David Silva – the difference between the title and second/third place?

Getting the Spain international back to his best could well be the deciding factor in whether Manchester City’s campaign is judged as a success or failure.

Much is expected at Manchester City this season after the summer splurging that bolstered an already star-studded squad. Five more internationally renowned professionals raise the standard of the Etihad Stadium squad, and Manuel Pellegrini is under arguably the most pressure of any Premier League manager.

Despite the calibre of some of the new faces and other existing top-drawer figures at the club, one man’s performances on the pitch have the ability to decide close games in City’s favour.

David Silva, on his day, is one of the world’s best playmakers, and the last two seasons at Manchester City prove as much. In his debut season at the club, the former Valencia star played a driving role in the club’s first Premier League title success in the current era and was the centrepiece of all the side’s attacking efforts.

The Spaniard chipped in with six goals in his debut season in England, but it was the 15 assists and control of City’s possession game that made City such a penetrating attacking force. Despite having quality around him, Silva’s creativity, guile and movement allowed others space and opportunities to impress.

Last season as a contrast, Silva suffered from a number of niggling injuries, seemed fatigued and was clearly not at his best. A return of four goals and eight assists was telling as the diminutive Spaniard struggled to replicate the performances of his amazing first campaign. City as a result lacked the same attacking potency and were nowhere near as incisive as the side that claimed the title the year before.

Pellegrini will know Silva’s importance to the club’s chances of success and the early signs this term already show promise for City. The Spaniard has started all three of the team’s Premier League fixtures to date, already getting a goal and an assist. He has shown glimpses that he is set to increase his influence in the team again once more, in what will be a source of optimism for City fans.

Silva’s physical deterioration was noticeable last season and Pellegrini must be careful not to overplay the midfielder and wrap him in cotton wool when needed. Removing him early in games this term is not a bad idea and the playmaker should be saved for the important fixtures.

It appears that Silva suits Pellegrini’s attacking style of football and will play a major role for City this season. If he can get back to his 2011-12 form, the Etihad Stadium side will be confident of winning the Premier League once more.

image: © ins11thiago

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