By 90Min
November 07, 2017

It's understandable that so many plaudits have gone the way of Manchester City's rampant attack so far this season.

When you boast a stat of 38 goals from just 11 league games and 52 in all competitions, credit is always going to go the way of those that contribute directly to those goals - Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero have all been in dazzling form so far.

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But there's a player in Pep Guardiola's ranks who continually goes under the radar. Not in a 'doesn't do anything to influence the game' kind of way. On the contrary, Fernando Luiz Roza, known to Premier League fans and City supporters as Fernandinho, is a vital cog in the machine for the Citizens.

The Brazilian is arguably the least glamorous name on the teamsheet, despite hailing from the same country as the likes of highly skilled stars such as Neymar and Philippe Coutinho, but is one of the most important people to pull on a sky blue jersey every week.

Fernandinho is the glue that holds the team together, and is absolutely crucial in allowing Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva to burst forward from the midfield trident. His defensive discipline is well-documented now, but his attributes do not stop there.

The £34m bargain buy from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013 has added a new dimension to his game under Guardiola. Goalkeeper Ederson has received a lot of plaudits for his distribution which are warranted, but often he simply finds Fernandinho in full confidence that his compatriot will be able to pop it off and build a new attack.

The star does not get any credit for doing this, but it's actually more difficult than it looks. His role here is so crucial to the team - one wrong move from him and it could allow the opposition in on goal, such is the way City like to take risks from the back, but 95% of the time Fernandinho can be trusted to excel under pressure.

It would actually be a disservice to him to say that's where it stops, because there is yet another superb dimension to his game that has come about as a result of working with Guardiola - supporting higher up the pitch.

As was evident at the weekend against Arsenal, Fernandinho provides additional support to those City attackers who get all the credit by actually getting forward. His one-two with De Bruyne for the Belgian's opener at the Etihad was fantastic, and there wasn't much the Gunners could do about it - his presence in the final third often gives teams too much to think about. It has actually seen him table a couple of goals and three assists in the Premier League so far.

Even when it goes wrong and an attack fizzles out, it doesn't matter too much because the 32-year-old's defensive instincts kick in and his transition from attack back to defensive happens in the blink of an eye.

He has gone up another level this season, and even before a ball was kicked he probably held the title of 'most underrated' player in the Premier League - it's time this incredible all-rounder was acknowledged in the same way as his headline-stealing teammates.

City are rumoured to be on the brink of securing his services for another year which is the news fans are all waiting on, but one thing's for sure - people talk about the inevitable difficulties facing the club when it's time for Silva to leave, but they will have a supremely difficult task in trying to replace Fernandinho when he eventually moves on.

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