Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Silva: Bergkampesque

With Van Persie reaching a hundred Arsenal goals at the weekend, he invites comparison to another great Dutchman who played in North London- Dennis Bergkamp.

But it was a player in blue who reminded me of Bergkamp this weekend.

David Silva was paid an unwanted compliment by Everton manager David Moyes. The Scot tasked Jack Rodwell with following the Spaniard around the pitch, in an attempt to upset Manchester City's rhythm. To an extent, it worked- the match was tight, and the home side huffed and puffed, but eventually a deflected Balotelli shot broke the deadlock.

Then, in stoppage time, with Everton chasing the game, a poor pass gifted the ball to Silva, in space at last. He ran briefly at the exposed Everton rearguard, paused, turned and waited for the run of Milner, before flicking an exquisitely weighted through ball with the outside of his left boot. Milner could shoot first time, and managed to poke the ball through Howard for 2-0.

In his expert shielding of the ball, while waiting for the right moment to play the pass, he reminded me of Bergkamp's famous, audacious assist for Freddie Ljungberg against Juventus in 2001. The technique and weight of the pass brought memories of the non-flying Dutchman's amazing through ball to set up Vieira at Stamford Bridge in 2004.

I have to admit that when I saw Silva in Spain's team during Euro 2008, I thought of him as one of the weaker links in a very strong side, someone who finished off the moves of more talented players, but could never influence a game like Iniesta or Xavi or Fabregas. I thought of him as a sort of Luis Garcia figure- a midfield goal threat who would give the ball away a lot with ineffective flicks and tricks, but make up for that by getting on the score sheet.

I was wrong. He is thriving for City in a more central, playmaking role. He is one of the outstanding players in the Premiership at the moment. And if there is one criticism of his game, it's that he is actually not the goal threat I initially thought he was.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thought the exact same of Silva in that he was poor for Spain but the Luis Garcia comparison looked spot on till now...