It’s back to winning ways for Manchester City as they bested Sheffield United in a tough battle at Bramall Lane. The Blues had to work hard for the three points against a well-structured, slick Chris Wilder side.
Pep Guardiola changed City’s formation to a back three which resulted in a more defensively solid performance than the recent draw to Crystal Palace. But this meant there was a shortage of attacking flair up front, and it took the inspired substitution of Sergio Agüero to break the deadlock in the 72nd minute.
Here’s how we rated the players in this one…
Ederson – 7
A slight role reversal for the Brazilian where his shot stopping was superb but distribution shaky. Stood up well against corners to his far post, despite being fouled. Pulled off a double save in the second half to stop City going behind.
Fernandinho – 6
Any hopes fans had of him reprising his midfield role were dashed from minute one when it was clear he was once again in the centre of defence. It was a feisty evening for our tactical-fouler until he eventually got his customary yellow card, after which he calmed down.
Nicolas Otamendi – 7
Otamendi gave City the aerial strength we don’t often see. He was unlucky to have his overhead kick saved in the first-half, and also kept his cool with barely any rash challenges; which is the most fans could have asked for.
Aymeric Laporte – 7
Suffered a bad tackle by Besic early on in the match which had fans gasping for breath. Recovered well, and stood strong against attacks down his side. Went off on 77 minutes with what Pep Guardiola confirmed as cramp.
Kyle Walker – 6
His pace was once again a huge asset for City in both attack and defence. Although his passing starting to flounder as the game went on which put his side under some needless pressure.
Oleksandr Zinchenko – 5
Was used to cut into an attacking midfield position from left-back, as opposed to the left-wing like we see from Mendy and Angelino. This gave City fewer options down the left, limiting attacking opportunities. His contributions were few and far between, though he has been out of the squad for a while.
Rodrigo – 6
Completed his task of collecting the ball and moving it on quickly. Doesn’t have the pace to deal with counter-attacks and found himself in the book for his efforts.
Kevin De Bruyne – 8 (MOTM)
Nearly all our attacks came through City’s midfield maestro, as he picked up his 15th assist of the season. His long range passes from midfield rarely went astray, and the Belgian picked out another spectacular right-footed cross finding Agüero at the back post to tap in.
Riyad Mahrez – 8
Another contender for man of the match, but narrowly misses out. Mahrez continued his fine form in what is definitely his best period at the club. He consistently controlled the ball well, with his passing second only to De Bruyne. A dazzling run into the Blades’ box won City a penalty in the first-half. Next time he’ll be looking to take it as well.
Raheem Sterling – 6
Sterling’s efforts would have earned him a higher rating had his decision making and end product been better. Should have put City in front but for a good Dean Henderson save. After moving from side to side early in the game he settled on the left where he found very little fortune. Created a nice chance for himself near the end of the match but shot wide of the post.
Gabriel Jesus – 5
Not a great night for City’s number nine who capped off a quiet first-half by missing a penalty. Livened up in the second-half before being substituted.
Sergio Agüero – 7
Came on for Gabriel Jesus and got his goal within five minutes. His strikers instinct was prevalent once again and it’s hard to see him being left out of the squad again this season. His form finds him with 16 goals in the Premier League, just one behind Jamie Vardy in the race for the Golden Boot.
Eric Garcia – N/A
On for Laporte in the 77th minute. Although did pull of a spectacular block when Sheffield United had City under pressure.
Bernardo Silva – N/A
On for Sterling in the 91st minute.
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