Manchester City were held to a goalless draw at the John Smith’s Stadium today by a resolute Huddersfield Town. The Blues started the game with a rotated line-up and, despite controlling the majority of the game, struggled to break The Terriers down.
Let’s take a look at how Jordan Elgott rated the performances of City’s players.
Claudio Bravo – 8
Having been brought back into the starting line-up for the first time since being dropped almost a month ago, Bravo turned in a solid performance. He made a number of key saves (a phrase I haven’t had the pleasure of writing since he signed from Barcelona) in the first half, and his distribution was impeccable throughout. He needs to build on this performance when next given the chance.
Pablo Zabaleta – 6.5
Another player to benefit from Pep’s rotation. Zabaleta was a willing runner up and down the right flank and wasn’t caused many problems by Huddersfield’s attackers.
John Stones – 7.5
Another impressive performance from Stones, who has now started City’s last four games. Seemed uneasy at times due to Huddersfield’s relentless pressing early on, but his passing between the lines was very good. Also performed his defensive duties well.
Nicolas Otamendi – 7
After being benched by Pep Guardiola for Monday’s win at the Vitality Stadium, Nicolas returned to the starting line-up today, and did well. He made a very good tackle on Collin Quaner in the first half, and thankfully, stayed on his feet for most of the game.
Aleksandar Kolarov – 6
City’s most used player this season retained his spot in the starting line-up, but was pushed out into left-back for this fixture, and didn’t look quite as good as he has been at centre-back. Kolarov picked up a yellow card mid-way through the first half for an unnecessary foul, and seemed to struggle when having to pass the ball in tight spaces.
Fernando – 8 (Man of the Match)
Making his first City start since the win over Arsenal in December, Fernando seemed to struggle initially after being tasked with playing Fernandinho’s/Yaya’s pivot role. The Brazilian grew into the game, however, and he went on to make a number of important tackles and interceptions. He also looked very good on the ball, with a few of his touches rivalling David Silva’s on Monday night. Probably our best player today.
Fernandinho – 7
Continuing his recent tour of positions, Fernandinho played slightly further forward than he usually does, in a box-to-box midfield role. He was his usual energetic self, and didn’t do anything particularly badly, but it was clear that he couldn’t offer the same levels of creativity as Kevin De Bruyne, who usually occupies that role.
Fabian Delph – 6
Having started against Crystal Palace in the last round, Delph was afforded another opportunity to build up some much needed match-fitness. The dynamic Englishman wasn’t at his best, but it wasn’t because of a lack of fitness. Like Fernandinho, Delph was asked to play a role that is usually occupied by one of the world’s best playmakers, David Silva, in this case. Delph simply doesn’t possess the same set of skills, and therefore found it difficult to greatly affect the game. Perhaps should have been tested at left-back with Clichy ruled out through injury.
Jesus Navas – 5.5
It’s been clear for a long time that Jesus Navas doesn’t offer much to this City side, and today was no different. Aside from having a shot cleared off the line in the first half, and a dangerous cross in the second half, the Spanish winger struggled to get involved in the game. His days at the club are surely numbered.
Nolito – 5.5
After it was confirmed that Nolito’s poor form in training was the reason for his absences from the starting line-up recently, he was given a chance from the off against Huddersfield. He looked eager to take the opportunity, but he was very poor in the final third, and chose the wrong option on a number of occasions.
Sergio Aguero – 7
Having been given a chance to salvage his City career thanks to the unfortunate injury picked up by Gabriel Jesus, Aguero made his first start since January’s draw at home to Spurs. Despite not getting his name on the scoresheet, Kun was much more involved than he has been in recent appearances, dropping deep to pick up the ball and releasing it swiftly to a team-mate. He had a couple of chances to score, but it was a slightly improved performance from the Argentinian.
Kevin De Bruyne – 6.5
Brought on to replace the ineffective Fabian Delph, but unfortunately couldn’t make his mark on the game.
Leroy Sané – 6.5
Sané was brought on to replace Nolito, but like De Bruyne, couldn’t find a way to influence the game. He tried to make things happen, but couldn’t really get the beating of his man.
Bacary Sagna – 6.5
Replaced the injured Aleksandar Kolarov with thirteen minutes to go, and did well at left-back.