Manchester City were held by Burnley after missing several guilt-edge chances. Here’s how I rated the players from a decisive afternoon at Turf Moor…
Ederson – 8 (Man of the Match)
It was an unusually busy game for City’s #31, but he was alert to the danger at all times. Ederson made a brilliant save at 1-0 from Ben Mee, and an even better one from Lennon in the second half, and was never slow to come out of his goal. It must be incredibly demoralising for the opposition to know that their long balls will more often than not be snuffed out by a goalkeeper who just fears absolutely nothing.
Kyle Walker – 7
I thought Walker was pretty good today. The defensive instabilities Spurs fans swore he had in the summer still don’t look like they really exist. His energy and pace is an invaluable weapon that very few fullbacks can claim to match, and it proved useful today. He should have walked away with yet another assist for a fantastic ball to Sterling in the second half
Vincent Kompany – 7
Many people expected a second consecutive start for new boy Aymeric Laporte, but Pep’s decision to go with Kompany in this game proved to be a masterstroke. The skipper dominated Burnley’s physical forwards, making an Otamendi-esque number of clearances and tackles. In the first half, he almost opened the scoring after a short corner.
Nicolas Otamendi – 7
The Argentine has had to really step up this season, with injuries to both Kompany and John Stones making it tough for him to establish a regular partner at the back. He’s almost always delivered, though, and this game was no exception. While it wasn’t a stand-out performance from Otamendi, he was reliable, brave and excellent on the ball- and we’ve come to expect nothing less.
Danilo – 8
It was a sensational strike from the Brazilian to open the scoring – a goal that very few defenders could score. On his weaker side, Danilo put a great shift in, showcasing his incredible workrate with some lung-busting runs to support Sterling. His beautiful curling finish past the helpless Nick Pope will be remembered for a very long time.
Fernandinho – 6
Fernandinho wasn’t bad today, but didn’t seem to influence the game enough going forward. We’re used to better from him and he looked tired, but we have no backup whatsoever.
Kevin De Bruyne – 7
Kevin has set his standards incredibly high – and he didn’t reach them today. While his all-round play was still good, he found his final ball lacking on a few occasions and that caused a few City counters to break down. Every player has their off days, and it was a shame that Kevin’s came today.
Ilkay Gundogan – 8
Any footballer who has suffered a long-term injury will tell you that it’s a long road back to full fitness, but today Gundogan looked to have reached the Premier Inn at the end of the A1. Against Burnley, the German was assured, influential and perfectly in sync with his teammates. The biggest compliment I can pay him is that we didn’t miss David Silva.
Raheem Sterling – 7
Even when they’re not at their best, top players still cause problems for the opposition. That certainly rang true for Sterling today, who wasn’t at his brilliant best but never shied away from the ball and gave Burnley something to think about throughout the game (let’s ignore his shocking miss from a yard out in the second half). It does look like he’d benefit from a rest, but players like Sterling will run until they drop – and that’s the kind of player Pep Guardiola’s sides are built on.
Bernardo Silva – 7
I’m a huge fan of Bernardo Silva, whose form has improved immeasurably since the derby victory in mid-December. Today wasn’t his most incisive contribution in a City shirt but he still looked sharp, linking-up the play with a nonchalant confidence. He also picked up one of the slightly less impressive assists of his career when he squared for Danilo’s goal.
Sergio Aguero – 6
Aguero has flown back into form in recent weeks, with nine goals from eight games in a stunning January, but was way below his best in this game. He struggled to link up play and was guilty of squandering several opportunities with the wrong pass. In a game as tough as this, we needed more from him.
Brahim Diaz – N/A
Didn’t do anything of note and lost it a few times. I’m prepared to cut him some slack on account of the fact that he is 18.