Talking Tactics

Standout players of 2018/19: Bernardo Silva

Adrian Clarke 16 Oct 2018
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Adrian Clarke says the Man City playmaker's versatility has put him central to Pep Guardiola's plans

Adrian Clarke selects the players who have caught his eye in 2018/19 so far.

Bernardo Silva (MCI)

Since the turn of the year Silva's displays have elevated him from a bit-part player to a key man for Manchester City.

Covering the absence of the injured Kevin De Bruyne with panache, the Portuguese playmaker has been Pep Guardiola's most consistent performer.

Excellence across the pitch

Like the Belgian, this gifted 24-year-old offers technical excellence and versatility.

He is comfortable in a number of positions, occupying four different roles this term.

While he is at his best in a deeper right-midfield slot, usually within a 4-3-3, Silva also proved last weekend against Liverpool that he can shine as an orthodox central midfielder.

Forming a partnership with Fernandinho, Silva adapted his game really well.

Silva in different roles
2018/19 Right midRight fwdNo 10Centre mid
Minutes392629090
Key passes14001
Assists1000
Shots10110
Goals1010
Overlooked workrate

One aspect of Silva's make-up that is overlooked is his workrate.

In the six appearances he has featured for the full 90 minutes this season, he has covered the most distance of any City player. This is no mean feat in a side who work incredibly hard from back to front.

He is always on the move, looking to operate at a fast tempo, and has an uplifting effect on his team-mates.

Part of this is down to aggression, too. Silva may be small in stature, but packs a punch in the tackle; winning nine of his 11 challenges this season.

Left-footed wizard

Silva's best quality is his left foot.

He scored a fine first-time effort at Arsenal on the opening weekend and has carved out wonderful opportunities for team-mates with the same foot.

The key now is for him to be a little more selfish inside the final third, using his left foot to punish teams more often.

Where Silva ranks at City
2018/19TotalMCI rank
Chances created152=
Chances created from open play123
Shots75=
Shots on target55=
Touches in opposition box334=
Regular starter

Starting seven of City's eight PL matches, he has made a huge step forward this term.

Only four players, City team-mates David Silva and Raheem Sterling, as well as Mohamed Salah and Felipe Anderson, have created more chances from open play.

And as his confidence grows further, that output will only improve.

Can he retain a regular place once De Bruyne is fully fit? In this form he will be a difficult man to leave out of the side.

Tomorrow: Standout players of 2018/19: Callum Wilson

Also in this series

Part 1: Standout players of 2018/19: Lukasz Fabianski
Part 2: Standout players of 2018/19: Jose Holebas
Part 3: Standout players of 2018/19: David Luiz
Part 4: Standout players of 2018/19: Lucas Torreira

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