Manchester City may be finally getting towards the stage where they can cope without David Silva, but the huge influence he still holds over his team is best summed up by a frankly unbelievable statistic.
Silva has won every one of his past 25 games in all competitions. It may not sound too significant at first glance but, according to The Times journalist Bill Edgar, who brought the numbers to light in January, it is "the longest [winning] run of any player since the league began in 1888".
Opta are able to confirm that his run of 19 consecutive Premier League victories is a record in the competition.
After all, Silva's league streak is two more than the 17 wins City put together collectively between August and the end of December.
Edgar's research shows that Phil Neville is second to Silva in terms of consecutive wins in all competitions, having enjoyed 20 in a row with Manchester United in 1996. Steve Sidwell, of all people, is third, having won 19 games in a row with Chelsea in 2007.
But whereas Sidwell's run was boosted by several late cameos of no more than five minutes, Silva has both played the vast majority of his matches, and also played a key role in them.
For years, it has been noted that the Blues are not the same when Silva is absent and these statistics back that up, despite how well virtually all of his team-mates are playing this season.
It can be argued that Silva, at 32, has been playing the best football of his career. Certain stats support that claim: in his 21 league games, he has scored five goals, laid on eight assists and created 38 chances from open play. In 34 games last season, he had four goals and seven assists.
And it should not be forgotten that he battled a personal issue over Christmas which meant he had to sit out several games and fly in for others having trained alone in Valencia.
City did manage to win some of those games without him in December and it should be noted that Guardiola seems to be having more success than any of his predecessors when it comes to getting by when Silva is not available.
It had even appeared that City's days of relying on the Spaniard were over. In the first Premier League and Champions League games without him in 2017-18, City managed to pick up statement victories against Napoli (2-4) and Tottenham (4-1). Ilkay Gundogan stepped in impressively and it seemed that the Blues had finally found something resembling a replacement for their talisman, or at least a new way of playing without him.
City have, of course, reached the Carabao Cup final despite Silva only playing one out of five games, which may suggest that his incredible run may just be product of City's own record-breaking form – after all, the team won 26 of the 27 games between August 21 and December 27.
And it is not exactly as if Silva's absence was the only factor in the one game that City lost in that run – a dead rubber Champions League game in Ukraine.
However, in recent weeks, it has become clear that Silva can still be missed. City have a huge 13-point lead at the top of the Premier League, although they have now dropped points in each of their last three league away games. Silva has missed them all.
Guardiola could really have done with the 32-year-old's influence for the trips to Liverpool and Burnley, games in which Gundogan has been criticised for his own performances by a number of supporters, while Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling have also struggled.
Although City were only really made to pay for a poor 10-minute spell at Anfield, somebody of Silva's experience and ability to control games would have been invaluable before, during and after the Blues' rough patch. Aguero does not have a great record at Anfield, and Sterling has struggled there against his old club, meaning Silva's absence was even more keenly felt.
And while Guardiola's side created enough dangerous opportunities to beat Burnley on Saturday, and surely would have done had Sterling not tapped wide from a matter of yards out, Silva was still missed.
Gundogan again drew the ire of certain critics and given City were guilty of sloppy play in the final third, you would imagine Silva would have made a difference on the various occasions the Blues got to the edge of the Burnley box but chose the wrong option.
Fortunately for City, he has only sat out those two most recent games because of one-off injuries; a stomach problem and a kick on the hip.
When his winning run was put to Guardiola recently, the Catalan quipped: "That's why he plays every time."
He went on to add: "He's a special guy, you know my opinion about him. David is so important, but we try to make them all feel important. David is so intelligent, he knows that alone he cannot do that.
"We try to have a good team, with good team spirit, for everybody to be involved with and without the ball. But we cannot deny he has eight years here, a lot of games, a lot of experience, he has a huge personality to play, especially in the bad moments.
"The top players, in the difficult games, they make a step forward, and David is one of them."
Following the draw at Turf Moor, City's run of consecutive victories sits at zero. As far as Guardiola is concerned, the sooner Silva comes back to continue his streak, the better.