Manchester City's bad boy comes good

Martin Demichelis

Martin Demichelis proved an unlikely hero for Manchester City on Saturday.

Demichelis has come in for a huge amount of criticism this season, and had games where he has been the worst player on the pitch.

During Manchester City's 5-0 win over Fulham yesterday, however, Demichelis was one of the stars of the show. Statistically, it couldn't have gone much better for the 33-year-old.

Defence

The Argentine impressed in several key areas at the Etihad Stadium, Opta stats show. As a centre-back, however, Demichelis' performance must be rated first and foremost on his defensive contribution.

NameTeamPosWon TackleInterception WonEffective ClearanceMins
Martín Demichelis Man City DF 4 3 11 90
Aleksandar Kolarov Man City DF 1 2 1 90
Joleon Lescott Man City DF 1 3 6 90
Pablo Zabaleta Man City DF 1 1 1 90

Demichelis was the best defender on the pitch. He won four tackles, made three interceptions and completed 11 effective clearances. Only Manchester City's Joelon Lescott came close to those kind of figures - but even he was no match for the Argentine on the day.

Passing

Interestingly, though, Demichelis was also extremely effective going forward. And one area in which he particularly impressed was with his passing.

Barcelona midfielder Xavi had recently hinted at why Manchester City coach Manuel Pellegrini is such a fan of Demichelis, explaining that the 33-year-old was brought to the Etihad because his technique on the ball. Yesterday, he proved that theory may have some validity.

NameTotal PassAccurate PassTotal Long BallsAccurate Long Balls 
Yaya Touré 78 72 11 10
Martín Demichelis 71 64 12 9
Fernandinho 71 64 3 3
Pablo Zabaleta 70 63 2 1
James Milner 66 52 3 3

Indeed, with a 90 per cent pass accuracy and 71 passes made in total, Demichelis was Manchester City's joint second-best passer of the ball against Fulham.

And on top of that, the Argentine made 75% of his long passes, with only hat-trick hero Yaya Toure making more. 

Final third

As if starring at the back and on the ball was not enough, however, Demichelis even shone for Manchester City in the final third, having grabbed one of his side's five goals against the Premier League strugglers.

NameTotal Scoring AttOntarget Scoring AttAerial Won
James Milner 5 2 2
Martín Demichelis 3 2 5
Aleksandar Kolarov 3 2 2
Yaya Touré 3 3 0

That goal was not Demichelis' only effective contribution going forward, however, with two of the centre-back's three shots hitting the target, while he also won five of his aerial battles.

What a turnaround for Manchester City's much-maligned defender, then. Fans will hope to see more of the same on a consistent basis, however, and will now be looking for the Argentine to up his game against the Premier League's finest.

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