|Passes (% accurate)||89 /93 (96%)|
|Shots (on target)||3 (1)|
|Dribbles (successful)||2 (2)|
|Middle Third Passes||48 (48)|
Two seasons ago when Manchester City won the league, it was the diminutive playmaker Silva who was the key player. Not to take away from the contributions from players such as Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany, but during the 2011/2012 season it was Silva who was often the playmaker and inspiration behind many of City’s victories.
Last season there was no doubt that Silva’s impeccably high levels dropped off. Perhaps it was the 102 appearances in two campaigns for City, on top of his commitments for Spain (including the Euro 2012 winning tournament) that left him jaded heading into last year. Added to the fact that previous boss Roberto Mancini never seemed to properly rest his key players throughout the season, there was little surprise that there would be an eventual decline.
But the signs in City’s 7-0 victory over Norwich on Saturday are that Silva is back to his 2011/12 form as he and Samir Nasri continually linked up to great effect to overwhelm the five man Norwich midfield. An unbelievable 89 passes completed on the day perhaps demonstrated on the one hand how feeble the Canaries were at pressing their opponents, but give credit to Silva who was at his elusive best as he ghosted around the midfield.
As a playmaker Silva is highly skilled in working his way into small pockets of space in attacking positions, and creating chances with just one touch, as he did when setting up Nasri for an effort in the early stages of the match. When the opening goal did come there was no shock that Silva was involved, this time picking the ball up in a deeper position and passing and moving past the statuesque yellow shirts before finding Aguero.
Another impressive aspect was Silva’s workrate which was demonstrated as he made the scoreline 2-0. Starting the move as he tracked back deep inside his own half and collected Steven Whittaker’s stray pass, he then covered a good 60 yards of ground to support Aguero and finish past John Ruddy to demonstrate that he is effective at both ends of the pitch.
His one touch football throughout was a delight to watch, and he got the assist his performance deserved as he demonstrated good work on the touchline before crossing for Aguero (with some help from a shocking clearance by Sebastian Bassong), who made it 6-0.
There is no denying that when Silva, Nasri, Toure and Aguero are all on-form and linking well, then they are a joy to watch, and immensely difficult to stop. For Silva inparticular, his vision and ability are one thing, but it’s his attitude and work rate that mark him out as one of the leagues best players. If he can continue such form for the remainder of the season, then there’s no reason that City cannot again bring the EPL back to the Etihad Stadium.