Manchester City ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over Arsenal at the Emirates on Sunday night partially thanks to another Kevin De Bruyne masterclass. The Belgian was in inspired form, sensationally scoring the away side’s first and third goals of the night — while also assisting Raheem Sterling the second. De Bruyne opened the scoring just two minutes in, lashing home from a Gabriel Jesus cross, only to turn provider for Sterling’s goal not long afterwards. It was three before the break, with De Bruyne once again on target, unleashing an accurate side-footed drive into the bottom corner, to complete the first-half rout. The result sees City close in on Leicester in second place, though the gap to leaders Liverpool remains a sizable one.
The obvious answer will surely be De Bruyne — but Phil Foden played superbly throughout. The England youth international earned a start following an impressive display against Dinamo Zagreb in the week. He shone once again tonight, with incisive passing, intelligent movement, and an assist of his own for City’s third goal. When David Silva does eventually depart the Etihad, City appear to have their very own, ready-made replacement.
There are few to pick from on a day of triumph for City, but question marks will still linger over the sides back-line, and its ability to sustain large amounts of pressure. City’s centre-backs were certainly better tonight, but on another day, Nicolas Pepe could have made Benjamin Mendy look rather silly, as the Manchester club continue to find a solution to their left-back conundrum.
Manager Ratings (out of 10)
9 — Pep Guardiola got his team selection spot on, after weeks of increased scrutiny over some of his tactical tweaks. His decision to start Foden was an inspired one, while fielding De Bruyne as a makeshift No. 10 arguably made all the difference. Defensively, City also looked well balanced and solid, in a pleasing win for Guardiola and his coaching staff.
Player Ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Ederson, 7 — The Brazilian was scarcely called upon, thanks to some improved Arsenal defending. However, he did stop the home side from going ahead just a few minutes in, with a terrific close range save from Gabriel Martinelli.
DF Kyle Walker, 7 — An assured performance from the Englishman, despite one of two worrying moments up against Martinelli on the right hand side. Elsewhere, his work ethic was exceptional, as we have come to expect from the former Spurs defender
DF Nicolas Ottamendi, 7 — City have generally looked a far more solid outfit when fielding the Argentine of late. At home to United, his impact was profound, and once again today, the travellers were seldom troubled, in part, thanks to the long serving centre-back.
DF Fernandinho, 7 — City’s defence may have been excused by the brilliance of the sides attack, but regardless, it was certainly a better day at the office for Fernandinho. The Brazilian was pinpoint in his distribution, and didn’t look too flustered at any time defensively.
DF Benjamin Mendy, 6 — The Frenchman struggled at times up against Nicolas Pepe, but as the game progressed, he appeared to grow in confidence. Room for improvement, but a solid display nonetheless.
MF Rodri, 8 — A superb outing from the Spanish holding midfielder. Rodri was vital in all facets of the game, breaking up Arsenal attacks, before helping to launch City counters. A much-improved performance.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, 8 — The quieter of City’s midfield three, in what was a ruthlessly efficient shift from the German international. Clinical passing, alongside tenacious work rate, means that the 29-year-old can be pleased with his role in City’s win.
MF Phil Foden, 8 — The academy graduate was handed a rare Premier League start tonight — just his fourth in total. Foden repaid Guardiola’s show of faith, by playing a crucial role in City’s second goal of the game, in what was a near faultless display.
FW Kevin De Bruyne 10 — As ever, the Prodigious Belgian was the primary creative outlet for City — but today’s performance was a little bit more special than usual. De Bruyne ran the show tonight, with two sensational strikes either side of his obligatory assist, in what was surely the easiest Man of the match nomination so far this season.
FW Gabriel Jesus 7 — In the absence of Sergio Aguero, the Brazilian forward has certainly stepped up to the plate. While it wasn’t a standout performance today, Jesus played his role beautifully, most notably so, when assisting for De Bruyne’s thunderous opener.
FW Raheem Sterling 7 — The England international was persistently lively, troubling Arsenal with dangerous movement. His smart work out wide however, was rewarded with a goal, as Sterling arrived late at the back post to score City’s second of the match, in a typically Sterlingesque finish.
Bernado Silva, 7 — The Portuguese star came on early in the second half for Foden, and took over from where the Englishman left of, with a controlled display in possession.
Riyad Mahrez, N/A — Replaced Gundogan in the 70th minute.
Oleksandr Zinchenko, N/A — Replaced Mendy in the 85th minute.