The mighty Barcelona were put to the sword at the Etihad last night as their former manager became the Man with the Golden Gun. New signing Ilkay Gundogan twice materialised in the box to help himself to a brace of quality, putting the finishing touches to two sensational moves as City tore the Catalans to shreds in the second half of this pulsating Champions League match, the type of which, nowadays, looks to be almost permanently absent from a stadium just outside Manchester.
The full match report can be found found here.
Willy Caballero 7.4
I got the feeling Willy was worried about what Pep was thinking every time he received the ball. Should I hoof the ball up the field, should I pass the ball with my feet, gawd, I’m confused, but all I want to do is please Pep.
No real ‘balls-up’ and did enough to please the fans and keep Barcelona at bay.
Pablo Zabaleta 7.5
The Argentine was caught forward for the first goal, nevertheless he looked comfortable on the ball and solid in front of Willy.
John Stones 8
The lad is still learning his trade but will have taken something from the game. Especially when he had Neymar, Messi, Suarez and co breathing down his neck. He didn’t do an awful lot wrong.
Nicolas Otamendi 8.2
I love this man (not literally!). He’s similar to a bulldozer – never shakes a tackle but prefers instead to take the opposition out, if needed. A full blooded 90 minutes – played his socks off.
Aleksandar Kolarov 8
He’ll be 31-years-old on 10th November, not that you’d know it. His work-rate and constant runs up and down the wing is enough to crock many in their early 30’s. He didn’t do an awful lot wrong.
Cool and calm winning the ball, putting his body on the line for the cause. He hardly ever puts a foot wrong. Another solid and pleasing on the eye performance.
Raheem Sterling 9.1
The youngster celebrates his 22nd birthday in December and I think he should party in style. He’s come of age since Pep’s arrival and WOW, what a difference he’s made to Raheem’s game.
Sterling should have had a penalty when tripped in the box but the Hungarian referee thought he was play-acting and gave him a yellow.
As well as setting up the first goal his pass started the counter which led to the second. The boy is on fire!
Kevin De Bruyne 9.4
What an amazing free kick to put the Blues ahead and his pass inside the full back to create Gundogan’s second goal was simply sublime. I bet Chelsea regret the day they sold him.
Ilkay Gundogan 9
Scored two and could have had another. Not quite man-of-the-match for me but his tireless efforts menaced Barca’s defence to the point of exhaustion. A wonderful playmaker and a joy to watch.
David Silva 7.9
A different coaching style in the summer is quite simply evolving David’s game for the better. I mean when did you ever expect the Spaniard to hustle and bustle the opposition like he’s doing these days.
In previous seasons he’d be happy to dribble past players and if he lost the ball ‘don’t expect me to get the ball back’ attitude. Not now! His persistence to win the ball and his choice of pass has improved no-end.
Sergio Aguero 7.9
Didn’t get on the scoresheet but his work in hassling the defence brought the City equaliser and was valuable all night long. The boy has regained his mojo. Some smart passing on the counter ta-boot.
Fernando: (for Fernandinho 60) 7.8
His face (no one’s coming past me) said it all when he came on. Solid.
Jesus Navas: (for Sterling 70) 7
Great run and cross for second goal but not exactly Pep’s favourite. Having said that, he’s the perfect super-sub, with fresh legs and dribbling techniques.
Not enough time on the pitch to mark.