It was the perfect way to start the new season for Manchester City, as Pep Guardiola’s side claimed their first piece of silverware with a 2-0 win at Wembley over Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea. But who stood out and who needs to improve? Here’s the first set of player ratings for the 2018/2019 season…
Claudio Bravo – 7
It was a very respectable showing for Bravo, who looked confident with the ball at his feet (as ever) and answered every question Chelsea asked of him. Let’s not talk about the bounce incident…
Kyle Walker – 7
Walker also put in a decent shift today, keeping young Hudon-Odoi fairly quiet and providing a reliable option on the ball. Should’ve had an assist.
John Stones – 8
The term ‘Rolls-Royce’ is becoming more and more applicable to John Stones with every passing game. Here, he looked assured in possession, totally in control of Alvaro Morata and brave when pushing up the pitch. Without Stones there is no second goal.
Aymeric Laporte – 8
Everything good about Stones’ performance today was mirrored in the Frenchman Laporte. He’s looking like he was worth the year-and-a-half wait, creating the opening goal with a supremely intelligent pass, and defended with an air of faint embarrassment at how easily he bullied Chelsea’s forwards.
Benjamin Mendy – 7
How good was it to see Mendy back? In his first start for almost a year, the ex-Monaco man reminded the league just how terrified they should be of his attacking prowess. It felt at times like Mendy was switching between left-back and left-wing whenever he fancied stretching his legs. No problems defensively either, which is encouraging to see.
Fernandinho – 7
Really lovely stuff from Fernandinho, who broke down stereotypes with his trademark mix of physical quality and intelligent technique. Hardly challenged by Jorginho and co.
Phil Foden – 8
It took less than fifteen minutes for Foden to get an assist at Wembley – the first City assister of the season – with a brilliantly calm bit of play. He should be frustrated, though, not to have at least two – Phil created some great chances that weren’t converted and looked part of the furniture in our midfield.
Bernardo Silva – 9
In my post-trophy euphoria I’ve probably been a bit generous with some of these ratings, but giving Bernardo Silva a 9 is nothing but fair. He looked, today, like the closest thing this league has to a Mr L. Messi, with some unbelievable control and vision. Most memorable, though, was his workrate and desire to win the ball back. It’s easy to see why City coughed up £43m for him.
Riyad Mahrez – 7
Mahrez is clearly still settling into this City side – understandably considering how radically different they are to Leicester – but showed some good moments today. Will only improve.
Sergio Aguero – 9 (Man of the Match)
Who else could I name man of the match but the matchwinner? Aguero looked typically sharp today, with his 200th and 201st goals for Manchester City. Both were hard low finishes into the bottom corner at the end of flowing moves – I can imagine he’ll put many more of those away by the time the season is over.
Leroy Sané – 6
Sané didn’t look at his best before coming off at half-time with a knock. Hopefully it’s nothing serious, because he’s threatening to have an electrifying season.
Ilkay Gundogan – 7
Gundogan managed a whole half and played well, reassuring fans that he’s capable of doing a good job in midfield again this season, despite looking just a bit like Eden Hazard in that mask.
Gabriel Jesus – 7
Jesus looked hungry and linked well with his teammates, but a third goal was never really the priority after he came on.
Brahim Diaz – 7
It was really encouraging to see Brahim playing so positively in attack. So far he’s just missing that finishing touch.
Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi and Claudio Gomes – N/A
No real time to mark.