Following some delayed flights courtesy of Thomas Cook, a jet-lagged Manchester City kicked off their pre-season tour of the Far East with a 4-1 victory against Manuel Pellegrini’s experienced West Ham side. City’s Copa America stars are on holiday following a gruelling tournament, whilst Riyad Mahrez, Benjamin Mendy and Eliaquim Mangala are also absent from the tour, with the latter expected to leave the club. Pep Guardiola’s squad featured plenty of experienced players combined with many youth prospects. Here’s how we rated the players’ performances in Nanjing.
Claudio Bravo – 6
The veteran goalkeeper didn’t have much to do against West Ham and was unlucky not to get a hand to Mark Noble’s penalty. The Chilean also did well to save Chicharito’s free-kick in the second half.
Angelino – 4
The full-back endured a very poor first half and was often out of position and regularly over-committed himself. Angelino gave away a penalty for handball and was very fortunate not to give away a second penalty shortly after. The Spaniard seemed to struggle positionally and looked uncomfortable with performing the inverted runs expected of him.
Taylor Harwood-Bellis – 8 (Man of the Match)
The towering 17-year-old was aerially dominant throughout the game and solid defensively. Harwood-Bellis looked nervous early on, but grew in confidence as the game progressed and played the full 90 minutes. Early in the game, Harwood-Bellis should’ve done better when presented with a free header from a Tommy Doyle corner, however, the teenager only managed to get his header on target.
Aymeric Laporte – 6
Manchester City’s first choice centre-back put in a decent performance which was neither exceptional nor poor. Laporte made some mistakes but was generally strong defensively.
Danilo – 5
The Brazilian was sloppy defensively and regularly over-committed himself to challenges he stood little chance of winning. Danilo often looked uninterested.
Rodri – 6
On his Manchester City debut, Rodri was generally strong in possession and looked to retain the ball with safe passes. In the first half, Rodri was found wanting defensively and was outmuscled and outpaced by Michail Antonio in the build-up to West Ham’s goal.
It is evident that Rodri needs time to adapt to Guardiola’s system. The Spanish International performed far better in the second half, and looked to play the ball forward more often. Rodri was also much better defensively and pressed well in the build-up to City’s 3rd goal.
David Silva (C) – 8
The veteran excellently pulled the strings in the first half as he captained a very youthful starting XI. Silva was typically selfless when squaring the ball to Poveda-Ocampo early-on, who shockingly failed to convert from close range. The Spaniard’s difference in class and experience from his teammates was obvious, and Silva showed great composure and great technique when scoring Manchester City’s equaliser.
Tommy Doyle – 6
Doyle’s work-rate was excellent throughout his time on this pitch, and the young midfielder linked-up very well with his teammates. Doyle took a great corner early-on which should’ve resulted in a goal, while he also linked-up well with fellow youth players throughout the game.
Adrian Bernabe – 7
The Spaniard greatly impressed on the right flank and played a beautifully weighted ball to assist compatriot David Silva for Manchester City’s equaliser. Bernabe linked up very well with Doyle throughout the game, and their experience of playing together in the academy setup at the club was evident by their link-up play which helped them to impress.
Ian Carlo Poveda-Ocampo – 5
Poveda fluffed his lines early on when spoon-fed a sitter by David Silva. The skilful attacker did however showcase his technique in the first half and often looked to take on his opposing defender, to varying levels of success.
Lukas Nmecha – 6
Nmecha put in a lively performance despite the humidity, and did well to win a penalty before successfully converting it.
Kyle Walker (Replacing Danilo | 62′) – 6
The right-back played well during his time on the pitch and the defence looked much stronger once Walker was substituted on in place of Danilo.
John Stones (Replacing Aymeric Laporte | 62′) – 6
The “Barnsley Beckenbauer” was solid following his introduction and Stones’ performance in defence ensured that the blues kept a 2nd half clean sheet.
Raheem Sterling (Replacing Lukas Nmecha | 45′) – 7
Played as a striker in Aguero and Jesus’ absence and scored City’s 3rd and 4th goals. Sterling was denied a stonewall penalty after being pushed in the back. The England international played very well in the second half and timed his runs well. His finishing was superb, although he was unfortunate not to have bagged hat-trick.
Our followers named Raheem Sterling as their Man of the Match ahead of Adrian Bernabe, Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Tommy Doyle.
Ilkay Gundogan (Replacing Tommy Doyle | 62′) – 7
Gundogan was impressive following his introduction and the German midfielder was excellent in midfield and demonstrated his experience through which he linked the team together, serving as the connection between attack and defence. Following his exploits towards the end of last season, Gundogan looks to be the stand-out candidate to replace Fernandinho long-term should he stay at the club.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (Replacing Angelino | 62′) – 6
Zinchenko played well after replacing Angelino and impressed at both attacking and defending. The Ukrainian will look to make the left-back position his own this season but will face fierce competition should Benjamin Mendy return fully-fit.
Kevin De Bruyne (Replacing David Silva | 45′) – 6
The Belgian captained the blues in the second half and put it on a plate for Raheem Sterling to score City’s 4th goal. De Bruyne’s renowned passing ability was mostly solid, however, the Belgian lost possession a few times with misplaced passes. De Bruyne ensured to recover the ball when he had lost it.
Leroy Sane (Replacing Ian Poveda-Ocampo | 45′) – 7
The German international played very well and made several well-timed runs throughout the second half. Sane assisted City’s 3rd goal with a perfectly weighted ball with his weak foot and was involved in the build-up play for City’s 4th goal.
Bernardo Silva (Replacing Adrian Bernabe | 45′) – 6
The Portuguese international was uncharacteristically quiet for most of the second half but still managed to make some great runs late in the game.
Aleix Garcia (Replacing Rodri | 69′) – 6
Garcia did well in possession and looked comfortable carrying the ball forward to launch an attack. The Spaniard linked up well with Gundogan and De Bruyne and Garcia appears to be much more accomplished following his time at Girona. His future does still remain in doubt despite impressing in the opening game of our pre-season tour.
Unused Substitutes: Nabil Touaizi, Iker Pozo, Daniel Grimshaw, Alpha Diounkou, Ben Knight
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