Riyad Mahrez has struggled to break into Manchester City’s starting 11 since joining from Leicester in summer, but his winner in their 1-0 win at Bournemouth will kick-start his career under Pep Guardiola.
He’s made 37 appearances for the Blues in all competitions this season, playing 2,071 minutes, which isn’t bad innings for someone at a new club. However, his performances when he has played have been significantly under par, and it’s been clear for all to see.
The Algerian has scored six goals and made two assists in the Premier League this season, which again isn’t too shabby in an average team, but under Guardiola, where chances come so frequently, his strike rate on both counts should be much better.
The manager clearly knows this and that’s why he’s behind Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva in the pecking order down the right.
With his intermittent game time, his signature move of cutting in onto his left foot and curling it into the left corner just hasn’t been working, but yesterday he proved he can switch it up. He cut in and hit it to the Artur Boruc’s near post and because the keeper was expecting Mahrez to take his usual shot, he left space for Mahrez’s effort to go in.
That’s the variety in his play that City fans are crying out to see more of.
Now he’s got a winning goal under his belt, he’ll finally begin to realise he is important to this team and his confidence will grow. He’ll stop trying too hard and try more audacious moves.
City will need him for title run-in and this is a key time for him to be firing given all the injuries haunting the team.
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