MANCHESTER CITY maintained their faultless start to the Premier League season with a 3-1 comeback win over West Ham on Saturday.
And it was Jeremy Doku (£3.4m) who provided the catalyst for the turnaround in the second half with a wonderful individual goal within a minute of the restart.
The 21-year-old produced an eye-catching performance that exhibited why the treble-winners forked out £55.5million for him at the back end of the summer transfer window.
DREAM TEAMA fearless performance[/caption]
Speaking on the matter after the final whistle, Pep Guardiola said: “It was an unbelievable game. He was a proper winger, have the ball, have the ability to go 1v1. Not just that, he has the quality to read when to make the pass for the next player. I was very happy.”
It was interesting that the decorated tactician made a point of highlighting Doku as a “proper winger” and his willingness to take on Vladimir Coufal (£2.5m) on both sides.
This is something that has largely gone out of Jack Grealish’s (£4.4m) game with many fans believing the England international doesn’t take enough risks in possession since his switch to the Etihad.
It’s worth noting that while Grealish’s developed understanding of Guardiola’s requirements may have limited his individual highlight reel, the 28-year-old was a key contributor to City’s greatest ever season as a collective in 2022/23.
Still, Doku showed on Saturday how a quick, confident dribbler who excels in one-v-one situations can help Guardiola’s team break down a disciplined defence.
Sophisticated passing patterns are all well and good but sometimes it’s worth testing out an opposition’s full-back ability to defend in isolated scenarios and the Belgium international is well-equipped to administer such a test.
He’s still very much a raw talent but inexperience can actually be a benefit for players in his position, fearlessness is a useful byproduct.
GettyMan City’s latest plaything[/caption]
On Saturday, Doku attempted eight dribbles with five of them being successful – no other player on either side attempted more than three.
Naturally, Doku’s electric display against the Hammers translated to Dream Team success as he pouched 12 points when all was said and done.
At the time of writing, he’s the joint-top scoring midfielder in Gameweek 5, alongside Douglas Luiz (£2.6m) and James Ward-Prowse (£3.8m).
The ex-Rennes winger would have been outright top had Erling Haaland (£8.2m) not denied him a deserved assist – the Norwegian poacher squandered several good opportunities before finally getting his customary goal.
Both Doku and Guardiola admitted that the former’s debut against Fulham prior to the international break was “shy” but his most recent display was brimming with confidence and Dream Team managers would have taken note.
GettyAlvarez has been brilliant for City so far this season[/caption]
Gaffers should know to go with the flow where City assets are concerned by now.
Take Julian Alvarez (£4.3m) for example; previously unfeasible because of the time he spent sitting on the bench as Haaland’s understudy, the World Cup winner has come to the fore this term as one of his side’s most influential players in the No10 role – with 38 points to show for his efforts.
Similarly, if Doku is to get a run of games on the left wing (Grealish is sidelined with injury for now) then he may well prove to be a smart selection.
The exciting midfielder features in just 0.8% of teams right now – definitely one to watch!
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