In the absence of Sergio Aguero and a mere four goals to Gabriel Jesus‘ name in the Premier League this season, more emphasis has been placed on Manchester City’s midfield, with İlkay Gündoğan recently emerging as a fine yet unexpected scorer of goals.
The Germany international has found the net 11 times this season and has a further two assists in 18 Premier League appearances, with his goal contributions coinciding with a turn of fortunes for the Blue side of Manchester.
Manchester City’s Goalscoring Midfielder İlkay Gündoğan Thriving Once More
İlkay Gündoğan Thriving in This Season’s Premier League
What makes Gündoğan’s form even more impressive is the fact that he did not score in his opening six games of the season, meaning he has scored 11 goals in his last 12 Premier League outings.
Additionally, he has scored three more goals in these last 12 games than he had scored in the past two years, highlighting just how brilliant this recent goalscoring record actually is.
To put this all into perspective, only Mohamed Salah has a superior minutes per goal record from those who have scored more than five Premier League goals this season. And whilst the Golden Boot may seem a step too far, Gündoğan is well on his way to becoming Manchester City’s first midfield Golden Boot winner since Elano in the 2007/08 campaign. However, the Brazilian only scored ten goals that season, with Gündoğan already surpassing that total.
No Striker, No Problem – Up Steps Gündoğan and Gang
In recent years, there has been increasing speculation around how Manchester City will adapt when Sergio Aguero departs, and it seems that those questions are already being answered. The Argentine has accumulated just 140 minutes of Premier League football in his tenth season with the club, scoring 256 goals in the process and is now regarded as one of the best players to ever grace the top flight of English football.
Aguero’s absence has subsequently opened the door for the club’s midfielders to add to their respective goal tallies, with the Argentine forward no longer needed to finish off the scintillating attacking moves that City continue to put together.
Naturally, it was expected that Jesus would fill the void left when Aguero eventually departs, but on occasions when the pair have both been unavailable, City have coped just fine. Despite not being out and out forwards, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden have also reached double figures in all competitions this season, with the pair both being used in a central striking role in recent matches.
Strong Spine Allows Gündoğan More Attacking Freedom
As impressive as City have been going forward of late, the club have defensively never looked stronger. John Stones and Rúben Dias have instantaneously formed a formidable partnership since the Portuguese central defender arrived from Benfica in September of last year. The defensive duo have started 14 games together this season, winning 13 out of them and conceding just two goals.
The addition of Rodri has also allowed Gündoğan to take up a more advanced role. The midfielder found it difficult when he first arrived in Manchester, but has recently started to demonstrate his class from his holding midfield position. The Spaniard reads the game excellently and is intelligent on the ball. His ability to retain possession in tight areas and his dependable nature, means that those ahead of him, have more attacking freedom.
Gündoğan Feels at Home With Manchester City
Speaking to Sky Sports Germany, Gündoğan branded the club as a ‘family’ and admitted that he could see himself ending his career at Manchester City: “I must honestly say that I can imagine that happening.
“The way they work here, not only athletically but also in all areas around it, is something I have never seen before in my career.
“I feel like the club is more than just the football itself and it’s just a nice feeling to be a part of this family.”
And, despite Gündoğan’s newfound goal-scoring touch, he believes he has had enjoyed points of his career playing just as well, but indicated that the goals have played a massive part. The midfielder added: “I think that in my career I have had phases in the past where I was playing just as well. The way I played football.
“Of course, what is added this season are the goals. The numbers are much better, that’s why it stands out even more at the moment.
“But that’s also because I play a more attacking role. I have more freedom when it comes to attacking the opposing goal.”