The rise of Ilkay Gundogan

Back in 2016, Pep Guardiola was appointed manager of Manchester City. His first signing in the summer window was that of German midfielder, Ilkay Gundogan for a fee of around £20million from Borussia Dortmund.

Over the past four seasons, Gundogan has shown flashes of his potential, but a combination of injury and Guardiola favouring other players, has prevented him from having a consistent run in the team.

However, this season the opportunity has arisen for the 30-year-old and he has taken it by storm.

This season has featured many injuries across the league, with the speed of which the games are being played at having a major impact on squad depth across the division.

Manchester City have suffered in this field, with all-time top goal scorer Sergio Aguero battling a knee injury throughout the season.

This created a real void up front, with Gabriel Jesus struggling to fill his predecessor’s shoes and alternative strike force options including summer signing Ferran Torres, not having the impact that Guardiola would have hoped for.

But, since a one-all draw with relegation candidates West Bromwich Albion, the Citizens have gone on a record breaking 16 game unbeaten run, in all competitions. With Gundogan being the focal point to this seemingly unstoppable run.

Over the season, the midfielder has netted 11 Premier League goals, being Manchester City’s top scorer for the season. Almost doubling his previous best of six, with 15 games to go.

In their 11 game Premier League winning run, the side who play at the Etihad have scored a total of 28 goals, with the City number eight obtaining over a third of these.

Not only has he found his shooting boots, he has also had a great impact on the team as a whole, highlighted in their most recent victory against Tottenham Hotspur, where he won the penalty to put them one goal up at half time.

Unsurprisingly, this blistering run of form resulted in him receiving the award for January player of the month.

The 2019/20 PFA player of the year Kevin De Bruyne has also faced time on the sideline, after suffering a hamstring injury in a 2-0 victory against Aston Villa.

This has made Gundogan’s impact even more pivotal to the form of the six-time Premier League champions. And has established City as the clear favourites for the title, as they currently sit seven points clear of their closest challengers Manchester United, with a game in hand.

This has put the question as to whether the German midfielder should be up for contention to take the crown from team mate De Bruyne, as the PFA player of the year at the end of this season. He is likely to face contention from other stand out players in Bruno Fernandes, Jack Grealish and Harry Kane.

However, there is still a lot of games to be played in the season, so a lot can change in both, the performances of teams and individuals.

Manchester City travel to Goodison Park tomorrow evening to face an out of form Everton side, in an attempt to extend their lead at the top.

In City’s game against Spurs on Saturday, Gundogan was subbed off with a suspected groin injury and Guardiola is yet to reveal the severity of this, so we are unsure as to whether he will feature in the match day squad.

Pep and the rest of the team will certainly be hoping that he is available for selection, to help continue his outstanding goal scoring run.

featured image credit sky sports