Manchester City extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to eight games with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Southampton.
Pep Guardiola’s side were made to work for all three points against a well-drilled host that pushed for an equaliser throughout the entire match and may well have walked away with a draw if not for some impressive performances from City.
✔️ GOOD PERFORMANCE
Raheem Sterling: 7.1
With just three goals from his first 11 Premier League appearances prior to Saturday’s clash, Raheem Sterling certainly had something to prove in this tricky away match. And that’s exactly what he did.
In a team with no natural striker, Sterling played the role of wide forward fantastically well and always made himself available on the left wing whenever City were on the counter attack or trying to get behind Southampton’s stubborn defence.
While it may have been Kevin De Bruyne who ultimately unlocked that defence, it was Sterling that found the space and time in the opposition box to fire home the only goal of the game and win his side all three points.
❌ BAD PERFORMANCE
Ferran Torres: 5.5
With Sergio Aguero still out with a long-term injury and Gabriel Jesus omitted from the squad with a problem with his teeth, Guardiola turned to Ferran Torres to lead City’s line against Southampton and he didn’t do a terribly good job of it.
The 20-year-old forward managed just one shot and one touch of the ball in the opposition box as the game largely passed him by. City tended to avoid the young forward in favour of more established players in the middle of the park and on the left wing and as such Torres was pulled off on the 72nd minute. If this was his opportunity to show he was ready for a starting role in Guardiola’s side then he didn’t quite manage it.
⭐ STAR MAN
Unlike most teams that come up against City in the Premier League, Southampton had no intention of sitting back and allowing Guardiola’s team to eventually break them down. And that means the visitors had to be careful in defending against counter attacks.
As such, it’s no surprise that much of City’s clean sheet and all three points goes down to the defensive performance of Rodri in the middle of the park. The Spaniard made more aerial duels than any other player on the pitch, as well as 11 recoveries over the course of the match.