Shortly after Manchester City's second Premier League title was confirmed, rumours began to circulate that Yaya Toure was unhappy at the club.
There was talk of a birthday snub and mysterious mutterings about making a decision on his future after the World Cup. And yet speaking to the BBC's Football Focus on Saturday, the Ivory Coast midfielder moved to put the story straight.
"I have been in Manchester for four years now and I have never demanded a birthday cake," Toure said.
And yet despite later committing himself to Manuel Pellegrini's side, Toure has not been the player he was last season: the dominant, goal-scoring midfielder who played a huge role in City's latest title triumph.
Last season Toure scored 24 goals and set up a further 12, but this season the midfielder is yet to get off the mark either domestically or in Europe. And a quick look at the player's opening three league appearances last season compared with 12 months on makes for interesting reading.
After three matches last year, Toure already had two goals, He had also won four-times as many tackles and almost twice as many duels.
This year he has won just a single tackle to date and his only attacking contribution of note has been one key pass. In short, he has a lot of work to do to get back to the player he was last season.
Can that start this afternoon against Chelsea? We will soon see. But the simple fact is the statistics do not lie. The dominating, free-scoring Toure has not been seen for a while now, and Pellegrini will be hoping that absence is now over.
|Team||Season||Goals||Goal Assist||Key Pass||Total Pass||Touches||Won Tackle||Duel Won||Poss Won Def 3rd||Appearances||Mins Played|
|Yaya Touré||Man City||2013-2014||2||0||0||267||290||4||13||6||3||270|
|Yaya Touré||Man City||2014-2015||0||0||1||279||308||1||7||5||3||270|