Commentary

The key to Man City victory

David Silva and the underrated value in making the short pass

Updated: March 30, 2012, 11:20 AM ET
By Albert Larcada | ESPN Insider
SilvaLaurence Griffiths/Getty ImagesDavid Silva is imperative to Manchester City's shot at a Premier League title.

Manchester City will host Sunderland on Saturday, trailing rivals Man United by three points with eight matches remaining in the race for its first Premier League title. United's next four matches are all against teams in the bottom six of the table, meaning City may need the full three points every time to keep pace until it faces United in late April.

Fortunately, City has accumulated a large stockpile of talent for the occasion. City is the only Premier League squad that has three players with more than 10 goals, and that does not include last season's leading scorer Carlos Tevez who is back and in form. Midfielder Yaya Toure plays a very unique role for City with his powerful runs through the middle. Joe Hart has become one of the world's top goalkeepers. The list goes on and on.

That being said, most agree City's tall championship hopes rely on its 5-foot-7 midfielder David Silva. Silva has been the attacking engine for City ever since he left Valencia before the start of last season. His stats are impressive. Along with leading the team in most passing categories, he leads the league in passes completed in the attacking third and is second in the underrated statistic of completed through balls.

Albert Larcada is an Analytics Specialist in ESPN's Stats & Information group. Among other analytics projects, he maintains, advances and writes about ESPN's Soccer Power Index (SPI) algorithm.