David Silva and Manchester City ready for Arsenal clash

Pellegrini’s men aiming to make a statement against one of their major title rivals

 David Silva was unveiled as the club’s ‘secret santa’ as he gave  out three holidays to the Anfi resort in Gran Canaria to surprised Manchester residents. Photograph:PA

David Silva was unveiled as the club’s ‘secret santa’ as he gave out three holidays to the Anfi resort in Gran Canaria to surprised Manchester residents. Photograph:PA

 

Manchester City travel to Arsenal looking for their first away win in five Premier League games and hoping the David Silva-Sergio Aguero axis can be restored for at least part of the match.

The absence of Aguero has been a factor in a slump that has led to the early pacesetters being overtaken at the top of the table and Silva is hoping to welcome back the Argentina striker to the starting X1.

But whether or not the striker returns at the Emirates, Silva accepts a squad of City’s strength cannot use injuries as an excuse.

“Of course it would be better if everyone was always available, that would give us a great chance,” said Silva. “Sergio, for instance, is a fantastic player and gives you things that others don’t. He does different things but the reality is that people get injured and guys come in and have to fulfil that role to be a great team. We have done it before and we can do it again.”

Right age

Silva was particularly impressed with City’s strengthening over the summer when, finally freed from Uefa-imposed financial restraints, they added some players of the right age to a squad many feared were in danger of growing old together.

“It was very pleasing to see the club bring in players of the quality of Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling, ” he says. “They are young players, fresh players and they bring that on to the pitch, too.”

Asked to name the players who have impressed him most this season, Silva unsurprisingly mentions Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, currently unstoppable at Leicester City – but only after unexpectedly singling out a summer arrival at his own club. “The first one I would say is Raheem,” he says. “He is going to make history. He’s technically very gifted and he’s got a lot more to come.

“He has only just turned 21, so he is going to improve and get more experience, and read the games a lot better.”

With Leicester still going strong at the top , Silva denies tonight’s game is crucial in the title race.

“It is too early in the season anyway,” Silva says. “It is an important game but not one that will decide anything. Arsenal are clearly a very strong team but Leicester are playing very well, so both really are direct rivals. You can’t discount Leicester because they are producing great performances every week. They are confident and winning their games.

“Perhaps Arsenal’s players have the edge in experience, they have everything they need to challenge for the title and they have some players coming back from injury, too.”

Yet Arsenal have not won a title in 11 years. City have won two in the past four seasons.

“When you know you have done it already it gives you confidence,” Silva says. “You can use the experience to keep on winning.”

Even though Leicester are showing no signs of flagging, it is still tempting to look for pointers to the title in tonight’s game and the contest within a contest between Silva and Mesut Ozil.

Both are similar players, both came to England from La Liga and found the transition difficult. Ozil has had his critics but has fully shown his worth for Arsenal this season.

“You always need time to adapt when you come to a new league and at this level you have to adapt quickly,” Silva says.

“He’s a good player and is doing a very good job this year. It just takes time to get there. In the beginning it took me about two months to adapt but I always knew I was going to be okay . . . . the beginning was tough but I never had any doubts I could make it in this league.

Guardian Service

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