Benajmin Mendy gives Manchester City yet another dimension
'He's like a new signing' is an often overused, rather annoying phrase when talking football. However, for Benjamin Mendy, the term has never felt more fitting.
Manchester City made the big-money splurge to sign the Frenchman last summer. However, his debut season ended before it got going; with an injury that ruled him out for the campaign's remainder. In the few times Mendy did take to the field, his talents were clear.
Twelve months on, with a full summer under his belt, it didn't take the former AS Monaco man long to displace Fabian Delph. In fact, the Englishman's underrated heroics in the left-back position have already been forgotten about. Now Delph is struggling to get into the match-day squad. That tells you everything you need to know about The Citizens' incredible depth.
Back to Mendy. I don't want to jump the gun here, but he's already amongst the best left-sided defenders in the country. At this point, it's probably a straight shootout between him and Marcos Alonso. For a man who has played just eleven games in English football, to be lauded with such praise, is truly incredible.
We're two games into the season. Mendy has three assists and two clean-sheets under his belt. He also could have a goal to his name if things went his way. That's a mightily impressive start. City were already by far and away the best team in the country. They've also added Riyad Mahrez for depth, while fixing the one outstanding issue in the starting XI thanks to the 24-year-old Frenchman. That spells bad news for the Premier League.
The trademark attribute that any top left-back has to possess is the willingness to bomb forward beyond the winger on your side. At times, Mendy was camped past the two Silva's as City looked to press home their advantage against Huddersfield. Alright, not every game is going to be played out in the same fashion, but when teams try to 'park the bus' against Pep Guardiola's men, Mendy's return gives the defenders another problem to worry about.
His attack-minded attitude to the game is an absolute joy to watch. The system is tailored perfectly to his style. It allows Mendy to flourish offensively, but he's also an excellent defender, too. Pace is another huge weapon in his arsenal. The fact that he will spend large portions of matches on the front-foot is great and all, but when the opponents are on the break, Mendy possesses the speed to get himself back into position to fulfil his primary duties as a defender. More often than not, he'll do that job superbly.
Tough in the tackle, pretty good in the air, positionally sound, calm, confident, composed. Mendy genuinely has it all. It's scary to how big the margin City's title-win would have been if their #22 was fully fit for the season's duration. Who knows, they could have challenged harder on the continental scene, too...
City have gotten miles better with Mendy. Domestic dominance could well be on the cards. The Champions League is now firmly in Guardiola's sights. Mendy could well help them deliver it.