Another three goals and another three points means that City are right on Chelsea’s shoulder as we enter the final stage of the 2013/14 season. Most importantly, the seemingly irresistible early season momentum looks to be returning. Every single player was excellent last night which is reflected in the unusually high marks. Here is how they did against an underwhelming Manchester United…
Joe Hart – 7
Hart did not have a huge amount to do last night but dealt well with the sporadic United attacks. Encouragingly he looked solid when dealing with corners and crosses, both of which have been a bit of a weak spot for him previously. If he keeps up this kind of commanding display he has a great chance of once again retaining the end of season Golden Gloves award.
Pablo Zabaleta – 8
As always Zabaleta defended tenaciously and got forward to support the attack whenever the opportunity presented itself. Maybe not quite as incisive as when at his absolute best, but we can forgive him that following the battering he received over the evening. First a heavy challenge from Welbeck that looked a potential leg breaker and left him hobbling, and then a deliberate elbow to the face from the hopeless Fellaini. Pablo is apparently made of iron, as if we didn’t know that.
Vincent Kompany – 8
He picked up an early yellow card and looked convinced he was being given a red in the second half, but apart from that slight sloppiness he was the rock this team needs to win the Premier League. He came back from a one week suspension following the Hull red card and reminded us why we miss him when he’s out. As with the home game earlier in the season, United’s forward got absolutely no joy out of our captain.
Martin Demichelis – 9
Demichelis is playing better and better recently. Following two games where he took the responsibility of marshalling the defence on his shoulders, he looks confident, decisive and, best of all, like he is enjoying himself. His anticipation and heading ability are his best attributes and both were on full display yesterday as he not only stopped United attacks in their tracks, but in many cases didn’t even allow them to start. A perfectly timed sliding tackle down the left hand side was a highlight.
Gael Clichy – 9
This was comfortably Clichy’s game of the season so far. He was an immovable object in defence no matter what was thrown at him. He even won a crucial back post header against Fellaini at one point. Going forward, Rafael was given a torrid time. Clichy’s pace and penetration was too much for the Brazilian. Pellegrini was fully justified in picking Clichy over the in form Kolarov.
Fernandinho – 8
Our favourite Brazilian once again showed us his enormous worth. He embodied everything that United’s attempted defensive midfield shield couldn’t do. He was tireless in both defence and attack. Perhaps should have scored, but apart from that yet another 8/10 performance. ‘Average’ does not appear to be a word in Fernandinho’s dictionary.
Yaya Toure – 10
What is there to say? The sight of Toure turning it on at will in the big games is becoming the norm these days. He added yet another goal to his tally for the year in the final minute of normal time but that doesn’t tell the whole story by any stretch. He made the highly paid, highly paid for, United midfield look like pub players as he pleased. What a man.
Jesus Navas – 8
Navas did everything we have come to expect from him. Patrice Evra looked shellshocked at times as Navas began counter attacks at speeds normally reserved for expensive cars. Like Fernandinho he perhaps should have scored, but lets not have that takeaway from an excellent performance.
Samir Nasri – 8
Not his very best night, but the fact he can play like he did last night and be considered below his best speaks to his vast improvement this season. Hit the post in the first minute (inadvertently setting up the opening goal) and had a few other chances. As per usual he was constantly looking to damage the opposition which is all you can ask for.
David Silva – 10 – Man of the Match
Well. Well, well, well. A performance like this has been coming for our beloved Spaniard. In recent weeks he has been putting on some absurd shows for us fans, but last night he was unplayable. No defender in the world could have touched him as he took the p*ss all over the park. There are too many moments worthy of comment to fit in here, so I’ll stick with two; Firstly, his play in the build up to Dzeko’s goal on 42 seconds where he magicked the ball through the United defence. Secondly, late in the second half when he controlled a goal kick in his stride and on the turn. This is a man who shapes games in his own image.
Edin Dzeko – 10
We at Typical City often criticise Dzeko – his workrate, often poor finishing, his clumsiness – but last night he looked a different player. He looked the player we were told we’d bought originally. The presence of mind to follow in Nasri’s shot for his 42 second opener. The beautifully cushioned, technically excellent volley from a corner for his second. On top of all that, he didn’t let old man Rio have a break all evening which is something I think we can all commend. Top, top work Edin.
Javi Garcia – 6
Got turned by Rooney once or twice but apart from that he did his job well, if unspectacularly. Exactly what Pellegrini will have wanted when he sent him on.
James Milner – 6
Many were expecting Milner to start after he had a great game against Fulham but it was not to be. As with Garcia above, Milner did his job which was to stop United having a sniff of getting back into the game. He also contributed to the attack in the way he does
Alvaro Negredo – 6
Didn’t have a lot of time to impose himself on the game, really. Showed flashes of his strength and skill but did not really have any obvious opportunities to get the goal he so desperately needs right now.
Written by Alex Timperley who is on Twitter