A sluggish start following the international break, but City got the job done. Sometimes taking the three points is all that matters, and that was exactly the case today. A fortunate bounce for the first and a moment of magic from a certain Algerian winger sealed the win over Frank Lampard’s new-look Chelsea side. Here’s our player ratings from the crucial encounter at the Etihad…
Ederson – 6
Didn’t have much to do in the match. However, his presence in goal was sorely missed against Liverpool before the international break, and served well in this today. Calm with everything and always a factor in possession for Guardiola’s side.
Benjamin Mendy – 5
The Frenchman continues to get more and more game time under his belt and looks to be putting the issues that plagued him in the last two seasons behind him. He is still working on gaining sharpness, with a number of his passes hitting his marker. Also looked frantic defensively in the first half, and should have done better for N’golo Kante’s opener.
John Stones – 6
Showed a couple of glimpses of his passing ability. In particular, a cross-field pass found Sterling in a one-vs-one situation, reminiscent of Aymeric Laporte’s passing that spoiled City fans before his injury. The England international still looks unsure at times when being forced to defend. Tammy Abraham looked to make him uncomfortable, and with better service, might have done exactly that.
Fernandinho – 8
A calm presence in the middle of the defence. For most of the match, City’s defensive set-up was solid and caused Chelsea problems as they tried to break them down. Guardiola will need a lot more performances like that if City have any chance at getting back into the title race, with Laporte’s return quite a while away.
Joao Cancelo – 6
Preferred over Kyle Walker for this match, the Portuguese international is looking to cement his place in the starting eleven permanently. Cancelo had one of the more difficult tasks of the afternoon, as Lampard set his side up to have Pulisic come inside and Emerson overlap in an attempt to overload City’s right. Largely, the City right-back did well to contain this threat. We are still looking for the attacking output that the summer signing is known for, however.
Rodri – 7
Lacked the normal forward passing array we have been accustomed to seeing from the Spaniard, but was astute as ever in the defensive side. Rodri gave Kovacic and Jorginho all sorts of issues as they attempted to get past City’s midfield double-pivot. His substitution was only a precaution early in the second half as Pep Guardiola described he had ‘cramp‘.
Kevin De Bruyne – 8
City’s talisman. When City needed a bit of magic (or luck) after going a goal down, De Bruyne was in the right place at the right time to turn the tide in a match that was looking like another frustrating one at the Etihad. The final ball got away from the Belgian as it did to many others, but his work-rate was never in question. De Bruyne was crucial playing a deep role in City’s 4-4-2 formation out of possession.
David Silva – 6
Silva did not have the impact he would have hoped for in this match but always provided a passing option for his teammates before cramp forced him off. He had a beautiful flicked pass into Sterling at the end of the first half that put the winger in behind Azpilicueta and should have resulted in a goal. Didn’t allow Chelsea’s defenders to get forward with possession.
Riyad Mahrez – 7
A constant threat all evening down the right side. His goal was the moment of magic City needed to get over the line in a tough match. Afterwards, he continued to cause Chelsea issues, but could not find the final ball again. Opted to shoot instead of playing Mendy through down the left on one occasion, and put a great chance in the second half over the bar, albeit on his right foot.
Sergio Aguero – 6
The Argentine has struggled to find his best form this season. City’s initial press forced Kepa to miscue his clearance right to the striker, who had the entire goal to aim at only to hit the crossbar before the half-time break. Yet another worry for Guardiola as he was forced off for Jesus late in the second half, looking to be in some discomfort.
Raheem Sterling – 6
A quiet afternoon for Sterling after an interesting international break. Had the ball in the back of the net to put the icing on the cake for this match, only for his armpit to be offside. Defensively, however, he put in a great shift, not allowing Chelsea to have any success trying to attack down City’s left side.
Ilkay Gundogan – 6
Looked assured after coming on. Filled in well in Rodri’s defensive position, and continues to look at home at the base of City’s midfield.
Phil Foden – 6
Brought a lot of energy upfront in City’s press. Will have an extremely important role in the side as the matches start coming thick and fast.
Follow us on Twitter for live updates: @City_Xtra
Follow the Author here: @realgavinford