Manchester City registered a narrow 1-0 win over an impressive Southampton on Saturday courtesy of a Raheem Sterling goal.
After the disappointing result versus West Bromwich Albion earlier in the week, Manchester City earned a hard-fought victory over Southampton, who dropped to fifth on the Premier League table. Raheem Sterling scored from the edge of the 18-yard box with a neat finish off a pinpoint Kevin De Bruyne cross.
Manchester City, who have had a slow start to the 2020/21 campaign, were in desperate need for this result which now sees them climb up to 6th for the moment – just two points off second-placed Everton. They continued to remain solid at the back, with John Stones and Kyle Walker particularly impressing, as Southampton made things pretty hard for the Cityzens.
In a game versus one of the best in the league, Southampton had 48% of the ball and completed just 50 fewer passes than Manchester City. Their right side, comprising of Theo Walcott and Kyle Walker-Peters caused City an abundance of problems through the game. They were rather unlucky to not get a goal, but the Saints can take a lot of confidence from this game going forward.
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 19, 2020
It was an entertaining match between two sides that did not let the other dominate. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s work at Southampton is truly commendable. Let us now see how Pep Guardiola’s men fared in a tightly contested fixture.
Ederson Moraes: 7/10
Ederson was tested several times as he made three important saves. A good performance from the Brazilian as he earned a hard-fought clean sheet. However, he made an error in distribution that allowed Southampton an unnecessary shot at goal.
Kyle Walker: 8/10
Engaged in a long, engaging battle with Moussa Djenepo where, as the rating suggests, Walker ultimately prevailed. The Englishman had a solid game at the right, as he bombed forward with good effect as well. Walker has been a key figure for Manchester City this season.
John Stones: 8/10
It was yet another commanding performance at the back by John Stones. The Englishman made some crucial interventions in the Southampton attack and was composed on the ball as well. Stones made 4 key clearances along 2 interceptions and 2 blocked shots and dealt with all the pressure calmly.
How good was this guy?! 🔥
— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 19, 2020
Ruben Dias: 7/10
Partnered Stones at centre-back but played on the left side of a makeshift three at the back. Dias did rather well to support Joao Cancelo, who faced a lot of trouble due to Southampton’s right side. Was calm and collected in possession and led the team from the back. Committed a silly tackle on Danny Ings for which he was lucky to not be penalised.
Joao Cancelo: 7/10
Cancelo played some neat passes and got forward well. He also took a good shot from the edge of the box that tested Alex McCarthy well. Defensively, Cancelo truly had his work cut out, with both Theo Walcott, Southampton’s best player, and Kyle Walker-Peters combining very well.
Goals scored by Southampton at home in the Premier League this season:
Man City are the first away side to keep a clean sheet at St Mary’s. ⛔️ pic.twitter.com/tYEB5RI0lj
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 19, 2020
Rodri was an imposing presence in midfield, completing 93% of his attempted passes. The Spaniard did well to deal with James Ward-Prowse whenever he got forward and ended the night with some terrific defensive numbers. Rodri won 5 out of 6 ground duels and won all 5 of his aerial duels.
Ilkay Gundogan: 7/10
Gundogan is proving to be a great number 8 in Pep Guardiola’s system lately. Last game’s goalscorer got into some encouraging positions yet again and truly battled it out in midfield, getting stuck into his opponents.
Kevin De Bruyne: 8/10
There were moments when the Belgian was uninvolved and seemed tired. However, every time he got the ball, Manchester City looked very threatening going forward. De Bruyne got the crucial assist for Man City and played some neat, passes creating opportunities for others. The most notable of those was for Bernardo Silva.
Kevin De Bruyne’s game by numbers vs. Southampton:
86% pass accuracy
23 final third passes
5 ball recoveries
4 key passes
So clearly his side’s most important player this season. 🇧🇪 pic.twitter.com/dTPNZMqOcQ
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 19, 2020
Bernardo Silva: 7/10
Bernardo Silva started from the right and played rather well. He was combining well with Walker and De Bruyne and was involved in Sterling’s goal. However, upon moving centrally, Silva’s game on the ball became a lot less effective and the Portuguese missed a great goalscoring opportunity. Worked hard defensively through the evening.
Ferran Torres: 6/10
It was a difficult night for Torres, who looked largely anonymous when playing centrally. Pep tried to play him off the right to bring him into the game. However, apart from the one shot that he cut across the target, the Spaniard failed to make much of an impact. Was eventually subbed off for Riyad Mahrez.
Raheem Sterling: 8/10
Sterling loves a goal against the Saints and he made sure to find the net yet again. Sterling did well to hold off his run to meet De Bruyne’s cross in space and also found the back of the net. Played some nice passes, worked hard defensively and showed why his form is crucial to Manchester City’s goalscoring output.
Riyad Mahrez: 7/10
Offered a wider outlet than Ferran Torres on the right and looked threatening with his dominant left foot. Mahrez came close to scoring twice, but was unable to find the target.