Manchester City cruised to an emphatic 4-1 win over Club Brugge in the Champions League, with Joao Cancelo bagging a hat-trick of assists.
It turned out to be a fairly comfortable UEFA Champions League night at the Etihad Stadium, as Manchester City inched closer to sealing a spot in the knockout stages with a 4-1 win over Club Brugge.
As expected, City controlled the lions share of possession. Their lead was well-earned, as following a sustained period of pressure, Phil Foden scored the opening goal after a quick burst of scintillating football concluded with the 21-year-old firing into the goal from near the back post. The Citizens, though, were quickly pulled back by a John Stones own goal.
City took the foot off the gas and became passive for much of the hour-long performance. As the second half continued, the game sparked to life when Riyad Mahrez headed in a cross by Joao Cancelo. Not long before, Brugge had a golden opportunity through Charles de Ketelaere, who pulled his shot wide, emphasising the importance of Manchester City’s second goal to swing the momentum.
Sterling made it 3-1 immediately after coming on as a substitute, a simple tap-in in the six-yard area that had been set up by Foden’s creativity and Ilkay Gundogan’s run. Cole Palmer nearly made it four for City in the dying moments, but his low shot was brilliantly saved by Simon Mignolet. Gabriel Jesus was then denied a late chance, but he took another injury time strike to complete a thrashing.
FULL TIME | A good night's work! 🤝
— Manchester City (@ManCity) November 3, 2021
The result puts the Citizens at the top of Group A with 9 points, with Paris Saint-Germain dropping to second after their 2-2 draw against RB Leipzig. After a brilliant victory at the Etihad, The Hard Tackle will now run the rule over Guardiola’s men and assess their individual performances.
Ederson Moraes: 6.5/10
Ederson batted away a header in the build-up to John Stones’ unlucky own goal, then made up for it with a succession of easy but crucial low saves. He did not have much to do since Club Brugge only had three shots on goal, but he was as good as ever with ball distribution.
Kyle Walker: 6/10
The right-back had a typically solid night. He dealt with the speed and intensity effectively on the counter-attack and kept the offensive plays flowing smoothly with some clever interplay. But there was a lack of intensity in barren runs after Brugge equalised.
John Stones: 6/10
Unlucky in the manner he conceded the own goal, but Stones could have handled the scenario a lot better overall. He brought calmness to City’s backline that they lacked against Crystal Palace and has a huge opportunity to reclaim his starting spot.
Aymeric Laporte: 7/10
Laporte was nice and confident on the ball. His composed display is a great manner for him to recover from the red card he earned on Saturday. He won’t be able to play in the Manchester Derby this weekend, but it is encouraging to see that his blunders have not doomed him.
Joao Cancelo: 10/10
João Cancelo's game by numbers vs. Club Brugge:
91% pass accuracy
14 passes into the box
11 passes into the final ⅓
7 chances created
6 touches in opp. box
5 ball recoveries
3 duels won
2 tackles made
1 through ball
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 3, 2021
Cancelo was Manchester City’s best forward threat in the game. The Portuguese started by hitting the post and grabbed three assists. Defensively very sound, completing two tackles and three interceptions as he shut down the right-flank effectively. He completed a match-high seven key passes and eight accurate long balls. A brilliant overall performance by Europe’s most in-form full-back.
A comfortable day in the engine room for Rodri, as Club Brugge were willing to surrender possession, sit-back and play on counters. The Spaniard has a gifted ability on the ball, but his defensive capabilities were not put to the test on the day.
Bernardo Silva: 7/10
Silva appeared to be eager to make things happen and grew sharper as the game continued. His relentless work rate and technical ability helped to maintain the tempo. Apart from a couple of uncharacteristic moments when he ceded possession, his overall involvement was terrific.
Ilkay Gundogan: 7/10
It is great to see the German international getting back into the rhythm. After a relatively quiet first half, he was offered a lot of space in the second period, and his intelligent, well-timed surges into the box made City’s attacking unit even sharper and clinical. He deservedly claimed an assist for the third goal. His recovery is vital ahead of the Manchester derby this weekend.
Riyad Mahrez: 7.5/10
Riyad Mahrez was as silky as one would like, very pleasing on the eye. The Algerian started brightly and played his part in Foden’s opener. After a relatively static spell, he sparkled again and scored a free header from inside the six-yard box to restore his side’s lead at an important stage in the game.
Phil Foden: 8/10
📊 | Phil Foden vs. Club Brugge:
Key Passes: 2
Ground Duels: 5
Starboy ✨ pic.twitter.com/MSwKTLhN73
— City Chief (@City_Chief) November 3, 2021
Perhaps the best available player at Pep Guardiola’s disposal for the ‘false nine’ position. His canny movements off the ball, deft touches and combination play sliced Club Brugge’s defence wide open. A predator’s finish for City’s opening goal.
Jack Grealish: 6/10
Grealish, despite his flashy footwork and dribbling, did not make a meaningful impact. He was heavily man-marked and was not offered a great deal of space to work with. Aside from a few flashes of brilliance, he is yet to put in a complete performance in these sort of high-profile games.
Gabriel Jesus: 8/10
An impactful cameo from the Brazilian, he missed an absolute sitter but compensated with a nice curled finish.
Raheem Sterling: 7/10
Pep Guardiola will be really pleased to see Sterling get back on the scoresheet. The Englishman looked bright on the right flank and topped off a strong 25 minute-cameo with a trademark back post tap-in. He needed that goal desperately to get a kick-start.
Raheem Sterling has scored for Man City for the first time since August, ending a run of 13 appearances without a goal across all competitions.
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 3, 2021
Kevin De Bruyne: 6/10
The Belgian slotted in seamlessly and fired wide. After coming off early last time around, he will hope to get his sharpness back.
Oleksandr Zinchenko: N/A
Zinchenko got some vital minutes under his belt.
Cole Palmer: 6/10
Palmer appeared to be eager to impress and had a chance to score. Almost sneaked a low-drive past Simon Mignolet.