Men's Team

Champions in focus: Jack Grealish

In the latest edition of our series marking City’s 2021/22 Premier League title success, the spotlight is shone upon Jack Grealish.

To help celebrate another memorable campaign, which yielded our sixth Premier League trophy, we take a closer look at the contributions of our City stars.

It was a true team effort with every player producing a significant impact. Today, we analyse the influence of our England winger…

SEASON STATS

Appearances (all competitions): 39
Goals: 6
Assists: 4
Premier League appearances: 26
Cumulative minutes: 2730

SEASON HIGHLIGHT

Having made the move to City from Aston Villa last summer, the England winger enjoyed a fine first season at the Etihad playing a full part in City’s latest title success.

There were a host of impressive individual displays from the 26-year-old across the course of the campaign.

But for impact and importance, Grealish’s display in our 2-2 draw away at West Ham in our penultimate game of the season was impossible to overstate.

City knew a trip to the London Stadium would prove a testing assignment – and a tough task got even more demanding when the Hammers raced into a 2-0 lead at the break thanks to a brace from Jarrod Bowen.

Many sides could have buckled under the scenario. However, City and Grealish summoned up a response befitting of champions.

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Grealish in particular took the game to the hosts, with the winger driving forward at every opportunity.

Four minutes after the restart, Grealish pulled one back, despatching an instinctive volley from Rodrigo’s knockdown that flicked off Craig Dawson’s leg and over Hammers keeper Lukas Fabianski.

Emboldened by that key strike, with Grealish’s left wing forays causing havoc, Guardiola’s side pushed for an equaliser and our pressure paid off when Vladimir Coufal headed Riyad Mahrez’s free-kick beyond the Hammers’ goalkeeper.

Grealish almost won it late on with a terrific shot that Fabianski parried away but in the final reckoning – with City going to claim the title by a single point – his display in the capital in many ways proved season defining.

Overview

Armed with an expensive price tag and subject to intense scrutiny right from the moment he arrived at the Etihad from Aston Villa last August, it would have been easy and understandable if Grealish had wilted under the pressure.

Instead, the England international embraced the expectation that comes with playing for Pep Guardiola’s City.

He was made to feel right at home from day one both by his new teammates and the City fans and quickly warmed to the task.

He found the target on his home debut in our 5-0 Premier League win over Norwich City and Grealish also made his mark in his Champions League bow, scoring a superb goal in our remarkable 6-3 group win over RB Leipzig.

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Allied to his sublime individual skill, Grealish also proved the consummate team player always attuned to the needs of the collective.

As well as being deployed in his traditional role on the left flank, at times Grealish also operated as a false number nine and also operate between the lines to equally impressive effect.

There was no disguising his joy and exuberance in the wake of claiming his first piece of silverware following City’s dramatic title win, ironically clinched against his former Villa team-mates.

What’s more, now fully immersed into the City fold and way of playing after a fine first season, there’s every reason to believe that Grealish is perfectly poised to go from strength-to-strength next term.

What they said

Pep Guardiola: “At Aston Villa he played wide and after he moved wherever he wants and came inside.

"I think he’s the perfect player to play between the lines.

“(He is) so aggressive, he made incredible runners, he dropped the Southampton team to the by line, his decision making is excellent.

“He had two almost clear chances to dribble and shoot that were blocked so I think he played really well.

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“I was so satisfied today for the performance that Jack has done.”

Richard Dunne: You need to be a special player to be part of the best squad in Europe.

“Jack will want to get the fans off their seats and this (the Etihad) will be his playground.

“That’s what he would have wanted - to be involved in some goal action.

“He was in the right place.

"That’s what you need and it’s about understanding what Pep wants and being in the places you need to be.”

 

 

 

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