Riyad Mahrez was in his elements all game long as Manchester City ran out 4-1 winners against Wolves at the Etihad on Tuesday.
Manchester City were on the money from the word go, as a fine chance by Joao Cancelo for Raheem Sterling set the tone for a dominant performance. And, just 15 minutes in, the hosts took the lead, as Rodri sent a brilliant long pass towards Riyad Mahrez, who collected the ball with a sumptuous first touch before sending it in across the goal, which was breached by Leander Dendoncker.
Mahrez was involved again later in the half when Aymeric Laporte thought he had scored before being denied by the offside flag. However, against the run of play, Wolves hit back with their first shot on target, as Conor Coady turned in Joao Moutinho’s free-kick from close range.
Manchester City, though, were not to be denied, as Gabriel Jesus scored twice while Mahrez got on to the scoresheet as well to seal a 4-1 win and extend their lead over Manchester United, who face Crystal Palace on Wednesday, to 15 points. Having equalled their club-record 28-game unbeaten run, The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Pep Guardiola’s men.
Ederson Moraes: 6/10
Ederson had nothing to do all game with the gloves, with Wolves scoring from their only shot on target, one he could have done nothing about. On the ball, Ederson was precise as ever and completed 22 of the 25 passes he attempted.
Kyle Walker: 8/10
A top-class performance by Walker, who was not troubled by Pedro Neto at all on Tuesday. This gave him the chance to do more on the ball, and he completed an astonishing 97 per cent of his passes as a result. Played the cross which was deflected towards Gabriel Jesus for the second Manchester City goal.
Ruben Dias: 6/10
Solid for the most part, Dias was once again nigh on indomitable from open play, with Wolves not creating a single opening apart from Joao Moutinho’s free-kick. However, the Portuguese’s rating does get docked by a point as he could not contain Coady for the visitors’ only goal. Nothing to fret about, though.
Aymeric Laporte: 7/10
Coming into the side in place of John Stones, Laporte was solid in his defensive duties, completely negating the influence of Adama Traore, who was interestingly deployed as a striker on Tuesday. The Frenchman won each of the ground duels he contested while also making a couple of blocks. Had a goal ruled out as offside, though, in the first half.
Joao Cancelo: 6/10
Back into the starting lineup, Cancelo slotted in the left-back slot and seemed to be in fine touch early on, when he released Raheem Sterling. However, he could not manage to get involved in too many positive attacking moments thereafter, playing just one more key pass, as his influence slowly started to wane. Not troubled one bit at the back, though.
Bernardo Silva: 8/10
A superb performance by Silva, who put in the hard yards off the ball while combining beautifully with the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri. The Portuguese playmaker had a pass completion rate of 92 per cent while creating a couple of chances as well. Was critical in helping Manchester City win the ball in advanced areas with his relentless pressing.
A game of hits and misses for Rodri, although the former far outweighed the latter. The Spaniard opened up play smartly to find Mahrez in the lead-up to the opener and won the ball high up the pitch before the Algerian scored one himself. However, he also gave away the free-kick which was converted for Wolves’ only goal. Extremely solid otherwise while also completing 113/118 passes.
Kevin De Bruyne: 6/10
There were one or two moments of brilliance on display from De Bruyne, but for the most part, this was a game that showed that the Manchester City talisman is still finding his way back to peak sharpness. The Belgian played just 1 key pass all game and lost the ball an alarming 28 times. A rare blip, though, in all likelihood.
Riyad Mahrez: 9/10
30 – Riyad Mahrez has been directly involved in 30 goals in 38 starts in all competitions for Man City at the Etihad (15 goals, 15 assists). Clinical. pic.twitter.com/QWNG40zgAu
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 2, 2021
The clear standout in the game, Mahrez was in his elements right from the early stages. It was clear that the Algerian was brimming with confidence judging by the way he collected Rodri’s long pass before setting up the opener. Ran Jonny and later, Ki-Jana Hoever ragged with his movement and played a game-high 3 key passes.
Mahrez was also involved in the build-up to the second goal, as he released Walker brilliantly before Jesus found the back of the net. Mahrez then got on the scoresheet himself to seal all three points with a calmly slotted shot. Such a delight to watch when in full flow.
Gabriel Jesus: 8/10
The Player to Watch in our Preview, it was a game of two halves for Jesus, who did not quite enjoy himself in the opening 45 minutes but was a menace post the interval. In fact, Jesus came within whiskers of scoring around the hour mark before finally making good on a purposeful showing. The Brazilian was in the right place at the right time twice to net his brace, which will do his confidence a world of good.
Raheem Sterling: 7/10
A frustrating evening for Sterling, who was handed a fine chance early in the game by Cancelo before being thwarted by Rui Patricio. Sterling came close to scoring again later in the game only to be denied by the upright. Also created a fine chance in what was a game that had it all except a goal.
Ilkay Gundogan: N/A
On for Silva, Gundogan did not have much of a time to make an impact, although it was his shot that was parried by Rui Patricio towards Gabriel Jesus for the final goal of the game.