It would be a major shock if Riyad Mahrez didn’t start for Manchester City in Sunday’s meeting with Tottenham Hotspur, but that means Pep Guardiola is likely to leave Bernardo Silva out of the starting lineup for the third consecutive Premier League outing.
Mahrez is coming off the back of three goals and three assists from his last five top-flight games, resulting in him being named Etihad Player of the Month. The 31-year-old has been in fantastic form since the turn of the year and is the first name on the teamsheet. Silva, however, has been wavering for months.
The 28-year-old has scored two goals with five assists from 19 league games this season, but he’s not scored since August and hasn’t assisted since October, so it’s little wonder Guardiola isn’t playing Silva out wide.
Ilkay Gundogan has been a regular in midfield alongside Kevin De Bruyne of late, so the Portuguese international might not get a look-in centrally either. Silva was subject to interest from Barcelona on deadline day and is expected to have offers to leave City this summer, so he might be distracted.
Silva was an unused substitute in the EFL Cup defeat to Southampton (January 11), started in City’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester United (January 14), played 13 minutes in the 3-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers (January 22) and had only 15 minutes in the FA Cup win over Arsenal, so Guardiola has made a choice not to play him much. That may not change on Sunday.
For more Manchester City news and opinion, please follow our Vital Football page on Facebook – Vital Man City. Click the link and get involved!
Can you name these Man City players from the 2000s? Test your knowledge, take the quiz and challenge your friends and family to beat your score