Player ratings as citizens clinch crucial Premier League win

Manchester City ended up winning 2-0 in a fierce fight against Aston Villa, sending them back to the top of the Premier League for the time being.

Villa started off brilliantly and were keen to take the game to City for the first 10 minutes, but quickly calmed down. City maintained possession control throughout the first half but were unable to pull through countless turns and passes as the visitors produced a fine defensive display.

Raheem Sterling, Matt Targett
Matt Targett impressed for Villans | Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

Pep Guardiola’s side continued to dominate after the break and saw a number of shots go everywhere except the back of the net. Joao Cancelo hit the crossbar and Ilkay Gundogan could have had a brace but the missed opportunities allowed Villa to return to the game.

The game opened in the final 20 minutes and Dean Smith’s side came closer thanks to Bertrand Traore and Douglas Luiz, but missed opportunities resulted in a lack of focus at the back. Bernardo Silva won the ball and passed it past Emi Martinez in the 79th minute to give his side the advantage despite offside calls, before Ilkay Gundogan got the points for City with a penalty of 90 minutes.

In a game that was luckier than ever, here’s how the players ranked at the Etihad Stadium.

Ilkay Gundogan, Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva
Dias was once again flawless | Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

Ederson (GK) – 6/10 – Ederson had little to do at times, but had to be on his guard with Villa looking unsafe on the loose. His four saves were the key to three points.

Kyle Walker (RB) – 5/10 – Walker struggled to injure himself but persevered until he had to retire just before the half hour mark.

John Stones (CB) – 6/10 – After scoring a brace last time around, Stones was keen to pile in and be the man to break the deadlock.

Ruben Dias (CB) – 8/10 – Dias kept things tight at the back and stopped any counterattack with City stacking the men in front.

Joao Cancelo (LB) – 6/10 – It looked dangerous on the overlap and caused Villa a headache on the left flank. Ratted the crossbar in the 54th minute after changing wings.

Ilkay Gundogan, John Stones, Matty Cash
Gundogan was unlucky enough not to leave with a goal | Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

Kevin de Bruyne (CM) – 6/10 – He struggled to win at times, but developed in the game with exceptional long passes. Withdrawn around the hour in favor of a change of system, with the introduction of Gabriel Jesus.

Rodri (CM) – 7/10 – Rodri was the calming influence at the base of the City midfielder.

Ilkay Gundogan (CM) – 7/10 – Gundogan was a constant threat to City and denied a defensive goal from Villa that was nothing short of heroic. An indefatigable presence and so unhappy not to mark.

Bernardo Silva (RW) – 8/10 – The Portugal international scored a wonderful and incredibly important goal.

Raheem Sterling (ST) – 5/10 – Sterling struggled to assert himself as the false nine and toured continuously with Bernardo Silva, to no avail. After coming back in the goals of the previous game, it was a moment to forget.

Phil Foden (LW) – 7/10 – Returned Matty Cash several times in the first period and continued to look threatening beyond the break. Foden looks dangerous with every touch of the ball.

Oleksandr Zinchenko – 5/10 – Zinchenko was there after half an hour to replace an injured Kyle Walker, but didn’t offer the same offensive presence as Cancelo on the left.

Gabriel Jesus – 6/10

Riyad Mahrez – 6/10

Bernardo Silva, Emiliano Martinez
Martinez looked great everywhere | Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

Emi Martinez (GK) – 7/10 – Made a nice save at close range to refuse Bernardo Silva after just three minutes. There was nothing I could do to stop Silva’s goal.

Matty Cash (RB) – 5/10 – Was worked really hard by Phil Foden throughout the first half and was surprised on several occasions. Unhappily waived the penalty – a bad day at the office.

Ezri Konsa (CB) – 8/10 – Outstanding performance by Konsa who was everywhere. The 23-year-old read the game with a supreme will to extinguish danger on several occasions. The goal was by no means his fault.

Tyrone Mings (CB) – 6/10 – Dominant overhead and leading at the back for so long, until a lack of focus saw him dispossessed with ease and allowed City to score.

Matt Targett (LB) – 7/10 – City’s strongest attacks came from the left side, but Targett did well when asked and kept them quiet from the right. Her influence grew after the break when the attack came from all angles, but was eventually forced to injure herself.

Douglas Luiz (CM) – 6/10 – Best of Villa’s double pivot, Luiz was a threat to his former employers.

John McGinn (CM) – 5/10 – Worked hard on the ball, but lacked his usual tenacity and deep training. An unusual number of passes slipped from McGinn.

Bertrand TraorĂ© (RM) – 6/10 – Traore is full of confidence after an impressive run of form and looked dangerous on the counter, but lacked composure in front of goal.

Ross Barkley (AM) – 6/10 – Barkley was keen to influence the game for Villa, but was missing a neat final ball after being out of action for so long. An encouraging 70 minutes or so in the tank after a long time.

Jack Grealish (LM) – 6/10 –
Was not at his usual best and influential to the surprise of many. Grealish gained influence as the play continued, however, feeding his colleagues on the counterattack with fine passes.

Ollie Watkins, John Stones
Watkins Drought Target Continues | Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

Ollie Watkins (ST) – 6/10 – Barely saw the ball with Villa for most of the game, but it came to life in the final 15 minutes with several compound and precise crosses for his teammates.

Anwar El Ghazi – 5/10

Jacob Ramsey – 6/10

Neil Taylor – N / A