Manchester City assistant manager David Platt described Pablo Zabaleta as a regular "eight out of 10" player, after his goal put Stoke City out of the FA cup. Zabaleta is consistently good.
But he will never be the star, especially alongside a player like David Silva. It was he who deserved the full 10 out of 10 for his magnificent performance against the Potters.
In a side full of diamonds, Silva is the Koh i Noor: priceless, magnificent and should be on permanent display.
He slides and glides around players, controls the ball instantly, slips through-balls past statuesque defenders and jaunts happily around the field with the air and the haircut of a schoolboy on the first day of the long summer holidays.
Carlos Tevez, who seems to have lost some pace this season, and the giant Edin Dzeko fed off Silva's deft touches like dogs on the floor beside the master’s dinner table. Silva had them salivating.
The little Spanish maestro came close to scoring himself in the first half. From an angle, 16 yards out, he floated a shot gently beyond goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen and onto the inside of the far post. The ball bounced back into play for the Stoke defence to scramble clear.
Silva designed and crafted every Manchester City move. His quickness of thought, his balance, his ability to hold the ball away from urgent challengers and his elegant passing are a joy.
Stoke City are an honest side, full of endeavour, urged on by vocal and enthusiastic fans. But Stoke do not have a player within a furlong of Silva’s thoroughbred class. It was tough for Stoke to lose by a single goal to Manchester City, as they did in the FA Cup final two seasons ago.
But the Stoke fans who could bear to endure the superior skills of their guests were treated to a footballing display that they will rarely see at the Britannia.
It was a performance to savour.
Pure gold from Silva.
Clive Edwards is a Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!