Manchester City has coped quite well without Kevin De Bruyne this season. The Belgian midfielder has played very little football in the campaign due to injury problems. For a player of his caliber, there is no team on the planet that wouldn’t miss him. Yet, he has rarely been missed by the team. That’s mainly due to the performance of Bernardo Silva this term.
The Portuguese midfielder played a limited role in Pep Guardiola’s record-breaking side in the last campaign as De Bruyne partnered David Silva in midfield. But with the former Chelsea and Wolfsburg man sidelined, Bernardo has seized his chance to play regularly by putting in some of the best displays of his career. His performance in the crunch tie against Liverpool is testament to that.
The 24-year-old has been one of Guardiola’s go to men this season. The importance of Fernandinho in midfield cannot be overemphasized. But even he cannot do the job alone. The Brazilian needs quality around him to complement his efforts in the middle of the park. Along with his namesake, the younger Silva has stepped up to the plate.
His manager and teammates alike have noticed and also heaped praise on him.
“Bernardo Silva did everything.
“He is the smallest one but shows us that to play football you don’t have to be taller or more physical.
“He is incredible. I haven’t seen performance like that in a while. It was clean and clever. Against Van Dijk he was comfortable.” - Pep said of the player after his lung-busting display against Liverpool.
Silva provided the assist for the opening goal by Sergio Aguero and was all over the field, clocking a distance of 13.7 kilometres (8.5 miles) over the course of the match as he pressed for the ball and also initiated attacks. He ran from the beginning of the match to the end and was all over the pitch. As a result he now ranks first in the league for the most distance covered by any player in a single match this season.
Suffice to say that he was as instrumental to City’s win against the league leaders as any other player on the pitch. Even Man of the Match Fernandinho recognised the importance of his teammate, singling him out for praise after the game.
”I think he showed his class.
”He has showed his technique so many times, but today [Thursday] he was so aggressive, recovered so many balls and he proved he is very good – one of the best players in our team. He is so important for us,” Fernandinho stated in the post-match interview.
The Portugal international will therefore give the manager a selection headache when De Bruyne returns to full fitness any time soon. Fortunately, that’s a good problem to have. The Catalan manager would rather have an abundance of fit players to choose from than being left short-handed.
With City still fighting for all the trophies on offer this season, there will be enough room for everyone to feature. His form will prove useful whether as a starter or when he comes on as a substitute. The fact that he can also play through the wings is added advantage as he can be rotated around the midfield and forward line.
Having already registered seven goals and seven assists this term, it is shaping up to be a very productive season for both player and club as City aims for another successful campaign.