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City Xtra: Manchester City End of Season Awards 2021/2022

Freddie Pye

| Last updated 

City Xtra: Manchester City End of Season Awards 2021/2022

For Pep Guardiola and Manchester City, the season ended with one of the highest moments in football, as the club secured their fourth Premier League title in the last five seasons.

After disappointment in the Champions League just weeks prior, the back-to-back top-flight champions managed to remain focused on the task in hand, and retain their crown in the most dramatic fashion with a 3-2 final day comeback win against Aston Villa - holding off competition from Liverpool.

Following the conclusion of the 2021/2022 season, City Xtra writers have now selected their winners for the following categories:

  • Player of the Season
  • Most Improved Player of the Season
  • Goal of the Season
  • Game of the Season
  • Moment of the Season

Harry Siddall

Player of the Season pickRodri

"I was astonished that Rodri was not even in the running for Manchester City's Player of the Year, let alone the Premier League. His consistency over the course of the season has been outstanding, and while Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, and Joao Cancelo provided moments of magic, Rodri has been the glue holding it all together. Even leaving his huge goal against Aston Villa to one side, he's popped up in crucial moments for the club across the season, whether it is stopping a certain goal for Fabinho at Anfield or poking in a 93rd-minute winner against Arsenal on New Year's Day."

Most Improved Player of the Season pick: Rodri


"Nathan Aké has improved dramatically this season and I was inches from including him as my pick, but my opinion on Rodri has changed so dramatically this season that I find it hard to say he's not also my Most Improved Player. When he was dropped out of the team for a 36-year-old Fernandinho in the run-in last season, I was genuinely worried he could not cope with Pep Guardiola's demands, but I now know for sure he will be City's defensive midfield rock for years and years to come."

Goal of the Season pick: Bernardo Silva vs Aston Villa (A), Premier League

"I just watched back the goal and let out the same yelp I did when I saw it in real-time - it is literally perfect. From Riyad Mahrez's neat one-two, to Fernandinho's curved pass, to Gabriel Jesus' expertly timed cross; it was a goal that oozed class - and Bernardo Silva's finish... just sublime. Not one of the goals of the season though apparently..."

Game of the Season pick: Manchester City 3-2 Aston Villa, Premier League


"It is the obvious pick, but the right one. For a neutral, this game had literally everything you would want in a final day thriller. My heart on the other hand, just about managed to cope. The comeback itself was driven by Pep Guardiola's three substitutions, but the whole mentality of this club makes days like that possible - we will always, always fight to the end."

Moment of the Season pick: Oleksandr Zinchenko wraps the Ukraine flag around the Premier League trophy

"This was a moment that genuinely brought me to tears. I cannot imagine what Oleksandr Zinchenko has had to go through mentally this season, but to have that moment to himself in front of the South Stand was so, so special. He told reporters how much he loves the Manchester City supporters and the feeling is very much mutual. A player who always gives his all and in the toughest period of his life, produced a 45-minute display on the final day that changed the entire complexion of the game and won Manchester City a fourth Premier League title in five seasons."

Vayam Lahoti


Player of the Season pick: Kevin De Bruyne

"The man not just for the big occasion, but week-in, week-out. A colossal figure at the heart of this star-studded Manchester City side that knows only to win and give every last inch on the pitch for himself, the man on the sidelines, but most importantly the badge and the fans shouting his name every week. Kevin De Bruyne was there on the big stage for Manchester City again this season. Having struggled following his return from injury for much of the first half of the campaign, the playmaker shared the scoring burden with the prolific Riyad Mahrez, and after a sensational campaign during which he registered 33 direct goal contributions, his stock has never been higher. Amongst the top three players in world football, Kevin De Bruyne was Manchester City's most decisive player in a season where they were 15 minutes away from ending trophyless, and he was there every time his club needed him, and boy did he step up."

Most Improved Player of the Season pick: Rodri

"Very unlucky not to be named Player of the Season alongside Bernardo Silva. Rodri had already displaced Fernandinho as Pep Guardiola's go-to man in the crucial number six position last season, when he start outlining his importance to a Manchester City side that evidently looks misbalanced and far from their best without the tucked-in Spaniard providing the perfect link between the backline and attack. This season however, the levels of consistency displayed by the 25-year-old was unprecedented and few would have thought the former Atletico Madrid man would be chipping in with the amount of crucial goals he did at various point of the campaign. A focal part of the side in the coming seasons, Rodri will only get better and the progress Manchester City have seen in the midfielder is very encouraging."


Goal of the Season pick: Bernardo Silva vs Aston Villa (A), Premier League

"Bernardo Silva has scored some brilliant goals this season. This does not really need much justification and it is an absolute farce this glorious move was not named in the nominees for the Premier League Goal of the Season award. From Riyad Mahrez slipping the ball to Fernandinho, to Bernardo Silva's immaculate first-time volley from Gabriel Jesus' inch-perfect clipped ball, it is not likely the Premier League will see a better goal scored on the break for many years."

Game of the Season pick: Manchester City 4-3 Real Madrid, Champions League

"Real Madrid cashed in on their special bond with the Champions League to pip Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain en route to the semi-final, where they faced a Manchester City side still fighting on three fronts and looking to break their frustrating run in the competition once and for all. The stage was set for the Premier League champions to use their experience on the biggest stage against the undisputed kings of the competition. With Kevin De Bruyne leading from the front and an in-form Gabriel Jesus up top, the Blues played the Spanish champions off the pitch at the Etihad Stadium in the first 20 minutes before the inevitable Karim Benzema halved the deficit with a ridiculously good finish. The second-half produced arguably the best half of football the Etihad Stadium has seen in years and though Manchester City should have taken one foot in the final that evening, the opening leg was a truly memorable clash."

Moment of the Season pick: Pep Guardiola in tears at winning the Premier League title against Aston Villa

"Elation. A pure moment of joy is how I'd choose to describe the scenes where Señor Guardiola broke down as the Etihad Stadium erupted after witnessing one of the greatest final day title wins in the history of the English top-flight. However, no words can perhaps ever do justice to extract what his fourth title win in England meant to Pep Guardiola. Relief is what it was - an outburst of relief at getting over the line after being chased down until the final seconds of the season by Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp. The parade celebrations saw Guardiola - albeit a bit tipsy - show his love for the club and the fans as at the end of his sixth season in Manchester, he was no longer the club's manager - he was a blue chanting with thousands of others in love with this ridiculously good team."

Nathan Allen

Player of the Season pick: Rodri

"Two Portuguese stars were instrumental in making Manchester City table-toppers at Christmas, while Kevin De Bruyne came alive in the run-in, but Rodri was a rock from the first kick of the season to the last. He's now everything you could possibly want in a defensive midfielder, and the Spaniard has added big goals in big moments to his game - and that heroic block at Anfield was one of the pivotal moments in the title race."

Most Improved Player of the Season pick: Aymeric Laporte

"The excellent form of John Stones and Ruben Dias restricted Aymeric Laporte to just 20 Premier League and Champions League appearances last season, sparking rumblings that he wanted to leave. Instead, the Spain international has re-established himself as one of the finest centre-backs in the world, winning his place in the team, and even chipping in with four league goals. Manchester City fans can rightly feel that Aymeric Laporte is back to his best."

Goal of the Season pick: Bernardo Silva vs Aston Villa (A), Premier League

"Everything about this goal was just exquisite. From Manchester City playing the ball out in a way only a Pep Guardiola side can, it found a way to the feet of Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian - who deserves huge credit for his creative awakening this season - glanced up and delivered a perfect cross to Bernardo Silva. I think what I like most about this goal is the sheer audacity to strike it first time, on the volley, generating enough power to beat the goalkeeper, while somehow keeping it under the crossbar. Outrageous technique from the midfielder."

Game of the Season pick: Manchester City 6-3 RB Leipzig, Champions League

"While there are plenty of more important results to look back on from the season - this wasn't even Manchester City's most crucial 6-3 win - I couldn't let the blockbuster match against RB Leipzig go unmentioned. This game had everything: A red card for former City man Angeliño, a beautiful goal from new boy Jack Grealish, Christopher Nkunku somehow losing despite scoring a hat-trick, Joao Cancelo bagging one of his best ever strikes, and there was even a penalty and an own goal for good measure. But the first blow stuck with me the longest: Nathan Aké scored his first Champions League goal shortly before his terminally ill father passed away in one of the most emotional stories of the season."

Moment of the Season pick: Rodri's last-minute winner vs Arsenal (A)

"After the crazy comeback against Aston Villa on the final day, the second game I'll think of when I remember this season is the hugely controversial (for not much reason) win at the Emirates Stadium on New Year's Day. Nothing encapsulate's Rodri's metamorphosis into a big moment player than his late winner against Arsenal. He and compatriot Aymeric Laporte were, for reasons I'll never understand, the two players bursting into the box as Manchester City launched a final attack. It broke to Rodri, he scored, the rest has been immortalised on every Football Limbs Twitter page out there. Though his celebration can't have endeared him to the home supporters, it did turn out to be two points we couldn't have lived without."

Harry Winters

Player of the Season pick: Rodri

"Despite Kevin De Bruyne’s majestic campaign, the consistency and impact of Rodri throughout the season makes him a worthy contender. The Spaniard, who has effortlessly succeeded in filling Fernandinho’s midfield boots, has been key to Manchester City’s success with vital goals and blocks - both proving key to the Blues winning the title by a solitary point. From emphatic long-range strikes, to a late winning goal against Arsenal, the 25 year-old has been a standout and had a phenomenal campaign."

Most Improved Player of the Season pick: Joao Cancelo

"The Portugal international has built on his superb end to last season with a stellar campaign. Cancelo, who has established himself as capable at playing at left-back, has drastically improved defensively yet also become significantly more impactful offensively, playing a key role in a number of goals and having a wicked delivery. Cancelo has had his best season statistically and shown signs of the form which made him such a popular figure at Juventus."

Goal of the Season pick: Rodri vs Everton (H), Premier League

"A compilation of Rodri strikes likely makes up this category, but the 25 year-old's emphatic strike against Everton at the Etihad Stadium is certainly his best goal, and personally, Manchester City’s goal of the season."

Game of the Season pick: Manchester City 4-3 Real Madrid, Champions League

"Despite the disappointment of the overall loss, Manchester City’s enthralling, basketball-like victory against Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium was an epic encounter, which highlighted the team's majestic quality on the biggest of stages. Stunning individual performances and world class goals certainly made April’s clash the Blues’ best game of the season, despite events in Madrid the following week."

Moment of the Season pick: Ilkay Gundogan's winning goal against Aston Villa

"Ilkay Gundogan’s goal to win the title is the obvious choice, as five incredible minutes secured Manchester City’s fourth Premier League title in five years. A moment which epitomised the Blues’ quality under Pep Guardiola, and a fitting comeback on the ten-year anniversary of Sergio Aguero’s famous title winning goal."

Joe Butterfield

Player of the Season pick: Rodri

"It's easy to look at the string of 9 or 10/10 performances that Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, and Joao Cancelo put together at various points of the season and think that it should be one of the three. Their highs were very high. But nobody, for me, had the sheer consistency of Rodri. A very small number of below-par performances scattered over the entire season were very much the exception to a season where Rodri showed a full season's worth of his great form in the 2020/21 winning run. Plus he's got a screamer in him now and then, what's not to love?"

Most Improved Player of the Season pick: Nathan Ake

"Nathan Aké came under a lot of stick in his first season at the club and his performances did leave something to be desired, but to me it was always clear that there was a very talented player in there. Now, with a season of performances with no <name redacted for legal reasons> playing at left-back alongside him - as he did in almost every appearance in 2020/21 - he looks every bit the player we signed. His performances at left-back in particular were very impressive and I genuinely think that, were he fully fit, he'd have had another run of games in the final few weeks of the season. Hopefully another good season lies ahead for the Dutchman."

Goal of the Season pick: Bernardo Silva vs Aston Villa (A), Premier League

"The perfect counter-attack, starting with some neat play under pressure in defence before Fernandinho played a brilliant through-ball for Gabriel Jesus to run on to. A perfectly hit cross was then met with a similarly perfect strike by Bernardo Silva with the inside of his boot on the volley. How this didn't make the Match of the Day Goal of the Season nominations is beyond me."

Game of the Season pick: Atletico Madrid 0-0 Manchester City, Champions League

"Anybody who knows my thoughts on the Champions League knows I've no real love for the competition, but I can't pretend it's not box office. The Real Madrid game at the Etihad Stadium was good too, but this game at the Wanda Metropolitano had something else - pure s***housery. The entire game was just watching Atletico Madrid pull out every single dirty trick in the book, only for Manchester City to do the exact same thing with 15 minutes to go, causing Felipe and Stefan Savic to immediately lose their minds. Felipe's red card was already satisfying enough, but Savic deciding that he hates everybody wearing blue made it all the sweeter. Combine that with the good cop/bad cop routine of John Stones telling him to calm down, before Jack Grealish leaned over his shoulder to tell him, quite matter-of-factly, that he's a very naughty word indeed, followed by a wild tunnel scrap, and this was just a ridiculous game. Hilarious. Oh, and also we played quite well and showed we can mix it with the kind of teams many would expect us to struggle against. But that's not really as funny."

Moment of the Season pick: Ilkay Gundogan's winning goal against Aston Villa

"I don't care how obvious this is. You don't get much better than a three-goal comeback in five minutes to snatch the Premier League away from the scousers. It's the stuff of dreams. Our own Deutsche Fußballmeister made the perfect impact off the bench with two goals to give us our fourth Premier League title in five years. It's been worth it just to see Laurence from 'The Kick Off' have to pretend he knew it was coming all along while he fights back tears. I've not celebrated a goal like this since maybe Vincent Kompany scored against Leicester in 2019. It was unreal. The total antithesis to the 80 minutes which had preceded it."

Srinivas Sadhanand

Player of the Season pick: Rodri

"Make no mistake about it, Rodri’s 2021/22 campaign is right up there amongst the greatest individual seasons ever put up by a defensive midfielder in Premier League history. Ask yourself if there has there ever been a number six that has ever been as much of a protagonist in the biggest moments than the Spanish international as Manchester City retained the league title and you'll only waste your time trying to find an answer. From the 25-year old’s superhuman, goal-saving block to deny Fabinho a gilt-edged finish at Anfield, to his last-gasp winner in a narrow 2-1 victory against Arsenal on New Year’s Day, to his decisive equaliser against Aston Villa on the final day of the season - it is beyond ridiculous how the list goes on. It is also worth noting that while the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Joao Cancelo have experienced slight blips in form at different points of the season, it’s impossible to say that for Rodri, who has been virtually flawless from matchday one."

Most Improved Player of the Season pick: Rodri

“Rodri has taken a leap as massive as going from being an extremely competent number six that experienced a slight dip at the end of the 2020/21 season to becoming the undisputed best defensive midfielder on the planet in the following campaign. I rest my case.”

Goal of the Season pick: Bernardo Silva vs Aston Villa (A), Premier League

"If there’s a goal you could hang in the Louvre, it would probably be this one. The build-up play between the likes of Joao Cancelo, Riyad Mahrez, Fernandinho and Gabriel Jesus is sublime to the point that it almost looks choreographed as Bernardo Silva’s volleyed finish just makes football look deceptively easy. A belter from 30 yards is nice, but if there’s a goal that screams Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, it’s this one right here."

Game of the Season pick: Wolves 1- 5 Manchester City, Premier League

“For me, there’s not many better sights in the world than witnessing Kevin De Bruyne in full flow - and the Belgian maestro blessed onlookers with a masterclass for the history books, dispatching four past Jose Sa as Wolves looked hapless up against the all-encompassing great that had dragged his side to the league title and obliterated Bruno Lage’s side in the process."

Moment of the Season pickIlkay Gundogan's winning goal against Aston Villa

"While the significance of the goal goes without saying, it warms the heart to see the midfield maestro - who has largely blended into the background amongst the Sky Blues’ array of superstars since his arrival in 2016 - become the protagonist for once. While footballing scripts tend to hand the power to likes of Sergio Aguero to pen a story for the ages, to see the criminally underrated Ilkay Gundogan etch his name into Premier League folklore in such heroic fashion was a sight to behold as the world finally gave him his flowers."

Freddie Pye

Player of the Season pick: Rodri

"While we have been quick to praise moments of brilliance from Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Joao Cancelo, and Bernardo Silva, it has been Rodri's sustained level of world class quality over the past 10 months that ultimately won Manchester City the Premier League title. Take the Spaniard out of this Manchester City side and it is virtually impossible to replace him, and his absence would almost certainly have a major detrimental effect on the performance of the team, such is his importance to the system in which Pep Guardiola has implemented. An irreplaceable mainstay, worthy of our award."

Most Improved Player of the Season pick: Nathan Ake

"After a relatively challenging transitional period that came following his big money move from Bournemouth, it was refreshing to see just how far Nathan Ake has developed in the last campaign, to the point where some Manchester City fans were almost begging for the Dutchman to be thrown back into the defensive line for the final run-in of the season. His commanding presence alongside any of Manchester City's other centre-backs when called upon, as well as his versatility and ability to play at left-back with such aplomb as been commendable, and worthy of high praise."

Goal of the Season pick: Raheem Sterling vs Everton (H), Premier League

"This strike largely must be credited to Joao Cancelo, but let's not take anything away from the calmness, and confidence of Raheem Sterling to finish off the move first time on the half-volley. The Portuguese full-back's outside-of-the-foot ball in behind the Everton defence from deep was a move that only the likes of Kevin De Bruyne could really pull off with such precision and excellence. This goal also represented a difference source of goals for Pep Guardiola's side - the ability to score against a deep-lying, compact defensive unit via a modern-day twist on the route one option."

Game of the Season pick: Manchester City 3-2 Aston Villa, Premier League

"This award should really pick itself. While the season treated us to some all-time classics across the majority of competitions - including the 2-2 draw against Liverpool, and 4-3 win over Real Madrid - this match represented everything about our magnificent football club. The belief in fighting until the very end, coming back from the dead when the Premier League title appeared to be in the grasp of Jurgen Klopp, and the managerial excellence of Pep Guardiola to change the entire game through three substitutions. This is how it felt to be City..."

Moment of the Season pick: Oleksandr Zinchenko wraps Ukraine flag around the Premier League trophy

"It is impossible to summarise into words what the past few weeks have been like for Oleksandr Zinchenko, and completely another thing to try and understand just how he has felt inside at times. But what we witnessed was the character of a warrior, both in a physical and mental sense. Given events back in Ukraine, Oleksandr Zinchenko fought on and his performance in the final 45 minutes on the last day of the season arguably changed the direction of the Premier League trophy. The flag of his country being draped over the top-flight crown was a moment of pure pride and gratitude for the support this man has received, and one that brought a tear to every Manchester City and football fans' eye."


Player of the Season: Rodri

Most Improved Player of the Season: Rodri

Goal of the Season: Bernardo Silva vs Aston Villa (A), Premier League

Game of the Season: Manchester City 3-2 Aston Villa, Premier League

Moment of the Season: Ilkay Gundogan's winning goal against Aston Villa

Featured Image Credit: @City_Xtra

Topics: Manchester City

Freddie Pye
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