Bernardo Silva emerging as Manchester City's main man

HUGE FEW MONTHS COMING UP FOR MANCHESTER CITY

It's been another eventful season at the Etihad Stadium and Manchester City are looking in incredibly good shape to add some more silverware to the trophy cabinet. The Citizens are still fully involved in all 4 competitions and boss Pep Guardiola will be desperate for them to win as many as possible as he continues his assault on English football. We're approaching a key part of the campaign with the Premier League title race hotting up, the Carabao Cup Final, the return of the UEFA Champions League and The FA Cup fifth round all to come - so exciting times are ahead.

City have one of (if not the) strongest squads in world football and it will be stretched to the limit over the remaining months of the season as they bid to write history and win every trophy on offer. They've had their fair share of issues this year when its come to injuries, with key men such as David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne missing key parts of the campaign - but on the flip side its allowed others to step up.

One of which has been Bernardo Silva, who's flourishing in a new central role in the heart of the City midfield. The Portugal international is now one of the first names on the team sheet and he's looking an absolute snip at £43m which City paid Monaco almost 2 years ago. But just how good is he and can he become David Silva's long-term successor at Eastlands? Read below for more...

A NEW SILVA IS MAKING HIS MARK AT THE ETIHAD STADIUM

Watching teams coached by Pep Guardiola really is a special experience. The Spaniard is up there with the best coaches to ever grace the game and you can tell he is absolutely meticulous in everything he does when it comes to building and drilling his team. All his sides play fantastic attacking football and after initially finding it difficult to adapt to the rigours of the Premier League - his Manchester City are looking every bit like the Barcelona and Bayern Munich sides that dominated.

His teams are always built up by agile, energetic technically astute players which makes him such a perfect fit at City, where he's moulded them into one of the most entertaining sides in the game. The likes of Sergio Aguero, Leroy Sane, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva regularly grab the headlines but due to the injury woes of the latter two - a new face has emerged as one of their top performers - Bernardo Silva.

Bernardo Silva David Silva Sergio Aguero
Bernardo Silva's performances have made him look like the heir to the David Silva throne

Signed from Monaco for £43m in the summer of 2017 predominately as a right winger, the 24 year-old showed flashes of his natural talent but found it difficult to make regular starts - mainly having to settle for appearances off the bench.

But the summer arrival of Riyad Mahrez along with the injuries to KDB & Silva has seen him move in-field and play as one of City's 'false 8's' where he's absolutely flourished. Originally seen as a #10 or a winger, Bernardo Silva backs up his tremendous technical ability with incredible work rate and stamina which has made him a firm favourite with the City supporters. He's very much a player for the big occasion and his performances have made it difficult for KDB in particular to break back into the starting XI - which is a testament to just how impressive he's been.

DIFFICULT TO LEAVE OUT

Bernardo's form has seen him become extremely difficult to leave out and when looking at his stats from the Premier League it's easy to see why. 5 goals and 6 assists from 22 starts shows how well rounded his game is and he's developing into the perfect all-round midfielder player. His gut busting runs from midfield to help out both offensively and defensively mean he's very much a team player and with him still only 24, he's going to improve more & more.

He's been superb in a number of games this season but one that really cemented his place as one of the top flights elite performers was in City's huge 2-1 win over Liverpool. It was essentially a do-or-die evening for the Champions at the Etihad Stadium, a game that they simply had to win and he stepped up in hugely impressive style. He picked up an assist but more impressively he clocked up a massive 13.7km over the course of the 90 minutes - the highest total in the Premier League this season.

Bernardo Silva Pep Guardiola
Bernardo Silva has flourished under the guidance of Pep Guardiola

That statistic tells you all you need to know about his performance that day & Pep would've been delighted with how he proved his worth in arguably City's biggest game of the season so far. The way he drives and presses from midfield really lifted his teammates and will only strengthen his claim for a spot in the starting XI when City play in more big games over the next few weeks.

It's inevitable that he's going to be rotated slightly over the next few weeks with City's big guns returning from injury and the fixtures piling up, but his performances this season have earned him the right to be one of the first names on the teamsheet. His versatility makes him a key asset to Guardiola and he's going to have a big say in the coming months as City bid to win every tournament on offer - what an end to the season we all have in store.

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