A new season has begun, and whilst it wasn’t the perfect start for Manchester City having lost 1-0 away to Spurs, performances since have been promising. The team have stuck away 10 goals in their following two games since, scoring five each past both Norwich and a woeful Arsenal side. Of those 10 goals, there have been eight different goalscorers for City, with Torres the only player managing two, and Tim Krul shifting one into his own net at the Etihad.
This is a welcome sign to see so many players contributing to the goal tally, especially with the press going on about how City need a striker following Aguero’s departure to Barcelona. City may have not signed Kane to bolster their squad numbers, but it doesn’t seem to matter at the moment with every single player chipping in. And if they continue in this run of form, then places like Heritage Sports who have City as favourites to win the league could be paying out before too long.
But who are the players to watch out for this year? Who are going to be the standout performers? Let’s take a look…
The new guy
City paid a handsome sum for Jack Grealish, splashing out £100m for the former Villain. And with a price tag that big, also comes a lot of pressure. His first two appearances of the season, in the community shield against Leicester, and in the season opener against Spurs, both ended with a 1-0 loss.
But since then, he seems to have become more settled in the team. Pep is playing him high up the pitch, and he’s working those magic feet of his in the box. He’s drawing fouls, he’s creating space, and already this season he’s bagged himself one goal and one assist. So he is doing well. Hopefully Grealish keeps it up and continues with his impressive form, but it is still early days, although he does have the potential to be one of City’s standout performers this year.
The young guns
We have two players in this category that could easily be standout performers this season; local lad Phil Foden, and the Spanish sensation, Ferran Torres. First up, our Phil. He has come on leaps and bounds in recent seasons, but when he’s been learning of the likes of David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne over the years, is it any surprise?
Last season was his best in the sky blue shirt, making more appearances, and being involved in more goals than any previous season with the first team. And it’s credit to him, because it is not an easy team to break into, especially when you consider his age and the talent around him. And with a fight on all fronts again this season, he will have plenty of opportunities again, especially with star man KDB out injured.
As for Ferran, we’ve already mentioned he has netted two goals in two games, although both came in the 5-0 thumping of Arsenal. But he has looked electric up top, and he’s still so young, so he has a lot of developing to do. What’s more impressive though is how quickly the Spanish youngster has settled into the team and Pep’s way of playing. He really enjoys the high intensity and free-flowing attacking football, and it seems to suit him well. Who needs a striker when you have Ferran firing on all cylinders?
There are certain players you know are going to perform season in, season out. For City, that’s the aforementioned KDB and Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson. For sure, it’s not been the best of times for KDB at the moment, having missed a fair bit of last season due to injury, and picking up a knock during the Euros that has left him not quite 100% fit and limited his appearances so far. But you know when he is on the pitch, his passes are the key we need to unlock those tough defences.
Then at the back, guarding the posts we have Ederson. Sure he makes the odd mistake here and there, that assist to Mo Salah 40 yards out still haunts us now. But for the most part, he is an excellent keeper, with more clean sheets at City than any other keeper in the league during his time there. The closest who actually comes to him is his Brazilian compatriot Allison at Liverpool who has similar numbers, although admittedly, he did spend a fair bit of time out injured last season as much of their team did.
Two players who often go under the radar for us, but are always integral parts of the team, are Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan. Each of them always gives 100% on the pitch, and both don’t get the plaudits we think they deserve, even though both play such pivotal roles. Take Gundogan last season for example, he went on a magnificent goalscoring run when the rest of the team were struggling for goals, and whilst there were no worries about not winning the title, he helped make sure it would be returning to the Etihad.
And there you have it, a collection of the players we think could have standout campaigns this season. Obviously we love all our players, although if Sterling could replicate his international form at club level, we may love him a little more. But it’s never one player that wins you trophies, as much as United fans may think Ronaldo is coming to save them, it’s the whole team, including the backroom staff. Something Pep emphasises every time we lift silverware. And we’ll need them all again if we’re going to go on to retain our title and go one step further in the Champions League.