Heading into their Super Sunday match at Stamford Bridge, David Silva and Sergio Aguero are in good form and that usually bodes well for Manchester City. In the past, the Spanish midfielder and Argentine striker have combined to be a dangerous partnership. Last season, both players endured injuries, battled fatigue from international duty and adjusted to managerial decisions while Manchester City struggled to regain the form from their championship season.
But, if the past has proven anything, when the two players are at their best and clicking on the pitch, Manchester City is a completely transformed team.
In June 2010, David Silva was purchased from Valencia by Manchester City. The Spanish international midfielder was a transfer target of La Liga giants, Real Madrid and Barcelona, but chose to join the project in the blue half of Manchester. He met up with his new teammates after winning the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
During his first season, he formed a unique partnership with Argentine striker, Carlos Tevez. The two combined to form a deadly attack for City. Tevez ended the year scoring 23 goals in all competitions and lauded Silva as “the best signing we (Manchester City) have made”.
Silva took no time adjusting from La Liga to the Premier League and finished the season with 11 goals and 13 assists in all competitions.
Silva helped Manchester City end a 35-year trophy drought when they beat Stoke City in the FA Cup final at Wembley. He also led the City to a third place finish in the league and Champions League qualification for the first time in club history.
The following season (2011-12) brought the introduction of Sergio Aguero to the Etihad. Aguero came to City from Atlético Madrid and was considered one of the best young strikers in the world. He was coming off the most successful season of his early career. Aguero scored 29 times in all competitions for Los Rojiblancos, including scoring goals in seven straight appearances.
The early part of the 2011-12 season was a torrid one for Silva and Aguero. Silva opened the year by being named Barclays Premier League Player of the Month for September.
Aguero made Manchester City fans wait for his debut as he battled fitness during the preseason. But he came on as a substitute during the 59th minute and scored TWO goals in his first league contest versus Swansea City.
City roared through their first thirteen matches of the year undefeated (11 wins, 2 draws, 0 losses). They wouldn’t lose in the Premier League until December 12th 2011 when they fell to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, 2-1.
Through fourteen matches, Aguero had scored 11 times and added 4 assists while Silva notched four goals and dished out nine assists. Manchester City were top of the table and wouldn’t relinquish their hold on first place until Week 27 of the season.
Despite letting first place slip away to Manchester United for a period of eight weeks (and the disappearance of Carlos Tevez) , Silva and Aguero were leading the Manchester City to the greatest season ever.
City regained the top spot on April 30th 2012 when City beat United, 1-0 at the Etihad. Then on May 13th 2012, after Sergio Aguero scored his game winning goal in the fourth minute of added time versus Queens Park Rangers, City finished as champions of England for the first time in 44 years. The club only lost five times over the course of 38 league matches while finishing with 89 points and a staggering +65 goal differential.
Aguero contributed with 35 goals and 9 assists in all competitions with Silva adding 11 goals and an astonishing 21 assists. David Silva led the Premier League with 17 assists and was named to the 2011-12 PFA Team of the Year.
Last season, many will say that Manchester City “underachieved”. The players would say they became complacent after winning the title the year before. Roberto Mancini felt the club had just failed to bring in new signings to add depth to the squad. Perhaps it was a combination of all those things.
What didn’t help City was the dip in form and injuries suffered by David Silva and Sergio Aguero throughout the 2012-13 campaign.
Aguero was stretchered off the pitch in the 13th minute of Manchester City’s first Premier League match. He wouldn’t play until Week 5 versus Arsenal. Aguero began to regain his scoring touch over the coming weeks, but suffered another injury setback on January 2nd against Stoke City. He returned two weeks later but was not hitting the target like he had in previous seasons.
The Argentine did score one of the goals of the year when he hit the equalizing goal against Liverpool after beating goalkeeper Pepe Reina in a race to the ball as it neared the right corner flag. Aguero ended up scoring from a near-impossible angle.
He again suffered an injury during a 2-0 win on February 24th against Chelsea which saw him miss another chunk of the season. Aguero didn’t return to the City lineup until March 30th.
Upon his return, he would complain from time to time of tightness in his hamstring. He finished the 2012-13 season with 20 goals and 4 assists in all competitions. These are respectable numbers, but they were a tremendous drop from the previous season.
Davis Silva also suffered his share of injuries and missed time on the pitch. The Spaniard also appeared to be hamstrung by the cold offensive tactics employed by Mancini.
But mainly Silva looked like a beaten man. Between his service to the Spanish national team (which had won the European Championship over the summer) and the heavy burden laid on him by Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini, Silva looked tired and slow for the better part of the 2012-13 season.
Over the course of three seasons, Silva had played in 156 games in all competitions. That is a monumental amount of games for a player to compete on the highest level.
He finished the year with nine goals and sixteen assists in 51 games. His league assist total dropped to eight as Manchester City finished second to Manchester United by 11 points and their goal differential dropped to +32 (down 33 goals from the previous year).
Fast forward to the present day and Manchester City are starting to fire on all cylinders.
Manuel Pellegrini has taken over for Roberto Mancini and Manchester City’s attack is looking more like it did two years ago. After eight matches, City have a +11 goal difference (it would be higher if City could straighten out their defensive issues).
After missing a handful of games, Silva looks rested and rejuvenated while Aguero seems to be enjoying a stretch of injury-free play.
Over the summer, Manchester City also invested in reinforcements. Silva and Aguero (as well as Yaya Toure) are no longer burdened with being the focus of opposing defenses. The additions of Fernandinho and Jesus Navas, as well as the resurrection of Samir Nasri, have assisted Silva in the midfield. And the signing of Alvaro Negredo has provided a strong partnership with Sergio Aguero up front.
After their shock Week Two loss at Cardiff City, Manchester City are hitting their form. Since that time they have won five, drawn one and lost one. City are also coming off their first road win of the season, where Aguero scored a brace and assisted on David Silva’s goal, while Silva also added an assist on one of Aguero’s goals.
Both players appear to be hitting their stride again. And if the past is any indication, this should be good news for Manchester City supporters heading into this weekend’s Super Sunday trip to London.