Manchester City kicked off their 2019/20 Champions League campaign by cruising to victory against Ukrainian Champions Shakhtar Donetsk. The Blues have thus far failed to progress beyond the Quarter-Finals under Guardiola and the Catalan will be eager to rectify this in his fourth season at the club. Here’s how we rated the players’ performances in Kharkiv.
Ederson – 7
The Brazilian shot-stopper had little to do throughout the game and was only called upon once to make a save, Ederson was perhaps fortunate to go unpunished for his poor positioning during a 2nd half Shakhtar counter-attack.
Oleksandr Zinchenko – 6
The Ukrainian looked good going forward but a liability defensively, City’s dominance, however, prevented his flaws from being regularly exposed on home soil.
Fernandinho (C) – 8
The veteran and City icon skilfully papered over the cracks in the City defence and the Brazilian looked calm and composed on his former stomping grounds, nullifying each Shakhtar threat before any real trouble occurred.
Nicolas Otamendi – 7
Nico looked a far better defender with an experienced head accompanying him in the heart of the defence, the Argentinian looked a threat from set-pieces and was denied an acrobatic goal due to Raheem Sterling being marginally offside.
Kyle Walker – 6.5
The experienced right-back was mostly solid defensively and his impressive pace helped to deflect Shakhtar’s counter-attacks, despite a good performance and fantastic effort, his distribution was sometimes lacking
Rodri – 8
The Spaniard put in yet another impressive performance and often reclaimed possession well when it was lost, Rodri played several threatening through balls and his distribution was excellent. A needless booking forced the Spanish international to be cautious in the second half and Rodri will have to be careful going forward in the competition at the risk of being suspended.
Ilkay Gundogan – 9 (Man of the Match)
The best player on the pitch. The German was exceptional and performed far better than he did against Norwich, Gundogan was fantastic going forward and solid defensively, whilst anticipating the ball very well throughout the game. The German bagged the second goal with a composed finish and hit the post prior to Mahrez’s opener.
Kevin De Bruyne – 7
De Bruyne was integral in imposing City’s high press as the midfielder put in a trademark fantastic performance. Although his final ball was sometimes lacking, in his last action of the game he assisted City’s 3rd goal with a well-weighted ball to Gabriel Jesus.
Raheem Sterling – 7
Despite not contributing towards the goals, Sterling put in a great performance, although his finishing wasn’t as good as it should’ve been, the England international put in a solid shift defensively providing necessary cover for Zinchenko.
Gabriel Jesus – 7
The Brazilian’s work rate and clever movement created a lot of space for his teammates and Jesus’ link-up play was second to none. Jesus scored City’s third goal which killed the game and capped off an impressive performance.
Riyad Mahrez – 8
Mahrez’s renowned footwork and silky skill were on show all night, the Algerian bagged the opener and assisted City’s second goal with a well-weighted pass to Ilkay Gundogan. The Algerian’s impactful performance will make Guardiola seriously consider starting him on a more regular basis.
Bernardo Silva (on for Kevin De Bruyne 77’) – 6
The game was won by the time the Portuguese entered the fray and Bernardo had little time to impact the game.
Joao Cancelo (on for Kyle Walker 81’) – 6
Similarly, to his compatriot, Cancelo had very little time to impact the game, although he looked good in possession and strong going forward during his brief time on the field.
Benjamin Mendy (on for Rodri 83’) – 6
Whilst it was great to see Mendy in a blue shirt again, the World Cup-winner had very little to do. But the left-back will now look to serious challenge Zinchenko for his starting position in the immediate future.
Bravo, Garcia, Silva, Aguero
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