Men’s Team

Fourmidables in focus: Ilkay Gundogan

FOURMIDABLE: Ilkay Gundogan celebrates at Brighton.
Ilkay Gundogan was a near-constant presence in Manchester City’s title run-in and here, we take a closer look at his performances from a wonderful campaign…

Squad number: 8

Total appearances: 50

Total goals: 6

Total assists: 8

Premier League appearances: 31

Premier League goals: 6

Premier League assists: 3

Total Premier League passes: 1994

Season’s highlight

He may have scored in a Manchester derby win and rounded off the Premier League season with a sumptuous strike as we clinched the title at Brighton, but it was the 5-0 win over Cardiff City where Gundogan’s star shone brightest.

A hatful of City players impressed that day, but none more so than the German midfielder who turned in a virtuoso display, that showcased everything there is to admire about his game.

His energy and crisp, purposeful passing kept City on the front foot as he initiated the move for Sergio Aguero’s opener and gave Riyad Mahrez the easiest of finishes with a precise cross.

WATCH: Cardiff 0 City 5: Brief highlights

There was a goal, too and what a goal it was.

Playing a neat one-two with Raheem Sterling, Gundogan picked out the top corner with a curling effort from distance to cap a Man of the Match display.

Overview

Gundogan played a large part of the season at the base of City’s midfield, a role that can so often go unnoticed in a glut of goals and silverware.

But the 28-year-old’s contribution to our formidable season was telling, particularly with midfield counterparts Kevin De Bruyne and Fernandinho spending time out with injury.

His metronomic passing is crucial to the way in which Pep Guardiola wants his team to play. He keeps things ticking over, taking the sting out of a game when required, or ratcheting up the tempo and unleashing the attacking talent ahead of him with incisive through balls.

There’s an energy to his play as well – Gundogan is a willing runner, either to add an extra body in the box or to stretch defences.

These efforts don’t always feature in the end of season highlight reels, but that the German missed only one minute of the final 14 Premier League games of the season is testament to the quality he brought to what is a supremely important role in this City team.

WATCH: Every Angle: Ilkay Gundogan v Brighton
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