Despite rising to the very top of the ranks in the English game and packed with some of the best talent on the globe, the Citizens had failed to recapture the magic in the world's most elite club competition.
After a long wait, one filled with disappointment and what-ifs, City's fate in the competition could finally be changing. Last season, they relied on winning their last two group games to just get over the line to the last 16. This time round, they have their ticket booked to the next stage, with two games to spare.
That was thanks to a quite spectacular victory over Sevilla as they made an astronomical statement on the road at Spain. Raheem Sterling, Fernandinho and Wilfried Bony all put goals past Sergio Rico to complete the double over the Europa League champions, after Kevin De Bruyne provided some stoppage-time magic with a winner at the Etihad Stadium.
As many predicted, that group would seem too much to handle for the Sky Blues. Well, at least that was the prognosis after they suffered an opening night lapse against Juventus, where Mandžukić and Morata overturned Chiellini's goal to silence the Etihad Stadium.
Looking rather toothless when sized up against The Old Lady, the issues that Manuel Pellegrini faced to turn things around were clear—but how he could was a bit less transparent of course until their three straight victories to break out of the group stage.
This "never say die" attitude is perhaps the key to turning things around in Europe. Vincent Kompany's absence from the City defence has had it's well-precedented impacts. Without their captain, more often than not the team's back-line can not just hold up.
Now though, with Nicolas Otamendi quickly getting into his stride to fulfil the £32 million price tag perhaps they've found the right blend. The doors were now opened for the attack to get into their rhythm and even without Agüero, Silva and De Bruyne, they dismantled the Europa League champions.
|Image: ESPN FC|
It's not just about getting out the group stage it's about how they got out of it. The momentum is there to finally break further into the knockout stages as well.
Making use of the small factors that go their way, finding a brilliant balance and not giving up, perhaps now is the time. City have shown they can contend in Europe.