Silva enjoying title tussle
David Silva knows he could have avoided the snow and given himself Christmas off by staying in Spain - but the Manchester City star feels life is much more interesting at Eastlands.
La Liga has shut down for a couple of weeks to give players and fans a break, and an opportunity to enjoy the festivities. Not so over here, where Silva is about to experience the usual crush of four games in just over a week, which will do so much to shape the season as a whole.
But when the Spain star looks at the comparative league tables - Barcelona and Real Madrid streaking clear back home compared to the jostling for top spot in England - he knows where he would rather be.
"Barcelona and Real Madrid are going well and have built up quite a lead," Silva told his club's official website. "In England it is far more hard-fought. You could have any number of teams getting up there near the top. That makes for a more entertaining and enjoyable league."
It took Silva a bit of time to adapt but now he has got used to the Premier League's pace, he is starting to flourish. Two City player of the month awards on the trot emphasise what a fans' favourite the former Valencia star has become.
"I have settled in but I owe a lot to my team-mates because they helped make the process a lot quicker," he said. "The games in England are very competitive. So many sides can make life very hard for you. It is a real challenge. But we are going OK at the moment. Now we must continue so we are in the final shake-up."
City would have celebrated Christmas Day on top of the table for the first time since 1929 had they beaten Everton on Monday night. But that defeat, in freezing temperatures, has led to accusations that the Blues' expensively-assembled, cosmopolitan band only show their best form in milder weather.
It is an accusation that does not quite square with reality, as Silva is quick to point out. "Come on," he challenged. "It was very cold when we played our last few away games; the coldest it has been. At Fulham we were very good and won comfortably. The cold suits us fine."
City travel to Newcastle
Silva will hope those words ring true on Boxing Day, when City head north to Newcastle United. The Magpies gave Roberto Mancini's men a tough examination at Eastlands earlier this season, in a game that was marred by the broken leg suffered by Hatem Ben Arfa. Revenge will be uppermost in the hosts' minds for an eventual defeat and the installation of Alan Pardew in place of Chris Hughton since that day adds another dimension to an intriguing contest.
Speculation that Mario Balotelli has been axed is hardly a surprise given his ineffective performance against the Toffees and Mancini's public demand for greater enthusiasm from a player who rates himself almost on a par with Lionel Messi. Silva has more claim to be of that standard, and he is unlikely to make such lofty boasts. For now though, he is happy with life, sure that for all the freezing conditions he has to cope with in Manchester, he made the right decision to abandon the sun of Valencia.
"City showed a real interest in me from the outset and they were the ones who made an offer for me," he said. "There was talk about Real Madrid, but it was never anything more than that, certainly nothing concrete. But I wanted to experience playing in the Premier League. It was something that really appealed to me."