After 70 minutes of pure, unadulterated nerves, one man stood up. One man lined up the shot. One man blasted Manchester City within one game of the 2019 Premier League title with a goal that will likely go down as one of the greatest ever scored in the club’s history.
Vincent Kompany. Our captain, our leader, and tonight, our goalscorer. The Belgian colossus came through with yet another vital contribution to a City title challenge as the Blues wrenched the game from a high quality Leicester side in order to stay in the driving seat going down to Brighton on Sunday.
Here’s how we rated the players on what may well be the game that defines our season:
Ederson – 6
Rarely troubled but was neat in his positioning to snuff out a few Leicester half-chances in the first half. It remains a testament to his ridiculous distribution that each of his goal kicks seems like an assist waiting to happen. He rightfully deserves praise for becoming the first City keeper to 20 clean sheets in a season.
Kyle Walker – 5
Ostensibly tasked with tracking the attacking threat of James Maddison on Leicester’s left side, Walker actually found himself more commonly dealing with fellow left back Ben Chilwell when he ventured forward. Chilwell skipped past him once, and he had a typically poor clearance once again, but was otherwise fine defensively.
Offensively, Kyle’s greatest strength continues to be that he’s fast. He blazed a shot forty rows up, and provided no service into the area (though he did win one early corner), and his utter lack of a left foot means that when he’s under pressure on the touchline he is totally incapable of playing a pass anywhere but backwards.
Vincent Kompany – 12 (Man of the Match)
Looked ok in the first half, and did well to attack a cross while bracketed by two defenders, he also picked a couple good longer balls forward to Bernardo on the right. Defensively was strong in the air, but picked up an ugly yellow in midfield, sliding in both late and with his studs showing. Was lucky to see only yellow.
In the second half he was…
Basically Messi. Ten of ten and man of the match for the banger. Bonus points for trolling Steven Gerrard and all Liverpool supporters by pretending to trip immediately thereafter.
Aymeric Laporte – 7
He was solid throughout, dealing with everything that came his way, and ensuring that Leicester weren’t able to start anything down his side of the pitch. Made a few passes to break the lines and initiate the attack. That he was so rarely troubled, and that Leicester found so little joy in his half of the pitch speaks volumes to the work he did today. Tallied an assist on his counterpart’s banger.
Oleksandr Zinchenko – 6
Caught out once or twice on defence, taking poor routes or simply allowing himself to drift too far forward. Leicester did well to try and overwhelm his zone by pressing Tielmans out into wider positions, while Ricardo pressed forward to pair up with Albrighton and Oleks was left to try and decide who to mark on a couple of occasions.
Once City established possession in the first half, both Walker and Zinchenko were tasked with staying narrow, overlapping only on occasion. The decision allowed City to remain somewhat more defensively resolute, but also allowed the Foxes to have a much more compact defense as there was uncharacteristically little strength in City’s width, as Leicester could easily close out on Bernardo or Sterling whenever they received the ball without any threat of an overlap.
Ilkay Gündogan – 7
Tidy and efficient, he did well to not allow any attacks to emerge from the middle, dealing well with both Vardy and Maddison as he frequently drifted infield to try and overwhelm City. He was also responsible for much of City’s most promising attacking work through the middle despite his deeper positioning, as he made a number of intelligent runs through the middle that caught out Leicester’s defense. While nothing came of them, it was still good play.
He did show some of the defensive shortcomings that separate him in the deep-lying midfield role from the man he was sitting in for, Fernandinho, who likely would’ve fared better. Got done by Harry Maguire running down the left wing when all he needed to do was sit on his shoulder, then couldn’t win the ball in midfield that led to a gilded edge chance for Leicester in the closing minutes that was hit just wide.
Phil Foden – 5
He did well to find eight yards of space for a Kyle Walker cross early in the first half, and volleyed a strong shot right at Kasper Schmeichel. After that he disappeared. Often he was playing level with Leicester’s defensive line, making himself easy to mark out of the attack when he could’ve potentially been more useful sitting slightly deeper. Substituted in the 56th minute for Sane after a somewhat ineffectual match.
David Silva – 5
Silva continues to fall a level below where we’ve become accustomed to him playing. It’s not that he was bad – he remained tidy in possession and full of clever touches and deft turns, but the decisive pass has either been delivered to the wrong patch of grass, or been just slightly overhit. He fought as hard as he could, competing in the air even though he rarely stood any chance of winning. Picked up a yellow card for his feistiness.
Bernardo Silva – 7
Typical Bernardo performance full of classy touches, and a few beautiful weaving dribbles including one where he took on three men from the edge of the area, though for little effect. After the Sane switch he really came into his own, as he had the freedom to roam the pitch, appearing both in the right channel, out on the right touchline, and dropping deeper to link play. Had a couple good left footed shots that were blazed just over, or wide, and another that was driven hard and low, but not placed well enough to beat Schmeichel.
Defensively he remains a wonder. How someone so slight is so consistently resolute in the challenge is remarkable. People often marvel at his endurance, as he’s frequently covering more ground than anyone on the pitch, but his grit is not to be missed.
Raheem Sterling – 5
Had one of his more non-descript performances of the season. While he continued to move well and find space for his runs, he was betrayed on occasion by his first touch, or simply couldn’t find the right pass to open up the Leicester defense. In the second half after being shifted to the right, he seemed much more fluid and earned himself a penalty shout that was probably rightly denied.
Sergio Agüero – 6
Though he was starved of service he did everything he possibly could with the two chances he was provided, nearly putting City into the lead both times. His first from a corner was a glancing headed that hit the crossbar before bouncing straight down and into the diving palm of a scrambling Schmeichel who deserves enormous praise for a brilliant reaction save that kept the match level.
Leroy Sané – 6
Once again, Sané provided an immediate impact off the bench after being subbed on in the 56th minute for Foden. His dynamism on the left was impressive as his presence helped turn what had been a rather drab affair into a scintillating sprint to the finish. Both in the match and against United, it has been his presence that shifted City from 2nd gear to 6th in an instant. While he neither scored nor assisted, he stretched Leicester’s defense to the breaking point and could’ve been gifted a couple of good chances with better service.
Gabriel Jesus – N/A
On for Aguero in the 87th minute, he didn’t have any real service, but could’ve had a chance if the pass was delivered on a couple different occasions. Made a number of nice runs and did his work pressing hard.
John Stones – N/A
A 91st minute substitute for Silva to ensure City were as resolute as possible in defense. No real time to mark.
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