As 2016 draws to a close, the Manchester City club journalists offer their favourite players of the year.
David Clayton - Fernandinho
Over the past 12 months the understated influence of Fernandinho has shone through more brightly than anyone else.
The elegant Brazilian oozes class, but has that rare mix of silk and steel. Much of his work slips under the radar because he does the stuff that doesn’t grab headlines, breaking up play, covering for others and keeping things simple.
City don’t look the same team without him and it’s no coincidence that Pep Guardiola has played Ferna in every minute of every Premier League games he’s been available.
Caroline Oatway - Lucy Bronze
Hailed the FA WSL Players’ Player of the Year, MCWFC Player of the Year and Official Supporters’ Club’s Player of the Year, my choice for standout performer comes as no surprise.
Lucy Bronze is a pivotal part of Man City Women’s squad and played a key role as Nick Cushing’s side lifted the Super League title, Continental Tyres Cup and clinched a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
The right-back helped to preserve the Blues’ incredible defensive record, which saw City concede just once from open play in the league all season. Quick and intelligent, the defender is thoroughly committed and composed in any situation.
Also an attacking threat, Bronze was very much involved at the other end and chipped in with some vital goals – most notably in the cup final and Champions League.
Jack Mumford - David Silva
After six and a half years in a City shirt, David Silva’s status as a legend of the club has long been secured.
The most common misconception you will hear about the Spaniard is that he can be a ‘luxury’, with his lightweight frame giving off the impression he struggles when the going gets tough.
2016 may not have seen Silva guide City to another Premier League title but it has undoubtedly shown how much he can offer in a number of roles.
Played directly behind the striker or out on the left earlier in his City career, Pep Guardiola has adapted Silva’s position to sit closer to the centre of the pitch and it has worked wonders.
The 30-year-old is controlling the tempo of City’s play once again and as his recent performance against Arsenal demonstrated, he can be an inspiration to his teammates.
Rob Pollard - Fernandinho
Fernandinho has been by far City’s most consistent player in 2016 and deserves the accolades now coming his way.
For so long, he’s been an unsung hero, the man whose contribution often goes unnoticed with large swathes of the press and fans of other clubs.
That’s all changed after a magnificent year. He’s now rightly considered the Premier League’s top defensive-midfielder and is a mainstay in Pep Guardiola’s side.
He is perhaps the most complete player in English football. He reads the game brilliantly, which allows him to consistently be in the right place at the right time, making blocks and interceptions that protect the defence.
But he’s so much more than just holding player. He has outstanding technical quality, too, and adds to City’s game in the final third.
An old-fashioned box-to-box type, the likes of which are dying out, Fernandinho has had a vintage year and his elevated status is testament to that.