Man City Square have decided to focus on those Manchester City players who have made the most incredible contributions to our trophy laden season. This time we turn to look at Fernandinho, our Brazilian lynchpin.
Our wonderful Manchester City side has so many key and important players that it can prove difficult to start separating some out. Yet, Fernandinho has tended to be the one player Pep Guardiola can not afford to leave out of his team.
I will freely admit that under our previous manager, Manuel Pellegrini, I did not really understand why City had purchased Fernandinho. He seemed to be neither Gareth Barry or Nigel De Jong, in terms of his attributes and performances. However, since the arrival of Guardiola he has been transformed.
The fast attacking, possession based football pursued by Guardiola relies upon intelligent play in a defensive midfield role – an old fashioned Italian style pivot – to link the defence and attack. The high line we tend to play in defence, tends to mean this role requires vision and skill as the areas of the pitch to cover and read can be vast.
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It is to the credit of the consistency and focus of Fernandinho for the last three or so seasons, that we struggle to look beyond him when assessing the defensive midfield role. He has been the kind of quiet and understated performer who we tend to notice most when he is absent. Because without him to sweep up and snuff out attacks, we often look more vulnerable.
This has been the season where the media and certain red tinged pundits, have tried to create a different narrative around Fernandinho by suggesting he is some master of the ‘dark arts’ of the tactical foul. The furore never really caught on though because the statistics didn’t really prove the case and because Fernandinho was so good at it, he was seldom caught!
Fernandinho is now 34 years of age and is entering the last year of his contract. This season his influence has already diminished through injury reducing his playing time, and the sad thing is we would expect this to continue over the next 12 months. Yet his influence when he has been on the pitch has been immaculate.
He has played a total of 42 games in 2018/19, scoring 1 goal and assisting another 3. But what we all know is, he has struck fear into the heart of the opposition as he has done this. One more season of Fernandinho – hopefully schooling his eventual replacement – will be an excellent reward for us fans.