A few weeks ago, Manchester City's season couldn't have been classed as a failure, or an embarrassment at that. Now however, you would struggle to find anybody who has any positive words to say about the Sheikh owned club. "A bunch of mercenaries; no passion; a lack of respect to their fans; no effort; second best" are all phrases that pundits, analysts and supporters aren't afraid to use. But, where did it all go wrong for City?

Admittedly, City have been second best to champions-elect, Chelsea, in the season where so much had been expected of them.

The signings haven't convinced, and their season started awfully with a below-par performance in the Community Shield, leading to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Gunners.

From that point on, they have struggled to stay with the team currently top of the Premier League. Why? There are several reasons, with the obvious one being the difference in the business conducted during the transfer window. Chelsea bought well and sold well, whereas City bought substandard players at an inflated price.

Yes, Chelsea have been excellent throughout the season. On the other hand, City, who were top after their game against Sunderland on the first of January, have seen their performances become lacklustre and timid since the turn of the year.

The Champions League remains a huge stumbling block for City who have been dealt tough groups since they qualified for the competition. There can't be too many complaints though. It's a fair system that is based on individual coefficients for each team. Their Champions League campaign was patchy at best but they qualified with two good performances in their last games, especially away to Roma.

Then came the big boys, Barcelona. With their attacking trio of Neymar, Messi and Suarez, they carved City open. The score line remained decent only due to two world class performances by Joe Hart. Yes, Pellegrini got it wrong tactically against the Catalan Club, as he has done before. Playing 4-4-2 against a team capable of keeping the ball for fun was a huge mistake as their clearly couldn't compete for numbers in midfield.

It is important to put things in perspective though as Barcelona dismantled PSG at the Parc des Princes in the first leg of their quarter final, and they are serious contenders to lift the Champions League.

What has really twisted the knife in Manchester City's season is their form in the Premier League against clubs well below in the table. Losses against Burnley and Crystal Palace are simply unacceptable at this level. Their inability to break down defensively solid teams has cost them dearly this season. Playing sideways passes with no cutting edge isn't going to break a tenacious team down.

The defensive chopping and changing by Pellegrini hasn't helped either, and I'm not sure he even knows what his best back line is anymore.

There has been a loss of form to all the key players this season, with the exception or Hart and Aguero, the latter finding himself joint top scorer in the Premier League.

The squad isn't getting any younger and City have not made a marquee signing since the exceptional Aguero was signed at the end of July 2011. City have been operating with the same starting eleven for a number of years without making any significant change to it.

They need to sign a player that will come into the team and make an impact. Several creative players look to be on City's radar for the summer, and with the Financial Fair Play regulations lifted, the Mancunian club will be splashing the cash.

Whatever happens to City, it is imperative that they finish in the Champions League positions, which was solidified with an easy stroll against West Ham at the weekend. Anything less and there could be huge turmoil at the club.