Ilkay Gundogan deserves player of the season shouts as Man City win again

As Manchester City claimed an 11th win in 13 Premier League games, the praise was once again heaped on a defence that kept yet another clean sheet.

It means City have conceded just twice in those 13 games and they extended their record of having the best defence in the division, while they put Burnley to the sword with two finely worked first half goals from Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling.

But it was once again the performance of German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan that went under the radar, as the 30-year-old grabbed an assist and turned in another masterclass in the centre of the park.

It was the tenth consecutive Premier League start for Gundogan, which is an impressive feat in it’s own right considering Pep Guardiola’s love for rotation – especially in the midfield area. But he has rewarded Guardiola’s loyalty to him with arguably the best run of form of his City career.

He has scored seven goals in those games, plus two assists too to push him up towards the club’s top goalscorers for the season.

But even past his goalscoring contributions, his performances have been in the upper echelons of midfielders across Europe this season.

So far in league games the German international has a 91.3% pass success rate from an average of 64.6 passes per game across 16 appearances. He is keeping the play ticking, ensuring there is a balance to the midfield with Guardiola’s new, more deliberate style of keep ball.

They play a less intense style now, with less emphasis on sprints and even more emphasis on control. It’s something that a man who has obvious physical limitations has dealt with well in the past during his time in Dortmund.

He’s seemingly got over his injury woes from earlier in his career and is now more or less available whenever his manager needs him. That’s a big plus for a manager who rotates so frequently and relies on controlling games with the ball more than anyone else.

Gundogan’s current form has seen City fly up the table and position themselves as favourites to win a third title in four season, and he deserves a big chunk of the credit if they do it.

With no De Bruyne or Aguero, and Sterling blowing hot and cold, it’s Gundogan who has been the main creative spark and he has got Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden playing to his tune to get into form.

When the end of season awards come around, if Manchester City are still in the conversation and Gundogan maintains this sort of level between now and then lets ensure he doesn’t get left out of the conversations for player of the year.

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