Manchester City midseason review: The midfield is still strong but the reliance on Rodri is evident

Up next in the Manchester City midseason review series is a look at the champion’s midfield. Pep Guardiola’s side has been strong in the middle of the pitch again this season. The group is developing with new faces featuring in midfield and a returning legend adding more firepower to treble winners midfield. There has been an over-reliance on Rodri at times but as a whole, the Manchester City midfield is a strength of the world champions. Here’s a look at how they have performed through the first half of the season.

Rodri needs support but the Manchester City midfield is still strong

Coming into the season it had been a summer of change in City’s midfield. Only Ilkay Gundogan departed the club from the champion’s midfield brigade but such was his influence it would take a team effort to replace his sizable contribution. Mateo Kovacic and Matheus Nunes were brought in last summer to replace the former captain. There was also the injury to Kevin De Bruyne on the opening day which cost the champions their legendary midfielder for 5 months of the season. It would require a team effort or players to step up to cover the loss of two key pillars from last season’s success.

One such player to step up in midfield has been Phil Foden. City’s academy poster boy has long been destined for a midfield role and this season has seen him blossom in the role. Foden became a key piece of Pep Guardiola’s team and his new role has seen him show the prodigious talent he has. Playing centrally has seen him become a key player and develop into the player he seemed destined to become. His form from the FIFA Club World Cup until the winter break was possibly the best of his career. His development coupled with Kevin De Bruyne’s return from injury opens up a frightening proposition for City’s opponents in the second half of the season.

Mateo Kovacic has also been a shrewd addition to the City midfield. He began the season in fine form and his class was evident. A series of injuries slowed his promising start but he returned to his best form before the midseason break. City’s other midfield signing Matheus Nunes has shown snippets of his quality in his start to life at the treble winners. His performance against Urawa Red Diamonds in the FIFA Club World Cup semi-final showed what type of player he could become for the world champions.

An overreliance on Rodri has stood out at times for the European champions. They lost all four games their midfield general has missed due to suspension. Premier League defeats to Wolves, Arsenal and Aston Villa all came with Rodri suspended. They also lost to Newcastle in the Carabao Cup third round without the Spanish international. With Kalvin Phillips unable to make the backup to Rodri’s position his own it does leave City needing someone to step up when he’s unavailable.

Midfielder of the season so far

It would be a toss-up between two players for the champions midfielder of the season so far. Rodri has been exceptional again and his importance to Pep Guardiola’s side can’t be ignored. Mateo Kovacic has been a crucial addition and Bernardo Silva has been brilliant when he plays in midfield. Rico Lewis has also shone on the occasions he has stepped into midfield. His performance against RB Leipzig in City’s 3-1 win in Germany showed just how good a player he is and could develop into

But the midfielder of the season so far has to be Phil Foden. As mentioned previously his game has matured this season and he has become a key player for the champions this season. His contribution has been of immense value to Manchester City as his game develops.


The Manchester City midfield is still a strength of the treble winners. This season has seen players step up and develop to fill the void left by Gundogan’s departure and De Bruyne’s injury. With Kevin De Bruyne now back from injury and appearing hungry to make up for lost time the European champion’s midfield will have a big say in how the second half of the season pans out for Pep Guardiola’s side.

Tags Bernardo Silva European Champions FIFA Club World Cup Ilkay Gundogan Kalvin Phillips Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City Mateo Kovacic Matheus Nunes Pep Guardiola Phil Foden RB Leipzig Rico Lewis Rodri Treble winners World champions