Manchester City will only get better when Leroy Sane, Riyad Mahrez get their chance
Manchester City were breathtaking last term. Leroy Sane was an integral figure, growing, learning, improving under Pep Guardiola's tutelage. Imagine my surprise when the German hasn't started in a Premier League game this term...
Sure, we're only thee matches deep, but it's not like he has been injured, or he has been resting from his World Cup participation. One thing's for certain, if that were a certain Jose Mourinho not playing a certain Marcus Rashford, we wouldn't hear the end of it in the media. That's a debate for another day entirely, though.
Sane's not the only superstar having to settle with a spot on an already stacked Manchester City bench. Guardiola chose to splash the cash on former PFA Player of the Year, Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian was the pivotal figure in Leicester City's spectacular title victory. He started on the opening day. We've seldom seen him since.
The scary thing? City have claimed two wins and a draw from their opening three fixtures. I could argue they should have three from three if the referee for their match against Wolverhampton Wanderers actually did his job properly. What's even worse for fellow Premier League title challengers? City haven't even got out of third gear, with arguably their two best wide men to come back into the fold.
Don't get me wrong, I love Raheem Sterling. He's quick, agile, a great passer and a hard-worker. Sometimes, though, when he's bearing down on goal, a rush of blood to the head tends to get the better of him. That's where both Sane and Mahrez excel. Bernardo Silva more than deserves the praise that is coming his way at present. The two-footed Portuguese attacker is a delight to watch. For me though, his future lies centrally as a long-term replacement for his namesake, David.
Pace. Probably the most vital asset an attacker possesses in the modern-day game. In a sprint, Sane's up there with them all. The former Schalke 04 man plays the game as if the ball is glued to his shoe. He's the most complete dribbler I've seen in the Premier League since Ryan Giggs. http://itsroundanditswhite.co.uk/articles/leroy-sane-the-closest-thing-to-ryan-giggs-youll-ever-seeThe comparisons are glaringly obvious, yet absolutely spot on, if I do say so myself...
Fourteen goals, nineteen assists across all competitions, for a manager who loves to chop and change his players almost game-to-game, is just insanely brilliant. When you factor in his age, at just 22, the footballing world is at Sane's feet. Make no mistake, he'll make an impact both domestically and in Europe this term. Hopefully sooner rather than later. Putting English bias aside, he's a cut above his pal Sterling.
From one end of the spectrum to the other. Mahrez, now 27, has been waiting for his opportunity to move away from Leicester City. He achieved something that'll probably always be the proudest moment in his career with The Foxes. However, that success left him wanting more. Moving, to work with the runaway Champions, under probably the best manager in the sport at the moment, was the perfect choice at the ideal time.
Sure, it may not have started exactly how he'd have liked. Mahrez was average in the opener. He was dropped immediately. That's something the right-winger will have to get used to. It tends to happen at the highest level. You can bet your bottom dollar that next time he'll be ready, he'll be even more prepared to get in the team, and stay there. Don't forget, he's still amongst the best players in the country. A marked upgrade on the tricky Silva (Bernardo), while fitting the City system far better than the man from Portugal.
We all know Senor Pep is a real tinkerman. Who's to say either, if not both will play against Newcastle this evening? I certainly wouldn't rule it out. One thing is for certain, City are here to stay, they're only going to get better when their two key attackers return.