Pep’s City saw off Newcastle with a mediocre performance in Manchester thanks to great goals from Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker – here’s how we rated the players in the last game before the international break…
Ederson – 6
Very little to report here, as the Brazilian couldn’t have done anything to stop Newcastle’s goal. I was impressed with his ariel presence, though.
Kyle Walker – 8
Wow. What a hit. The right-back earned his first goal for the club with a quite unbelievable strike from way outside the box, a rocket that flew crisply* into the bottom corner to restore City’s lead. We desperately needed something very special and Kyle stepped up. An unforgettable moment.
* Pun intended
John Stones – 7
What struck me as interesting today was the difference between Stones’ performance today and Kompany’s last week at Wolves. They’ve switched roles and now Stones looks like the assured, confident veteran that Kompany has been for so long, but undeniably better on the ball. Stones could well be this season what Otamendi was last season, and if he stays in the team (he should) a place in the PFA Team of the Year beckons.
Aymeric Laporte – 7
It was another solid game for Laporte at the back and, for my money, the Frenchman has been City’s best player so far this season. He’s certainly stood out as the most consistent across all five games. It’s crazy to think that he’s gone from being the new boy to arguably our best defender- and by extension one of our most crucial players – in less than eight months.
Benjamin Mendy – 6
With De Bruyne injured and Sané out of favour, there was a creative void in the squad – but not many expected a full back to be the one to fill it. Mendy picked up his fourth assist of the season with a cute ball for Sterling’s opener, but I don’t know what he was thinking for Yedlin’s equaliser.
Fernandinho – 5
I can’t help feeling a tad concerned by the way Fernandinho has started the season. He’s not looked himself and today was no exception as he conceded possession a few times – but there were good moments such as his early pass to Mahrez. Hopefully he’ll use the international break to get back up to full speed, because we need him.
David Silva – 6
I can’t really think of many positives or negatives about Silva’s performance today. He kept possession moving nicely and nearly scored with a rare header but wasn’t his spectacular self. That said, there’s nothing to criticise as El Mago had decent enough game.
Riyad Mahrez – 6
Vintage Riyad Mahrez is yet to arrive in sky blue but there were good signs today. He absolutely should’ve had an assist for David Silva and, while I’m not defending his sloppier play, I think that (like Bernardo Silva) he’ll need time to settle in and improve as the season goes on. Even I noticed how often he tracked back to retrieve the ball from deep, something I rarely remember.
Raheem Sterling – 8 (Man of the Match)
Despite the predictions of many a wannabe pundit, Sterling looks even more deadly this season than he did last. The England international showcased the new dimension to his finishing today with a lovely curling strike in under ten minutes. He’s a player who never hides when things aren’t going well and can produce moments of magic when they are.
Gabriel Jesus – 5
It wasn’t Jesus’ day. His link-up play was decent and there’s no denying the important work he does for the team but I feel his finishing must improve fast, because he should have scored at least twice today. Gabriel is a likeable player but we can’t afford to watch him miss any more easy headers. Nonetheless, there’s no reason yet to think he can’t still be world class in the near future.
Sergio Aguero – 5
Aguero grew into the game today, struggling at times to reach his best level. His play on the ball has seen better days and at times his touch deserted him, but Aguero also created some chances and his acrobatic overhead kick should’ve created the Jesus goal that was ruled out. Good positioning throughout, even if the way he wasted that one-on-one at the end was pathetic.
Bernardo Silva – 6
Bernardo made a positive impact off the bench today with intelligent and tenacious movement. He’ll probably be wondering why he didn’t start given Mahrez’s less impressive start.
Ilkay Gundogan – 6
The most criticised player in the blue half of Manchester looked good after coming off the bench. His set-piece deliveries were great and he was composed on the ball.
Vincent Kompany – N/A
No time to mark.