This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Bernardo Silva put in another impressive display for Portgual against Luxembourg and showed exactly what his club side will miss against Chelsea next weekend.
The midfielder is suspended for the visit of Chelsea next Saturday and despite possessing quality throughout the side, Pep Guardiola could certainly do with his presence.
Not only does he work tirelessly for his team and have an eye for goal – with five this season – but he possesses the quality that could provide the difference against Frank Lampard’s in-form side.
The Blues will be well aware of the threat posed by Man City, and could sit deep in an attempt to counter the threat of Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling.
The through ball from Silva which allowed Bruno Fernandes to score on Sunday was exquisite, and it underlines what he brings to the side from a creative perspective, and in a game which could be closely-fought the Citizens could really do with that added edge.
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The City man was playing in a different position for his country operating in the middle of the park, but he was still able to influence proceedings and provided a different type of threat than usual.
He is often brilliant on the ball and uses his trickery to twist and turn away from opponents, with 2.4 successful dribbles per league game this term, but against Luxembourg it was his passing which shone.
Kevin De Bruyne acts as the primary playmaker for City but Bernardo made three key passes on Sunday and kept possession ticking over nicely with 87% pass accuracy, and that means there will be greater pressure on the Belgian to perform against Chelsea.
The Portuguese has scored important goals in big games for Guardiola previously, such as in the Champions League against Tottenham in the last campaign, whilst a brilliant display against Liverpool at the turn of the year was pivotal in City’s comeback to win the league.
With Chelsea riding high and conceding just four goals in their last five league games the home side may need a big performance or moment of magic from one of their players to win the match, and without Silva the chances of that happening take a big hit.