After an unforgivably toothless performance on Tuesday saw City earn only a point at home to strugglers West Brom, it was imperative that the team showed some fighting spirit and hunger today.
Which, to their credit, they did. And, most importantly, a well-taken Raheem Sterling goal earned the much needed three points.
It was a solid, if unspectacular, performance against a strong Southampton side that troubled the City defence on occasion.
Here’s how we rated the players this afternoon…
Ederson – 7.5
The Brazilian played a role in the only goal of the game with a strong punt up-field. Aside from that, he made some good saves and looked alert whenever he was called upon.
Kyle Walker – 7
This was a pretty typical Walker performance – used his pace and physicality well, got forward when required and generally dealt with Southampton’s attacks well.
John Stones – 7.5
What a turnaround in his fortunes this season. Another great performance from Stones. Carried the ball well and it was another faultless 90 minutes for Stones.
Ruben Dias – 7
There were question marks about the defender’s ability on the ball, but I’m increasingly impressed by Dias’s composure in possession. His defending was robust as usual and his leadership skills clear to see.
Joao Cancelo – 7
Some good passes going forward and dealt with the threat of Theo Walcott well. Should be starting virtually every game for the rest of the season.
Rodri – 6.5
Sloppy in the opening 15 minutes but grew into the game. I’m still not convinced by Rodri, though – it’s a tough task replacing Fernandinho and I think the Spaniard fatefully lacks his predecessor’s nous and pace to carry out the demands of the role.
Ilkay Gundogan – 7.5
The much maligned midfielder was very good today – got stuck in when needed and moved the ball incisively at times. Unlucky not to score with a beautiful strike outside the box on his weaker foot.
Kevin de Bruyne – 8
This is the de Bruyne we know and love. Set up Sterling’s goal with a smart cross, created several chances and was the best player on the pitch.
Ferran Torres – 5.5
As has often been the case, the summer signing failed to impose himself on the game and was subbed after an entirely average performance.
Bernardo Silva – 6
It was a frustrating game from Bernardo. He was energetic and eager to impress, but his end product let him down at key moments. Spurned a couple of good opportunities in the second half.
Raheem Sterling – 7
Took his goal well to earn the three points. A mixed performance from Sterling overall, but on the whole he was dangerous and worked hard at both ends of the pitch.
Riyad Mahrez – 6
The Algerian replaced Torres and while his end product was poor he at least was proactive in possession and added some dynamism to the attack
You can follow the writer on Twitter here: @MDGough96
Follow us on Twitter for live updates: @City_Xtra