A fresh start for David Silva could be good news for City
Possibly the most encouraging aspect of the final few minutes against Blackburn was the influence of David Silva. The Spaniard looked sharper and more dangerous than in any of his games thus far, prompting Roberto Mancini to suggest it’s time to give him more minutes.
“I thought David did very well when he came on against Blackburn.
“We’ve only been able to work with him for a couple of days since he arrived. He had only just arrived and he then went off with his national team to Mexico. Then he came back and was off again with the national team to Argentina, but from the next game it will be time for him to play in the team.”
There was always the danger that Silva would take time to acclimatise. Having to stay for the full length of the World Cup with Spain resulted in an almost non-existant pre-season with his new club.
Then there is the change of pace and footballing culture when moving from La Liga to the Premier League. This is particularly pronounced for a creative midfielder player. The central areas in the Premier League rarely offer time on the ball without someone snapping at your ankles.
Of all our Summer signings, Silva was the one least suitest to the Premier League physically, and thus far these fears have been borne out. His only start saw him a relative spectator as we were under the cosh at Spurs.
Worse still was his part in the penalty conceded at Sunderland. Having only come on for the final part of the game, his wayward header saw City lose possession and a failure to track back enabled Sunderland to put in the cross that resulted in the penalty. Had this been Robinho, he would have been slaughtered.
So can the talented Spaniard make it? Looking elsewhere there are positive role models. Both Luka Modric and Yossi Benayoun arrived with similar concerns about their ability to survive and have since gone on to prosper, albeit after taking a little time to acclimatise.
Of course there are plenty who haven’t. Who now remembers Bruno Cheyrou? And Veron is perhaps the most celebrated creative midfielder to flop. The Argentine never adjusted to the speed of the Premier League and there remains a concern about Silva’s lack of pace. This is where Mesut Ozil might have been a better signing, as the German has the ability to burst through into goalscoring positions – a much valued quality in the Premier League.
It’s interesting to note that both Modric and Benayoun have often found success on the flanks. This gives reason for optimism with Silva as he can operate effectively as a winger. The wide areas are where creative players often have to turn to find a place to operate in the Premier League. Even natives of the league like Stephen Ireland and Joe Cole have struggled to hold down a regular starting place as they aren’t natural wide players.
No doubt it was Silva’s versatility in being able to play both on the flanks and as a “number 10” that won Mancini over. The Italian appears to put a great emphasis on players who can be moved around within games and who can cover in a different position when colleagues are injured. There’s sense in this and hopefully we should see the benefits of versatility as we continue to play a large volume of games.
With Wright-Phillips continuing to struggle for his best form and Balotelli injured, there is a clear place for Silva alongside Milner and Johnson as part of the creative three behind a lone striker. The games against Salzburg and Wigan should provide an opportunity for him to display his talents.
Mancini appears ready to give him a fresh run after the false start at Spurs. If Silva’s able to bring his La Liga game to City then it could be the difference between getting bogged down in draws against the likes of Blackburn and all important victories.
- Do you think Silva will be a success at City?