The ‘tiki-taka’ revolution was in full swing this season, as Manchester City romped to an impressive Premier League and Carabao Cup double with Pep Guardiola lapping up all the plaudits and rightly so.
While the Catalan tactician deserves the acclaim that comes his way, some of his players had their most impressive seasons till date and the fact that they dominated the PFA Team of the Year comes as no surprise.
Who were their top five performers, though?
A deceptively simple question, considering the fact that the Sky Blues broke umpteen records en route to the league title and while they did eventually come short in Europe, it was an outstanding campaign nonetheless.
Without further ado, here are The Statesman’s top five players from the Citizens’ imperious 2017-18 squad:
#5 David Silva
Compared to the rest of his teammates, David Silva’s offensive contributions (nine goals and 11 assists in all competitions) may not seem outstanding, but Él Mago has been key to City’s dominance this season, of that there is no doubt.
In his eight season at the Etihad Stadium, the 32-year-old’s rediscovered top form and some of his goals can undoubtedly be classified as clutch.
The Spaniard’s personal issues have now come into the light and make his performances even more remarkable, it must be said.
The diminutive maestro’s unlocked many a defence with his craft at the death, effectively being the difference between a frustrating draw and a scintillating win.
#4 Leroy Sane
Between City’s terrific wingers, it’s difficult to pick a winner but Sane just about edges Raheem Sterling to make the top-five.
Considering Sterling’s excellent form in front of goal (22 strikes compared to Sane’s 14), this may seem strange but football is so much more than mere statistics.
Sane’s terrorised defences with his pace and dribbling skills, but while’s been prolific in front of goal, the German’s been no slouch when it comes to setting up a teammate, as his tally of 14 assists in all competitions suggests.
At 22, Sane can only improve and on the back of his 2017-18 season form, it seems he’ll be challenging the likes of Neymar and Eden Hazard before long.
Out of all of City’s recruits this season, Ederson has been the most impressive one by a country mile and that’s saying something for arguably none of them failed to live up to expectations (except the injured Benjamin Mendy and the underperforming Danilo of course).
How often did the calamitous Claudio Bravo scupper City’s chances last season?
Ask any Sky Blues fan and they will just shake their head in dismay and wistfully think what might have been had Ederson arrived at the Etihad a year earlier.
Ederson’s speed off his line has enable Pep Guardiola’s team to play a high line, a vital factor in their unforeseen dominance this season.
He’s been exceedingly brave, is second only to Manchester United custodian David de Gea in terms of clean sheets and his distribution has been top-class.
The unsung hero in City’s lineup, Fernandinho has been outstanding in almost every single game this season.
He’s done the ‘dirty work’ without much fuss and enabled his more offensive minded teammates to do their thing up top.
On current form, the South American is the best defensive midfielder in the English top-flight and considering that the likes of Nemanja Magic (Manchester United) and N’Golo Kante (Chelsea) ply their trade in England as well, that’s high praise indeed but Guardiola has echoed that sentiment on a number of occasions.
Why he didn’t make the PFA Team of the Year is a head-scratcher, especially as there was no enforcer in that lineup.
At 32, he’s still going strong and the fact that whenever he’s not been playing, City have looked vulnerable just tells you how good the Brazilian hardman is.
#1 Kevin De Bruyne
There was never any doubt over who would be the No.1, was there?
While he may well end up as runner up to a certain Egyptian in the PFA Player of the Year award, that shouldn’t take anything away from the Belgian’s marvellous personal season.
The ability and desire were always there, but it’s safe to say that the Belgian maestro has elevated his game and has emerged as a focal point of City’s attacks in what has been an outstanding campaign for the club.
Topping the assist charts with 15 chalked up already, De Bruyne has put the rest of the Premier League’s creative forces in the shade with his all-round displays as he has run himself into the ground and can truly be called a modern-day midfield general.
With 11 strikes to his name, De Bruyne’s been in fine fettle when it comes to finding the back of the net, but the fact that the Belgian relishes the defensive responsibly, instead of shirking it, is what truly sets him apart from the rest.