David Silva Still Rules The Roost At Manchester City
With a new, youthful attacking triumvirate that have been almost unplayable since developing their exciting bond in recent weeks, Manchester City have put a run of wins together that has propelled them up to second, and everyone is once again gazing longingly at Pep Guardiola and drooling at the sight of City in full flow.
Gabriel Jesus can dethrone Lionel Messi as the best player in the world, according to one Brazilian great, Leroy Sane is starting to justify his hefty price-tag with some swashbuckling displays, while Raheem Sterling has defied the mystifying vitriol from some national newspapers to bamboozle defences with his fleet-footed flamboyance.
However, no orchestra just turns up to perform a symphony, they are guided meticulously by their conductor. No Formula One driver simply gets in the car and wins a race, there are technicians and strategists behind the scenes going over every corner time and again to get it right. Football is no different – there is always a support act – and at City, they have the perfect creator-in-chief, who is as impressive now as he was when arriving on our shores almost seven years ago.
David Silva is the puppeteer of this embryonic strike force. It is no coincidence that City’s recent resurgence has coincided with the Spaniard’s return to his fluid best.
Since the draw against Tottenham, the opposition may not have been have been top four challengers in the run of four successive wins, but it is the manner with which City have dispatched Crystal Palace, West Ham and Bournemouth especially that has been so impressive, with Silva very much the conduit in attacking midfield.
City’s free-flowing football had everyone hooked at London Stadium at the start of February, as Jesus, Sane and Sterling were simply unplayable.
Yet, if it wasn’t for another superb Silva showing, the three fledgling forwards wouldn’t have had anything like the chances they had. Silva made more key passes than anyone else, more crosses, while also getting on the scoresheet himself.
Then, with Jesus withdrawn through injury, Silva showed the other side to his game on Monday night, taking a stranglehold of the game against Bournemouth, controlling proceedings with consummate ease, making a colossal 114 touches in the match.
“He [Silva] was amazing,” Guardiola eulogised post-match on Monday night. “In the last 15 or 20 minutes he monopolised the ball with Kevin [De Bruyne], with Fernandinho, with all the players.
“We passed and passed and passed — it is the best way to avoid the opponents. You have the ball; there is just one ball. We have just to control the counter-attacks and it’s safer.”
With so much energy around him, the 31-year-old’s role is certainly changing, but El Mago has all the facets to adapt, just as he did at the Vitality.
Silva is the sort of player you appreciate more if you watch him for 90 minutes. While Yaya Toure has drawn the plaudits since also arriving at the Etihad in 2010 for his powerful running and appetite for crucial goals, it is Silva who was doing the work behind the scenes, and still is, for the next generation of City talismen.
Ankle injuries have affected his stock somewhat is recent times, but to have overcome such issues, and remain consistently among the league’s top performers deserves the utmost respect.
Xavi was Guardiola’s general, the foundation that his entire empire was built upon in Barcelona. While Silva may not be classed in the same pantheon of midfield metronomes, he is the best City, and even the Premier League has to offer, and if Guardiola’s new look attack can inspire City to another title in the coming seasons, Silva will be a huge part, whether you notice what he does or not.