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Player Ratings: Sunderland 0-1 Manchester City

Report cards for City's players after earning three points on the road.

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Joe Hart (7.5): He flew all over the place to preserve the clean sheet. Sunderland piled up quality scoring chances, but Hart was up to the test time and time again. He would surely have been beaten by Lamine Kone's free header from a set piece (which sailed wide), but he made a brilliant save on Jermain Defoe's powerful low shot and was strong with his punches all evening.

Bacary Sagna (7.5): Sunderland is a sneaky offensive team. Sagna dealt with the danger the home side posed and was calm with and without the ball. Fabio Borini can ask questions of opposing defenses, but Sagna contained the former Liverpool man.

Nicolas Otamendi (7.0): If youngsters are looking for a player to emulate from a toughness standpoint, well, this is the guy to watch. He is relentless and is never one to shy away from getting stuck in. Having said that, Defoe and company gave him some trouble in this match. It was a mixed bag of a game from the Argentine. He cleared a ball off the line with his noggin, but he still telegraphs some passes and can look a tad reckless at times.

Martin Demichelis (7.0): He was disciplined and weathered the storm well, especially considering how prominent Defoe and Wahbi Khazri were in this game. City found a way to hang on for the W, and the veteran Demichelis must be given his share of the credit despite the fact that there were chances (and corners) aplenty for Sunderland.

Gael Clichy (7.0): He sure can supply dangerous balls into the box. The only problem is that he was forced to sit back and defend quite a bit. City were winning. Sunderland were pressing. Plus, Manuel Pellegrini opted to play with a 4-4-2, so neither Sagna nor Clichy really needed to run the flank as they would have in a system with two holding mids and three attacking mids.

Jesus Navas (7.0): The industrious Navas exited the match in the 76th minute. It was a pretty typical performance from the Spaniard: plenty of running, not much to log on the stat sheet. His effectiveness must not be underrated.

Fernandinho (7.5): The reliable center mid held down the fort. He did not explode offensively but his contributions from an organizational standpoint are beyond invaluable. He has epitomized consistency for City this season.

Yaya Toure (7.5): The man was feeling it. He was asserting himself in the middle of the park and thrived in the flat four setup in midfield. He was free to attack and also did his bits defensively.

David Silva (7.0): He has looked good, but this is one of the best players in the world. His passing was smooth and his movement was predictably intelligent, but the incision and the vision of the engineer are still not fully back. Silva might just explode any day now, and there is plenty of football remaining in the campaign for him to remind everyone of his silly ability.

Sergio Aguero (7.5): That's five goals in his last three Premier League appearances. He gave City the lead on the easiest of finishes, but he looked to be in considerable pain right after scoring. He was able to continue, and his production of late has been insane. He has 17 goals in all competitions this season, despite the fact that he has missed several weeks due to injury.

Kelechi Iheanacho (6.5): Entering the game with loads of confidence after a three-goal performance against Aston Villa, Iheanacho inevitably came back down to earth. He showed great strength on the ball, and he is remarkably poised for a young fellow. He only played half of the game, though, as Fernando was brought on to add depth to the midfield seeing as City had the lead.

Substitutes:

Fernando (6.5): The Brazilian got plenty of game action and played well as his team held off a menacing Sunderland attack after the break.

Raheem Sterling (6.0): He only played for a quarter-hour and was unable to provide a spark late on. At that point, however, City were just trying to see the game out.

Aleksandar Kolarov (6.0): Game ending soon and in the lead? Add defense! Kolarov never had the opportunity to change the game, but he was a safe bet to be composed in the midst of an all-out Sunderland push for an equalizer.