Manchester City supporters have been in high spirits in recent times after seeing their team return to winning ways in the Premier League in impressive fashion over the weekend.
Pep Guardiola’s men went into their encounter with Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium off the back of a shock 2-1 defeat to Newcastle United a few days earlier, a result which saw them lose ground on Liverpool in the title race. Yet the gap now stands at two points ahead of the Reds’ clash with West Ham on Monday following a 3-1 success for the Gunners on Sunday, with Sergio Aguero’s tenth Premier League hat-trick inspiring the hosts to a 19th league win of the season.
Consequently, there have been many thrilled Citizens supporters up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are likely to be intrigued by recent comments from BBC pundit Garth Crooks, who has been raving about the efforts of Fernandinho against Unai Emery’s Gunners, stating that he is ‘too vital to leave out’.
In fact, Crooks also suggested that City ‘will win nothing without’ the Brazil international such is just how influential he has proven to be over the years, and after another excellent performance against Arsenal, alongside City’s struggles when he doesn’t feature, the former Tottenham striker is absolutely spot on.
Ultimately, while most areas of Guardiola’s squad are full of strength in depth, the Spaniard is hugely reliant on 33-year-old Fernandinho in the middle of the park, with no other player in the City squad as effective in doing what he does for 90 minutes.
Be it breaking up play with tackles and interceptions, or indeed getting on the ball and using his great vision and passing range to help launch attacks, the Brazilian has got absolutely everything – add in a relentless work-rate to continuously get up and down the pitch, and he’s quite simply a gem for the defending champions.
And such is Guardiola’s faith in the 33-year-old to produce the goods, he played him centre back against Arsenal, ahead of the more natural choice of John Stones, which enabled the Brazilian to continue fulfilling his usual duties in the middle of the pitch, but then slot in alongside Nicolas Otamendi when needed.
Significantly, City’s record when the former Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder has been on the pitch underlines just why Crooks is right to suggest that they cannot win anything without him, as the Citizens have this season won 19 of the 23 Premier League games he has started this term, drawing twice and losing on two occasions to Chelsea and Newcastle.
And in the two games he missed in the Premier League earlier this season due to injury, Guardiola’s men went down 3-2 at home to Crystal Palace and then 2-1 against Leicester City a few days later – it goes without saying just how vital he really is.
Obviously, with Fernandinho to turn 34 in May, Guardiola will have to seriously think about how he is going to replace the midfielder in the long-term, but for now he continues to prove his worth in becoming an indispensable member of the Spaniard’s City team – as Crooks states, he simply is ‘too vital to leave out’.
And it’s also difficult to argue with the pundit’s view that City ‘will win nothing without’ the 33-year-old in the starting line-up – one only need look at what he brings when he plays, and what the Citizens lack without him, to suggest that Crooks is absolutely spot on.
Man City fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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