Manchester City were held to a goalless draw against Huddersfield Town in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday. A much weaker City team struggled immensely to really fashion any chances against the Championship side. Claudio Bravo was probably the busier of the two keepers, and despite all of City’s possession there was a clear lack of creativity and cutting edge without David Silva or Kevin De Bruyne in the starting lineup.
In hindsight this draw may come back to haunt Pep Guardiola and he might regret picking a weaker side. Of course if the Champions League game against Monaco goes to plan then all will be forgiven and forgotten, but that would be a tough game even with City at 100%, which of course they are not.
The loss of Gabriel Jesus, who only arrived in January, appears set to derail what was an offense on the rise in recent weeks. Sergio Agüero seems to be completely not interested in playing Pep’s passing and pressing style. It will be interesting to see if the Argentine gets the start against Monaco.
Below are the ratings for each City player who saw the pitch against Huddersfield. Not too much standout from the boys in blue but a draw is usually better than a loss.
Claudio Bravo: 7.0
The Chilean reestablished himself quite well in his first start in nearly a month. As stated above Bravo was seemingly the busier of the two keepers and kept a clean sheet while facing a couple of tough long range efforts.
Pablo Zabaleta: 6.5
The Argentine didn’t really put a foot wrong in this game, but there was also not much to boost his score either. A couple of nice combination runs down the right side were negated by poor delivery.
Nicolas Otamendi: 7.0
After being benched for a couple of games Otamendi acquitted himself quite well against Huddersfield. Everything is taken with a grain of salt considering it was against Championship opposition, but Otamendi did play well.
John Stones: 7.5
If there was one bright spot on the afternoon for City it was at the center-back position. Stones looked like a leader and true starter among backup players in this game, and that’s a very good thing for not only City but England as well.
Aleksandar Kolarov: 5.5
Playing left-back the Serbian defender looked completely uninterested in defending at all. Picking up an early yellow card certainly didn’t help things, but hopefully Kolarov can raise his game back up when faced with high-flying Monaco this week.
The Brazilian midfielder played quite well in a deeper defensive role this game. Granted again it was Championship opposition, but good tackling and a clean sheet is nothing to bash. Fernando could do with dropping further to help the center-backs out at times, but that’s really a minor critique.
Fabian Delph: 6.5
Delph was welcomed back into then starting lineup and it’s honestly difficult to remember anything he was involved in all afternoon. Of course that means there were no glaring issues with his performance, but absolutely nothing stood out either.
Fernandinho started the game in a more advanced position with two deeper players playing alongside him. This position clearly didn’t suit the Brazilian, as he never looked comfortable trying to create in the offensive third.
Jesus Navas: 5.5
One of City’s three forwards who were each disappointing in their own way. Navas was once again poor in his final ball but also seemed a step slower than his usual rapid self. Maybe it’s age or lack of playing time, but the Spaniard’s best days in a City shirt are clearly long gone.
Nolito was trying to create shots or scoring opportunities, but nothing really came off. His pressing is always good, but he was receiving zero help in that respect in this game.
Sergio Agüero: 5.5
Who was wearing number ten yesterday and what have they done with Sergio Agüero? The Argentine in years past would have ended the dreams of a side like Huddersfield. Something is clearly going on with the striker. Could this be the beginning of the end of Agüero in a City shirt?
Leroy Sané: 6.5
The young German was in tremendous form so it made sense he was one of the first people brought off the bench to rescue this game, but with less than a half hour on the pitch Sané could never really get going.
Kevin De Bruyne: 6.5
Brought on at the same time as Sané and suffering from a similar lack of flow with the game was De Bruyne. Hopefully this changes when both are undoubtedly starting against Monaco.
Bacary Sagna: 6.0
The Frenchman came on after Kolarov suffered a knock and played well enough at left-back in his limited time.