Jack Grealish has come on in leaps and bounds since the new year. He has become a vital cog in the City wheel, and there is now a sense of expectation every time he gets the ball. 

He is playing like a man on a mission, and all the positive aspects of his play were on display against Arsenal.

A few months ago, English football fans were raging about Phil Foden’s absence from Gareth Southgate’s England starting XI at the World Cup, with one argument that if he is good enough for Manchester City, he should be good enough for England. 

Guardiola Proven Right

A couple of months on from Qatar 2022, though, Foden is now also out of the City team because Pep Guardiola believes that Jack Grealish offers more to the side.

And at the Emirates, the English forward proved Guardiola right, by producing an excellent performance before scoring the second goal of the game to put the champions in control late in the second half.

 Forden has now not started a Premier League game since the Manchester derby defeat at Manchester United over a month ago, and much of that has been down to the form of Grealish and Riyad Mahrez. On the right wing, Mahrez was largely ineffective and had to be substituted early in the second half. Grealish, however, was City’s best attacking player. 

The former Aston Villa winger, a £100 million British record signing from Villa Park in 2021, is different to Guardiola’s other options in that he runs directly at opponents, dribbling with the ball at his feet and striking fear in opposing defenders. 

He tormented right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu all night long with his direct running and ability to win free-kicks. When he scored his goal, after good work by Haaland and Ilkay Gundogan, it was a reward for his performance, and also for Guardiola’s faith in the player’s qualities.