It has been quite the 365 days for Manchester City across aspects of the club, the first-half was slightly tinged with disappointment considering their lack of success.
The Citizens have certainly stepped it up to maximum overdrive as the year has gone on, and it does look like their excellent end to 2017 will set them up for what looks to be a historic 2018.
Going from good to out of this world
It certainly wasn’t a happy new year for City as they started 2017 with a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Everton which was followed by a stalemate with title rivals Tottenham Hotspur, despite that shaky start City would only lose on one more occasion throughout the rest of the Premier League campaign to eventual champions Chelsea.
Overall it was draws that saw them stutter throughout the campaign, with draws towards against Middlesbrough and Stoke City towards the end of the season saw them having to settle for a disappointing bronze medal.
Guardiola is one of many coaches that believe silverware constitutes success and with early exits in both the EFL Cup and Champions League at the hands of Manchester United and Monaco respectively, it meant that Guardiola’s last chance saloon of silverware would be in the world’s oldest club competition.
City managed to make it to Wembley where they came up against Arsenal in the semi-finals of The FA Cup, but once again they were left out to dry by The Gunners who went on to win the whole thing and leaving Guardiola without a trophy for the first time in managerial career.
Guardiola’s underwhelming first season in the English top-flight brought many questions about his teachings and ability to manage in the Premier League, but the Catalan prepared for multi-competition conquest by spending big in the summer with nearly £250million worth of assets coming into The Etihad Stadium.
Despite another shaky start it seems that everything has perfectly slotted into place for The Citizens since the dramatic last-minute winner over Bournemouth in August, City have become the continent’s in-form side tasting defeat once and knocking down records and teams with relative ease.
The Belgian lighting up the league
There have been many players that can be highlighted to being key to City’s continued rise, much of the praise has been laid at the feet of the likes David Silva and Leroy Sané pulling the strings up top and Ederson and John Stones providing a strong defensive back bone.
It does seem however there is only one man that should be considered their best player of the year and that man is Kevin De Bruyne, the Belgian the first-half of the year as one of the best with six goals and 18 assists but has somehow managed to step it up a gear further.
Many had De Bruyne down as an early frontrunner for Player of the Season for 2017/18 considering his record in the previous campaign, the Belgian did take a few games to get into the groove but since then he has become the cog that makes everything in terms of City’s attack.
The 26-year-old has already equalled his goal tally from last season as well 12 assists, his stats aren’t even the best part it just watching him with the ball at his feet. De Bruyne has already produced countless examples of his excellent passing range splitting numerous defences apart, and if he can maintain his level of performance 2018 could prove historic for De Bruyne.
Making too many costly mistakes
Many cite Guardiola as the man that brought the ‘Tiki Taka’ style of football to the forefront during his years with Barcelona, he continues to carry many of those principles into his coaching including play out from the goalkeeper but that has proven one of the toughest components in his City career thus far.
Guardiola went back to his former club in the summer of 2016 to bring in what was believed to be a finished product in such techniques in Claudio Bravo, however the Chilean was considered one of the worst signings of the previous making countless errors throughout the back end of 2016 into this year.
Guardiola seems to have rectified his error with the world-record signing of Ederson which has paid off thus far, Bravo has shown some of his quality with his performances in Carabao Cup penalty shoot-out heroics against Wolves and Leicester City but the reputation of the 34-year-old had already been soiled.
There has been a number of great performances throughout the year for City especially in the first-half of the new campaign with trouncing of the likes of; Liverpool, Tottenham, Crystal Palace and Stoke.
Many will highlight that it will not be that kind of domination that will prove key if City are to lift the title come May, but if they are to be champions many will look to the visit to current league champions as being one of the key points in the timeline.
They headed to the capital with a point to prove as they failed to defeat any of the top four in the previous season and the odds looked against them with the absence of both Sergio Agüero and Benjamin Mendy.
It is fair to say that it was the clash that was lacking in many opportunities but it was City that were the dominant side as they not only neutralised Chelsea's danger going forward but when the opportunity arose for City to take the three points De Bruyne grabbed it with both hands, and such a performance will hold significance if City go the distance.
Falling at the early hurdle against the French Fledglings
Most of City's disappointment in what has been a stellar will come in the first part of 2017, it certainly did hold a lot of disappointment despite good results and their early exit from the Champions League was certainly one of them.
Many fans will have been played out what could of been considered quite a difficult group as they finished runner's-up to Barcelona with Guardiola even getting a win against his old team, and the Catalan will have had a sense of optimism when they were drawn against a young Monaco side.
There was no doubt that it was one of the most entertaining clashes of the last-16 stage especially at The Etihad as they came out on top in a eight-goal thriller, but it would be their leaky defence that would be their down fall as a pasting at Stade Louis II saw them drop out.
Monaco managed to make it all the way to the semi-finals having thwarted Borussia Dortmund in the last-eight before being defeated by Juventus, with the benefit of hindsight it would be fair to say that with the quality that City have in their ranks they could have quite easily made it to the Millennium Stadium but the teething pains of the Guardiola era once again left them disappointed.
Going to be something special
City will have only have one final game left in 2017 when they visit Crystal Palace Sunday lunch time, many will be expecting victory and will equal Bayern Munich's European record of 19 league wins and it certainly doesn't look like that it will be their last record going in 2018.
City are currently turning on al cylinders in all competitions and blowing away every single team both at home and on the road, many have already touted City as one of the best sides in the Premier League's history and go the whole season unbeaten.
Only will time will tell if City can live up to the expectations that have already been written for them but one thing is for certain is that 2018 is going to be a historic one on the blue side of Manchester.