Manchester City conceded a late equalizer Saturday afternoon to share the points with Middlesbrough at the Etihad. It should go without saying, but this result must be seen as extremely disappointing. City were dominant for most of the game, barring a short spell in the second half and the one lapse in concentration that lead to the Boro goal. Supporters will look back and bemoan the missed opportunities to put this game away before Boro equalized.
The first half was one of the best displays of possession dominance we’ve seen from Manchester City this season. As the half went on, City pressed harder and harder until finally Kevin De Bruyne played a wonderful ball to Sergio Agüero who slotted it home. From that moment on, any sense of urgency from City vanished, and that was costly.
Then, in stoppage time, Boro teed up a long cross and several defenders were lackluster in their attempts to clear. Marten De Roon simply wanted it more and leapt to meet the ball with his head and powered home Boro’s equalizer. City had plenty of opportunities to get a second goal before stoppage time and seal the win, but as supporters have seen with this City team, chances aren’t always taken.
Below are our player ratings and City player of the match for this game. Be sure to comment down below!
Claudio Bravo: 7.0
The Chilean actually played one of his better games for Man City in this one. The first half was completely uneventful for Bravo, but for the first fifteen minutes of the second half Bravo had to be alert and made quite a few saves. There cannot be fault with Boro’s goal either.
Pablo Zabaleta: 7.0
Another solid game from the Argentine full-back is very good news for City. Zabaleta was able to bomb forward at times, possess the ball in the midfield, and when required, scamper back and cover defensively. My only critique would be he makes quite a few wasteful runs in working with Navas.
John Stones: 7.5
Stones’ high marks are more for what he did with the ball than how he defended against it. The Englishman is clearly loving playing under Guardiola and at times strides completely through Boro’s players. At times playing as close as 30 yards to the opponent's goal, Stones looks more and more comfortable in this team.
Aleksandar Kolarov: 7.0
Another solid game from the Serbian defender, as City supporters can breath a sigh of relief. Kolarov will be essential if this team is to truly challenge for silverware this season and the Serb played well both going forward and defensively in this one.
Gael Clichy: 6.5
It’s a real shame, but Clichy was completely caught on De Roon’s goal. It was a nice header, but Clichy put in little to no challenge on the play and in the end that minor slip cost City the points. City will need Clichy as well going forward, so the Frenchman has to pick up his play soon.
Fernandinho might be the best long passer in the whole squad. I’d love to see a City TV video of long ball challenges between Fernandinho and Kolarov. At its worst, Fernandinho’s passing forces the defense to move and at its best, one ball can totally break down the opposition defense.
Jesus Navas: 7.5
Another very solid game from City’s veteran Spanish winger. Navas was very lively down the right side all afternoon. The only real issue was sometimes Navas was wasteful with his final ball, but there was more than a few excellent dribbles and crosses in this game.
Ilkay Gundogan: 7.0
The German played well, but not up to the meteoric recent standards he has reached. Then again, how could he after scoring two against Barcelona midweek? Gundogan played well in in the first half, but struggled in the second.
David Silva: 7.0
For large moments of the first half, this was the David Silva show. Passing, dribbling, even making runs on the outside, Silva was outstanding for the opening 42 minutes. Then Agüero scored and all of City’s players, Silva included, seemed to dial it down a level.
Kevin De Bruyne: 7.5 (Man of the Match)
There really isn't much more that can be said about the Belgian’s game at the moment. It took an absolute world-class pass from De Bruyne to play in Agüero for City’s lone goal, but the Belgian will rue his missed chance late in the second half.
Sergio Agüero: 6.5
Truthfully Agüero played quite well and deserved a higher mark, but after skying a golden chance in the second half, when he had all the time in the world, Agüero wasn't getting higher than a 6.5 in this one.
There wasn't much to do for the Spaniard, coming on for only the last 15 minutes.
Aleix Garcíaa and Kelechi Iheanacho: N/A
No real time to mark either of these two as they both came on extremely late.
So that’s our ratings. Thanks to Sunday's results, City are now in third place in the league going into the international break. Granted the gap to first place will only be two points, but the gap is still there. For this team, anything other than first has to be a disappointment and dropped points at home to a lower table team like Boro are an issue that must be rectified.