Manchester City raced into a three-goal lead against West Ham with just 34 minutes on the clock on Saturday afternoon, effectively ending the game as a contest in the first half.
Manuel Pellegrini is not known for the parking the bus and the Hammers had the same number of shots as City (9), but the Blues were clinical and deserved their win.
Here’s how we rated the players today.
Ederson – 7
Despite the final score, West Ham didn’t sit back and that meant Ederson had to be on his toes. He made a decent first half save to deny Antonio and rushed out and close the angle for the same player, who then shot wide. Also denied Arnautovic.
Kyle Walker – 6
A solid performance, if quite nondescript. Up and down the pitch, Walker did his job besides one or two lapses in concentration.
Nicolas Otamendi – 7
This was Otamendi’s first appearance since the trip to Shakhtar in October, just over a month ago, and he played well. He made 5 interceptions and 5 clearances, showing his defensive prowess.
Aymeric Laporte – 8
An excellent performance again by the Frenchman who probably should declare himself a Spaniard if Didier Deschamps keeps ignoring him. He made several important defensive actions, notably sliding in to deny Pablo Zabaleta heading into half-time. He’s a complete defender and at the age of 24 already among the best in Europe.
Fabian Delph – 7
Delph did his defensive job well today, making a match-high five tackles. He’ll never give City what Mendy can going forward, but his versatility makes him a good secondary left-back and perhaps a safer option against teams that can attack. Always links up very well with the rest of the team.
Fernandinho – 7.5
Every Fernandinho performance description is similar – tenacious, always involved and crucial to how Guardiola’s system works. City will miss this man when his legs finally go, and have to make sure they sign the right replacement because he’s a hard player to replace.
Ilkay Gundogan – 6
The German was not bad, but nothing to write home about. Like everyone in the team, he was part of the overall team play that bewitches and overwhelms opponents, but had no stand-out moments this time.
David Silva – 8
Ah, El Mago, how we love you. Silva is a perfectly mature vintage wine at this stage of his career, and is now adding more goals. Indeed, his opener was his fifth goal in six games and he seems to have developed a knack for being in the right place at the right time.
Raheem Sterling – 9 (Man of the Match)
Raheem Sterling is world class. Anyone who denies that now is not watching Manchester City and is simply leaning on lazy old biases. Raheem scores plenty of tap-ins, like his goal today, but there is an art to that – it’s called anticipation and intelligent movement. Raz also got two assists, although one of them looks like it may be taken away from him because it was slightly deflected. Like most of the City side, less effective in the second half, but the job was done even before half-time.
Leroy Sané – 9
On the other wing, Leroy terrorised City icon Zabaleta, breezing past him to set up Sterling’s goal. After his two goals for Germany during the international break, he added two more today, with his volley close to full-time the pick of them. It was very tough for us to choose between Leroy and Raheem for Man of the Match, but we went for the latter.
Sergio Aguero – 6.5
Aguero was very involved today but only registered one shot, which will frustrate him as wingers find the goal easily. His overall play is probably the best it has ever been, so even when he doesn’t score he usually adds something, whereas in the past that was perhaps not the case. Even so, not Kun’s most memorable performance.
Phil Foden – 6
He got close to 25 minutes on the pitch, stoppage time included, but much of that was City in cruise control.
Riyad Mahrez – 6
Replaced the excellent Raheem Sterling and had some involvement in what time he was given.
Gabriel Jesus – 6.5
Another late substitute who gets slightly above the standard rating for his nice assist to set up Sané’s second and City’s fourth goal.