Buxton: Silva glitters in Man City's EPL title charge
Sizzling Spaniard is writing himself into club folklore
David Silva is Manchester City's very own Invisible Man.
His presence has regularly been felt but rarely appreciated or acknowledged.
Like the fictional character that fans so often reference at the Etihad Stadium, the winger is not really here.
However, the Spaniard's inspirational performance in their 4-0 win over Swansea City yesterday morning (Singapore time) should finally draw more attention to his sustained brilliance.
The victory also took Pep Guardiola's side to a record-breaking 15th successive English Premier League win for the season.
Belatedly stepping out of the shadows at the Liberty Stadium with two goals and a Man-of-the-Match performance, Silva is finally beginning to receive his dues after almost a decade as a perennially silent partner for both club and country.
When Spain won the European Championship in 2008, their first major silverware in decades, he found himself overshadowed by the respective firepower of Fernando Torres and David Villa.
Four years later, his contribution of two goals and three assists as Spain retained their crown was deemed secondary to Andres Iniesta.
The 31-year-old's contribution to City clinching the EPL title on the final day of 2011/12 was also largely airbrushed from history, even if supporters continue to think otherwise.
Sergio Aguero's timely goal remains immortalised, as does Vincent Kompany's leadership as both captain and an uncompromising centre back, while Yaya Toure is hailed as a similarly robust midfield anchor that was able to spearhead attacks as much as he prevented them.
Two years later, he was overshadowed again at a time when City's midfield took centre-stage, with Toure and Fernandinho both topping the scoring charts as they pipped Liverpool to the Premiership title.
Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne and, to a slightly lesser extent, Aguero, are threatening to overshadow Silva, as Guardiola continues to lead them to an inevitable third crown.
But, consistency remains Silva's greatest commodity when his teammates are guilty of wavering.
Where Aguero has suffered a dip in form, Kompany has wrestled with injuries and Toure has struggled to comprehend not being presented with a birthday cake, Silva has never showed any signs of allowing either his on-field performances or overall mentality to be impaired.
There has also never been any doubts as to where his future lies.
The only questions have arisen of City's hierarchy and when they would put forward the offer of new contracts.
Guardiola considers his compatriot to be the perfect player; on par with Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez, the kingpins of his all-conquering Barcelona side.
Had he taken former Valencia boss Unai Emery's advice in 2010, the stars may have aligned at the Nou Camp instead.
But Silva would be wasted on both Barca and La Liga.
He has continually defied the EPL's status quo that cultured playmakers cannot endure its physicality, let alone last the distance.
MEMORIES OF KINKLADZE
Not since Georgi Kinkladze have City boasted a player with such magic in his boots.
For three years, the little Georgian captivated the hearts of supporters and claimed opposing defenders as personal scalps in equal measure, during what proved to be a fallow period in their history.
Oasis icon Noel Gallagher ranked Kinkladze as the greatest player he had ever seen in a sky-blue shirt.
But, even one half of Manchester's greatest musical export has finally changed his tune. He now believes Silva should go down as City's undisputed greatest-ever player.
On the continuing evidence, few would disagree with him.
Guardiola demands no let-up from history-making Citizens
Pep Guardiola has demanded no let-up from his history-making Manchester City side after a record-breaking 15th consecutive EPL win.
Guardiola paid tribute to his table-toppers after they beat Swansea City 4-0 yesterday morning (Singapore time) to set a new English top-flight record for straight victories.
Their win in South Wales eclipsed Arsenal's record of 14 consecutive wins in the top division, set across two seasons in 2002, and Guardiola said his players were in no mood to stop.
"I am so happy because our job depends on if we win so, if we win, we are so happy," said the City manager, whose side remain 11 points clear.
"In history, there were amazing teams like Liverpool in the '80s and Manchester United with Sir Alex Ferguson or Chelsea with Jose Mourinho. There were some amazing teams.
"But we are the first ones to win 15 in a row. If we win the title, it will just be a record and this record will be broken, but of course, it will not be easy.
"Because 15 games in a row in the Premier League in this period is really complicated."
It means a lot in the faith and desire to win again and again and again.City manager Pep Guardiola, on his side claiming several last-gasp winners
City have required late winners in several of their victories, but Guardiola said that simply reflected their desire to win.
"Of course, we were lucky in some moments and we scored in the last minutes, I remember at Bournemouth for example," he said.
"But it means a lot in the faith and desire to win again and again and again.
"We are going to try not to stop, to show that feeling to the fans, so when they watch us they know the guys want to win again and again and again. We want to try to maintain it as much as possible."
The City manager also hailed Spanish midfielder David Silva's newly acquired taste for goals after four in his last three games.
"He is a real leader in terms of never hiding on the pitch and I am so, so happy because I spoke with him many times and said, 'You have to score goals'.
"Because he has absolutely everything, but sometimes he was thinking more about the pass and now in the last games, at West Ham, it was a winning goal and again at Old Trafford.
"He is a star, but now he is enjoying scoring goals.
"That is so important because we cannot just depend on Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero." - AFP
Man City, Man United given more time to explain bust-up
The English Football Association has given Manchester United and Manchester City two extra days to explain the ugly post-match scenes at Old Trafford on Sunday.
City's mass celebrations after the 2-1 win drew an irate Jose Mourinho to their dressing room, which escalated into a brawl between both sides.
United are understood to have taken exception to how their visitors conducted themselves, although Guardiola believes their celebrations were not excessive.
The clubs now have until 2am tomorrow morning (Singapore time) to respond. - AFP