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A Crowd in the Midfield?

City’s pre-holiday schedule will shed light on how a developing midfield force can lead the Blues into the upper echelon of the England and Europe.

Manchester City FC v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League
City celebrates after precise play led Ilkay Gundogan past Barca to go 3-0 in front of a home crowd.
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

When asked about potential over-crowding in the midfield between Kevin DeBruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, and David Silva, Pep Guardiola acted dumbfounded. He could barely respond. Prior to that press conference and on multiple occasions since, the supporting phase of the Manchester City attack has shown clear potential that justifies the manager’s confusion.

In games where the Sky Blues have dropped points, a level of pressure has been allowed that disables the possession style expected from City. Instead of second guessing an isolated item of the formation, the manager works to build cohesion between all layers of the line-up.

Singled out during that press conference for doubts about their ability to thrive together, De Bruyne, Silva and Gundogan have proven the question to be trivial with key performances against Barcelona and Middlesborough, and during their respective November international assignments. KDB has inspired much gossip as a necessity in the lineup when healthy (sometimes in place of Agüero or one of those listed above).

Although Silva has been linked with transfer rumors, he continues to demonstrate a signature form that is central to City’s evolution into a better suited style for this era.

Gundogan quickly emerged as a motivator of movement and creator of space before ripping goals in recent games. Fernandinho, although not included in the advanced midfield inquisition, has also had a stellar stint with Brazil after a solid start with City. If these players provide their signature impetus, we might see the Blues' potentially explosive form at Selhurst Park this Saturday.