David Silva: Is He the Best Player in the English Premier League?

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David Silva: Is He the Best Player in the English Premier League?
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

When Manchester City first bought David Silva from Valencia in the summer of 2010, I was excited.

Silva struck me as a dynamic player on the wing who not only had the vision of a central midfielder, but the boot and touch of a striker, as well. I expected him to line up alongside Adam Johnson on separate wings to deliver service to Emmanuel Adebayor and Carlos Tevez.

To my surprise, it turned out that Silva would play in a role behind a centre forward—the position that he has excelled at in his City career. Yet I personally believe that the first part of his city career was a disappointment.

Apart from an excellent strike against Salzburg in the Champions League, I never saw Silva as a world-class player or as someone who could take a game by the scruff of the neck.

How wrong I was.

In every game he played in the second half (and throughout the first half as well), Silva became a better player, and at the start of the 2011-12 season, he had become a legend in the eyes of the City faithful thanks to his immense skill at passing, picking out players, navigating his way out of trouble, and most of all, in setting up great opportunities for his teammates.

Now as I write this in October of the 2011-12 season, David Silva has become the best player in the Premier League.

As with any player moving to a different country, Silva took a few weeks to adapt to the tougher and faster EPL game, but within a few months he looked like he’d been playing in the EPL for years.

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With City again having title aspirations, Silva has become the gem of the side.

He’s the playmaker, always involved in goal opportunities and consistently making key passes to put his teammates in great positions.

With only eight games played in this young season, Silva looks like the class of the league, and his play has propelled The Citizens to the top of the table.

He has formed instant chemistry with new boy Sergio Aguero and built upon what he already had with Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli. His sublime passes and his ability to see which of the strikers he’s playing with has the best chance to score is why the three strikers have scored a combined 17 goals to start the season.

He’s second in the league behind teammate Samir Nasri with five assists this season, but regardless of that stat, nearly every goal City have scored this year has in some way or form involved Silva.

He has also netted twice in his impressive campaign.

So we’ve established that he is the key man in the multi-millionaire Man City squad and that his play is fundamental to the team's success.

We’ve also established he has amazing passing ability, vision and touch, which are attributes which make him one of the league’s best players.

However, when I make the statement, “David Silva is the best player in the EPL,” I’m sure to meet some resistance.

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
A typical Silva play using his excellent technique to get out of trouble

But my response is: “Who is better than Silva, and are they as important to their team as ‘Merlin’ is?”

Immediately you’ll hear the usual suspects: Rooney, Lampard, Gerrard, Modric, etcetera—but are they really better than Silva?

Wayne Rooney is (when he’s on form) probably the best striker in the league.  He has all the skills a center forward would want and he’s clinical in front of goal.

But my problems with Rooney are simple.

For one, he’s too inconsistent. Last year he scored a pitiful 17 goals—an amount which is nowhere near as many as you’d expect from the best striker in the league.

Second, he struggles with discipline. His recent sending off in an England game with Montenegro is another instance of how he can’t keep his cool under pressure—something Silva can do.

Silva has a near perfect disciplinary record, and makes the headlines for his skill on the pitch rather than his bad temper.

Finally, he is not the playmaker Silva is. Sure, he can create his own goals, but his nine this season have mostly come from tap-ins set up by the other talented players around him, such as Luis Nani. He may score a lot of goals, but he doesn’t have the creativity of Silva.

It’s the same with other players. Luka Modric is extremely talented, but he doesn’t have the same impact that Silva does, and neither do Gerrard or Lampard. Those two have become role players who, whilst talented, are used more to back up the Suarezes and Torreses of their teams.

You could say the same about Silva, but he has more of an effect on the game than Lampard or Gerrard ever do.

In fact, Silva's closest competitor (and the man from whom he took the crown) has left the EPL for Catalan.

Before last season, I would have said the league’s top player was easily Cesc Fabregas.

This year, Silva would have given him a good run for his money, especially with how well he has got City playing, but I would probably still have given Fabregas the crown.

But with Fabregas heading back to Barcelona, Silva’s ascension to league’s best player is left unimpeded.

Simply put, Silva is oozing with talent as a playmaker behind the striker, and his incredible abilities in vision, awareness, touch, passing and shooting are what make him the key component to an uber-talented Manchester City team.

There is no one who can compare with how Silva runs a game and the pure talent he possesses, and if he continues his form for the rest of the season, there will be no debate as to who is the Premier League’s best player.

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