We continue our series profiling City’s historic 2018/19 Fourmidables squad by looking at the impact of Fernandinho.
Squad number: 25
Total appearances: 42
Total goals: 1
Total assists: 3
Premier League appearances: 29
Premier League goals: 1
Premier League assists: 3
Total Premier League passes: 2050
There were numerous bravura performances from the deep-lying midfielder which provided yet more textbook illustrations of his crucial importance to the City cause.
But his standout performance in our crucial 2-1 Premier League win over Liverpool in early January merits special mention.
It was a game City simply had to win in order to prevent Jurgen Klopp’s side opening up a potentially unassailable lead at the top of the Premier League table.
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Having missed the defeats to Crystal Palace and Leicester the previous month, a fit-again Fernandinho immediately made his presence felt with a series of uncompromising challenges.
He ensured Liverpool’s front three rarely had the opportunity to run at City’s backline.
Ferna came top of the rankings for tackles (four) and won possession nine times over the course of the 90 minutes, but also showed his eye-catching technical quality.
Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville described his performance that night as “sensational” and fellow pundit Graeme Souness was similarly impressed.
“Fernandinho is easily the best central midfield player in our country right now,” said the former Scotland captain.
“The amount of work he gets through overshadows the technique he has as well. When he wins it and puts a tackle in, he gets his head up and generally makes the best pass.”
Fernandinho’s impact in his six years at the Club since joining us from Shakhtar Donetsk has been seismic.
And the 34-year-old’s game-changing qualities were again evident over the course of our historic campaign which saw City re-write the record books by claiming all four domestic English trophies.
His tactical acumen, eye for danger and tenacity in the tackle as well as an excellent passing game again combined to formidable effect.
The only frustration for both Ferna and City was the fact that a number of injuries conspired to side-line him at crucial junctures during the course of the campaign.
Even so, time and again Fernandinho demonstrated he is the glue that helps bind City’s stellar individuals into a devastating cohesive unit.
The fact that Pep Guardiola operated in a similar position to the Brazilian during his illustrious playing career has given the boss a special appreciation of the midfielder’s myriad qualities.
And his warm words about the midfielder after our 2-1 win over Newcastle last September spokes volumes as to the esteem with which he is held.
“He is a gift, to have him. He is so important for us. No doubt about that,” Pep declared.
“He is a key player for us.”