Manchester City’s emphatic Premier League title win won’t be forgotten quickly. In 26 seasons of the current incarnation of the English top flight, it’s easily the most dominant performance we’ve seen from one side in a single season – something that could be recognised by Pep Guardiola’s boys breaking a succession of records before the campaign draws to a close in May.
At this point, we’re all more than aware of the superstars at the hub of this side. Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva are the metronomic engines, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane are the relentless pace providers from out wide and Sergio Aguero offers that dose of killer instinct in front of goal.
But who have been the unsung heroes this season, the players whose hard work and contributions have become lost amid all the glitz and glamour of City’s gorgeous football? Here’s the views of some of the leading experts on all things City…
“Fernandinho is often overlooked by fans of other clubs and the media, but he is arguably our most important player. He dictates the tempo, and his work rate is astonishing for a 32-year-old. He’ll be tough to replace when the time comes.”
“Surprise greeted Nicolas Otamendi’s inclusion into this season’s PFA Team of the Year and that surprise came from those who haven’t watched him week-on-week this term. His development from a rash, risk-taking, impulsive centre-back into a defensive colossus has been staggering and its noteworthy that no other player has completed more passes in the Premier league in 2017/18. Even more noteworthy is that many of them have broke the lines and started attacks.”
“Fabian Delph. A word has to go to Nicolas Otamendi, who has come on leaps and bounds this season, but Delph’s contribution should be lauded, too. City looked like contenders when the former Aston Villa man was forced into the team at full-back, but fans all remembered how things fell apart last season at a similar stage. It looked like a tall order for Delph to slot in, and full-back was the obvious place for opponents to attack. But Delph has barely made a mistake in a season where he’s simply slotted into a team playing some of the best football the Premier League has ever seen. It’s quite an achievement.”
“The unsung hero of the City team is no doubt Kyle Walker, and when we discuss the best defenders in Europe, he deserves more of a mention. Walker has been used as a third centre-back essentially to stop counter attacks as he is so quick, but he’s improved as a passer as the season’s gone on, and he’s never seemed to moan despite not being used as the bombing full back he probably sees himself as. Walker has been Mr. Consistent and the more games he starts, the better City’s chances of winning major trophies are.”