After Salzburg - Wigan
If you watched the last few minutes of the match against Blackburn last week, you will have witnessed the green shoots of David Silva's career at Eastlands. Twice he shook off his marker and twice he delivered a telling pass that should have been converted into a goal.
On Thursday in the Red Bull Arena, he got himself free of the shackles early on and scored his first meaningful goal for City. Later on he could and should have made it two.
Silva springing into the team is starting to get a bit overdue for me.
Yes the lad did play in the World Cup and his nation got to the final and won. Yes as a result of that he was late joining up with his team mates and missed the pre-season. But with the limited cameos and match time that we have seen, what we have here is a genuine top class footballer who in my opinion is raring to go.
Our press colleagues are busy with more of their ridiculous statements about Silva having not settled in, the Premier League is too tough for him and all the rest of the negatives that will surround an expensive player that hasn't yet found his way into the first team. So is it time for Mancini to unclip the lead? That more teams are going to sit behind the ball against City is clear. That more opposition players are going to adopt a more robust method of tackling is also clear. But Silva has played against the likes of Puyol, who is not known for his subtlety and others from the lower reaches of La Liga who fight for their lives in much the same way.
My own thoughts are that this boy has true talent. We have seen him drift away from his marker and deliver a pass to the 6 yard line that is begging to be tapped into the net. We have seen a player who is different, clearly in the mould perhaps of Fabregas, a player who can create and score.
On the opposite side of this Mancini has persevered with Wright-Phillips and we hear that a new, improved contract looks to be heading his way. What we have also seen is that even after all of these years, he still runs into cul-de-sacs, and still fails to beat the first defender with alarming regularity. Shaun gets into some excellent positions then falls at the final hurdle and with that fall the expectations of that passage of play tends to fall by the wayside.
With Adebayor injured (in the 60s & 70s didn't everybody get a deadleg even during a match from Bremner, Hunter, Harris, Stiles, Doyle et al, and still play on?), Balotelli still some weeks away, Bellamy gone and goals not coming easily for Tevez and Jo, is it not time to change the method of attack slightly and see if we can utilise the skills that David Silva has?
Those of you that read my pieces will recall that I told you last season that what we missed most was the ball into the channels and danger areas that was often provided by Michael Johnson. We spent all of each match 'going round the outside' and teams were able to read us fairly simply.
So here we have the man with the golden key, the man who can slot a telling pass through the tiniest of gaps and on to the toes of the strikers, the man who was bought to be a world-class hero. With Chelsea, Juventus and Newcastle, all footballing teams, on the horizon, the time is right to unleash David Silva and let the footballing world start to try to deal with him.
Trying to select a team for Sunday's match at the DW Stadium is tricky especially with a very comfortable showing in Salzburg and if all of the injured players still can't make it, I'm looking at
Hart: Richards, Toure, Kompany, Zabaleta:
Johnson, De Jong, Toure Yaya, Milner:
Tevez & Silva
This can switch from 4-4-2 to 4-5-1 to 4-3-3 at the drop of a hat. De Jong can hold, Milner can push left and Toure Yaya can play in the Marc Vivien Foe role up and down the field. Zabaleta starts for me because of the injury doubts of Lescott and Bridge and you just know he won't let you down.
That eleven should be hard to break down, can load the edge of the box but can also get forward quickly with a telling pass from Toure Yaya and the energy of Johnson and Milner, leaving Silva to lose his marker and then set up the chances for Tevez and either Johnson or Milner.
I'm not dismissing Wigan Athletic. We have found them difficult to beat especially at their Stadium for many years. Martinez is a footballing coach rather than an anti-footballing coach and his team will be set up to cause us surprises. However if we are to be truse Champions either now or in the future, this is the kind of fixture that needs to be won and won well. Chelsea do that and continue to do that. Arsenal and Stretford may stumble a bit but in general these are matches that they win and are the reasons that they have enjoyed their years of success. City...it is time to deliver!