It may seem a strange statement but it’s undoubtedly true; Manchester City will face much tougher tests than reigning champions Chelsea this season. That’s not a slight on the quality the Blues have, rather the approach they took into Sunday’s 1-0 defeat. Not even pushing for a goal after going one down through Bernardo Silva, City had already won the match before a ball was kicked.
Due to Chelsea’s painfully passive strategy, Ilkay Gundogan broke a new Premier League record for successful passes on Sunday, completing an incredible 167 while also having an equally incredible 181 touches of the ball.
While that owes as much to Chelsea’s tactics as it does the German international’s technical quality, it does spark an interesting debate – is he now City’s best option at the base of midfield, behind Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva?
Of course, Fernandinho has made that spot his own since Pep Guardiola took over at the Eithad Stadium, demonstrating the intelligence, energy and quality to dominate that whole pocket of the engine room almost single-handed as De Bruyne and Silva look to maraud forward.
But during City’s last two games against two high-quality opponents, which the Brazilian both missed, his absence was hardly felt – Gundogan filling the void in impeccable fashion.
It certainly leaves Guardiola with a big decision to make for City’s final run-in. So, Man City fans, who do you think should be the gaffer’s first choice? Let us know by voting below…