Manchester City supporters have been in fine voice in recent times after seeing their side get back to winning ways in the Premier League at the weekend.
Pep Guardiola’s men went into their encounter with Southampton off the back of shock losses at the hands of Leicester City and Crystal Palace in their previous two games, thus handing the initiative to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the title race. Yet the Citizens cut the gap to seven points on Sunday as goals from David Silva and Sergio Aguero alongside a James Ward-Prowse own goal inspired the visitors to a 3-1 victory at St Mary’s, in turn clinching their 15th Premier League victory of the campaign.
Thus, there have been many delighted City fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are likely to be interested in recent comments from BBC pundit Garth Crooks, who suggests that Guardiola’s men ‘can’t win the title’ without influential midfielder Fernandinho.
And with City losing both of the games in which the 33-year-old hasn’t featured in the Premier League this term, alongside the outstanding display he produced on Sunday upon return to the starting eleven, Crooks certainly makes a very strong point indeed.
Ultimately, the Brazil international has been an excellent servant to the Citizens following his move to the Etihad Stadium back in 2013, with the midfielder in that time helping the club to two Premier League titles as well as three League Cup triumphs.
And it was last season in their record-breaking title success in which the Brazilian really proved his worth in the heart of Guardiola’s midfield – ultimately, there simply isn’t anybody else like him in the City squad, and thus there isn’t anybody able to do as good a job in that area of the field.
And that was none-more-so evident than in recent defeats against Palace and Leicester in which Fernandinho was unavailable due to a thigh problem, with his replacements John Stones against the former and Ilkay Gundogan against the latter simply unable to produce the goods to underline the 33-year-old’s overwhelming importance.
Yes, they may have lost 2-0 to Chelsea back in December in which Fernandinho did play, but if one was looking for a reason why they suffered shock defeats at the hands of Palace and Leicester during the festive period, other than both sides scoring wonder goals, the Brazilian’s absence is the clearest reason of the lot.
And in dominating the midfield and controlling the game against Southampton on Sunday, the 33-year-old again showed Guardiola and his team what they were missing in those recent surprise defeats – as Crooks points out, Silva and Kevin De Bruyne are vital to City, but neither are quite as important as Fernandinho.
And with those defeats the difference in the title race with Liverpool at present, Crooks is spot on to suggest that City ‘can’t win the title’ without Fernandinho in the team.
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