Ruben Dias was once again phenomenal at the back as Manchester City beat Sheffield United 1-0 to consolidate their place atop the Premier League.
Manchester City were hot off the gates and were up and running just eight minutes in, as Gabriel Jesus scored from close range after some fine bit of individual work by Ferran Torres. Thereafter, though, the hosts struggled to test Aaron Ramsdale in the Sheffield United goal.
Their best chances for the remainder of the game came through the efforts of Oleksandr Zinchenko and Aymeric Laporte, while Sheffield United came within whiskers of equalising through John Fleck. Manchester City, though, held on for the narrow win to extend their lead atop the table. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Pep Guardiola’s men.
Ederson Moraes: 6/10
One of the easiest outings of the season for Ederson but one at the end of which he earned yet another clean sheet. Will be glad to have taken one step towards winning the Premier League Golden Glove.
Kyle Walker: 6/10
The worst performer on the day for Manchester City, Walker saw a lot of the ball but did little with it. The English international is just not getting up to speed and slowed things down at times versus Sheffield United. Joao Cancelo is the better option for now.
Ruben Dias: 8/10
The man who has made all the difference at the back this season for Manchester City continued to do so against Sheffield United as well. Completely shutting off the threat of the visitors’ attack until late in the game, the Portuguese international bossed the proceedings and just continued to grow in stature. There is no replacing Dias right now.
Aymeric Laporte: 7/10
Back into the starting lineup in place of John Stones, Laporte hardly struggled against Rhian Brewster, which allowed him the chance to build play up from the back. The Frenchman completed a staggering 92 percent of his attempted passes while even coming close with a shot in the second half. Put to the sword a bit following Oliver McBurnie’s late introduction.
Oleksandr Zinchenko: 7/10
Manchester City’s defenders saw a lot of the ball and Zinchenko recycled possession quite superbly. The Ukrainian international was hardly pushed defensively, which meant that he could charge forward and support Phil Foden. Denied by a brilliant save by Ramsdale and on any other day, he could have perhaps celebrated a fabulous goal.
Bernardo Silva: 7/10
Bernardo Silva vs @SheffieldUnited:
92.1% Pass Accuracy
11 Accurate Long Balls
2 Aerial Duels Won
— Man City Xtra (@City_Xtra) January 30, 2021
With Kevin De Bruyne still unavailable, Silva’s run in the side continued and the Portuguese midfielder was a bundle of energy. Carried the ball with purpose, completing 73 of the 79 passes he attempted, including an impressive 11 of 12 long balls. Put in the hard yards defensively as well, helping out Kyle Walker when necessary.
Handed a rare start, Fernandinho did well to keep things tight in the middle of the park and keep the ball as far away from Ederson Moraes as possible. Even set up a decent chance while off the ball, he won each of the 4 ground duels he contested in addition to making a couple of interceptions as well.
Ilkay Gundogan: 7/10
Once again, Gundogan was in his elements. He might not have managed to find the back of the net this time around, but the German international did keep things ticking while setting a quick tempo to the game. Delivered a game-high 3 key passes as well, all while retaining an excellent passing rate of 91 percent. Indispensable.
Ferran Torres: 7.5/10
The brightest spark in the game for Manchester City, Torres played a pivotal role in creating the opening for Gabriel Jesus’s goal. The Spaniard danced his way around two Sheffield United defenders before setting his teammate up. Continued posing a threat thereafter and played another key pass. A step in the right direction.
Ferran Torres and Gabriel Jesus are the youngest two Man City players to combine for a Premier League goal this season.
Off the mark early against Sheff Utd. pic.twitter.com/Luergd2Sn2
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 30, 2021
Gabriel Jesus: 7/10
Reinstated into the starting lineup in place of Riyad Mahrez, Jesus ended a long-standing drought by calmly slotting the ball into the back of the net early in the game. Did not have many chances to add to his tally, but he should have done better with an effort later in the game. Nevertheless, he will be glad to have scored his first Premier League goal in over two months.
Phil Foden: 6/10
Not the best of outings for Foden, who could not manage to get into the game as regularly as he would have wanted to, although his prospects were not helped by the blows he kept on receiving in the game. Having said that, he could have grabbed an assist had Oleksandr Zinchenko’s long-range effort gone in. Room for improvement.
A late introduction, Rodri helped see the game out.