John Stones was top class once again while Kevin De Bruyne enjoyed a night to remember as Manchester City cruised to a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday.
Manchester City were not at their electric best in the opening quarter of the game, even though they dominated the proceedings. The hosts, though, duly took the lead in the 26th minute when John Stones converted a marvelous cross by Kevin De Bruyne, who grabbed his 100th assist for City.
Crystal Palace continued to be put to the sword thereafter, but managed to keep the deficit to just one goal heading into half-time. Post the interval, though, Manchester City grabbed their second just ten minutes in, as Ilkay Gundogan produced a wondrous long range curler to beat Vicente Guaita.
Stones then scored his second of the night midway through the second half, when he was at hand to bundle in Ruben Dias’s nodded ball from De Bruyne’s corner. The game was then rounded off late on when Raheem Sterling curled a brilliant free-kick in the 88th minute. The win sent Manchester City up to second on the table and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Pep Guardiola’s men.
Ederson Moraes: 6/10
The easiest outing of the season for Ederson, who did not have a single save to make on the night. The Manchester City no. 1 indeed had more work to do with his feet than with his gloves and only misplaced two of the 16 passes he attempted.
Kyle Walker: 6/10
Not the best of performances by Walker despite seeing a lot of the ball. The Englishman still seems to be a little rusty after recovering from the coronavirus, with his end product leaving a lot to be desired. Not tested much at the back, though, and Walker came through unscathed. Needs to step up once he is sharp enough, especially with Joao Cancelo performing superbly.
Ruben Dias: 7/10
Another professional display at the back by Dias, who continues to combine beautifully with John Stones. The fact that Jordan Ayew was kept quiet all game was largely down to the Portuguese defender, who won 6 duels and made 3 clearances, interceptions and tackles each. What an asset for Guardiola.
John Stones: 9/10
This was one more performance that showed just why Stones has nailed down his spot at the heart of the Manchester City defence. Unassuming his display, Stones kept things tight at the back while completing a staggering 111 passes. The standout moments for him, though, were the finishes for his goals, which has trebled his tally in the Premier League. Just going from strength to strength.
John Stones’ game by numbers vs. Crystal Palace:
96% pass accuracy
6 ball recoveries
4/5 long passes
1 clean sheet
0 x dribbled past
Continues his fine form. 🎯 pic.twitter.com/q7xTY6la9j
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) January 17, 2021
Oleksandr Zinchenko: 6/10
Preferred in the left-back slot ahead of Benjamin Mendy, Zinchenko was a constant outlet down his flank, but he was tad wasteful with the ball at his feet. Won 6 duels and kept the dangerous Andros Townsend quiet all game. Needs to do better in the final third, though.
Ilkay Gundogan: 7/10
Guardiola’s go-to man was once again accomplished in his display in the middle of the park. The German international was extremely precise on the ball, misplacing just two of the 44 passes he attempted while also managing to stitch together a couple of chances. His big moment, though, was the peach of a strike from range that Vicente Guaita had no reply for.
Starting ahead of Rodri, Fernandinho was a major reason why Manchester City were utterly dominant against Crystal Palace. The Brazilian did not give the opposition players an inch, but his output on the ball was somewhat disappointing as he misplaced 20 passes. Needs to be neater with the ball at his feet.
Kevin De Bruyne: 8/10
A momentous day for De Bruyne, who grabbed his 100th assist in a Manchester City shirt; and what a brilliant assist it was. Grabbing the ball on the right flank, the Belgian playmaker swung the ball in with the outside of his boot to find John Stones for the opener. Continued to pull the strings effortlessly before making way for Cancelo.
100 – Kevin De Bruyne has now assisted 100 goals in all competitions for Manchester City, 31 more than any other Premier League player since making his debut for the club. Royalty. pic.twitter.com/QAs70G77oz
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 17, 2021
Bernardo Silva: 6/10
Stationed on the right wing this time out, it was a game of hits and misses for Silva, who was not as involved as he would have liked to be. Did not aim a single shot at goal nor did he create a chance on the night, but his link-up play was solid. Output can and should improve.
Gabriel Jesus: 6/10
Leading the line for Manchester City against Crystal Palace, Jesus blew hot and cold on the night and struggled to make an impact. The Brazilian striker, like Bernardo, did not see a lot of the ball, although he did play a couple of key passes. Needs to get into better scoring positions.
Raheem Sterling: 8/10
Back in the starting lineup, Sterling enjoyed a fine outing, although he was not always in the thick of the action in the final third. The notable moment, of course, was his free-kick, which showed that he is constantly adding elements to his game.
1 – Raheem Sterling has scored with a direct free-kick for the first time in his senior career. Peach. pic.twitter.com/BfFiM224Jw
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 17, 2021
Phil Foden: 7/10
On for Silva, Foden added an injection of energy higher up the pitch, which pushed Manchester City to their final two goals.
Joao Cancelo: 6/10
On for De Bruyne, Cancelo kept things simple to see the game out without much of a fuss.
Ferran Torres: 6/10
Introduced in place of Gundogan, Torres won the free-kick which Sterling converted for the late goal and will now look to win his place back in the side.