Manchester City finally caught a break with a 2-0 victory over Watford. This was their first league win at home since September and only their third clean sheet of the season. Pep’s boys in blue now face off against title rivals Arsenal on the weekend.
Claudio Bravo – 7
It was just the game the Chilean needed after a bombardment of abuse from media, pundits and fans alike. He received ironic jeers for his first save but was assured for the rest of the game. He passed well, made a good stop at the end and kept a clean sheet. Long may this continue.
Pablo Zabaleta – 7
After we saw vintage Zabaleta in midfield last week, it was time for throw-back Pablo as he delivered a buccaneering performance from right-back. His goal was a result of an expertly timed run and composed finish and his celebration was a sight to be behold. He struggled a little against Isaac Success in the latter stages but this was a good performance from Zabaleta and it brought back some fond memories.
Nicolas Otamendi – 6.5
Otamendi came back in after his suspension against Leicester and to be honest, I barely even noticed him. I guess that’s a good sign so I’m going to award him a mild 6.5.
Aleks Kolarov – 6
Kolarov was the only survivor of the Leicester horror show and it’s hard to see why. I’d like to think Pep is saving Sagna and Stones for Arsenal but Kolarov has played loads of games and already seems a firm favourite of our manager. The Serbian played in a standard back four this time and instantly looked more comfortable than he did against Leicester. Comfortable i.e he didn’t do anything fucking stupid.
Gael Clichy – 5
This was another horrendous performance from Gael Clichy and it’s easy to see why Pep has marginalised him more than any other player this season. Clichy’s form these past few years have been very up and down but this time it feels a little different. He really isn’t contributing anywhere and is actively being targeted by opposition players. Clichy almost cost us the game when he at fault for Ighalo’s shocking point-blank miss after being bullied by Amrabaat. It’s moments like these which suggest that he may not be around much longer – even if he is a treasured home-grown member of this squad.
Ilkay Gundogan – 6
Gundogan limped off crying in the first half after falling awkwardly on his knee. He tried to run it off but couldn’t continue as he was replaced by Fernando. There were signs he was getting back to his best (he still hasn’t performed as expected) but those are now curtailed by what looks like a troublesome injury reminiscent of the knee injury he had earlier in the year. A best case scenario would be that it was just a knock and the fact he walked off himself was a good sign. But early estimates are damaged ligaments which could mean several months out. Let’s hope it isn’t a very lengthy absence for a player who has been dogged by injuries his whole career.
Yaya Toure – 7
Another very solid performance from Yaya Toure who continues his good form in the league. We’ve won every game he’s started since his return and it’s no coincidence we look a better side with him in the team. He knows this league like the back of his hand and his assured performances, both defensively (yes) and offensively means he will be a valuable tool as Pep looks to steady his rocky ship.
Kevin De Bruyne – 7
De Bruyne might not be scoring a lot this season but he’s certainly creating them. His cross for Zabaleta’s goal was his eight assist of the season and he now looks like the real creative epicentre of this side. He is still yet to consistently hit the heights he is capable of but a sign of a great player is one who has a positive effect on his team even when he isn’t on form.
David Silva – 6
David Silva has boiled hot and cold at times this season and our writers (as one or two of you like to points out) aren’t afraid to mention it. Today was a cooler performance from the Spaniard as he struggled to exert himself on the game. However, testament to his ability, he snuffed out an interception and buried a smart goal as City were on the ropes in the late stages of the game.
Raheem Sterling – 8 (Man of the Match)
I like to say this loud and clear for whoever’s listening: Raheem Sterling has been our best player this season.
Damn, it is true. Raheem has been the real catalyst for this side all season. He’s always there in the good times and he’s always there clawing us back in when everyone else around him is faltering. Pep has worked wonders with him and he has already become one of the first names on the team-sheet. So much for someone who was never going to make it at City, ay?
Nolito – 6.5
The fiery Spaniard was drafted back into the side as a false nine, with Pep preferring him to Kelechi. He performed his role diligently, lead the line, pressed Watford’s centre-backs and was always offering himself as an option. He didn’t have any particular outstanding chances to score but in true fashion, he never gave in.
Fernando – 6.5
A reassuring performance by Fernando as he came in for the injured Gundogan and provided a solid screen ahead of his defenders.
Jesus Navas – N/A
Too late to mark.
Leroy Sane – N/A
Too late to mark.
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[statsfc-player-rater key=”D8SJIk7F6vySBuDaFQRSHy11xfbyCt18uXRinj2b” team=”Man City” date=”2016-12-14″ default_css=”true”]