If one looks at all the Premier League title winners, he would find a common trend in most cases. While having a free-scoring striker is not too uncommon for any team in the league, the side that goes all the way has something extra in the locker. That something extra is goals from midfield.
Manchester United had the likes of Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham, Arsenal had Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg and Chelsea had the master of art himself, Frank Lampard. Goals from midfield are absolutely vital when it comes to gaining the decisive edge over one’s opponents during the course of the season. There is no doubt that the strikers need to fire, but if the men in the middle of the park can contribute goals along with controlling the pace of the game, it could make all the difference in the end.
The Yaya Factor:
The impact that Yaya Toure had in Manchester City’s title-winning sides from both 2012 and 2014 was immense. Last season, he was arguably their best player. With 20 goals in the Premier League alone, he became only the second midfielder after Lampard in 2010 to reach that mark. He not only scored lots of goals, but important ones as well, often proving the difference in big games with his powerful displays.
The Ivorian is a more than a handful for most sides on his day, as he has the unique combination of brute strength and silky skill. He is capable of scoring howitzers from long-range, along with aesthetically beautiful strikes that are extremely pleasing to the eye. His dominating style-of-play helps City have complete control in midfield, and the opposition can hardly get a foot-hold in the game when he is at his best.
Concerning dip in form:
This season though, Toure is having his worst campaign in a City shirt. After going goalless for 6 weeks, he finally opened his account at Villa Park a couple of weeks back. His performances though, have been quite ordinary. His lacklustre forward play coupled with his hesitance to track back to help out the defence has been all too evident this season. This comes after a summer where there were several speculations of Toure being unhappy at the Etihad, due to a bizarre incident where the club failed to get him a cake for his birthday.
City’s Other Options:
Toure’s dip in form though hasn’t allowed City to lose their way in the title race thus far. Despite the 32 year-old’s fallacies, Manuel Pellegrini’s men find themselves in a good position in the league, second only to high-flying Chelsea. Where Toure has failed, several others have come to the fore. David Silva has had an outstanding season, while their top-scorer from midfield has been, ironically, Frank Lampard, who is on-loan from New York City following his departure from Chelsea last season.
It is only a matter of time though, before the major goalscoring responsibility from midfield will have to be shouldered by Toure. Lampard’s loan-term will end in January, while Silva, despite his fantastic ability on the ball, will never be a serial goalscoring threat.
As the saying goes, ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’. If there is anyone in the Premier League that is the epitome of the word tough, it is Yaya Toure. It will not be surprising to see him back to bossing the midfield before too long and getting on the scoresheet on a regular basis.