Manchester City say goodbye to their player of the decade

The 5-0 victory over Norwich City was the last match in the Premier League for David Silva, who is leaving The Etihad after 10 years in the sky blue jersey.

The Spaniard has played a staggering 434 matches for Manchester City in all competitions, more than any other in the club’s history, recording 77 goals and 122 assists and managed to win 14 trophies: four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, five League Cups and three FA Community Shields.

With 309 appearances in the last 10 seasons in the Premier League he has the second most behind the goalkeeper of their Manchester rivals, David de Gea, who has played four.

Over the past 10 years, many great players have passed through the squads of Pep Guardiola, Manuel Pellegrini, Brian Kidd and Roberto Mancini, but no one has been more consistent and impactful as David Silva. The Citizens fans could always count on Silva to make an impact when it mattered.

“Of course I am very proud,” he told the club website. “To win so many titles and the way we won it. I am a lucky guy. I have had a lot of nice moments, and this one as well, the last one. I will miss everything – even the weather as well. I’m going to miss working every day with these amazing people. They have made my life much easier. It was emotional and I love all of them.”

Before the final farewell with City, Silva has the chance to challenge for the Champions League trophy, the only one that is missing in his glittering career. City play Real Madrid on at the Etihad in the second-leg of the last 16 clash, after they won 2-1 on at the Santiago Bernabeu in February.

“I hope we can win it,” he continued. “It’s a shame that we can’t play with the fans here, but of course, the safety of the people is the most important thing.”

The English fairytale for Silva began with the transfer from Valencia in 2010 when he signed a four-year contract with City, but stayed much longer. After a decade at the club, the 34 year old will possibly return to Valencia and has been linked with a move to Villarreal in La Liga. Also, Al Sadd’s in Qatar, where his fellow countrymen Xavi and Santi Cazorla already play, is also thought to be an option.

Play the newest EPL Fantasy game here https://epl-fantasy.com.

Fan Zone: Kartik on City’s Sterling, Bernardo & David Silva as well as Fernandinho & more

A special guest for the latest Q&A is Kartik Krishnaiyer- heavily involved in soccer and politics in the state of Florida- and the author of Blue with Envy: My American Journey with Manchester City.

Instead of starting with how it all began for Kartik, the focus in this part of the Q&A is mostly on current Manchester City topics, in particular the key players. We discuss current stars such as David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero as well as some of the club’s key figures in the past such as Vincent Kompany, the former captain who left last summer, and of course Francis Henry Lee.

Kartik’s wealth and depth in information when it comes to discussing the Citizens is even more evident when you cover not just the club’s current era but the history of Man City. You can reach Kartik and Rami Soufi on their social media accounts and feel free to discuss further any of the points raised in the Q&A below.

1)  Choose 2 players from David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez for your team. Explain why?

I am going with Sterling and Bernardo Silva though at one point it would have been Sterling and David Silva. Sterling’s off-the-ball runs are among the best in world football, something England fans and many in the British press didn’t quite understand in the World Cup in 2018.

Sterling didn’t score so they couldn’t understand why Gareth Southgate kept picking him then came the Colombia game. Sterling was replaced by Jamie Vardy and that absolutely gutted England’s play going forward. It was then that people started to notice Sterling’s role and significance. Bernardo Silva has a different game than peak David Silva did. Bernardo has more bite to his play without the ball but he is not as creative a player in the final third. They aren’t like for like, but both complement Sterling very well.

2) Choose one from Kevin de Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Fernandinho, and explain why?

Fernandinho is the heart and soul of Manchester City. An outstanding two-way player, he’s a master of keeping the ball moving, winning the ball and if needed cynically breaking up play. Also, he is a leader on and off the pitch.

3) Who is in your opinion the best player to ever wear the City shirt, and why?

So this is a difficult conversation because it’s probably Franny Lee – who also later as Club Chairman presided over the worst era in the club’s history largely due to his decision making. Don’t get me wrong he inherited a really bad situation from Peter Swales but he had no idea how to fix it. The most lamentable era in City’s history coincided with his tenure.

Still, as a player he was brilliant. A forward who could score and link play and seemed to reserve his best for the biggest occasions – cup finals, Manchester derbies and other key matches. His partnership with Colin Bell was off the charts.

4) What are City’s weaknesses? Is it the full-backs or the central defensive pair looking shaky? Did losing Kompany hurt City’s title defense?

It is the central defense for sure. Losing Kompany has taken away an important dressing room figure and deprived the Starting XI of the glue that keeps together the team’s core defensively. This has continued to be an issue with City’s transfer failures in the center-back position go back to selling Matija Nastasic to Schalke and buying Eliaquim  Mangala as a replacement. The miscalculations in the market have finally caught up with City.

5) I know you follow Bundesliga closely so you’ve seen Erling Haaland & Achraf Hakimi play. Would you rather sign Haaland or Hakimi? 

Hakimi fits Pep Guardiola’s style of an advanced fullback working a lot in terms of crossing and tucking into midfield. Cancelo was a bad experiment and will likely be moved. Hakimi can be explosive going forward, but I am not in love with his defending.

6) City built a reputation playing the possession game. Do you think this focus on possession at the expense of being more pragmatic has hurt City’s quest to defend the Premier League title?

Yes, and even hurt City’s chances in Europe to be honest even more since counter-attacking wins trophies, particularly in critical and tight games. Frankly, same thing happened to Pep at Bayern Munich. His Bayern teams kept the ball all day long but whenever faced with the counter-attacking ability of the Spanish opponents they played in the semi-finals, the Spanish clubs tended to counter them to death.

7) What do you make of Gabriel Jesus? His stats are great despite being mostly used as a substitute. Would you keep Jesus or go for someone like Harry Kane?

Jesus is a better all-around No. 9 for the modern game than almost anyone we could sign. It’s the stuff he does off the ball and his ability to adapt tactically (as seen in Madrid) that make him suitable for Pep.

Sergio Aguero scores a ton of goals and he’s tough to drop but I would argue Jesus is a better overall footballer at this stage of their careers. At the same time Kane is a wonderful player who doesn’t have to be a No. 9. He can play deeper and already understands Sterling’s game from England duty where the two of them lead the line.

Has there ever been a better Premier League midfielder than David Silva?

At the time, it was considered a good signing, but the transfer of David Silva to Manchester City wasn’t given the sort of reaction the likes of Robinho and Sergio Aguero received. The Spaniard had shown his quality at Valencia, but nobody predicted that he’d become the face of the Etihad Stadium side.

Some might argue that 10  years later Silva has never been the face of Man City. At times, Silva has flown under the radar, never receiving the credit he probably deserves. With the 33-year-old now preparing for his final season as a City player, there is a question worth asking – has there ever been a better Premier League midfielder?

David Silva

“This is the last one,” Silva explained in an interview. “Ten years for me is enough. It’s the perfect time for me. Initially, City were talking about two [more] years. It completes the cycle. It’s a nice round figure. I can never see myself playing against City for another team. So 10 years – that’s it.”

Of course, some will put forward the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes as contenders for that unofficial accolade – best midfielder in the history of the Premier League. There’s also a case of classification – how can someone like Roy Keane or Ngolo Kante be compared to Robert Pires, for instance? And what about wingers? Do they count as midfielders?

Nonetheless, it’s worth considering the legacy Silva will leave behind at Manchester City and in the Premier League. The technical level he has brought to the English game has raised the water level of the whole league. Now, midfielders in particular are expected to be able to dictate the pace of games in the way Silva does and has done for the past decade.

The exit of Silva will mark the end of an era at the Etihad. He was central to the first phase of the Abu Dhabi project at Manchester City, helping to establish the club as a force. City made a habit of making statement signings in the early days of the Abu Dhabi takeoever (see Robinho, Aguero and Samir Nasri), but it was Silva who set a precedent on the pitch for the club.

Finding a replacement for Silva won’t be easy. City will hope Phil Foden can step into the void left by the Spaniard, but there’s no guarantee that the teenager will continue his development. Otherwise, they will have to spend big to find a successor for a player who holds a claim to being the Premier League’s best ever midfielder.

How well do you know English football? Want to challenge the best English Fantasy Managers? Play www.epl-fantasy.com now.

EPL Player of the Week – Raheem Sterling (Man City)

Raheem-Sterling-Manchester-City-1

Life at the top is certainly tough! The old adage that it is harder to defend a title than to win it has certainly seemed apt in recent Premier League seasons, with champions often finding themselves struggling to put up a serious defence the year after lifting the trophy. That has not been the case this year, however, with Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions Manchester City sitting on top of the league table with just a handful of games remaining. Liverpool seem to be the only genuine contenders to City’s crown, with the Reds sitting just one point behind the Citizens at the time of writing.It is imperative, therefore, that City’s players continue their excellent run of form as the season begins to wind down.

Continue reading

EPL Weekend Picks – Round 13

David Silva

The 13th week of the 2018-19 Premier League season sees Manchester City travel to West Ham, while Tottenham host Chelsea in one of the biggest games of the campaign so far. Let’s take a look at 11 players who you should consider for your EPL Fantasy team this weekend…

GK – Rui Patricio (Wolves)
Wolves play two of the Premier League’s lowest-scoring sides — Huddersfield and Cardiff — over the next week, so Rui Patricio is well worth considering. The Portuguese goalkeeper has 18 points so far this season.

Continue reading

EPL Best XI – Liverpool players dominate

Mohamed Salah

The 12th weekend of the 2018-19 Premier League season saw Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea maintain their unbeaten starts, while struggling Cardiff and Newcastle picked up their second victories of the campaign. Let’s take a look at the top EFL Fantasy points scorers from the weekend’s games…

GK: Alisson, Liverpool – seven points
Liverpool ran out 2-0 winners against Fulham on Sunday, meaning Alisson kept yet another clean sheet. He now has 49 points for the season, making him the Reds’ highest scorer.

Continue reading

Liverpool still need to replace Philippe Coutinho

Liverpool-Coutinho

As 0-0 draws go Liverpool’s meeting with Manchester City on Sunday was one Jurgen Klopp will have taken plenty from. The chief lesson will have been that his side still need to find a replacement for Philippe Coutinho.

Sunday’s meeting at Anfield had been billed as one of the games of the season before a ball had been kicked. Given the quality of these meetings last season, it was easy to see why. There was a high expectation that both teams would put on a spectacle. Attacking football, goals and plenty of drama were anticipated.

Instead, the opposite proved to be the case. Rather than a thrill ride, those watching were treated to something more akin to a chess game. Continue reading

Etihad Stadium’s Expansion: Worth it or Futile?

Image

etihad_stadium09English giants Manchester City have gone from strength to strength since 2008 when the club was acquired by billionaire Sheikh Mansoor with the constant struggle in the initial years’ largely forgotten by the supporters. The same opponents who deemed the prospect of acquiring 3 points against the Citizens as nothing short of a cakewalk earlier now shiver in fear at the prospect of battling it out against Pep Guardiola’s outfit.

This has been largely possible due to the finances pumped in at regular intervals by the owners who have ensured a regular flow of finances through thick and thin. At the same time, there have been astute investments at play as well especially in the transfer market. Manchester City opted to invest in quality acquisitions like Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany during a stage when clubs were increasingly orthodox when it came to pulling off transfer deals with the benefits increasingly evident currently.

Continue reading

Ederson- Effective Addition at Optimum Price?

Image

man-city-makes-brazil-s-ederson-moraes-the-world-s-most-expensive-goalkeeper2-1496931016The Blue half of Manchester prided itself on the fact that managers from different parts of the world with different outlooks tactically and philosophically had always enjoyed their unanimous support through thick and thin.

However, that had certainly changed with newly appointed manager Pep Guardiola’s decision to ship out club legend Joe Hart who had earned the love and affection of the fans with consistent and passionate performances over the years. The same elation which had greeted the Spanish manager’s arrival from Bayern Munich could no longer be felt with a sense of fury in the hearts of the supporters who found the arrival of ex-  Barcelona goalie Claudio Bravo as replacement quite unbearable in nature.

Continue reading

Leroy Sane: the Erratic Genius

Image

Football has emerged as an extremely lucrative career path over the years with the steady commercialisation of the game. Some of the best footballers ever- Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, Franck Ribery, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Luka Modric hailed from poverty-stricken families before steadily rising up the ladder, enthralling the world with their brilliance. Such examples have been cited as an immense source of motivation by emerging footballers like Gabriel Jesus who confessed to drawing inspiration from superstar Ronaldinho’s meteoric growth over the years.

Continue reading