John Stones and Fernandinho impressed as Manchester City finished their UEFA Champions League group in style with a resounding 3-0 victory over Marseille.
Manchester City started the game on the front foot but slowly took their foot off the gas. Marseille, on the other hand, looked full of intent and concentration. The first half was rather uneventful though, with Dimitri Payet’s offside goal the main talking point.
The second period, however, was a completely different ball game. Ferran Torres opened the scoring in as early as the 47th minute and broke Marseille’s hearts. The game was a lot more open from then on. The introduction of Raheem Sterling and later, Sergio Aguero, helped City take more control in the final third.
Aguero scored a typical poacher’s goal of a Phil Foden corner that was met by Nathan Ake’s head to make it 2-0 in the 77th minute. An Alvaro Gonzalez own goal in stoppage time sealed the deal for Pep Guardiola’s side. Let’s take a look at how City’s individuals fared in a match where no individual stood out but it was a solid team performance.
Zack Steffen: 7/10
A champions league debut for the American goalkeeper, Steffen did well to answer all the questions posed by Marseille, ending the night with a comfortable clean sheet. Made 2 saves on what was a memorable night for him.
Kyle Walker: 7/10
A calm and composed performance by one of City’s best players this season. Walker tested Steve Mandanda with a stinging shot in the second half and did very well overall. He was comfortable on both sides of the pitch and did well to deal with Valere Germain.
Eric Garcia: 6/10
Garcia started the game strongly but was unfortunate to pick up an injury early in the first half.
Aymeric Laporte: 7/10
After a few difficult performances, Laporte did well to come back strongly versus Marseille. A mistake-free performance by the Frenchman who did well to put out the occasional fires. Came close to scoring from a set-piece situation.
Nathan Ake: 7/10
Nathan Ake started as the left-back role on the night and did a stellar job at it. Although a little apprehensive at first, he did really well to impress at both ends of the pitch. Combined well with Foden and rose tremendously high on his corner from which Aguero scored on the rebound. He will be happy to return to City’s first-team before a busy period for them.
Fernandinho vs @OM_Officiel:
91.6% Pass Accuracy
5 Aerial Duels Won
5 Accurate Long Balls
🍷 Like a fine wine. pic.twitter.com/khxQeHvK6m
— Man City Xtra (@City_Xtra) December 9, 2020
Fernandinho gave a commanding performance at the heart of City’s midfield. Kept the ball ticking effortlessly and showed tremendous reading of the game to make key interceptions and tackles. It was a nostalgic performance by Fernandinho who looked much like his old self in a familiar defensive midfield role.
Ilkay Gundogan: 6/10
Gundogan looked good in his short 45-minute display. Linked the defence and attack with aplomb. Was hooked at half-time either with the derby on Pep’s mind or to bring on more attacking impetus in the team.
Riyad Mahrez: 7/10
After a rather anonymous first half, Mahrez upped the ante in the second half. He looked more like his recent self and tried to get more on the ball and make things happen. He constantly drove at the Marseille defence and it was his mazy run that created Torres’ goal.
Ferran Torres: 7/10
Torres played in an unfamiliar striker’s position and seemed rather isolated for large parts of the game. However, the Spaniard got onto the scoresheet with some clever movement and a sublime finish. He looked much more comfortable after the introduction of Aguero. Torres has now scored in each of City’s three home games in the Champions League.
No Man City player has scored more goals in all competitions than Ferran Torres (6) this season.
Proving to be an excellent addition. 🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/pKfkhKgZpM
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 9, 2020
Bernardo Silva: 7/10
Bernardo Silva showed his versatility playing as an advanced number 10 and in a deeper role as well. He was his usual creative self and made some key late runs into the box. City would hope for the Portuguese to find his best form before a busy footballing period.
Phil Foden: 6/10
Foden had a busy game, where the youngster worked his socks off. The Englishman started wide on the left and after the introduction of Sterling, played deeper in midfield. Foden tried to create things, playing 2 key passes and attempting 4 crosses. He also completed all four of his attempted dribbles.
John Stones: 8/10
John Stones has been a revelation of late for the Cityzens. In the last few games, the Englishman has managed to bench Laporte and he continued his good form versus Marseille too. It was a confident performance by the defender who looked comfortable on the ball. His last-ditch block in the 40th minute was absolutely fantastic.
⚔ In John Stones' last 5️⃣ games for #ManCity, he has conceded 𝙕𝙀𝙍𝙊 goals 🤯
𝑩𝒂𝒓𝒏𝒔𝒍𝒆𝒚 𝑩𝒆𝒄𝒌𝒆𝒏𝒃𝒂𝒖𝒆𝒓 😏 pic.twitter.com/u1DC0ifPup
— City Chief (@City_Chief) December 9, 2020
Raheem Sterling: 7/10
Played a complete half and showed his importance to the team. City showed a lot more personality with him on the pitch. Sterling played some perfectly weighted through balls and the passing interplays were eye-pleasing. Forced the own goal in the 90th minute from Gonzalez.
Sergio Aguero: 7/10
Aguero got some crucial minutes under his belt and would be hoping to stay fit for the incoming busy period. He showed his brilliant poaching instincts when he latched onto the rebound of Ake’s header. His finishing and predatory instincts are what City has missed over the last few weeks and his return spells good news for the Cityzens.