Published on March 16th, 2014 | by Ian Cheeseman


City’s Silva lining after the disappointments of the Cups

I’ve recently described a couple of Vincent Kompany’s performances as 10/10 ers, but David Silva at Hull City produced an 11/10. Everyone has seen, during his years in sky blue, that he is a magnificent player, Merlin the magician, who sets the tempo; the heartbeat of the team.

At Hull, even the mercurial Spaniard seemed to find another gear, when bad luck struck the Blues.

Kompany was probably fouled before he reacted by pulling back Jelavic (who’s punching of the air when the referee brandished a red card was utterly wrong). Though the original foul was wrongly ignored, Kompany’s reaction came from a fierce will to win, and probably a sense of injustice, but he shouldn’t have done it (easy for me to say when watching rather than in the thick of the action!). His reaction in the tunnel was borne of frustration.

What happened next was more than simply impressive. The already amazing David Silva, went from top gear into turbo charge and he produced a moment of brilliance that, just four minutes after the red card, put City back on track for the title. His goal was sublime. It was not only timely, but the accuracy and bend on the shot meant it was unstoppable. Could that goal, could Silva’s wonderful performance, have kick started City’s season, just at the right time.

Two Cup exits in a week, no matter how good the players are, and no matter how it’s played down, could have led the Blues on a downward spiral (relatively speaking) but after a brightish start by Jelavic and co, that goal deflated them and breathed new energy into the blues.

Orchestrated by Silva, City kept possession and zipped the ball around like they did during the best moments of the season, so far.

There were many talking points from this game. As I sit here writing this blog, I still haven’t seen the “horror” tackle on Silva, that so many fans have discussed. I saw the challenge, in real time, from the press box, but no replay and it wasn’t shown on Match of the Day. I saw a still picture, which looked awful, and I’ve no doubt it was a horror tackle and should have been a red for the culprit, simply from what I’ve been told.

It’s ironic that those who watched the game on TV saw it better than those of us inside the KC Stadium.

It wasn’t just the David Silva show, of course, football isn’t about just one player, and the contribution of Fernandinho should also be recorded with merit.

Javi Garcia is much improved, and seems to have won over his doubters in recent weeks, maybe he’s just needed some time to adjust. As a defensive midfielder, he holds his position very well, and he’s now up to speed with the Premier League.

I was offered the chance to interview him in the aftermath of this vital win, just after he’d spoken to the club website. As he was being brought towards me by the club press officer, I could see him shaking his head. He was worried about doing another interview in English, and by the time he reached me I could hear him saying his head ached from speaking English. I encouraged him by assuring him we’d understand his limitations, and he gave it a go.

“For me, it’s so important to speak with people, with my team mates. At the beginning it was so difficult, when I went to the training ground to joke with my team mates, it was so difficult, but now I feel better, I can speak a little bit with my friends and I think when you feel good off the pitch you feel better on the pitch.”

Sometimes, maybe, we forget what a big adjustment these young men have to make with the language and culture of such a life changing move from one country to the other. We assume that being wealthy and successful makes them immune to such seismic changes, and of course some deal with it better than others. Maybe Garcia will now come more and more into his own.

He has a few Spanish speakers around him, of course, not least the Wizard of Manchester City, David Silva.

Maybe we’ll look back on how City responded to the “crisis” moment, when down to ten men with eighty minutes to play at Hull, just like we do the defeat at Arsenal and dismissal of Mario Balotelli in 2012, the turning point in a title winning season. If it does prove the case, let’s never forget this David Silva wonder show, that got the Blues back on track.

You can hear my interview with Javi Garcia in this week’s Blue Tuesday on BBC Radio Manchester from 6pm – if you can’t listen live it will be available as a podcast on the BBC Website.

– Ian Cheeseman

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