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Understated, effective and efficient – just a few descriptions that apply to the always excellent Fernandinho.
While City played like a well-oiled machine on so many occasions last season, it was Fernandinho who was the vital component that held everything together.
The dependable Brazilian is calmness personified, unflappable and probably one of the first names on Pep Guardiola’s team-sheet.
His performance levels didn’t waiver from game one to the last match of the season and he is integral to how the Blues operated last season.
Always available as an out for Ederson, City’s play from the back will inevitably involve Fernandinho at some point and he breaks up opposition attacks, starts the Blues moving forward and pops up with the odd goal every now and then.
And at 33, he just seems to be getting better.
It is a mystery for most City fans how the Brazil team doesn’t utilise him in the same way.
His sixth campaign in sky blue and has averaged 46 appearances each season he’s been at the Club – expect more of the same in 2018/19.
After ending the 2016/17 season strongly, there were high hopes Vincent Kompany would continue to have an injury-free run going into the new campaign.
It began well, too, as he featured in the first four Premier League matches before picking up a strain while away on international duty with Belgium.
He returned in mid-November for a run of six games before his bad luck struck again early in City’s 1-0 win at Newcastle in December.
He was back at the start of February and played 11 more times in the games that remained, looking as strong and determined as ever.
In fact, no matter how long the Belgian is out for, he always returns as if he’s never missed a game.
How fitting he should score in City’s 3-0 Carabao Cup win over Arsenal and also thump home a header in the Manchester derby – the game we thought would seal the title – and the fairy tale would have been complete if his goal had won that game.
It didn’t, but he was there to lift his third Premier League title as captain and 21 appearances was his most for three years.
Will he return to Manchester after lifting the World Cup? If England don’t win it, it will be Belgium many City fans want to go on and win the tournament with our skipper lifting the most prized trophy in football.
All the latest from Russia 2018...
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The latest from Russia 2018...