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Fourmidables in focus: Riyad Mahrez

Silky skills and an impressive goals and stats record... we spotlight Riyad Mahrez's first season at the Etihad...

Squad number: 26

Total appearances: 44

Premier League appearances: 27

Total Premier League passes: 798

Premier League tackles: 14

Premier League goals: 7

Premier League assists: 4

Total goals: 12

Total assists: 11

Season’s highlight

It was largely a season of adjustment for former PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez.

Fitting into a well-oiled machine is never easy and Mahrez had to be patient in his first campaign with the Premier League champions.

In fact, when Pep Guardiola named him in his starting line-up in the final league game of the season at Brighton, it was something of a surprise.

 

PURPLE PATCH: Mahrez celebrates his third goal in two games

 

It proved to be an inspired move.

Mahrez's deep corner was headed home by Aymeric Laporte to give the Blues a 2-1 half-time lead at the Amex, but there was still plenty of work to do.

Then, with 63 minutes on the clock, David Siva played a short pass to Mahrez on the edge of the Seagulls' box - the Algerian feigned a shot, sending Lewis Dunk sliding in the other direction, before sending a powerful rising shot into the top right-hand corner of the net from 20 yards.

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READ: Fourmidables in focus: David Silva

It gave City a two-goal cushion and vital breathing space.

It was the moment we'd all been waiting for and it sealed the man-of-the-match honours for this most gifted footballer.

 

THUNDERBOLT: Riyad Mahrez fires in City's third against Brighton

Every Angle

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Every Angle: Riyad Mahrez v Brighton

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Overview

While Mahrez would be the first to admit that City fans haven't seen him at his very best yet, he could also point to Bernardo Silva's first campaign at the Etihad compared with his second.

While Bernardo gradually found his feet and continually stressed he hadn't shown his best form yet, his second season with the Blues was superb.

Can Mahrez follow suit?

Almost certainly. Despite the fact he only started 14 Premier League games, he came off the bench many times and was a regular starter in the Blues' hunt for domestic silverware in the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and also in the Champions League.

And his stats in the matches he did play are extremely impressive.

 

MAIDEN GOAL: Riyad Mahrez scores away to Cardiff

 

He was City's fifth top scorer with 12 goals in all competitions and fifth in the assists list with 11 - that is almost identical to the Club's Player of the Season Bernardo and an indication of his potential contribution to this team.

There were flashes of brilliance here and there, but next season he will have a much better understanding of his team-mates and vice-versa.

So, while he didn't quite reach the heights of his title-winning season with Leicester in his first year at the Etihad, expect him to be somewhere near that level in 2019/20.

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