Manchester City’s romp to a third Premier League title in five seasons under Pep Guardiola has been delivered by a squad that is the envy of world football.
While City’s domination has been built on a superb team ethos with Guardiola reluctant to pick out individuals, the contributions of a few have been key.
Here are five players who have been instrumental in helping City reclaim the title.
When City broke their transfer record to sign the Portugal defender from Benfica for 64 million pounds ($90.59 million) it seemed like a huge amount for a 23-year-old who had never played in one of Europe’s strongest leagues.
But he has proven a sound investment. Despite his age, Dias is a leader like former City captain and defender Vincent Kompany. Strong, agile and composed on the ball, Dias has taken fellow centre back John Stones under his wing, despite being younger, helping the England player reach a new level.
KEVIN DE BRUYNE
There is little more that can be said about Belgian dynamo De Bruyne who has again helped conduct the City orchestra with a panache that has the purists purring.
He has missed games through injury this season but has still scored five goals and managed 11 assists, although his value to the team goes way beyond raw statistics.
With the club’s record scorer Sergio Aguero struggling with injury and illness and Raheem Sterling for form, experienced Germany midfielder Gundogan’s unlikely goal spree proved invaluable in the middle of the season.
The 30-year-old is City’s leading scorer in the league this season with 12 goals, including a spell of 10 in 10 games as City began to hit their stride.
Gundogan is better-known as a holding midfielder but Guardiola has pushed him further forward in this campaign to fill the void left by David Silva’s departure and was rewarded in a way he could hardly have expected.
The Algerian has sometimes struggled to reach the heights he achieved during Leicester City’s incredible title season since joining City, but this season Mahrez has produced the consistency and impact that Guardiola demands.
Blessed with an elegance and flair, Mahrez, now 30, has also played with a swagger this season, producing big performances in some of City’s biggest games, including both goals to confirm their place in the Champions League final.
Guardiola carefully managed Foden’s emergence as one of England’s most exciting talents when many were demanding that the youth-team graduate should be a regular.
This season, Guardiola has used the precociously talented 20-year-old mainly on the left side of City’s attack, and the player’s vision and movement has added another dimension to their forward play.
He has scored 14 goals in all competitions and is also in double figures in assists.
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