Football Features

Fernandinho takes gloss off: Full player ratings as Man City beat Villa to close gap on Liverpool

By Steve Jennings

Published: 14:36, 26 October 2019

Manchester City moved within three points of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League with a 3-0 win over Aston Villa on Saturday.

Villa looked dangerous on the counter-attack in the first half and managed to hold City until the break.

But the in-form Raheem Sterling broke the deadlock immediately after half-time before Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan made things comfortable.

Here’s how the players rated at the Etihad Stadium.

Man City

Ederson – 7 – Made a vital save from John McGinn when City were under a little bit of pressure in the first half. His distribution was as calm and ridiculously accurate as usual.

Joao Cancelo – 5 – Still adjusting to what Pep Guardiola is requesting of him, it seems. Didn’t make enough runs beyond Villa’s defence when Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva were creating the space. Tracked back well, though.

Fernandinho – 5 – Sent off for two bookings, both of which were probably avoidable. Other than that he continued to look relatively comfortable in an unfavoured position. Might have found it tougher against a more mobile striker than Wesley Moraes. Will rue his pending suspension.

John Stones – 6 – Made a crucial block from a Douglas Luiz effort in the first half. Generally looked assured in his first start since September but, as with Fernandinho, he was hardly given a battle by Wesley.

Benjamin Mendy – 7 – More willing to get to the line than Cancelo on the other side. Some neat combination play with Sterling gave City a threat down the left.

Ilkay Gundogan – 8 – Excellent on the ball throughout. Sometimes forgot about his defensive duties when Villa countered, but he started plenty of attacks and took his goal brilliantly.

Kevin De Bruyne – 6 – Uncharacteristically, his crosses and shots was always just a foot or so away from where he intended them to be. But even so, the way he fizzed the ball in bamboozled the Villa defence, resulting in the second goal.

David Silva – 6 – Should have given City the lead just before half-time but dragged a shot wide. Constantly sought in-roads and was sometimes inaccurate with his final ball, but grew into the game and enjoyed a comfortable, if quiet, second half.

Bernardo Silva – 6 – Perhaps didn’t receive the ball as often as he’d have liked, the reason being City mostly built their attacks down the left. Sharp and slick when he did have possession, but found himself on the outskirts of the game.

Raheem Sterling – 9 – By far City’s best player in the first half. Looked far sharper than the rest of his teammates and was rewarded 20 seconds into the second half with the opener, the result of an incisive run and a cool finish. A constant danger.

Gabriel Jesus – 6 – A resolute Villa didn’t really allow City to get the ball into him. Still he managed to fashion a couple of chances, including a one-on-one that would have gone in if not for Tyrone Mings’ heroics on the line. He’ll have busier days than this.


Angelino (for Mendy 72) – N/A – Introduced to give Mendy a rest.

Phil Foden (for De Bruyne 76) – N/A – Some really clever moments in another short period on the pitch.

Sergio Aguero (for Sterling 76) – N/A – Didn’t have enough time to make an impact.

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Aston Villa

Tom Heaton – 6 – Was unfortunate with the opener, which went through his legs. Combined well with Tyrone Mings to prevent Gabriel Jesus making it 2-0. Deceived by a crowd of players for the other goals – sheer bad luck. Almost punished for a late mix-up with Mings.

Frederic Guilbert – 4 – Torn apart by Sterling, particularly in the first half. Grew into the contest and managed to deal with Sterling for the most part after the opener. A couple of decent crosses, too, but his inability to stop Sterling cost Villa.

Bjorn Engels – 5 – Helped Mings to marshal the defence but, like most Villa players, became stretched at the back after the break and could do little to stop City’s quality.

Tyrone Mings – 5 – Produced a remarkable clearance over the bar with his knee at 1-0. However, two mistakes took his display down a couple of notches: he failed to clear the ball properly before Sterling’s goal, and a late mix-up with Heaton almost led to a fourth.

Matt Targett – 6 – Less troubled that his fellow full-back Guilbert. Didn’t get forward very often but was composed on the ball.

Marvelous Nakamba – 6 – Responsible for starting a couple of Villa’s best counter-attacks. Dropped into the back line when necessary but lost a bit of his discipline in the second half after being dragged around the pitch by City’s passing.

Douglas Luiz – 6 – Had a point to prove against his former club and gave them some trouble with his movement and driving runs into the box. Just didn’t see enough of the ball to make the impact he wanted to.

Jack Grealish – 6 – A mixed day for Grealish, who looked really dangerous on the counter in the first half and sometimes went past City players with ease. But after being booked he came close to seeing red a couple of times, mainly after overrunning the ball and committing fouls.

John McGinn – 7 – Came closest to scoring for Villa on two occasions. Truly has a bit of everything, putting in yet another performances that may have caught they eye of the sides above Villa in the table.

Trezeguet – 5 – Slowed Villa down on the counter by miscontrolling the ball. Gave Mendy an easy afternoon on City’s left side.

Wesley Moraes – 4 – Far too immobile against a centre-back pairing that should have been made to look more suspect than it did. Maybe that isn’t his fault – Villa should have looked to get more players in-behind – but he could have been more hungry.


Keinan Davis (for Wesley 71) – N/A – Looked dangerous in his short cameo.

Anwar El Ghazi (for Grealish 84) – N/A – Brought on to prevent Grealish getting a second yellow.