Riyad Mahrez is currently the top goalscorer in the FA Cup this season. The Algerian winger scored in City’s 4-1 quarter-final win over Southampton to take his tally to four and will be looking to add to it when Pep Guardiola’s side face Liverpool in the semi-final on Saturday.
Mahrez became the most expensive African footballer of all time when he moved from Leicester to Manchester City for £60 million in 2018. The Algerian had impressed with the Foxes and was instrumental in their unprecedented Premier League title win in 2015.
Guardiola had long been an admirer of the talented winger and added him to his already eyewatering pool of attacking talent. In his four seasons at the club, Mahrez has won the Premier League twice and scored 61 goals in 181 appearances.
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The 31-year-old joined the Citizens with a reputation as a creator, forming a deadly understanding with Leicester striker Jamie Vardy during his time at the Foxes. But with every season under Guardiola, Mahrez has gradually become a prolific goalscorer.
In his first season, the winger accumulated a total of 12 goals and 12 assists in all competitions, before scoring 13 and assisting 16 the following season. Mahrez recorded fewer assists (9) last season but scored more goals (14).
This season, Mahrez’s attacking output has reached new heights. In 39 appearances, the Algerian has scored an impressive 22 goals while still registering seven assists.
Mahrez’s increased goalscoring can be put down to Guardiola’s system. For two seasons now City have played a 4-3-3 formation which relies on the central striker and the wide players to fluidly interchange.
Due to Sergio Aguero’s injuries last season and the Argentine’s absence this term, the goalscoring burden has fallen upon Guardiola’s attacking players. Mahrez has risen to the challenge, producing his most prolific season in a City shirt to date.
Cup competitions tend to be where the 31-year-old is most productive; Mahrez has racked up a total of 12 goals in 15 cup fixtures so far this season. With Guardiola’s side progressing into the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday, City have the chance to win two cup competitions this season.
In addition to his FA Cup quarter-final goal against Southampton, Mahrez also notched in the fourth and fifth rounds. After missing City’s 4-1 demolition of Swindon in the third round, the Algerian started the fourth round at home to Fulham and recorded two goals and two assists on the night as the Citizens ran out 4-1 victors.
In the following round, City traveled to Peterborough and won 2-0 thanks to strikes from Mahrez and Jack Grealish.
With Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool standing between City and the final, the right-winger will hope to extend his lead at the top of the goalscoring chart when the sides meet this weekend. Mahrez has become a trusted goalscorer this season, and if he can add to his tally from him on Saturday, it will go a long way to helping City reach the final.
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