Manchester City demolished a sorry Schalke side to cruise into the Champions League Quarter-Finals. Sergio Aguero (2), Leroy Sané, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden, and Gabriel Jesus lit up the Etihad on a thoroughly entertaining night in Manchester.
Here’s how we rated the players…
Ederson – 6
I quite genuinely think this might have been Ederson’s quietest ever professional game. He just had nothing to do, and so I’m struggling to mark him. 6 it is Eddie, sorry.
Kyle Walker – 7
A strong, solid display highlighted by his excellent inside pass to Sterling early on that almost bought an opening goal. Played centrally later on and did well, albeit against an awful attack.
Danilo – 8
In an unfamiliar position, what more can you ask from a squad player? Danilo reminded us why he’s so ideal for our team tonight as he slotted in seamlessly at centre back. Booked for a careless challenge which led to him taking a boot to the face, but was intelligent on and off the ball.
Aymeric Laporte – 7
We’ve come to expect dominance from our most reliable defender, and we got it here tonight. I see a lot of similarities with Kompany in Laporte’s physical play, but his technique is just something else.
Oleks Zinchenko – 8
When will he have a bad game? It’s starting to look like by the end of the season we’ll just keep Zinchenko as our left-back and save £40m. I firmly believe that’s the best option. Today he defended as well as we’ve come to expect, with the highlight being a beautiful- nay, ingenious- pass to Sané for the third goal. He dominated the game, along with Gundogan, from left-back. The weirdest thing, though- he plays almost exactly like a certain Pep Guardiola used to…
Ilkay Gundogan – 10
Sign him up. Just do it, Txiki, please. Gundogan is essentially slaughtered by certain fans for not being Sergio Busquets, and he’s not- but for my money, he’s the closest thing you’ll see this season. This was a game of sublime Gundogan passes. He was the star of the show, the puppet master. A wonderful clinic in class and composure.
If we’d bought Jorginho, we’d have been getting robbed blind of £40m. Gundogan is quite simply better.
Bernardo Silva – 9
Bernardo’s late runs into the box are a potent weapon when he’s allowed to utilize them, and one bought the first penalty. Other than that he was at his base level all game, which is still very impressive until he scored a great little goal to add more gloss to the scoreline. It’s easy to stop noticing how hard he works, too, but that was on full show tonight.
David Silva – 7
I have no complaints about Silva’s hour-long appearance today. He was mostly tidy, if unspectacular, and you can’t complain that he didn’t stand out when Sané, Sterling, Aguero and Gundogan were playing as well as they did. It feels like El Mago is on his way back.
Raheem Sterling – 9
When you can give a backheel assist in the Champions League knockout stages and nobody bats an eyelid, you are world class. There can be no more debate about it. Saturday’s hat-trick hero was more than a thorn in Schalke’s side, he was a dagger. Raheem got his reward with a superb finish after half-time, his 19th of the season. Unlucky not to have more than one assist as Aguero hit the post from his cross.
As a side note, I’d like to say how good it felt to see Sterling given the captain’s armband after an hour. At first, I was surprised but, having thought about it, I can’t think of a better man to lead the team. Well done, Raheem.
Sergio Aguero – 9
Tucked away a classy panenka penalty with beautiful confidence in the first half, redeeming himself after hitting the post from close range early on. His finish for the second goal, too, was clinical, vintage Aguero. A top performance.
Leroy Sané – 10 (Man of the Match)
Sané was having a quiet game, as he so often does, before he came alive and got on the scoresheet- as he so often does. Against his former side, it was a great low finish from a man capable of the sublime. Early in the second half, he had a lovely goal correctly ruled out for offside (How awful was VAR tonight, by the way?) but seemed to get right into his stride. And how about that cross for Sterling’s goal? What a gorgeous bit of technique. Sané even added a second assist for Bernardo Silva after seventy minutes and a THIRD for Foden (a world-class one too).
Phil Foden – 7
Scored a goal for his sixth of the season after coming on for half an hour. A brilliant, brilliant one too, rounding the ‘keeper and finishing neatly. Almost had two.
Gabriel Jesus – 7
Jesus’s tenacity was obvious just minutes after coming on. It’s tough on our Brazilian wonderkid not to be playing every game because of how good he’s been this year but the impact-substitute role suits him to a tee. He showed some lovely skill before rifling home a great goal.
Fabian Delph – 7
Back in from the cold? Delph’s barely featured for several months now but came on at right-back to see the game out.
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