Manchester City returned to winning ways with a hard-fought victory over high-flying Southampton at the St. Mary's Stadium. Raheem Sterling's 16th-minute strike was enough to seal the three points as the away side's defense proved too solid to breach for the home team. Although the Saints did battle valiantly for much of the 90 minutes, Manchester City were the better team and deserved the win.
Manchester City are now seven points behind leaders Liverpool, albeit with a game in hand. Southampton, on the other hand, remain in the top four for now, although they could find themselves out of the Europa League spots altogether come the end of the week.
Let's check out how the visitors fared on Saturday evening.
Ederson - 9/10
While the Brazilian didn't have any tough saves to pull off, his sweeping, distribution, and especially collection were fantastic. Southampton's quick forwards could well have grabbed a goal on any other day, but Ederson's sweeper-keeper skills were on full display this time around.
Kyle Walker - 9/10
The Englishman is an extremely important part of this Manchester City squad and he proved the same once again. He worked tirelessly all evening, and the opposition found it extremely tough to get past him. Also made a few lung-bursting runs forward.
John Stones - 8/10
Continuing to script a wonderful comeback story, John Stones bagged yet another clean-sheet to his name on the back of an excellent performance. The Englishman headed into the season with his City career seemingly over, but has now cemented his place in the first-team ahead of the supremely talented Aymeric Laporte.
Ruben Dias - 8/10
The Portuguese has adapted very quickly to life in England, and he's one of the main reasons behind Manchester City's remarkable turnaround in defense. He dealt with the Southampton strikers competently, winning most aerial challenges and playing some good passes under pressure.
Joao Cancelo - 7/10
The former Juventus man was once again deployed as a left-back in Kyle Walker's presence on the opposite flank, and he did a fairly decent job on this particular outing. Although Theo Walcott troubled him numerous times in the first half, the Portuguese improved massively in the second to enjoy a comfortable remainder of the game.
Rodri - 6/10
The Spaniard gave the ball away cheaply a few times in the first half, much to the frustration of Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola. Much like Cancelo, he too improved in the second half and his height was important to win aerial duels in midfield.
Kevin de Bruyne - 8/10
Racking up his 100th assist as a Manchester City player in the process, Kevin de Bruyne marshalled his troops brilliantly to a much-needed victory. He never shied away from running that extra yard to make things tougher for the Southampton midfielders, and his passing especially during counter attacks was often majestic. Should have done better with the one chance he had in the middle of the second half.
Ilkay Gundogan - 7/10
The German metronome kept things ticking nicely throughout the match, and was generally very composed under considerable pressure. Almost scored a marvellous goal with a precise strike from outside the box, which was saved well by Alex McCarthy.
Raheem Sterling - 7/10
The Englishman is slowly rediscovering his lethal goalscoring touch as he scored his fourth goal of the Premier League season with a simple finish from a de Bruyne cross. He helped out Cancelo in defense and would have warranted a higher rating had he not messed up a couple of counter attacks.
Bernardo Silva - 7/10
The Portuguese wizard had a much better game than he had in his last few appearances, as he was involved in just about everything Manchester City did. His energy and willingness to press hard annoyed the Saints to a great extent.
Ferran Torres - 5/10
The only Manchester City player to be substituted off, and for a reason. The young Spaniard is loaded with talent, but struggled to get himself involved in the game and was barely a participant in the 72 minutes he was on the pitch. In his defense, however, he was starved of any kind of service.
Riyad Mahrez - 4/10
The Algerian should have scored a sweet brace as Manchester City looked to exploit the open Southampton defense late in the game. While none of the chances that fell his way were 'sitters', he made a complete mess of them nonetheless. Thankfully, it didn't cost his team the game.
Published 20 Dec 2020, 00:37 IST