Manchester City's start of the season under new Spanish manager Pep Guardiola could not have been better. The blues have won all of their opening seven games, scoring 20 goals and beating arch nemesis Manchester United at Old Trafford with the absence of a number of stars such as Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany.
Guardiola has already left his mark on the team who's been playing fast, enjoyable possession football. the 46-year-old has been using the 4-2-3-1 formation with Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva both starting alongside Fernandinho during the absence of new buy Ilkay Gundogan who's capable of playing as a Central or defensive midfielder.
Manchester City's outstanding midfield options will leave Pep in a confusing dilemma, as the boss will have to leave one of the club's brilliant midfielders on the bench wether it is Silva or Gundogan. In this article, we'll list reasons why Silva must start ahead of the German and partner De Bruyne alongside the priceless Fernandinho in midfield:
1- Improving the wingers form:
It is no hidden secret that Raheem Sterling's performances have improved under the new coach. The English youngster was involved in seven goals out of 20 the citizens have scored so far this season, and the De Bruyne-Silva partnership is behind this development.
Under Manuel Pellegrini, Sterling used to play in a three man role behind the striker and was forced to drop deep everytime to help the playmaker in creating chances. But with the presence of the Spaniard and the Belgian, Sterling is staying on the left flank going back and forth while maintaining his high level fitness and fresh legs as the duo is occupying the role the 21-year-old was doing.
Guardiola's style is very unique. When his team holds possession of the ball in the opponents' half the full-backs go forward whilst the centre-backs widen the distance between them and stand near the sidelines. This leaves three players on each flank. Meanwhile, Fernandinho drops deep between the defensive duo and tries to get the ball forward.
The team needs an extremely creative player to help the Brazilian do his job successfully and that man is Silva. The Spaniard is great at holding onto the ball and attempting through passes. He has the creativity needed to fill that role as Silva is originally a technically gifted playmaker, unlike Gundogan who's brilliance lies in interceptions, vision and dribbling.
3- Fitness and movement:
Guardiola's style of play can only succeed if the players keep running for 90 minutes and the team maintains a very high tempo in the game. The manager made sure that all his players in the squad are capable of applying his methods on the pitch and that's the reason why we've seen Yaya Toure, who's considered 'heavy', getting sidelined.
Gundogan is surely active on the pitch and always tries to win the ball back. There's no doubt that the German tries to give all he can on the pitch, but Silva's fitness is on another level. In his last two Premier League games, The 30-year-old covered about 12km of ground; one more than any other player on the pitch. He's very energetic and industrious. Man City need him to distribute the ball and partner De Bruyne.
On paper, Manchester City are playing 4-2-3-1, but on the pitch they're applying the 4-1-4-1 formation which is clearly the best option for the citizens in order to shine.