David Silva the difference yet again as Man City pick apart Stoke in 2-0

For all the unimaginable sums Manchester City have spent on new signings since his arrival in 2010, for all the effort, intellect and intensity Pep Guardiola has put into this team to make it arguably the greatest outfit in Europe this season, and for all the praise Kevin De Bruyne has received as the seeming lynchpin in the midfield, the Citizens still just aren’t the same side when David Silva isn’t in the starting XI.

Indeed, one statistic from this season is incredibly telling. With the Spain international involved, City have won 93% of their games through 2017/18, failing to find victory on just two from 30 occasions; without him, that win rate drops to just 59% – drawing four and losing three of 17.

And that pivotal gap in results was even more prevalent on Monday night, as the 32-year-old produced a Man of the Match display in a 2-0 win over Stoke City – Silva netting both goals with darting, perfectly timed runs into the box to latch onto excellent deliveries from Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus.

David Silva stats v Stoke

But the goals were by no means Silva’s only crucial contributions; he also provided the most shots on target, the joint-most dribbles and second-most chances created of any City player. And in further testament to how majestic his display was, he completed 96% of his passes, suffered just one unsuccessful touch and wasn’t dispossessed once throughout a full 90 minutes.

Silva – who Transfermarkt value at £27million – may be a member of City’s old-guard at this point in his career, but is he still the Etihad outfit’s most important player? Let us know by voting below…