When Manchester City faced Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last week, one name on the starting lineup shocked us all: Fabian Delph. On the most important match of the season, which could have brought City back to the Premier League title race, Delph was trusted to run the midfield against players like N'Golo Kanté and Cesc Fàbregas.
It was bound to be a disaster. But it wasn't. Delph was sensational against Chelsea and dominated the middle of the park, with impressive passing range and his usual energetic self running around the pitch to win the ball back. While City lost to Chelsea, they were the better team that night and forced Antonio Conte to park the bus in order to win, thanks in most part to Delph's performance.
Last weekend against Hull City, there was Delph again, starting in midfield and playing amazing football one more time, dominating midfield with Yaya Touré and David Silva and showing his ability to track back and go forward. Delph scored a great goal to cap off a very good week for the Englishman, who wasn't expected to be a big part of Pep Guardiola's future plans, but may have become just that.
We expect Guardiola to overhaul the City squad this summer, letting the expiring contracts go, selling some bench warmers and bring new names in. For most of the season, while Delph struggled with injuries and wasn't called upon even when healthy, we thought his name was on the list of departures, but it might not be the case anymore.
Delph showed at Chelsea and against Hull that he can play at a high level against the best and the worst teams in the league, proving his ability to play in a Pep Guardiola midfield with immense responsibilities and expectations. You have to be a really good midfielder to play for Pep, and Delph may be a really good midfielder just waiting for a coach to turn him into that.
He's got it all: defense, shooting, passing, energy. He's dynamic, smart and can play multiple positions, something that Pep undoubtedly admires and looks for in his players.
Who knows, maybe Delph will blossom into a key member of the City squad next season. He's certainly given Pep reasons to keep him around.