nominees and subsequent winners proved challenging.
Nevertheless, as was the case following the 2021/22 campaign, City Xtra have now picked out winners for the following awards: Player of the Season, Most Improved Player of the Season, Goal of the Season, Game of the Season, Moment of the Season, Young/Academy Player of the Season.
Before we get started, here’s a brief reminder of how our awards went last season:
- Player of the Season: Rodrigo
- Most Improved Player of the Season: Rodrigo
- Moment of the Season: Ilkay Gundogan’s title-winning goal vs Aston Villa (H)
- Game of the Season: Manchester City 3-2 Aston Villa (2022)
- Goal of the Season: Bernardo Silva vs Aston Villa (A, Premier League)
Now, it’s time to get into City Xtra‘s End of Season awards following Manchester City’s historic treble triumph during the 2022/23 season!
Most Improved Player of the Season
Nominees: John Stones, Jack Grealish, Nathan Ake
Leighton Brewer: “It was a phenomenal campaign for Jack Grealish, who has stolen headlines both on and off the pitch. The Englishman has had a meteoric rise to the top, becoming an integral part of Pep Guardiola’s treble-winning side, and largely keeping Phil Foden out of the starting line-ups to further emphasise the importance of the £100 million winger.
“Grealish had a somewhat turbulent first season in Manchester, playing with the weight of the world on his shoulders every time he kicked a football. However, the England international and now two-time Premier League winner has certainly shaken the pressure and come on leaps and bounds, proving his worth and becoming a shoe-in for Pep Guardiola’s side.”
Winner: Jack Grealish
Goal of the Season
Nominees: Ilkay Gundogan vs Everton (A), Rodri vs Inter (N), Erling Haaland vs Borussia Dortmund (H), Rodri vs Bayern Munich (H), Ilkay Gundogan vs Manchester United (N), Erling Haaland vs Southampton (A)
Emily Holt: “Whilst Manchester City have had an array of stunning goals this season, Ilkay Gundogan’s goal in the FA Cup final against Manchester United was simply our stand out. A long ball forward from Ederson was timed perfectly for the German to unleash a thunderous volley outside of the box to leave David De Gea completely adrift between the sticks.
“Not only was the goal a marvel to watch, but the time it was clocked at makes it truly stand out in it’s own right – Ilkay Gundogan found the back of the Manchester United net just 13 seconds into the game.
“In the process, the strike broke the record for the fastest goal ever scored in an FA cup final, previously held by Louis Saha, who clocked a goal against Chelsea after just 25 seconds back in 2009.
“The goal from Gundogan also paved the way for Manchester City to secure FA Cup glory for the second time under Pep Guardiola, and provided the much needed momentum for Pep Guardiola’s side to push for the historic treble.”
Winner: Ilkay Gundogan’s first goal vs Manchester United (N)
Game of the Season
Nominees: Manchester City 6-3 Manchester United (H), Manchester City 4-0 Real Madrid (H), Manchester City 1-0 Inter (N)
Edward Burnett: “In a treble-winning season, the choice for a ‘Game of the Season’ is a tough one given the sheer amount of matches that have been played. Then factor in the style in which Manchester City claimed their historic trio of trophies, and the selection becomes all the more difficult.
“Putting six goals past rivals Manchester United is no new feat for the blue faithful to observe, but City’s victory back in October was made all the more sweeter with two hat-tricks both scored by boyhood Citizens in Erling Haaland and Phil Foden.
“Manchester City’s Champions League final win over Inter Milan is, of course, another honourable mention. This match confirmed the wildest dreams for all those involved at the club. It is hard to argue against it being the most important but there is one game which made the triumph ultimately possible.
“We have selected the 4-0 drubbing of Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium as our Game of the Season due to the level of statement that the victory sent out. Destroying the current holders, especially after Los Blancos cruelly dispatched of Pep Guardiola’s side in the season prior, meant everything to the club.
“It represented progress and a level of confidence that had not been present in previous European campaigns. To put the ghosts of before well and firmly in the past was pivotal in Manchester City’s maiden European Cup and eventual treble.”
Winner: Manchester City 4-0 Real Madrid (H)
Young/Academy Player of the Season
Nominees: James McAtee, Rico Lewis, Carlos Borges
Tom Cayless: “For our Young/Academy Player of the Season, we have opted to go with Rico Lewis.
“Despite only turning 18-years-old during the 2022/23 season, Manchester City’s latest breakout star made an impressive 23 appearances across all competitions, and proved even more vital to Pep Guardiola’s side after Joao Cancelo left for Bayern Munich on a six-month loan deal back in January.
“As for Carlos Borges, the Portuguese youth international was awarded Premier League 2 Player of the Year following an outstanding haul of 21 goals and 10 assists in 24 games, but failed to make the step up into Manchester City’s first-team – much to many fan’s frustration.
“Regarding James McAtee, the highly-rated attacking midfielder spent the season out on loan at Sheffield United, and played a pivotal role in their promotion back into the Premier League.
“Overall, we felt that Rico Lewis’ contributions to the Manchester City first-team in their most successful season ever could not be ignored, and for us he was undoubtedly the club’s Young/Academy Player of the Season.”
Winner: Rico Lewis
Moment of the Season
Nominees: Ilkay Gundogan’s 12-second goal vs Manchester United (N), Rodri’s Champions League-winning goal vs Inter (N), Kevin De Bruyne’s opening goal vs Arsenal (H)
Hamish MacRae: “These three moments were arguably the goals that sparked the wildest celebrations amongst Manchester City fans last season.
“The sucker-punch nature of Ilkay Gundogan’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it FA Cup final opener was made all the more sweeter by the opponents it came against, whilst Kevin De Bruyne slaloming past hapless Arsenal defenders and burying from range felt like the schooling of a Premier League title rival.
“However, no feeling in club football can quite compare to watching your defensive midfielder majestically curl your side into the lead in the Champions League final, and that’s why for us, Rodri’s goal against Inter in Istanbul is our Moment of the Season.”
Winner: Rodri’s Champions League-winning goal vs Inter (N)
Player of the Season
Nominees: Nathan Ake, Erling Haaland, Rodri
Freddie Pye: “In arguably our most closely-contested award this year, we wrap up the prizes with our choice for City Xtra’s 2022/23 Player of the Season, which we have decided to award to striker Erling Haaland.
“The Norwegian played football and scored goals to a standard never seen before in the English game, smashing records left, right, and centre, and capping off the season with three trophies to his name, and plenty more individual accolades to boast.
“Registering 53 appearances across all competitions for Pep Guardiola’s side, Erling Haaland scored a staggering 52 goals and provided a further nine assists. It is not even worth thinking about where the club would have been this season without his presence in front of goal!
“While football fans across the globe were left stunned by Haaland’s contributions, honourable mentions simply must go to our other finalists in Nathan Ake and Rodri – who played an integral role in City’s campaign.
“Nathan Ake proved to be vital in covering at left-back during the season, and even more so following Joao Cancelo’s departure for Bayern Munich on a six-month loan deal in January.
“As for Rodri, and the Spanish defensive midfielder has hit heights that some would not have anticipated, commanding the City squad and proving to be integral in build-up play and defensive shape across 56 appearances. That’s before we even take into account *that* goal in Istanbul.
“Nevertheless, congratulations to City Xtra‘s Player of the Season: Erling Braut Haaland.”
Winner: Erling Haaland
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