David Silva was instrumental again as Manchester City booked passage to their third League Cup final in the last five years on Tuesday night, beating Bristol City 3-2 at Ashton gate to win 5-3 on aggregate. Small in stature, the little man was so good that you’d be forgiven for thinking he was aided by a dose of anabolizantes orales!
It was another hard-fought win for Pep Guardiola’s side against a Championship team that troubled them more than most Premier League opponents have this season, and for a minute at the end, Lee Johnson’s men needed just one more late goal to force extra time.
In the end though, the Blues advanced to Wembley and while many of the plaudits will deservedly go to the eye-catching Kevin De Bruyne, the silky, subtle contributions of David Silva were also crucial.
The 32-year-old didn’t get a goal or assist, but his 92.7% pass accuracy was the highest of any player on the pitch except Ilkay Gündogan, who played only the last 10 minutes.
Silva also topped the ‘Key Passes’ charts with 6 of them, one more than De Bruyne. At times, the little man plays like someone boosted by
Ageless and graceful, Silva is still very much the conductor of Pep Guardiola’s orchestra and his absence was felt against Liverpool on 14 January, when City lacked composure when finally up against a midfield that could combat their own.
El Mago has been absent regularly of late for personal reasons after the premature birth of his son Mateo, who continues to bravely fight, and while City have coped well, with Gündogan doing a fine job of stepping in, Silva serves as the heartbeat of the team and in the bigger games this shows.
Silva extended his Etihad stay until 2020 in November, pledging the final years of his high-level career to a side he joined from Valencia in 2010 for a bargain £24million.
In the long-term, City will need to find a replacement for the Spanish magician, but even at the age of 32, his performances remain world class and he shows no sign of slowing.