Manchester City defeated Middlesbrough 2-0 at the Riverside on Saturday afternoon. The scoreline greatly flattered the hosts, who were thoroughly dismantled for ninety plus minutes. Pep Guardiola went with a very strong side, and it produced one of the best performances of the season. David Silva opened the scoring after just two minutes and City never looked back.
Boro's lack of energy to start the game cost them a quick goal for City, and despite creating two good chances, the hosts were very poor defensively and remained on the back foot for the entire match.
City on the other hand looked vibrant and inventive, with each attack teeming with possibilities. City missed a lot of chances again, but the performance was still dominant and the victory was deserved.
Below are the player ratings and our pick for Man of the Match.
Claudio Bravo: 7.0
In addition to adding to his clean sheet tally, Bravo helped City's buildup play in a very good way and made two good saves.
Pablo Zabaleta: 7.5
A warrior for City for nearly a decade, Zabaleta put on a show against Boro. Whether it was bombing forward or tracking back, Zaba proved he can still do a job for City. Not on every game anymore, but count on him for the big game.
John Stones: 7.5
Stones has strung together a few very good performances as of late and really doesn’t get the credit he deserves for what has been a good season overall. Imagine where City’s defense would be without the young Englishman, and he’s handled a lot of pressure very well.
Nicolas Otamendi: 7.0
Another strong game for Otamendi might just see his stock rise in Guardiola’s book. Nico may never be the super consistent brick wall many City supporters had hoped when he was signed, but he has proven to be a competent rotation center-back.
Gaël Clichy: 7.0
Clichy was basically included to deal with Adama Traoré’s pace on the outside. He did just that and offered more than usual in possession going forward. All in all it was a good afternoon for the French defender.
Yaya Toure: 8.0
Grandpa Yaya put in another strong performance in the deep midfield role. Controlling possession and delivering an amazing ball to Zabaleta for City’s opener was just too simple for the Ivorian midfield.
David Silva: 8.5 (Man of the Match)
He missed a LOT of easy scoring chances, but Silva was so damn brilliant that there's no way his rating could be low.
Kevin De Bruyne: 7.5
Next time you watch a City game, try to pay attention only to De Bruyne’s movement and passing. It’s absolutely incredible, and De Bruyne is doing things under Guardiola that are not noticeable, but are vital for City’s success.
Raheem Sterling: 7.0
Sterling fluffed his lines a few times, but the Englishman still played a strong game against Boro. He got an assist, ran at defenders all afternoon and created panic as usual.
Leroy Sané: 7.5
The German winger can do it all: keep the width on the wing, run and dribble past defenders and deliver the final product. His cross for Agüero’s goal was excellent and his runs often create space for City’s midfielders. Sané is very good.
Sergio Aguero: 8.5
This was one of the better games for Agüero in recent weeks. He may have only scored one goal, but the Argentine also hit the post and his work rate was excellent against Boro.
Saw the game out and created a few chances in his short time on the pitch.
No time to mark.
Kelechi Iheanacho: N/A
No time to mark.