PLAYER RATINGS: Blackburn 1-1 Manchester City

City are still in the FA Cup after a 1-1 away at Blackburn. Much like the atmosphere inside the ground, City never really got going, a lethargic first five minutes setting the tone. Dedryck Boyata was sent off with six minutes remaining, leaving the Blues chasing a win with 10 men.

There’s no question City have a fine first XI, but when a host of changes are made we can sometimes struggle. This was another example. The one silver lining is the proposed trip to Abu Dhabi to play a mid-season friendly is now out the window due to the replay.

Here are the player ratings for the game:

Costel Pantilimon – 5

Clearly at fault for the equaliser – it was an appalling piece of goalkeeping. Strangely, though, his handling before that had been decent. He looked confident when coming for crosses and corners, and seemed assured and composed prior to the error. His distribution is poor and, quite frankly, he will never make the grade at City.

Dedryck Boyata – 4

It’s never nice to write a player off completely, but on the evidence of what I’ve seen of Dedryck Boyata over the years he isn’t ever going to be good enough for a place in City’s side. Uncomfortable on the ball and not particularly savvy defensively, he doesn’t have the ability to cut it at the very highest level. He wasn’t having a great game at Ewood and then was sent off for a silly challenge.

Joleon Lescott – 6

Lescott was given the captaincy for the day and performed fairly well. Never looks comfortable in possession of the ball, but defensively and aerially he will always do a job. Likely to leave soon, maybe even in January, but let’s never forget what a fine player he’s been for us. Was abused by a small number of our fans (apparently), more news of which, I’m sure, will emerge in the coming days.

Matija Nastasic – 6

Nastasic did OK alongside Lescott and was visibly frustrated at the final whistle. He looked comfortable throughout but was culpable for giving Blackburn too much space in the closing stages of the match. We’ve got a fine player on our hands here, and he should be with us for years to come.

Gael Clichy – 6

Didn’t get forward with as much effect as he could have against a side lacking quality. With his ability, Clichy should have had a field day yesterday, but he seemed reluctant to go forward. Still our best left-back when on song.

Fernandinho – 7.5 (Man of the Match)

Our best player…again, albeit, this time the best of a mediocre bunch. His energy continues to amaze any who bothers to watch him properly, and he has a magnificent range of passing. Buy of the season in England.

Javi Garcia – 6

Did okay but didn’t impose himself like he should. Not that certain City fans would say anything remotely positive about this guy. A weird, obsessive hate campaign has emerged over the 18 months since his arrival and seemingly isn’t going away. Would be best to sell him to a league where the pace of the game doesn’t pass him by like it often does here.

James Milner – 6.5

Weird game for Jimmy. First-half saw him making comical errors left and right, then the second saw his best qualities come out as he fought, harried, pressed and offered City some quality from out wide. City fans love him and it isn’t hard to see why.

David Silva – 7

Felt he was slightly wasted in the wide position yesterday, but his quality always shines through. Did his best to create in what was a distinctly uncreative side. Genuinely believe he is the most talented player in England in terms of technique and intelligence.

Edin Dzeko – 6

His partnership with Negredo will never work, in my opinion. They are too similar in terms of their build and the way they play. Against Swansea on New Year’s Day, and again yesterday, they were often making the same run and occupying the same space.

Alvaro Negredo – 6

Didn’t play particularly well but took his goal efficiently enough. Seems to benefit hugely from playing with Aguero, and with the Argentine set to return soon, we can all look forward to them resuming what was looking like a fantastic partnership.

Subs:

Yaya Toure – 6

Neat and tidy with his passing, but didn’t have the impact his manager was wanting and expecting.

Jesus Navas – 6.5

Liking this guy more and more. Pace and width aren’t qualities City have had in abundance in recent seasons, but he has solved that. Growing in confidence all the time and is now a vital player.

Pablo Zabaleta – Too late to mark.

Written by Rob Pollard

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