Men's Team

In numbers: The fine form of Joao Cancelo

Joao Cancelo is a player at the top of his game.

Indeed, it is impossible to overstate his influence on Manchester City in 2021-22, his best campaign in a sky-blue shirt and a season in which he has reinforced his status as one of the best full-backs in the Premier League.

A ‘diamond’ was how Pep Guardiola chose to describe the 27-year-old in November, as he compared him to Bayern Munich and Germany legend Phillipp Lahm, whilst after providing three assists in City’s 4-1 win over Club Brugge, the Catalan lauded his ‘special ability’.

There has been no shortage of praise for Cancelo this season.

Following his superb display in the 4-0 win over Newcastle United, Paul Dickov declared City’s No.27 the best attacking full-back in the world and, with his playmaker like approach to the game, it is easy to see why the Club legend was so effusive with his compliment.

Having arrived at the Etihad Stadium in the summer of 2019, Cancelo came to the fore last season, when his ability to move inside and perform as an auxiliary midfielder proved pivotal as Guardiola guided City to a seventh league title.

In 2021-22, he has enhanced his reputation even further and has been one of the most important players in a side that sits nine points clear at top of the table after 23 games.

Alongside, Bernardo Silva and Ederson, Cancelo has been Guardiola’s most used player in the Premier League this season, making 22 appearances.

No player in the squad has had more touches (2368), taken more shots (46) or made more interceptions (37) and, he has played more passes (1838) than anyone else in the division, with a passing accuracy of 86%.

With five assists to his name already, Cancelo has already eclipsed his tally from last season and ranks second at the Etihad behind Gabriel Jesus (7), whilst only Rodrigo (44) has made more tackles than him (43) for the defending champions.

With more than a third of the campaign left to play, the right-back is also well on course to improve on last season’s goal tally, chances created and the number of duels won.

Much is made of Cancelo’s obvious attacking ability, but he is equally impactful in the defensive side of the game, with his performances, and the numbers behind them, proving how instrumental he is to this City side.