Solid, if not spectacular was the theme of the contest for Pep Guardiola’s troops as Manchester City march on with a 3-0 victory over 20th placed Huddersfield Town. In a tie that was billed as a clash between the Premier League’s highest scorers and the division’s lowest scoring side, there was only going to be one winner. Danilo, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sané were on the scoresheet to give City a crucial three points at the John Smith’s Stadium.
David Wagner’s departure by mutual consent from the Terriers meant caretaker boss, Mark Hudson, was at the helm to tame the ferocious Sky Blues. City never had to get out of second gear against the lowly Huddersfield and despite their moments of sloppiness, it was enough to take them over the line with ease.
Pep Guardiola and co have continued to pile on the pressure on league leaders Liverpool and showcased their reluctance to hand over the coveted trophy to their title rivals on yet another occasion.
Ederson – 6
City’s No.1 was largely untroubled throughout as the Terriers recorded a mere 2 shots on target throughout the contest. He made a regulation save from a Steve Mounie header in the dying embers of the clash. Ederson can consider his stars lucky for keeping a successive cleansheet as the Benin international missed a gilt-edged opportunity in the 93rd minute. The Brazilian had an easy outing in between the sticks.
Kyle Walker – 6.5
The Englishman dealt with Isaac Mbenza’s threat well as his sensational pace always gave him a head start whenever the winger spelt trouble. Walker earned himself an unnecessary booking in the 15th minute after a mistimed tackle on Chris Lowe.
Nicolas Otamendi – 7
Nicolas Otamendi nullified Huddersfield’s attacking impetus as he was dominant in the air and read moments of danger in fine fashion. The former Valencia centre-half’s distribution was largely neat and he was an able deputy in the place of Stones.
Aymeric Laporte – 7
The Frenchman proves time and again why he is the epicenter of Pep Guardiola’s back four. Along with Otamendi, Laporte was defensively sound and did not put a foot wrong throughout the contest.
Danilo – 7.5
With Fabian Delph’s suspension and Oleksandr Zinchenko’s suspect showings at the back, Danilo has undergone a renaissance in recent weeks as he starts his third consecutive match at left-back. The ex-Real Madrid defender’s tendency to shoot from distance has become customary at this point and it bore fruit as it found its way into the net after a wicked deflection off Schindler. The Brazilian put in a resolute display as he won 6 tackles, more than any other City player during the 90 minutes.
Fernandinho – 6
The midfield dynamo was not at his usual faultless self as he misplaced several passes in the middle of the park. While Fernandinho also carved out some incisive passes for Ilkay Gundogan, who was constantly making runs in the opposition box, it was simply not the Brazilian’s afternoon. He was substituted in the 58th minute for David Silva as City had established a stranglehold of a lead and the tireless veteran received a rare spell of rest as he watched on the rest of the tie from the bench.
Ilkay Gundogan – 5.5
The Germany international replaced David Silva from the previous victory over Wolves and failed to continue his rich vein of form from his standout performances against Rotherham United and Burton Albion in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup respectively. Gundogan looked off the boil throughout the afternoon as his passing as well as first touch let him down on a plethora of occasions. As mentioned above, he did make some good runs into the box. Occupied a deeper role in the second 45 as Fernandinho was substituted and looked more assured.
Kevin De Bruyne – 6
This was only De Bruyne’s second league start this campaign and taking that into consideration, it was understandable to witness the Belgian not taking the game by the scruff of the neck. He showed signs of encouragement as he put in some brilliant passes on occasion, particularly his probing pass for Raheem Sterling who was hacked down in the box by Rodney Kongolo. The Belgian was also involved in the interplay for Sterling’s goal as he fed the ball to Leroy Sane, but he still has a lot of strides to cover to rediscover his vintage best.
Raheem Sterling – 7
Raheem Sterling put the tie past the Terriers with a clinical bullet header to score his 10th league goal of the season, equaling Sergio Aguero’s current tally. The former Liverpool winger completed 5 take-ons and proved to be a menace, however his decision-making and passing in the final third left a lot to be desired at times.
Leroy Sané – 8 (Man of the Match)
The flashy forward is enjoying a superb start to the New Year as his divine delivery set Sterling up and moments later, Sané slotted the ball in between the legs of Lossl to round off a standout display. The German was marshalled effectively by Tommy Smith and his threat down the flanks was tamed as he was often doubled up upon, however, the 23-year old was decisive when it mattered for Pep Guardiola’s men. No other player has had a superior goal contribution (17 in total, 8 goals and 9 assists) to Sane for the defending champions this term.
Sergio Aguero – 6.5
The Argentine would have rubbed his hands at the prospect of facing minnows Huddersfield Town, however he failed to record even a single shot during the clash. However, this was not for a lack of effort as Aguero was constanly trying to impact proceedings by dropping into deeper areas to involve himself in the build-up. The marksman grabbed a vital assist for Sane’s strike as he deftly cushioned a header into the winger’s path for him to finish.
David Silva – 6.5
David Silva got on the ball on several occasions and tried to thread through dangerous passes. A key moment was when he laid the ball onto a plate for Bernardo Silva to score, however the Portugese international could not convert the chance. The match was done and dusted even before his introduction, however and the twinkle-toed Spaniard’s wizardry was not a must for the Citizens to put the game to bed.
Bernardo Silva – 6
The former Monaco star replaced Sané and occupied a right-sided wide role. He missed a one-on-one opportunity in the 85th minute to further solidify a City win. Bernardo Silva did not really have the time to assert his dominance onto the contest.
Fabian Delph – N/A
Made his return late in the game.