Manchester City have been making a lot of noise in recent times after seeing their side return to the top of the Premier League at the weekend.
Pep Guardiola’s men went into their encounter with Brighton at the Etihad Stadium having won five and drawn the other of their opening six league matches, trailing early pace-setters Liverpool by two points heading into this round of fixtures. Yet the Citizens hit top spot on Saturday as goals from Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero sealed a comfortable 2-0 success for the North West outfit which, coupled with Liverpool’s draw at Chelsea later that day, saw the defending champions ascend to the summit of the division.
Thus, there have been many thrilled City fans up and down the country recently, several of whom have been heaping praise on England international Sterling, who scored once and set up another in their victory over the weekend.
The 23-year-old hasn’t always received the credit he deserves during his time at the Etihad Stadium despite netting 23 goals for the club last term, and he again proved his worth in bagging his fourth of the campaign on Saturday, as well as his second assist of the season in setting up Aguero.
As such, the young forward has rightly received lots of plaudits in recent times, yet it was Oleksandr Zinchenko, valued at £13.5 million by Transfermarkt, who was arguably City’s unsung hero against the Seagulls.
Ultimately, the left back department has been something of a problem area for Guardiola in the last 12 months or so, what with Benjamin Mendy missing much of last season due to injury, and there not really being a ready-made replacement for the Frenchman.
And Fabian Delph’s recent injury problem, what with the England international the man to often deputise in that area of the pitch, has given Guardiola something else to think about, thus forcing him to play 21-year-old Zinchenko in that position against Chris Hughton’s men.
And while he did play there at times last season, to varying degrees of effect, he certainly produced the goods on Saturday with a very impressive and encouraging display at the Etihad Stadium.
The Ukraine international, who was linked with a move away from the club during the summer, had a staggering 154 touches of the ball over the course of the 90 minutes, 32 more than the next-best Kyle Walker, to underline his involvement in proceedings, while he also made 122 of the 128 passes he attempted – on the ball, Zinchenko was very good indeed.
And with two key passes, he tried to make things happen down that left-hand-side as City sought to return to the top of the Premier League table, and while some have since remarked that maybe he isn’t as comfortable defensively, he made three interceptions and succeeded with all three tackles to thwart Brighton’s few advances – he did his bit defensively as well as offensively.
Obviously, tougher tests will come for the Ukrainian if Guardiola does indeed persist with him at left back, but Saturday was a hugely encouraging display from City’s unsung hero in victory over Brighton.
Man City fans… what do you think? Let us know!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience