The streak is dead. After being held without a win in six straight games, on Saturday afternoon Manchester City supporters felt a ten-pound weight fall off their shoulders. The players too looked much better than recent showings, perhaps some of that will have to do with finally scoring the first goal in a contest. Playing from behind is not this version of City’s strong suit. A wonderful first half saw the rest of the contest finished off by City with relative ease.
Sergio Agüero is the man of the hour here, in what can be described as a vintage Agüero game. Contributing in three of four goals, the Argentine was a force to be dealt with Saturday afternoon. I’m reluctant to say Agüero dragged City to the three points because more than a few players were quite good, but Kun was like a man possessed.
This game will no doubt give City supporters flashbacks to earlier games this season like Bournemouth and Stoke City, where City were so dominant and seemed to create at will. This display is what City fans have been hoping for with each outing during this recent winless run. Hopefully, this game can provide an ample confidence boost ahead of City welcoming Barcelona to the Etihad on Tuesday evening.
Below are our ratings for each of the 14 City players who saw the pitch Saturday afternoon, along with our pick for City Man of the Match. Be sure to comment below!
Claudio Bravo: 6.5
The Chilean net minder had very very little to do in this one. Bravo’s passing was adequate and he swept up for the back when needed, but certainly he’ll regret missing out in the midweek clash against Barcelona.
The Brazilian midfielder deserves a lot of credit for his performance in this one. Fernando was asked to play in several different positions in the same game. With possession it seemed the task was to occupy a midfield duo with Fernandinho, but when possession was lost Fernando was sent into more of a right-back position. No real issues occurred despite this constant shuffle which is a testament to his performance.
John Stones: 7.0
The young Englishman was once again very good in defense. In the center of what was a back three at times, Stones was calm and composed and made no mistakes in this one. This was a very good bounce back performance after the Southampton game and a good response to being rested midweek against United.
Nicolas Otamendi: 7.0
High marks for City’s other central defender, Nico Otamendi loves a sliding tackle and he’s gotten superb at them over the years. Pep may not like it, but one of the Argentine’s strengths is his ability to slide in and time those tackles to perfection. Otamendi was very good in this one as well as performing well midweek in the EFL Cup.
Aleksandar Kolarov: 6.5
The Serbian international again displayed why he’s usually in the lineup one way or another. His long passing is sometimes hit or miss, but when it hits one pass can totally open up any defense in the league. Despite picking up another booking, Kolarov was solid at the back even when West Brom pressed City midway through the second half.
Another Brazilian midfielder who played exceptionally well was Fernandinho. Whether the need is passing, dribbling, tackling, or even teeing up a shot, Fernandinho is exceptional at every aspect of football and showed it off in this one. Some might say he is usually in the right place at the right time, but it’s the midfielder's running that contributes to his great positioning.
David Silva: 7.5
The Spaniard seemed to suffer a bit of an injury scare in the first half but seemed alright enough to play for 80 minutes. Playing deeper than usual, Silva linked up play very well with Nolito and Agüero up front.
Ilkay Gundogan: 8.0
The German’s best game in Sky Blue? There’s definitely a case to be made that this was Gundogan’s best game for City in his young career at the club. Scoring two goals will help that, but even without them Gundogan consistently linked play from the back to the forwards, often operating in the usual role for De Bruyne.
Get out of the way Nolito! All joking aside, the Spanish winger was caught deflecting away two possible City goals from Silva and Gundogan. Despite this, Nolito played well, but nothing spectacular. Probably too many shots hit straight at defenders, but his width helped City’s midfielders make runs through the middle.
Raheem Sterling: 6.5
At times it was easy to forget Raheem Sterling was even on the pitch. This performance was still better than midweek, which was horrendous, but the supporters know Sterling is capable or more and Sterling knows it too. Hopefully we see the best out of the young Englishman midweek in the Champions League.
Sergio Aguero: 9.0 (Man of the Match)
Sergio Agüero was absolutely fantastic, there’s really no other way to put it. With two goals and an assist, the Argentine was completely dominant in this contest. When Agüero’s playing like this it’s tough to see anyone stopping him and City fans will be hoping this is the same man we see against Barcelona on Tuesday.
Kevin De Bruyne: 7.0
De Bruyne is back and what a way to come back it was. Picking up an assist and probably being robbed of a couple others, De Bruyne came on with around twenty minutes to go and immediately created chances despite playing out wide.
Jesus Navas: 6.5
A good showing in a short period for Jesus Navas. Keeping the width was why he was in there, and City’s third goal was started out on the right with Navas.
Aleix Garcia: 6.0
No real time to make the young Spaniard on this one as he came on late for David Silva.
So that’s our ratings! City’s Man of the Match had to be Sergio Aguero, he completely bossed West Brom’s defense in this one. Thankfully the winless run is over and now City, still top of the league, can focus their efforts on the Champions League once again.