SET NEW STANDARDS: Premier League champions Manchester City
What a special year in football 2018 was.

We saw some incredible highs and some lows that will be hard to bounce back from.

Here I take a look back at the last 12 months which gave fans, players and some coaches ecstasy and agony.

Record-breaking Man City

Anyone that isn’t excited by Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City is not a football fan.

When the former Barcelona coach joined from Bayern Munich three seasons ago, there was already talk of his possession style of football being stale and that he couldn’t deliver silverware.

But in his second season in charge, Pep proved that his game is still super destructive as City broke virtually every Premier League record as they powered to his first league title in England.

Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero and Kevin de Bruyne helped the team rack up a record 106 goals in 38 games.

The defence only conceded 27 times - the least in a season - as they piled up a massive 100 points for record log haul.

Wenger says goodbye

PREMIER LEAGUE PILLAR: Arsene Wenger left Arsenal

Premier League fans must have felt a sadness seeing Arsene Wenger leave Arsenal after 22 years in charge of the club this May.

When the Frenchman came to England in 1996, the question on everyone’s lips was "Arsene who"?

But by the time he left everyone knew this giant of the game.

Three titles - two doubles and an awesome unbeaten campaign - were only overshadowed by the style with which his Gunners played.

Arsenal would sukkel for a trophyless eight years before he led the club to a record 13 FA Cup triumphs.

But I guess there will be few better matches than Arsenal and Arsene.

Ajax relegation


The lasting impact of Ajax Cape Town’s relegation from the PSL will be unraveled in the course of time.

But when it happened, it was a shock to Mother City football despite the fact that the club had been struggling for results for a while.

Still, the circumstances around their demise seemed undeserved.

The botched transfer of Tendai Ndoro saw the club dragged into a legal battle which saw the PSL go out of their way to punish the Urban Warriors.

Despite Ajax following all the league’s rules, league bosses appealed their own laws when the Cape club was cleared and started the sprawling court battle, from which Ajax weren’t the only club to come away suffering.

A horror start to their promotion bid in the NFD led to coach Muhsin Ertugral’s resignation too, leaving the club with an uncertain future.

Benni wins first trophy

SILVERWARE: Benni McCarthy

Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy’s fledgling coaching career is following the same upward trajectory as his early playing days.

When the Hanover Park hero made his Bafana Bafana debut in 1998, he scored four goals before becoming the first South African to score at the World Cup.

And it didn’t take Benni long to make his mark as coach, taking just over a year into his first head coach job to claim a trophy.

That silverware came in the form of the MTN8 and they did it in style after beating SuperSport United in a replay of last season’s final.

Now with the highest coaching qualification tucked under his arm, Benni will be looking to build on that as quickly as he did as a player.

France conquers the world

CHAMP: France's N'Golo Kante

Going into this year’s World Cup, the French looked outsiders for the title.

With Germany, Spain and Brazil all on a roll heading into Russia, Didier Deschamps squad had loads of talent but lacked experience.

And they looked to blow rivals away with their attacking talent like Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele and Nabil Fekir.

But the side lacked balance and Deschamps had to make his team more robust.

What he got from his tweaks in midfield and upfront was a team and not just like a collection of stars.

In the end, France’s Paul Pogba, Griezmann, Mbappe, Blaise Matuidi, N’Golo Kante, Raphael Varane had all enhanced their reputations.

They may not have been the prettiest team to watch, but they were capable of the most devastating football when they had too and were worthy winners in the end.

Three’s a charm for Jose

DEVIL CAST OUT: Jose Mourinho

When his Manchester United team got a 3-0 pak by Tottenham early this season, Jose Mourinho made sure just how significant that number three was.

With talk of his players unhappy with his constant moaning, he reminded reporters that he had won three Premier League titles.

But what was more striking about the number three was that this was his third season in charge of United.

Looking at his previous spells at Chelsea and Real Madrid, the Special One usually failed to survive his third campaign as his worst traits would surface and he would basically self-destruct.

It looked almost inevitable as United players looked gatvol of the Portuguese.