Silva could shine during title run-in
Manchester City’s defeat to Sunderland on Boxing Day dropped the Blues seven points behind arch rivals Manchester United, making the chances of retaining their Premier League title that bit slimmer as 2013 appeared on the horizon.
January 30th, 2013
Since then, however, City has reeled off six back to back wins (four in the Premier League and two in the FA Cup) with five of those wins also seeing City keeping a clean sheet. It is the offensive side of the game though that has really rebounded since that loss at the Stadium of Light, and more pertinently, the way in which David Silva has sparked both his own game and that of City’s back to life.
Of late his form has well and truly picked up, with his left foot once again illuminating the City midfield; mitigating too the loss of Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri but coming off the back of Euro 2012 Silva missed the opening of the 2012/13 season suffering from injury. Whilst this hindered City early in the season, it may ultimately turn out to be a blessing as City attempt to chip away at United’s lead.
However, instead of more or less coming back into the cut and thrust of a Premier League season following an international tournament, Silva had an extended break and was eased back into the fray, and what this could mean is that he peaks precisely when City needs him most. City’s underperformance cannot be attributed solely to Silva’s absence (he played less than 50% of the minutes as City exited the Champions League at the group stage) yet there is no question that his ability to conduct the play was sorely missed.
In 2011/12 Silva began brightly but there was a noticeable drop off in his numbers and production in the mid part of the season, when his decline mirrored that of City’s too; when they squandered their lead and allowed United to take command in the title race.
Silva’s form, to a degree, returned as City stormed back to win the title on the last day and there appears no sign that Silva will go through a similar trough this season having made only 18 starts so far – some 1626 of the 2070 (78%) minutes City have played – meaning he will be far fresher than at the corresponding stage a year ago.
Five points is a lot to claw back at any stage of a Premier League title race, but as much as United have been buoyed by Robin Van Persie so far this season, if City are to triumph come mid-May, it is tough to argue that David Silva’s influence will have been as significant, if not greater.