Manchester City supporters likely haven't had to endure back-to-back games like that in quite some time. Two very indifferent performances, but the second gaining City three vital points in the Premier League. City visited Burnley on Saturday and ran away 2-1 winners on the back of Sergio Agüero. Despite the striker's impressive numbers this season, you could see what this performance meant to the Argentine.
In very typical City fashion, they conceded the first goal. A wonderful effort from Dean Marney saw the Sky Blues go behind early in the first half. After a long trip to Germany midweek, it took a bit to get City up and running but at their best City were moving the ball quickly and decisively. The problem was those times were few and far between on Saturday. One has to wonder at the decision to leave out both Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva. With no games until next weekend, surely one of the two could have started this game.
Eventually City battled back and scored two very “ugly” goals thanks to ricochets and the wonderful positioning of Sergio Agüero. On a day when not everyone was at their best, it was critical Agüero stepped up when he did.
Below are our ratings for City’s victory over Burnley. Not too many high numbers, but as usual one player stuck out above the others.
Claudio Bravo: 6.0
There wasn't much Bravo could do on the goal, but what still concerns me is Bravo’s limited ability to rise and control his penalty area. With City’s lack of tall defenders, Bravo’s ability to control set plays will be crucial.
Bacary Sagna: 6.5
Nothing too special, but also nothing detrimental from the Frenchman on Saturday. The defense was never going to be tasked too hard in this one, which is why the lack of a clean sheet was so disappointing.
Nicolas Otamendi: 6.0
Like most of the defense Nico seemed second to most of the balls in the first half. Add that to a few rash challenges and this explains the Argentine's low grade. City’s lack of ability to keep clean sheets is extremely concerning.
Aleksandar Kolarov: 6.5
With no Vincent Kompany and since John Stones sat for tactical reasons, Kolarov played decently at center back. When City needed a goal the Serbian began lurching further forward, leaving City vulnerable at times.
Gael Clichy: 6.0
There’s something very different about Gael Clichy compared to last season. Perhaps it’s Pep’s system but Clichy seems to be constantly caught out of position and though he has the pace to get back, he's having trouble finding himself in the system.
Fernando was probably City’s best “defensive” player. Despite being a midfielder, Fernando’s job was to shield and back four and at times he did that exceptionally well.
City’s other Brazilian midfielder had a less than spectacular day. With Fernando mopping up Dinho’s usual duties, City’s stud had a tough time finding his footing al afternoon.
Raheem Sterling: 5.5
Too many turnovers. Not enough shooting. Those six words sum up the Englishman’s performance in this game. I’ve long been a big fan of Sterling, but it might be time to give the youngster and rest and see what Sané can do.
Yaya Touré: 6.0
Not quite the explosive game the Ivorian had at Crystal Palace last week. Despite not playing midweek there were times Yaya looked the most sluggish on the pitch. The second the team sheet was released, we City were going to struggle with their pressing, because Yaya can't and didn’t really do it as well as De Bruyne or Silva can.
Not the Spaniard’s best game, but Nolito was his usual high-energy and harassing self in this game. I’d love to see Nolito get more of a chance in the middle or even up front with Agüero.
Sergio Agüero: 7.5 (City man of the match)
No doubt about this man of the match. Agüero scored twice and basically dragged City to these three points. Much the way Yaya did last week, Agüero was the driving force behind anything City did offensively Saturday afternoon.
Leroy Sané: 6.0
The young German got his first game action in quite some time, but didn’t do a whole lot to impress. I’d love to see him get a full 90 minutes sooner rather than later.
Kevin De Bruyne: 6.5
Despite only having 20 minutes, the Belgian changed the feel of the game when he came on. City always look more dangerous with De Bruyne on the pitch.
Jesus Navas: N/A
No time to mark Navas as he came on too late.