Pep Guardiola produced a strong team this afternoon to highlight his intentions toward this competition and how seriously he takes it. A frustrating first half for the Blues was quickly forgotten about in today’s FA Cup game against Burnley as City moved into full speed and put four past Sean Dyche’s men. Here’s how I rated the City team.
Claudio Bravo – 6.5
The bar to which he’s measured against nowadays is so high that it takes him being the hero of a penalty shoot-out to gain recognition at the moment. Nonetheless, forgetting about how special our other keeper is in net at the moment, Bravo had quite the average game. He wasn’t regularly tested but he didn’t command his area defending set pieces too well and his distribution was questionable at times. He was beaten at his near post for the goal but the pace on the shot makes that a little forgivable.
Danilo – 7.5
Coming in for Kyle Walker, the Brazilian had quite a solid game defensively and even when he was switched over to the left during the latter stages he still looked comfortable. A really embarrassing moment came when he lined up to take a long range shot that woefully drifted out of play for a throw in but aside from that looks a viable backup option should anything happen to Walker.
John Stones – 6.5
He’s just recently returned from injury so this rating may seem a tad harsh but the Yorkshireman set himself such high standards before December that it’s so noticeable when he doesn’t match them – and I think that’s a good thing. Obviously he was at fault for the goal and honestly the less said about that the better. Aside from that he wasn’t tested too much and the way Burnley set up made it difficult for him to bring the ball forward.
Nicolas Otamendi – 7
Another solid game for the Argentine as he shows just how much he’s improved in the past two years. There was no goal for him today and no magical moment at the back but he’s fantastic in possession and, for his height, is always a contender for an ariel duel. The ideal defender for our system in my eyes.
Oleksandr Zinchenko – 6
The worst performer today in my opinion. Not his fault necessarily as he’s a forward thinking player who’s been thrown in to play left-back, most likely because he’s naturally left footed and willing to work. Not a bad thing but today he was caught out defensively a little. Often muscled off the ball and in the wrong position, he looked more comfortable when we had Burnley penned inside their own 18 yard box than holding the line in his own. He was replaced by Walker around the 70th minute.
Fernandinho – 7
Another solid performance from Fernandinho. The only downside about him is his age I think, imagine how long he could be the pivote in our team for if here were in his late 20s. He’s surprisingly strong in the air for his size and is flawless at moving the ball between our defence and attack.
David Silva – 7.5
After he made a statement about the reason behind his personal leave I think we all expected – and wanted – him to stay in Spain for the foreseeable future to be there with his family. He returned though to play today and the fans in the ground gave him a standing ovation of support in the 21st minute. He repaid them by putting in another excellent performance. King of the ‘pre-assist’ he was the only one looking to make things happen in the first half and in the second half, the rest of the team caught up to his standard.
Ilkay Gundogan – 7.5
The German stepped in for KDB today and looked like he had a bit of a point to prove. He was good in possession but his main contribution came when he showed quick thinking to play the short free-kick to Aguero for the equalizer and then, only minutes later, got the assist for Aguero’s second.
Raheem Sterling – 7
Sterling was always trying to make things happen and brought energy and pace to the game where he could. He got into some dangerous positions and caused havoc for the Burnley full backs. He wasn’t rewarded with a goal or an assist today but played an important part of the performance either way.
Leroy Sané – 7
Sané had a strange game today. He was often caught in possession and some of his attempts at crosses into the box were woeful but he looked a constant threat down the left flank – although it often ended in frustrated groans around the ground. Anyway as soon as the game opened up later on he was in his element and played a lovely one-two with Silva to get the third goal in the game.
Sergio Aguero – 8 (Man of the Match)
Man Sergio frustrates me at times. The first half he was pretty much non-existent and he hold up play was dire. Lost the ball, slowed the play and cut a frustrated figure amongst media rumours of discontent in his camp. HOWEVER. The second half he was a different man and looked hungry to score and that’s exactly what he did. He made a brilliant move for the first goal and topped that off with another one only minutes later. The only disappointment for me was that he was brought off before he could complete his hattrick.
Kyle Walker – 6.5
Had a solid few minutes but not enough time or challenges to make much of a difference, not his fault though so I gave him the base rating.
Kevin De Bruyne – 7
Even though he only came on for a short period of time he upped the quality of the game tremendously. He played a couple of defence-splitting balls from inside his own half – one of which led to a goal – and generally was just class. Had he played the whole game he would have easily been my man of the match.
Bernardo Silva – 7
He only came on for a few minutes to replace Sergio but still managed to score. Hopefully we’ll see more of him on Tuesday night.