Bernardo Silva

It might be too early to make predictions about the football season at a match where the temperature is 28 degrees, where the players take organised drinks breaks, at a point in the summer when the schools have only just broken up and there are still four Test matches left to be played.

But sometimes you have to risk being premature and just go with what you see and feel: that this is going to be the season of Bernardo Silva.

That is how good he was here in the Community Shield at Wembley, the best player on the pitch by a distance and the main reason why Manchester City lifted the third trophy of the Pep Guardiola era. Chelsea could not lay a finger on Silva all afternoon, he was always too aware, too sharp, too clever, too incisive. He directed City’s play with and without the ball, made City’s second and ensuring that every last detail of Guardiola’s plans were executed on the pitch.

Throughout, Silva looked like a player who was flourishing in the trust and responsibility that Guardiola had given him. Because last season it felt as if City did not quite get the very best from the clever little midfielder from Lisbon.

The nature of modern football is that the biggest teams have far more money and far more top players than anyone else. That is how Manchester City have ended up with three of the best creative midfielders in the country. David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne are on another level from every other midfielder in the country. But the next best, if it is not Christian Eriksen, might just be Bernardo Silva.

So last season, after making his £43m transfer to City from Monaco, Silva had to find his way into the English game. He had to learn that not every time he was get he would get the free-kick. He had to learn that the ball was in play for longer, more like 80 minutes each game, rather than 60 minutes, as he observed himself. And with David Silva and De Bruyne occupying those two attacking midfield positions in City’s 4-3-3, there was no obvious role for him in the team.

Bernardo Silva battles in midfield with Jorginho

Bernardo Silva started 28 competitive games last year but rather than in midfield he played most often on the right of the front three. He is good there but never quite has the acceleration to beat his left-back on the outside, forcing him back towards the crowded midfield area. But it never felt like he could control the game as he would want to.

That changed today. David Silva is still not fully fit yet and De Bruyne not ready yet, just three weeks on from playing for Belgium against England in the World Cup third placed play-off game in St Petersburg.

So Bernardo Silva, knocked out of the World Cup at the last-16 stage, is ahead of them already. And he showed that he was more than good enough to step up here. He played the first half in that role David Silva usually plays, and he took he game to Chelsea, leading City’s pressing, stealing the ball high up the pitch, running through Chelsea’s unbalanced open midfield with ease.

Bernardo Silva played in an unusually central role

With no N’Golo Kante, Chelsea had no-one to stop Bernardo’s scampering forward runs and he nearly set Sergio Aguero up when he overhit a cross after getting to the by-line before anyone had noticed. Trusted to be the team’s main creative brains – that is not the case when De Bruyne and David Silva play – he saw more of the ball than usual, made more passes and looked like he was enjoying his spell manning the controls.

In the second half when Ilkay Gunodgan came on, Silva moved out onto the right of the front three, where he played for much of last year. He did not get to be quite as influential but he did play the perfect reverse pass through to Aguero to score City’s second goal and win the game. It was classic Silva: an insightful spot that not every midfield would have seen, and precise, delicate execution to go with it.

Silva will never have the physical power and explosive energy of De Bruyne, but he does have all the skills required be the long-term replacement for David Silva, in the role he began in at Wembley. Still just 23, Silva has all the ability in the world and valuable experience to match. That gradual transition from one Silva to the other could happen sooner than anyone thought, and this could be Bernardo’s year.

Anthony Lopes

Anthony Lopes

Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes has had a suspension increased from three matches to five by the French Football Federation’s appeal commission for violent conduct.

Lopes and Marseille defender Adil Rami each received three-match bans in a previous ruling. Rami’s suspension remains unchanged, the federation says in a statement on Monday.

In March, players from both teams clashed at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille after Memphis Depay scored in the last minute to give Lyon a 3-2 win in the French league.

Lyon defenders Marcelo and Mouctar Diakhaby received two-match bans, with one game suspended. Both clubs were fined €10,000.

Lopes had been accused of striking a Marseille steward amid the melee. He had already been suspended for the rest of the season, but will now miss the first games of next campaign as well.

Lyon, in second place in Ligue 1, are fighting to hold onto a Champions League spot for next season with two games remaining.

Andre Gomes

Everton are reportedly trying to bring Andre Gomes to the Premier League and end his La Liga nightmare at Barcelona.

Andre Gomes

Andre Gomes’s Barcelona career reached its nadir in the 1-0 win against Atletico Madrid back in March.

The Portuguese midfielder was introduced to a chorus of boos from the home support when he replaced the injured Andres Iniesta ten minutes before the break. Yes, Gomes was cheered wildly by some supporters clad in blue and red, but this was more a desperate attempt to cover up the jeers from Gomes’s many critics.

“It has become a hell. I cannot shake negative moments out of my head and it impacts on my performances and I am thinking too much,” Gomes told Panenka a week later.

Andre Gomes

“It leads me to feel ashamed and sometimes I feel that I cannot leave the house due to the shame and due to people looking at me.”

Everton, then, would be taking a major risk if they offered Gomes an escape from his Camp Nou nightmare this summer. AS Sport reported last week that the Toffees have suddenly entered the race for the former Valencia man and are willing to pay £23 million for his services.

But Everton would be signing a player whose confidence has been crushed in two disappointing years at the Camp Nou, in which every little mistake has been over-analysed.

Andre Gomes

And then you consider that Everton are not exactly short of central midfielders who like the ball to feet and wonder whether this is even a risk worth taking.

Gomes showed at Valencia that he is a player with huge promise, a Yaya Toure-esque driving force at times. But that bulldozing style has not been seen for two years.

And, with Everton under pressure to ace the transfer market after two summers of overpriced flops, Gomes is maybe one man they should stay clear of.

Adrien Silva

He may have been born in France and his earliest memory of the World Cup is watching the country of his birth lift the trophy, and the celebrations that followed, but Leicester City’s Adrien Silva says playing for Portugal is his greatest achievement as a player.

The 29-year-old, who joined City last summer, was born in Angouleme in France to a Portuguese father and French mother, and began his playing career aged ten in Bordeaux before his father moved the family back to Portugal for his work.

Silva came through the ranks at Sporting Lisbon and chose to play for Portugal, and he says he has never regretted his choice.

Silva has gone on to become a European Champion with Portugal and is now part of the squad pursuing glory again in Russia next month.

“I feel like I am part of the country,” Silva told LCFC TV.

“My wife is Portuguese and I feel like I am real Portuguese. It’s very special to represent your country and it is the best achievement as a football player.

Leicester City midfielder Adrien Silva battles for possession with Spurs' Lucas Moura

“I think my first World Cup memory was in 1998. I was living in France at the time. It was special because France won that year. For me, it was a good celebration.

“There have been some great World Cup goals, a lot of goals. Figo scored a lot of goals, special goals. Always at the right time, that is what makes the beauty of the goals. Not only the way but also the timing.”

Portugal kick-off their World Cup against Iberian neighbours Spain before taking on Morocco and Iran, and once again they will look to inspiration from their captain Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I remember all the games against Spain were very tough and spectacular,” said Silva.

“The group is not only Spain and we have to focus on all of them because this level you don’t have easy games. You have to prepare well to get in good shape.

“When you say leader, all the words you can say Ronaldo has. He has the ability and the capacity on and off the pitch to be a real captain. That is very important for our team.”