Just a day before Manchester City face Liverpool at Anfield, Sky Sports pundit and Reds legend Jamie Carragher has took a swipe at the Citizens for their over-reliance on Yaya Toure.
Much was made of the struggles Manuel Pellegrini’s men suffered throughout January when the Ivorian was at the African Cup of Nations, then they were bested 2-1 by Barcelona in the Champions League last-16 first leg when he was suspended.
He’ll undoubtedly return to the starting line up when his side travel to Merseyside this weekend where they are rated at 7/5 for the win, but Carragher’s hamming up of how hapless City are without Toure is wrong, with statistics confirming he’s not even the most important midfielder in their ranks.
David Silva’s creative superpowers are not exactly under the radar, but the Premier League champions would be much worse off without him, or Samir Nasri for that matter, than what they are minus their totemic 31-year-old.
The Spaniard has scored nine goals to Toure’s seven (despite the latter being Sergio Aguero’s penalty-taking understudy) and assisted three to his counterparts’ one.
Silva’s average of 1.6 completed dribbles per match is superior the 1.5 his fellow midfielder has mustered, while his key pass mean of 2.4 per match dwarves the 1.1 of the former Barcelona star.
Toure makes more passes on average with a staggering 90.4 every time he takes the field, completing an equally impressive 89.6%, but the fact his assist and key pass count is so low suggests he tends to keep it simple.
Samir Nasri weighs in with six set ups and boasts a greater pass completion mean, while he also towers over his vice-captain with a 2.6 key balls made per match average.
These digits indicate both Silva and the Frenchman are essential figures in the Citizens’ conjuring department, as opposed to Toure whose task is to ensure possession is retained.
While the fact that City failed to win seven of the last eight matches the Ivory Coast skipper has missed is difficult to argue with, there are plenty of factors mitigating their poor form.
They were unquestionably the better side in the 1-1 draw at Chelsea, where they became the first league visitor not to lose at Stamford Bridge, they came up against an Arsenal side in scintillating form when losing 2-0 at the Etihad and any outfit from history great or small would lose to an on-song Barcelona and Lionel Messi.