Three winners and four losers from Man City’s Premier League season so far

More important than that though is that he&aposs been named in the XI for all four Premier League games. That has perhaps been helped by Kevin De Bruyne&aposs injury but is still proof that Pep Guardiola deems Alvarez too influential to leave on the bench. It&aposs a sign of progress, it took until January 19 last year before the Argentine had four starts in the league to his name and he never managed four in a row.

Matheus Nunes only adds to the competition in midfield and Phil Foden will also want to keep up his game time, but given Alvarez knows Erling Haaland is immovable from the front line it is to his credit that he is now finding a way into the team regardless.

The biggest compliment that can be paid to Kovacic is that he looks like he has been playing in this City team for a lot longer than he has. It helps that he carries experience not just from Croatia but also from Chelsea, but instantly adapting into a Guardiola side is not something anyone can take for granted.

Rodri has started the campaign with more goals and assists and that may in a small part be down to the added protection he now feels he has in the side with Kovacic willing to drop deep to start moves. In the absence of John Stones pushing forward into midfield, City haven&apost needed to rely too much on Manu Akanji because Kovacic and Rodri have already formed such an effective partnership.

It&aposs easy to forget that Walker was not seen as essential to the team in the second half of last term. He had not started many games before he took the plaudits for the way he handled Vinicius Jr in the Champions League semi-final, so while it was something of a surprise to see him on the bench in Istanbul it wasn&apost completely random.

The departures of Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez saw City lose experienced heads this summer and Walker very nearly followed them out of the door as Bayern Munich waited. Instead, he has captained the Blues in every match and pocketed a new three-year deal at the club to show that there is plenty of life left in him yet.

Fair play to Phillips for stating at the beginning of the summer that he had no intention of leaving the club after just one year. It must have been incredibly deflating to play so little football last season and have his status in the squad questioned, yet the former Leeds man was still prepared to try to change his luck.

Unfortunately, it hasn&apost worked out on the pitch again. Phillips wasn&apost the only one that looked leggy on the pre-season tour but it didn&apost help him that Kovacic slotted in effortlessly, while Nunes has not been bought to sit on the bench either.

An England call-up shows that Phillips still has his admirers, yet it is a tough ask for him to win over Guardiola at the Etihad and the draw for the Carabao Cup means one game where he would otherwise get an opportunity may be taken away if he isn&apost trusted to start at Newcastle.

Rotten luck followed by more rotten luck. That&aposs been the story of De Bruyne&aposs last two starts. The Belgian worked all summer to repair a hamstring damaged in the Champions League final and was rewarded with a return ahead of schedule, only for a similar injury to strike in the first Premier League match.

What could have been another vintage year and a probability of getting the captaincy has instead seen the playmaker sidelined as City crack on without him. Hopefully the comeback in the second half of the season goes better.

This could end up being a bigger loss for City but right now it feels like an opportunity missed for Palmer. Guardiola and the club are not blameless in letting Palmer go – and letting him go to a rival – although they have at least been consistent in refusing to guarantee starts or minutes.