Riyad Mahrez ran the show while Kevin De Bruyne was much improved as Manchester City ran out 5-2 victors over Southampton on Wednesday.
The game was even poised in the opening quarter but Manchester City went ahead in the 15th minute, when Kevin De Bruyne scored from point-blank range after Phil Foden had his shot saved by Alex McCarthy. Southampton, though, hit back ten minutes later when James Ward-Prowse scored from the spot after Jannik Vestergaard was brought down by Aymeric Laporte.
Southampton then grew into the game, but the next goal would come somewhat against the run of play, as Riyad Mahrez pounced on a mistake by Che Adams by producing a peach of a strike to restore Manchester City’s lead. And, heading into half-time, City were up 3-1, as Ilkay Gundogan scored from close range, with Mahrez being involved once again with his top-notch footwork.
The second half started in express fashion, with Mahrez completing his brace in the 55th minute before Che Adams pulled a goal back shortly after. Kevin De Bruyne, though, scored his second to put the game to bed, as Manchester City returned to winning ways in magnificent fashion. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Pep Guardiola’s men.
Ederson Moraes: 6/10
Busier than usual, Ederson could not have done much to stop either of the Southampton goals from going in, although he did make 4 saves to ensure the visitors never got on top of Manchester City. Precise as ever on the ball as well.
Kyle Walker: 5/10
Back in the starting lineup at the expense of Joao Cancelo, this was a game to forget for Walker, who struggled on both ends of the pitch. Caught out of position a number of times while also losing the ball before Aymeric Laporte conceded the penalty to Southampton. Needs to step up.
Ruben Dias: 7/10
Dias was not at his colossal best versus Southampton, but he did have a role to play in the win, as it was his delightful long pass that was sent towards Oleksandr Zinchenko before it reached Kevin De Bruyne via Phil Foden for the opening goal. Defensively, he made 3 clearances while winning a couple of duels, whereas his output on the ball was excellent (89/94 passes completed).
Aymeric Laporte: 5/10
Laporte’s rotation with John Stones at the heart of the Manchester City defence continued against Southampton, but the Frenchman has handed the initiative back to his teammate. Won just 2 of the 5 duels he contested and none on the ground, but the worst moment in the game for him was when he gave the penalty away with an inexplicable pull on Jannik Vestergaard. Has to do better there.
Oleksandr Zinchenko: 7/10
Preferred as the left-back again, and Zinchenko did not give any reason to be dropped. The Ukraine international first made an impact in the final third as a beautiful control on the ball helped set up De Bruyne’s goal. Defended astutely whenever called into action, making 4 tackles while winning 9 duels. Has earned his stripes lately.
Kevin De Bruyne: 8/10
Kevin De Bruyne has now scored more Premier League goals (40) than Roy Keane (39).
One Manchester great passes another. 🔵🔴 pic.twitter.com/Rg3m5LWbkH
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) March 10, 2021
He is still not quite at his explosive best, but De Bruyne took some steps in the right direction on Wednesday. In particular, he will be happy to get some goals under his belt, although he very nearly missed converting the first goal after receiving the ball from Foden. The second goal was much better, but his output on the ball is still far away from his best levels.
Back in the starting lineup, this was a difficult game for Fernandinho, who was overrun a number of times in the first half, when Southampton went toe to toe with Manchester City. On the ball, though, the Brazilian was excellent, completing 91 percent of his attempted passes and even playing in a key pass. Defensive struggles were a surprise, however.
Ilkay Gundogan: 7/10
Not the best of displays by Gundogan, although he did not really get the opportunity to showcase his best abilities. Fernandinho’s struggles prompted the German international to put in the hard yards defensively, although he did add to his tally by appearing in the right place at the right time at the stroke of half-time, scoring from the rebound after Riyad Mahrez’s shot had been saved.
Riyad Mahrez: 9/10
Riyad Mahrez's game by numbers vs. Southampton:
88% pass accuracy
4 touches in the opp. box
3/6 take-ons completed
2 shots on target
So, so good. 🤤 pic.twitter.com/cnh4V5EWTy
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 10, 2021
The player who changed the game all on his own. Mahrez was in stunning touch on Wednesday and he pretty much carried his form from the weekend against Southampton. He first restored City’s lead with a peach of a strike before his silky footwork created the third goal, scored by Gundogan. Added another goal after the break, as Manchester City ran riot. In stunning touch.
Bernardo Silva: 6/10
Deployed in a false nine role, Silva’s movement helped bring Mahrez and Foden into the game at an uncomfortable rate for Southampton. While the Portuguese playmaker did not get into scoring areas himself, he did create the pockets of spaces. However, some of his good work was left undone when his error allowed Adams to pull a goal back in the second half.
Phil Foden: 8/10
One of two Manchester City players who were in their absolute elements against Southampton. Unlike Mahrez, though, Foden was quite unlucky to not score on the day, although he did end up playing a pivotal role in each of De Bruyne’s strike. Should have also been awarded a penalty after he was tripped by McCarthy in the first half.
Phil Foden's Premier League season by numbers so far:
◎ 22 games
◎ 14 starts
◎ 6 goals
◉ 5 assists
Two assists against Southampton and another brilliant display. 👏 pic.twitter.com/Yd3DrtkXOy
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 10, 2021
Ferran Torres: 6/10
Introduced in place of Mahrez, Torres looked a tad bit rusty and should have converted one fine chance.
Sergio Aguero: 6/10
On for De Bruyne, Aguero got some very important minutes under his belt and even tested the Southampton goalkeeper.
Benjamin Mendy: N/A
On for his first appearance since mid-December, Mendy helped see the game out.