berdo silva He passed the hardest to beat goalkeeper with an arrow. Premier League this season. Nick Pope was the chaplain of clean sheets, but Silva scored two minutes after his introduction. Pep Guardiola He was more impressed with his other features. “He has an incredible ability to always get the ball between his legs,” Manchester City the manager was amazed

Guardiola has long found other ways to judge football players. It seems to suggest that goals and assists are a very simple marker; He loves Silva and quickly admits that the Portuguese did not surrender either of them.

It may be more difficult to create a table of players who can get the ball between their legs. Silva was perhaps the super substitute who wasn’t brought in to score; he still did. “We decided to buy Bernardo because he helps us hold the ball longer,” said Guardiola. “We had to keep the ball in our hands, and that’s part of his intuition; To get the ball in the middle.”

The less he does, the more he puts the ball in the net. City have scored 95 goals this season. Silva has only four of them. “Bernardo has never been top scorer or assist, but it helps us play better,” said Guardiola. “You want statistics, you go to big data, and congratulations, you can write great articles. There are things people don’t come for data. Bernardo is unique in making us all play better. The game is very fast in moments, sometimes necessary, sometimes not. Bernardo helps us play in a different way. pause, then make (one) explosion. Bernardo is unique in the world to help us do that.”

He emphasized the indirect influence of Silva. He’s a player who can tie games together with the tactical flexibility of constantly running or making a smooth pass, always available, or with the tactical flexibility to move anything from a so-called left-back or defensive midfielder to a right-winger or false nine.

He certainly seems like a player who wouldn’t judge himself by his goal scoreboard. In a post-match interview, he was more enthusiastic about Ederson’s 100th Premier League conceding and the “unstoppable” Phil Foden than he was on his own, in keeping with Silva’s dedication.

And yet, despite Guardiola talking about big data, Silva’s numbers have never been smaller. Statistically, he’s never been stronger for City, scoring four goals in 37 games this season; Newcastle may consider themselves unfortunate as it comes at the expense of the two of them. There are currently two out of four games, but after a 28-game drought.

But it’s part of a broader trend that City’s midfielders are less likely to finish off. Silva was in double digits at this stage last season playing as a fake nine, aided by a string of goals in the fall. He was behind Kevin de Bruyne, who scored his fifth goal of the season for Bristol City on Tuesday. The Belgian scored a tenth of last season’s on March 6 and had nine more to follow in the most prolific campaign of his career. Ilkay Gundogan scored three goals, while seven at the beginning of March last year, and 13 at that point two seasons ago. A trio with 27 goals between them 12 months ago has 12 goals.

Gundogan had a vicious 25-game streak, while De Bruyne failed to score in the 13-point streak. Much of it was camouflaged by the stats Erling Haaland collected.

There is a case for claiming to have achieved their goals; If City’s goals drop a bit – with 95 in 40 games so far compared to 102 in the top 40 last season – there’s a shift from sharing goals more freely to shaping for single player.

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Three very different technicians adapted. De Bruyne is the most obvious example of reshaping his game to accommodate his arrival. The striker has been creative and has 17 assists, more than last season’s total. But there’s also a positional element: De Bruyne and Silva were both of the fake nines Guardiola used, and while neither of them was exactly a box-office runner, they had a more advanced role that a real 9 would sometimes make unnecessary.

In the most productive two seasons of his career and the two seasons when City rarely featured an expert striker, Gündoğan excelled with runs into a deeply empty box. Now, although Haaland has assisted two of his three goals, there is less opportunity to do so.

The false nine years were the essence of Guardiola’s overall football ethos; Johan Cruyff’s student borrowed from his mentor’s ideas and built a team where his skills, training or background, and the majority of potential scorers were midfielders.

City amassed 99 league goals last season, with top scorer De Bruyne scoring just 15; Last year he was 82 and Gundogan was the leader in 13. Now Haaland has 27 out of 66. He has 41 percent of the goals. A different model, a more traditional way of achieving goals. Haaland puts the ball between the posts, while Silva takes the ball between his legs.