This might seem like a tedious question but it is one that is going to be recurring at Manchester City for seasons to come now. I asked the same question towards the end of last season as Mancini’s days of judgement loomed. But with the manager coming through that period unscathed, and with the club in a record four competitions this season, I think now is an interesting time to ask the question again - whilst we're still relatively at the start of things. So what do people (Blues and non-Blues alike) think can be defined as a successful 2011/12 season for City? Here’s some of my own thoughts.
Let’s take the Premier League first. Given the start that Arsenal has made, and with Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool not coming out of the blocks too quickly, we have to be looking at the top two positions. United have admittedly had an explosive start, but it will not last forever, as evidenced by the recent loss of Wayne Rooney to injury. Defensively, they are also more open - whilst De Gea is not as bad as everyone thinks it is impossible for the young Spaniard to fill the boots of Edwin Van Der Sar so early in his tenure. Chelsea now are slack and are in the middle of a 'changing of the guard' of sorts, but the signs are there that Fernando Torres is on the way back, and with Juan Mata and Raul Meireles coming into the squad, I've little oubt that Villas-Boas will oversee the necessary transition. This means that Chelsea may well come on strong towards the end of the season, but we still have enough in us for one of the top two spots.
In terms of trophies, I would forgo not winning both the FA Cup and the League Cup (yes!) if it turns out that we can put together a solid run to the latter stages of the Champions League. I think it is a little unrealistic to think that we can win the CL this season, but progress in this competition with serve us better over the longer term, rather than winning the League Cup for example. Don’t get me wrong, its always good to win more trophies and I certainly wouldn't shy away from doing that, but the collective experience gained from a lengthy CL run would be worth more.
But if we win the lot – then great!
I guess the main thing this season is perhaps not to become frustrated if we end up with nothing. It would surely be hard to take for the fans if this were to happen, given the FA Cup glory last year, and the amount of money that has since been spent players – again. But it must be remembered that this season is a new experience for us, fighting on four fronts. We now have the squad to win the league, but the final pieces of that squad must still be given time to settle. Sergio Aguero is one of the reasons why we are title contenders this season, but although he has made a blistering start, he must still be given the time to settle properly. We just need to ensure that we are qualifying comfortably the for CL each season and are having a real crack at the Prem each season. We're established in the top four now, so we've a great base from which to build. I think its a matter of time before we land one of the big two trophies.
But that's my three penneth. What does success mean for you this season?
A second place league finish? Nothing less than the Premier League title? Champions League glory? Domestic cup glory? Settle for nothing in the event that the Blues still prove that they are progressing (i.e. they reach a couple of finals and finish second in the Prem)? Or nothing less than the quadruple?
Answers on the (electronic) postcard below!