Now it all gets a little interesting. If you thought you’d read it all with part one discussing everything from the Tommy Robinson/Ederson love story to Jamie Carragher on the M60, you’ve got a whole lot more coming with part two. This time, we take a look at the midfielders and all the big talking points that came with our creative core – from David Silva’s remarkable hair growth to Bernardo Silva’s ‘arrogant’ Adidas commercial. Here we go, here’s our player ratings for those who kept it ticking for all sixty-one games across five competitions.
Fernandinho – 9
When we missed out on signing Jorginho last summer, many City fans suspected that it could be a potential hammer blow to us maintaining the same level as the season before. Although, Ilkay Gundogan certainly helped spare Txiki Begiristain’s blushes with a remarkable level of consistency when covering for ‘Dinho. The Brazilian himself was nothing short of superhuman – to play the amount of games he has, in the position he does, at such an age, is utterly startling. That game at home to Liverpool – he has no right to be covering the ground of someone ten years younger than him.
Not only that, but he subsequently secured his place in the team of the year – a feat that he didn’t even manage in the centurion side of last year. He’s at the age now where Zaba’s legs had gone, Toure’s also. To still be as good as ever at thirty-four is a blessing upon us.
One of the best but most precarious players in the squad; a signing such as Rodri is certainly a necessary supplement next season to ensure we don’t witness Ferna’ go from Champions League to Soccer Aid quality in the space of a year.
Ilkay Gundogan – 9
Gundogan’s season has been one of true redemption. The player who was inequitably vilified throughout the early stages of the season – “He shy’s out of games, He doesn’t work hard enough” – gradually, game by game, Ilkay righted those non-existent wrongs. Big goals; Chelsea at home, United at home, Brighton away. Stellar performances in Fernandinho’s absences, covering an equal amount of ground and snuffing out attacks. Those lofted balls over the heads of opposing full-backs that leave them nonplussed by Sterling’s reciprocated runs that meet them. He really did it all at times.
It beggar’s belief to me that he hasn’t extended his contract with the club. If one’s on the table then I’m sure the majority of fans – many of whom he’s had to win over – would love to see him stay. Ilkay can play eight, six, and we might not realise what we’ve lost until Bernardo or Kevin pick up an injury next season. Keep at all costs.
David Silva – 8
You could draw a graph of David’s season; on the x-axis you could have ‘number of hair follicles present on head’, and on the y-axis ‘WhoScored.com xG rating’ and you’d almost certainly find a sloping gradient.
Up until Christmas, bald El Mago was easily my player of the season. That November month where his sophisticated simplicity was accompanied with an atypical appetite for goals, was the best month of any player City have had this season for me. But that was bald David.
2019 and his hair starts to grow. Fans and players alike disturbed by what was unfolding before their very eyes. In his defence, the amount of games Pep was constantly playing him in probably gave him no time to cut his hair. De Bruyne’s almost season-long omission from the squad left Silva the payer of the price. Well and truly ran into the ground.
Idiots on this god forsaken platform called twitter were calling for David’s head come February, declaring that our literal best ever player had become finished in the space of a fortnight. If you were one of those people, then there’s a good chance you put the milk in first.
April. De Bruyne returns. Rotation in midfield returns to existence and time between games become spacious. To my utter disbelief, thirty-three-year-old David Silva is the biggest beneficiary. By the end of the season, he was back doing what he always does – a deft assist to Aguero on the final day followed up with a goal at Wembley.
Our greatest ever, here’s to one more year of him.
Kevin De Bruyne – 7
We went nearly all season without our best player and amassed ninety-eight points and won three trophies. The word ‘gargantuan’ comes to mind.
You can barely blame Kevin for having such a stop-start season when he was on the field. He’s suffered five setbacks in the last year, so anyone would find it difficult to strike any form of rhythm. It was a cyclical pattern of enthusiasm to be back playing followed with a gut-wrenching sense of ennui.
There was one game though, one game that reminded us all that; despite Bernardo’s proficiency this season, there is still one player head and shoulders above the rest.
That second leg performance at home to Spurs was heroic. Despite the numerous lapses at the back, Kevin took it upon himself to try and outscore the opponent. Three assists, one of which was a trademark cross of the highest dexterity. Another, a driving run from deep followed by a perfectly weighted ball through to Serge who buried it. Despite the heartbreak of that night, his performance was the silver lining.
Our best player. If he’s fit next season, then we could break football.
Bernardo Silva – 10
My personal player of the season, did he actually have a bad game? He ran the most, created the most, celebrated the most – I think we have a legend in the making.
I don’t know whether it was the training ground bullying he endured last season, but this season in the purest way possible, it was like the red mist descended. Every aspect of his game was upgraded from the previous campaign. In De Bruyne’s absence, he took it upon himself to be the driving force in that midfield. Every player has their languid outings where they’re just not quite at it, but not this guy.
His performance against Liverpool was probably enough to hospitalise Jesse Lingard – ninety minutes of consummate commitment to the badge on the shirt. I’m sure it’s most fans individual performance of the season. It felt like we’d got Zaba back, although this Zaba was adept in almost every department.
That goal he scored at Old Trafford felt like the dawning of a new era at City; for probably the first time, it wasn’t the spine of old digging us out in the iconic fixture, it was a new boy, a player who’s come into his own, a player who has the leadership qualities and personal drive to uplift the level of those around him. We’re at a conjunction of era’s in this current moment – the immortal spine Roberto Mancini built is phasing out – a spine orchestrated by a Silva, and Guardiola’s modern spine is taking precedence – a spine orchestrated by a Silva.
His words at the trophy parade were telling of his on-pitch qualities. He requested we demand more from this team – European success. His coy persona from last season exploded this year-round and he completed that transformation with a nonchalantly arrogant Adidas commercial – fitting of his swagger when on grass.
Bettering David Silva’s legacy? He’s certainly on the right track.
Phil Foden – 8
Phil Foden is eighteen. Phil Foden plays for the team he supports. Phil Foden is arguably the best eighteen-year-old footballer on the planet. Phil Foden is a Dad.
I am nineteen. I support the team Phil Foden plays for. I am arguably the most pathetic nineteen-year-old on the planet. I can’t even cook pasta.
The guy really is living the dream. People argued he was being neglected by Pep as his talent didn’t warrant the game time he was getting. People forgot how old he actually is. I myself was quite content by April that he’d featured enough this season and had progressed; goals in the Carabao Cup, the FA Cup and the Champions League – he fit the squad and it’s congruence like a glove.
What I didn’t expect, what I think nobody expected, was off the back of elimination in the Champions League to Spurs, in a must win league game against the same side; Foden started. This was a huge move by Pep, arguably his biggest of the season, in a game where the fate of our season was on a knife edge, he opts for our youngest, least experienced player. If Foden played badly that day, both Phil himself and Pep would’ve taken a plenteous amount of stick. But he didn’t, and Pep knew he wouldn’t. This speaks volumes about Foden’s ability and how much his manager and fellow teammates trust him. He scored the only goal in a win which would go down as one of the biggest of the season.
He’s one of our own, he’ll play even more next season, he should be in the England squad this summer.
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You can read Part One of our 2018/19 Player Ratings HERE!
You can find Part Three of our 2018/19 Player Ratings here: COMING SOON.