Is Bernardo Silva the Premier League’s most underrated player?
And now Pep Guardiola is one of the most thankful coaches in sport, because Silva has been exemplary for the Citizens this season.
The City boss recently labelled him "undroppable" due to his form on the pitch, and his teammate Gabriel Jesus said he is "one of the best players in the world right now".
"He doesn’t get the credit because he doesn’t score or make assists a lot, but if you watch him play football, you will enjoy it," Jesus added after Silva assisted his goal against PSG during the week.
The Portuguese star has started every single Premier League match since the opening day, when his future was still up in the air and City slumped to defeat against Tottenham.
He has four goals and one assist to his name, already a goal return two times his total from last season, but is overall displays in midfield have been majestic.
He is relishing an advanced midfield role, ranking fourth in the Premier League for touches in the attacking third and sixth for touches in the opposition penalty area, according to FBref.
That tendency to find the ball in good attacking areas has also seen him amass a 0.17 non-penalty expected goals per shot, which is equal 13th in the division.
But his ability to pick the ball up and drive through the middle of the pitch has been so important for City this season. With his tendency to find space in the inside right channel or further towards the touchline, Silva ranks third in progressive carries and equal fourth in completed dribbles across the season.
Silva’s impact on a game doesn’t just apply to when City have the ball, though. The City No.20 also finds himself in the top 15 in metrics like pressures, pressures in the final third and successful pressures. He also has the 10th most tackles in the final third out of anyone in the league.
Bernardo Silva is doing it all from midfield for Man City this season
And this is the entire league, not just midfielders. If those stats were narrowed down to just central midfield players, he would be at the top in just about all of them.
Last season saw Silva made his lowest number of appearances in a Premier League season, and after a tumultuous summer he seems to have turned it around. He has the backing of his teammates and his manager, and remarkably he is still only 27 years of age.
With years still left to play at the top level in his physical prime, Silva could yet still get better and only further assert himself as not only one of the best players in the Premier League, but one of the best in the world.
At present he isn’t getting the kind of recognition of a Mohamed Salah or some of the other Premier League stars, but it’s about time he does because he continues to fly under the radar as one of the best players in the country.