Football News

“A good day for us” – Man City 4-0 Chelsea player ratings

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 18:30, 8 January 2023

Manchester City booked their place in the FA Cup fourth round where they will meet Oxford or Arsenal after running out 4-0 winners over Chelsea this afternoon.

In a display of their deep attacking roster, each member of City’s front three got on the scoresheet. Each was a different type of goal. Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring via a beautiful free-kick before Julian Alvarez converted from the penalty spot. Phil Foden would then finish off a typical sweeping attack which came straight from Guardiola’s playbook. Mahrez would also register a late spot-kick.

Meanwhile, the eight-time winners from the King’s Road were toothless with this result set to pour even more pressure on their already embattled head coach Graham Potter.

“Chelsea were nowhere near good enough. It’s a big week coming up. They have got Fulham and Palace in their next two league games. They have to show more than they showed today. We said it, we know they have injuries,” a forthright Alan Shearer said on BBC One.

“With so many it is tough for them but that doesn’t stop the players on the pitch putting a shift in, having an attitude, showing they belong in a Chelsea shirt. So the next two games are so important for them.”

Here’s how the players rated at Etihad Stadium:


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Man City

Ortega Moreno – 7 – To no one’s surprise Pep Guardiola opted to deploy City’s reserve goalkeeper Stefan Ortega in this fixture. Across his four outings for the Premier League champions before today’s game, the German shot-stopper kept two clean sheets. He’s now made it three in five appearances. Not a bad return for a number two.

Kyle Walker – 8 – An injury-ravaged season meant this was only Walker’s 10th appearance for City in all competitions. This latest outing proved to be what the doctor ordered as Walker never looked to be in trouble and was effectively an extra winger — creating a goal in the process — as City breezed into the next round.

Manuel Akanji – 7 – Once his side took control of the proceedings Akanji went into cruise control. In the moments when Chelsea looked threatening he wasn’t fazed.

Aymeric Laporte – 7 – Much like his centre-back partner Laporte had it easy today. The French-born Spanish international major contribution was setting up attacks from the back. His mere presence from a corner also spooked Havertz ultimately leading to a City penalty.

Sergio Gómez – 6 – A second-ever domestic start for the Spanish left-back who until today had made five Premier League appearances, but all of them coming off the bench. Interestingly enough his previous appearance from kick-off for City came in their EFL Cup third-round win over Chelsea a few months ago. Today he enjoyed himself going forward, completing two dribbles while completing 87% of his passes.

Rodri – 7.5 – You know what you’re getting from Rodri, the Spanish metronome effortlessly retained and recycled possession as City’s deep-lying midfielder. He was cautioned after the break which led to Guardiola taking him off not risking another but his performance was noted by Jenas on BBC One commentary. “I thought Rodri was exceptional today, he has had another brilliant season so far in a City shirt,” he said.

Bernardo – 5 – This wasn’t a vintage Bernardo performance by any stretch but it didn’t need to be. All his manager asked was a composed outing which the Portuguese international duly obliged though a moment of indecision earned a booking.

Cole Palmer – 6 – Earmarked for a bright future he really should have put City in front before the 20th minute. Broke free and found himself one-on-one with Kepa but the youngster couldn’t sneak the ball past Chelsea’s first-choice goalkeeper.

Riyad Mahrez – 9 – Has now scored in each of City’s three meetings against Chelsea this season. His most recent effort was a scrumptious free-kick from long-range. “It’s an absolute worldie from Mahrez. He picks his spot but he still has to score it. It’s got the whip on it, the pace. Kepa has no chance. What a way to stick your team in the lead. A beautiful free kick,” Jenas said. Given the breadth of attacking options at Guardiola’s disposal, Mahrez hasn’t always been a regular starter but in this current form you would be hard-pressed to drop him, there was even a late confidence-boasting spot-kick.

“It’s good to have played the way we played, to score four goals and keep a clean sheet, it’s a good day for us,” he told BBC Sport after the game.

“I was going to take the first penalty but Julian [Alvarez] asked me so of course he took it. He’s a striker, he needs goals so it’s good for him. The second one, I wanted to take it.

“Everyone has been involved and it has been very good. Every season we try to be involved in every competition. We’re still in all the competitions and have to keep going.”

Julián Álvarez – 7.5 – Was handed the chance to double City’s lead from the penalty spot. Alvarez, who played an integral role in Argentina’s recent World Cup success, managed to sneak the ball under Kepa. This was a rare start for ‘the Spider’ but his effort from 12 yards was his eighth across 22 games in all competitions.

Phil Foden – 7 – Rounded off a lovely sweeping move to put City in a commanding 3-0 lead. Rodri’s crossfield ball found Mahrez who teed up Walker whose square pass from the byline asked Foden to provide the simplest of tap-ins. It was his ninth goal of the season. 

Substitutes:

Kalvin Phillips (for Rodri 58) – 4 – Had a quiet outing when coming on though was dispossessed easily which isn’t going to impress his manager.

Joao Cancelo (for Gomez 59) – 4 – Picked up an unnecessary yellow late into the game.

Rico Lewis (for Bernardo 86) – N/A – A late sub.


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Chelsea

Kepa Arrizabalaga – 5 – There was nothing he could do to stop Mahrez’s breathtaking free-kick, and the Algerian’s late spot-kick, but he could count himself unlucky not to stop Alvarez’s penalty. 

Bashir Humphreys – 5 – Another promising talent emerging from Chelsea’s illustrious youth set-up, this outing marks Bashir Humphreys’ full debut for his boyhood club. Understandably there would be nerves, especially when facing a force in the guise of City, making this an ultimate baptism of fire for the Exeter-born centre-back, though playing at right-back today, who doesn’t turn 20 until March. He didn’t look out of his depth and following the break Humphreys was moved inside as Chelsea reverted to a 3-4-2-1 formation.

Trevoh Chalobah – 4.5 – None of the City’s goals was on him but the England U21 international was seldom allowed to show what he is capable of though did produce two important challenges.

Kalidou Koulibaly – 3 – From a defensive perspective, Koulibaly brought nothing aside from one successful aerial duel. He did enjoy some brief moments passing the ball forward consequently setting up attacking opportunities, but his day will be remembered for giving City a second penalty late on. “Koulibaly was too clumsy. The penalty was always going to be given,” noted.

Lewis Hall – 4.5 – Making his fifth senior appearance for Chelsea the left-back was presented with an opportunity to grab a regular berth in Graham Potter’s starting lineup with Ben Chilwell sidelined and Marc Cucurella flattering to deceive. He was tasked with keeping Mahrez quiet but that proved to be easier said than done. He was often left isolated with the aforementioned Mahrez and Walker ganging up on him. That being said, Hall looked at home in the brief moments Chelsea crossed into City’s half.

Jorginho – 3.5 – This wasn’t Jorginho’s day as the Italian defensive midfielder was dispossessed on two occasions. He was simply overwhelmed and couldn’t bring a semblance of control as City took the game by the scruff of its neck.

Mateo Kovačić – 3.5 – Brought in to add some bite which never came as City proved to be too much for a hapless Chelsea side. The oft-dependable Croatian midfielder was erratic in possession, giving the ball away easily at times, and was put out of his misery when Potter replaced him after the half-time break.

Hakim Ziyech – 4 – In what’s been a frustrating season for the Moroccan forward, at club level, it should be said, this game was the first team he started back-to-back games under Potter’s leadership. Injuries to Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic certainly helped Ziyech’s cause but still needed to put in a performance. The former Ajax star looked comfortable whenever in possession and began promisingly by seemingly floating across Chelsea’s forward line. But once City ascended he became another spectator and didn’t see the game out. 

Conor Gallagher – 4 – A lot was spoken about Conor Gallagher last season, much of it positive, but the youngster is yet to pull up any trees for the Blues during this campaign. Before today he was able to register one goal across 21 appearances in all competitions. Due to City winning the midfield battle Gallagher was put on the back foot and was forced to make five tackles with four of those successful. Saw his name enter the referee’s book after bringing Caneclo down just after the hour mark.

Mason Mount – 4 – Found himself in ample space at times but was too slow in possession subsequently breaking any counterattacking opportunities for the visitors. He did produce a shot on goal in the second half which Moreno managed to put behind for a corner.

Kai Havertz – 3 – Gave away a needless penalty shortly after Mahrez put the hosts in front. Havertz, while defending a corner, punched the ball as Aymeric Laporte looked destined to head it. Had no single attempt on goal and was hooked off at half-time for the debuting David Fofana.

Substitutes:

David Fofana (for Havertz 46) – 4 – Not exactly the way he wanted to debut in a Chelsea shirt but the experience should help in the long run.

Denis Zakaria (for Kovačić 46) – 5 – Has come into his own in recent weeks but this game was long gone from rescuing.

César Azpilicueta (for Jorginho 63) – 4.5 – Added some much-needed experience to Chelsea’s backline as well as stopping the bleeding which he accomplished.

Omari Hutchinson (for Ziyech 63) – 4 – Had one of Chelsea’s three attempted shots on City’s goal.

Carney Chukwuemeka (for Mount 73) – N/A – A late sub.

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