While a wet and sloppy first fourty-five minutes saw City head into the break goal-less with Aston Villa, the tides were turned a mere 19 seconds into the second half when Raheem Sterling broke the game open. Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan each added goals to help City cruise to a 3-0 victory.
Here’s how we rated the players’ performances on a rainy Saturday afternoon…
Ederson – 8
But for a save in the wake of a John Stones blunder and a wild scramble in second-half stoppage time, Ederson had a rather quiet afternoon from a goalkeeper’s perspective.
Nevertheless, Ederson’s passing quality continues to amaze and create chances. He spotted Sterling in the first half with a sensational ball over the top and his first touch long ball to Jesus led to City’s first goal of the match, just 19 seconds into the second half.
John Stones – 6.5
As one of City’s few healthy natural centre-backs, John Stones was, for the most part, a welcome presence in the back line. However, as with his Argentinian counterpart, Stones is quite capable of producing the ill-timed catastrophic error, as he did in the 23rd minute against Villa. The Englishman was able to regain some favour with an excellent block ten minutes later, and remained steady in defence for the duration of Saturday’s outing.
Fernandinho – 5.5
In his 200th Premier League appearance for City, Fernandinho rather aptly received a late red card, which tarnished what was otherwise a rock-solid performance in central defence.
While Ferna’ looks increasingly comfortable in the centre-back role, he remains prone to a rash challenge and his second yellow card in the 87th minute simply cannot happen amidst a comfortable 3-0 lead. Pep will surely be disappointed with the Brazilian’s lack of situational awareness as City will now be without Fernandinho for the upcoming match against Southampton.
Joao Cancelo – 7
The quality that Joao Cancelo brings to the side was on display again, even if his chemistry with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva has yet to fully blossom. Playing in place of Walker, the Portuguese full-back was stout in defence, with Villa causing next to no problems down the left. Here’s hoping the newcomer continues to gain momentum in City’s system.
Benjamin Mendy – 6.5
Subbed off in the 73rd minute, Mendy put forth a solid, if not spectacular performance on Saturday. Caught out a few times in the early stages of the match, the Frenchman was still effective driving forward, including a particularly impressive run in the second half, in which he positively broke the ankles of an unsuspecting Villa defender. Nevertheless, Mendy remains somewhat prone to whipping in balls that lack much colorable purpose.
Ilkay Gundogan – 8.5 (Man of the Match)
Ilkay was at his silky best against Villa and earned Man of the Match honours for me. The (newly) 29-year-old celebrated a belated birthday with a vintage performance. Gundogan lobbed a number of pinpoint balls over the top, maintained City possession with smart decisions in the midfield, and scored a well-earned goal in 70th minute with a poised and skillful finish. The German filled the ‘Rodri role’ exceptionally well, which, if continued, will surely be a boost to City with the aforementioned Spaniard sidelined until after the international break.
Kevin De Bruyne – 7
De Bruyne had a bit of an up-and-down game by his standards. City as a whole were nowhere near their best in the first-half, and our assist king was no exception.
He slipped and tripped a few times in sloppy conditions and just seemed a step or two off in the opening stanza. With that said, as with City’s collective performance, the Belgian upped his game in the second half and earned himself a goal, which was later adjudged to have been turned in David Silva – KDB’s ninth assist of the campaign!
David Silva – 6
Silva was a poised presence in the midfield as always, but lacked that truly incisive ball into the box for portions of the match. He also had a poor miss at a relatively open goal just before half-time. Far from a classic ‘El Mago’ performance, Silva nonetheless put forth a steady effort in midfield.
Bernardo Silva – 7
Bernardo was among City’s better performers in a lacklustre first half. Playing on the right-wing, Bernardo looked as energetic as ever, even if his quality in the final third was not quite up to standard. His defensive effort in particular was notable and caused problems for the rare Villa attack.
Raheem Sterling – 8
What else can be said about City’s player of the season thus far? Sterling continued his scintillating run of form on Saturday, creating chances at will down the left flank and notched a well-earned goal to put City in front for good. The English sensation could have scored a few more, but he can’t nab a hat-trick in every match, can he?
Gabriel Jesus – 6.5
After earning a rare home start in the Premier League, Jesus endured a quiet outing on Saturday, in which he was frequently swallowed up by Villa’s defence and seemed to lack the quality first touch in the box that he would have needed to nab a goal. A deft headed assist on City’s first goal, and a pair of clever, albeit ultimately lacking, attempts at goal salvaged a rather uninspired performance for the Brazilian.
Angelino (on for Mendy 73’) – 6.5
It was good to see the Spaniard earn some minutes ahead of what will likely be a start at left-back on Tuesday against Southampton. Angelino looked comfortable and ready for some more action in the weeks ahead.
Phil Foden (on for De Bruyne 76’) – 7
Phil again looked lively out there after Tuesday’s positive performance, and punished some weary Villa defenders with his physicality and balance in a short 15 minute stint.
Sergio Aguero (on for Sterling 76’) – 6
Aguero looked fine in his brief performance, but didn’t get much going offensively with City already in cruise control.
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