Man City may have found solution to Champions League failure – Stuart Brennan
But with his long-term replacement Rodri bedding down quickly in City colours, the absence of the 34-year-old star was not felt as keenly as it usually is.
Indeed, it seems that Rodri has already claimed the number one position and will start against Tottenham, while the best Fernandinho can hope for is a place on the bench.
That will not last long. Pep Guardiola is a huge fan of the player, saying in his first month in charge at City that he would win everything with ten Fernandinhos.
That was not just a testimony to his excellence, but also a comment on the versatility of a man who, in six years at City, has played defensive midfield, attacking midfield, right wing, left back and centre back.
That versatility will serve him well this season.
Guardiola has already told him he will play some games at centre back this season after filling in successfully in that role a couple of times last season.
But Rodri’s strong start opens up another intriguing notion that will be on Guardiola’s mind, especially with Spurs in town.
And with Fernandinho set for a place on the bench, Guardiola could even trial it if the Blues get their noses in front.
For all his attacking nature, Guardiola is not averse to making defensive tweaks against dangerous opposition, as he did by instructing Bernardo Silva to sit deep at Anfield last season, a ploy that would have worked perfectly had Riyad Mahrez not missed a late penalty.
Now he has Rodri and Fernandinho, the prospect of playing both in such games is a big temptation.
The sight of Son Heung-min running at the City defence from deep, with stand-in holder Ilkay Gundogan not able to react in time, was a sobering one for Guardiola and his staff.
If Fernandinho had been fit, Spurs would have found it much tougher to score three at the Etihad Stadium – and with two pivots, the other being Rodri, there is a very secure look to the line-up.
He may just have found one which works to his advantage.