City picked up their first Premier League win since the 2nd of February when they put four goals past a doomed Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
The first half was a frustrating, disjointed affair but the Blues took the lead three minutes after the restart when Yaya Touré’s effort nicked off City old boy Micah Richards and ended up in the bottom corner of the net.
Two minutes later it was 2-0. Sergio Agüero looked to latch on to a smart Wilfried Bony through ball and Richards was again involved as his attempted clearance ricocheted off the Argentine and past Brad Guzan in the Villa goal.
The third goal was the pick of the bunch. Agüero and David Silva linked up superbly and the latter assisted the former, who lashed his shot home at the near post.
Substitute Raheem Sterling added a fourth goal a few minutes later and it would have been 5-0 had Agüero not spurned the opportunity to complete his hat-trick when his penalty hit the post.
Here’s how I rated the players on the day.
1 Joe Hart – 7/10
His goal only really came under threat once all afternoon, when he made a comfortable save to his left from Jordan Ayew in the first half. His 12th league clean sheet of the season puts him level with Petr Cech in the race for this year’s Golden Glove award, which isn’t bad at all considering some of the defences he’s had in front of him at times this season.
3 Bacary Sagna – 7/10
Defended as well as he has done all season and, when required, got up and down the right side in support of the attackers. The consistency of his performances has been one of the few things we’ve been able to rely on this season.
4 Vincent Kompany – 6/10
Was caught out of position on several occasions and conceded a few fouls by being needlessly over-zealous with his upper body. We’ve seen shades of the erratic, reckless Vincent Kompany of last season in the last couple of games and we’ve got to hope it’s just a blip as his calm presence at the back will be key to anything his team does between now and the end of the season.
30 Nicolás Otamendi – 7/10
Had a comfortable afternoon and dealt with all of the minor challenges that came his way with a minimum of fuss. The Argentine has so far failed to win over many City fans due to an inconsistent first season in English football but Manuel Pellegrini clearly sees Otamendi and Kompany as his first choice partnership at central defence. Whether Pep Guardiola agrees remains to be seen.
22 Gaël Clichy – 7/10
Like his compatriot at right back, this was a solid game from Clichy in which he defended his flank well and put some decent crosses in at the other end, one of which would have resulted in the opening goal had Wilfried Bony not left his shooting boots in Swansea.
25 Fernandinho – 7/10
Occupied the deeper position of City’s central midfield two and did absolutely fine, as he almost always does. Using the word “consistent” when it comes to the Brazilian feels like under-selling him somewhat, because he’s as important to this team as anyone.
42 Yaya Touré – 7/10
His absence at Anfield on Wednesday night perhaps reminded a few City fans of what we’ll miss when Yaya’s no longer around and he stepped up and broke the deadlock in this game, as he so often has during his time at the club. Hopefully there’ll be at least one or two more memorable Yaya moments before he finally bids us adieu.
15 Jesús Navas – 8/10
City’s Man of the Match, in my opinion. The Spaniard got up and down the right flank like a whippet, ran his opposing full back into the ground and delivered some good crosses, including an assist for Raheem Sterling. His penalty shoot-out heroics last weekend completed his transformation from fans’ boo boy to popular member of the team but he’d been playing well long before he whipped Wembley into a frenzy and hopefully he can really kick on from here.
21 David Silva – 7/10
Seemed to carry his dreadful mid-week form into the first half of this match but, like everyone in a blue shirt, Silva improved after half-time and notched up a couple of assists, including a sublime lobbed pass to Agüero for City’s third goal. Photographs from the Wembley dressing room showed Silva with a huge ice-pack strapped to his ankle after the game, which makes you wonder why somebody with an injured ankle keeps starting matches for City. Surely this is just another case of City mis-managing a key player’s long-term injury and it’d be better for everyone if he was rested until his ankle’s fully healed?
14 Wilfried Bony – 4/10
Was involved in City’s best move of the first half and assisted the second goal with a good pass but was woeful aside from that and was probably as relieved as anyone to see his number go up with 30 minutes to go. The Ivorian’s best football for City has come when he’s played as a sole striker but he partnered Sergio Agüero up front in this match and the two are the oddest of odd couples. It feels like Bony’s terrible form is not for the want of trying and I felt genuinely sorry for him at times in this match as he bore the brunt of a whole season’s worth of frustration from the stands. Like a few other signings City have made in recent years, Bony has taken a step-up from a lesser Premier League club and found himself out of his depth. If he’s honest with himself, he probably regrets making the move in the first place but thankfully for everyone, his days at City are more than likely numbered.
10 Sergio Agüero – 8/10
Was the brightest, most-likely City player to make something happen in the first period and showed his commitment to the cause by chasing back deep into his own half to defend at one stage. His two goals in quick succession sealed the deal for his team in the second half and the second one was a typically wonderful display of control and finishing. That’s now 16 goals in 21 Premier League appearances this season, putting him three behind Jamie Vardy in the running for a second consecutive Golden Boot. He’ll be hoping that missed penalty doesn’t prove decisive.
7 Raheem Sterling – Came on too late to mark
Will have been relieved to take part in a football match without having his every touch booed by the opposing supporters. His goal, which takes him up to six for the season in the league, was about as easy as they come but he was in the right place at the right time and we’ve got to take some encouragement from that.
72 Kelechi Iheanacho – Came on too late to mark
Came off the bench and won a penalty with his first touch thanks to some clever movement. The youngster has every right to be miffed at the fact he appears to have undeservedly fallen down the pecking order since Wilfried Bony’s return to fitness but he has a terrific attitude and seems to just get on with it when called upon. Keep doing what you’re doing Kelechi, because we bloody love you for it.
76 Manu García – Came on too late to mark
Didn’t look at all out of place on what was his Premier League debut and used the ball intelligently whenever he got it. David Silva sees a bright future for this lad apparently, and that’s good enough for me.
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Written by Dan Burke