Foden Shines in the Absence of Haaland & De Bruyne

Phil Foden’s outstanding performance against Aston Villa was a reminder of his importance to Manchester City. With Kevin de Bruyne and Erling Haaland on the bench, Foden assumed the role of City’s inspiration, scoring a hat-trick and providing an assist in a superb 4-1 win. This section will discuss the significance of Foden’s performance and his role in Guardiola’s team in the absence of big players.

‘With big players absent, Guardiola looks for others to step up’

Guardiola’s decision to leave out De Bruyne and Haaland was surprising given the quality of  opposition in Villa. However, Foden’s virtuoso performance in the number 10 role justified Guardiola’s decision. Foden’s hat-trick came in all shapes, from a clever low free-kick to a smooth low finish, before a fitting final flourish with a powerful strike.

Guardiola looks for other players to step up when big players are absent; Foden assumed the role with ease and inspired City. The 23-year-old has always had goals in his game, but this was his second hat-trick of the season after scoring three in City’s win at Brentford. His overall tally of 21 goals from midfield is hugely impressive and the best of his career.

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‘He can do whatever he wants’

Foden was the key component in City’s return to form, deserving every decibel of the rousing standing ovation he received when he was substituted with 10 minutes to go. Guardiola pointed out that Foden did not start well, but he could not argue with how he finished. Foden is a really top-class player who is still open-minded and has to understand some parts of the game. However, his work ethic is unbelievable, and he is so special, especially when playing in that central position.

Former England forward Theo Walcott praised Foden’s development, stating that he has learned from Bernardo Silva, David Silva, Pep Guardiola, and Kevin de Bruyne. At the tender age of 23, Foden is one of the best players in the Premier League, playing like a 30-year-old, and his extraordinary talent is even more special because he has grown up in the city with the academy.

De Bruyne and Haaland will return soon enough, but Foden’s contribution and influence could be of equal significance if City is to win a sixth title in seven seasons.

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