David Silva is undoubtedly one of the best attacking midfielders on the planet at present. His wizardry on the ball has dealt him the name ‘el mago’ or ‘the magician’. His vision is exemplary and his use of space and time on the ball is world class. Time to time he comes up with some outrageous goals. Goals like the one at West Ham last weekend or goals like the ones against Blackpool where he dummies and feints his way through several players in his path. His skill set is astounding without being classed as showing off. His reverse pass is pretty much a trademark of his and no matter how many times he does it, it doesn’t fail to deceive a defender. Yet even through all this trickery and magic, he remains out of the media. He has played almost every game for Manchester City since he’s come to England and has played both on the wing and centrally, occupying both a inside forward’s position and a traditional number 10’s position. It has been widely disputed that he has been played in the wrong position consistently by Manchester City, is that really the case?
So where has Manchester City played him which has caused this much dispute? City generally go for a 4-4-2 formation come Pellegrini which won them the title last year and play Silva as a left winger who is allowed to cut in. It is generally felt that Silva really struggles to perform to his extremely high standards when he plays on the left wing because in that position he has to contribute to defending as well. I have to agree with this because due to the way City are set up, their left side is extremely vulnerable with Silva tending to drift off towards the middle and Clichy or Kolarov making frequent runs forward, City are left very exposed on that side. Even when Silva contributes defensively, he gets too tired to complete a game with him coming off early most games. Silva is not the type of player who wants defensive responsibilities and you can see that in his lack of willingness to get back. He wants to be in the middle of the pitch and initiating the counter attack or providing that crucial final ball. He definitely does not want to be next to his own corner flag and having to run the length of the pitch to join in on the attack. City, unfortunately, are playing him out of his preferred and best position.
So, what can be seen from this table? One thing is that Silva has played in every single match for Manchester City this season, which none of the others can say they have for their respective teams. Another thing is the fact that he has by far created the most chances for his team as well with 22. Two of the others have created less than half the number of chances as him and even Özil is far behind having created ‘only’ 14 chances even though he’s played the least amount of games (6). This proves that even though Silva is consistently being played in the wrong position, he is performing, and performing very well too. It is no wonder that Pellegrini is keeping him in that position as he’s not really doing much wrong and doing very much right.
Overall, I think it is time for City and more importantly Pellegrini to change his formation. City are being continuously overwhelmed in midfield and are losing easy goals on their opponent’s counter attack. Pellegrini should move to a 4-2-3-1 formation and start playing as a midfield 3, Milner, Silva and Nasri/Navas. This would both give Milner more game time (him being a hugely underrated player) and also give Silva the space and freedom he needs to play in the traditional number 10 role. Silva is already 28 years of age and so if he doesn’t feel he is getting to play in the position he wants, he will want to leave, and with his talent available, every club will want to get their hands on him.
What City need is to allow Silva to take up his natural position and give him the time and space to fully use his creativity, and in doing this he will create chances. No other player really comes close to his level of creativity at Manchester City so they need to use him to full effect. With City without a win in 3 games, City need his full creative abilities but that won’t happen in their next game as he’s currently injured. There is no doubt in my mind David Silva is Manchester City’s best player, but the point is whether City can get the best out of him by playing him right. Only time will tell but first thing is to make sure David Silva gets back onto the pitch as soon as possible; he couldn’t have chosen a worse time to get injured in the eyes of Manchester City.