Football News

Man City 1-1 Chelsea: Player ratings as Raheem Sterling returns to haunt former club

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 19:30, 17 February 2024

Manchester City resumed their Premier League title defence against Chelsea this evening.

Both teams came into the game with contrasting form. Pep Guardiola’s men had won their last six games and were unbeaten in eight, while Mauricio Pochettino’s side had lost five of their last seven away matches.

An inconsistent start to the season has left the Blues in midtable, a far cry from the days when they were title contenders. Meanwhile, City is firmly in this season’s race and was the favourite heading into this game.

Furthermore, after seeing their rivals win emphatically before kick-off (Brentford 1-4 Liverpool, Burnley 0-5 Arsenal), there was a semblance of pressure on the champions to deliver an equally impressive performance.

In a frustrating evening that saw City produce no fewer than 31 shots (albeit five on target), the hosts were held to a 1-1 draw by a valiant Chelsea side.

Once a key member of Guardiola’s team, Raheem Sterling broke the deadlock before a late Rodri strike ensured the spoils were shared, much to Mikel Arteta and Jurgen Klopp’s delight.

Here are our player ratings from the Etihad Stadium:


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Man City

Ederson – 7 – Found himself isolated on some occasions when Chelsea sprang their counter-attack. He stood up to be counted, but the law of averages suggested a clean sheet wasn’t forthcoming today, and it came to be. 

Manuel Akanji – 5.5 – Once again filling in for John Stones, and though Akanji is adept at bringing the ball forward, he lacks his teammates’ dynamism.

Nathan Aké – 6 – Lowkey enjoying a stellar campaign, and the Dutchman was again useful at both ends of the pitch. His last-second challenge on Palmer was a personal highlight.

Rúben Dias – 6 – Often struggled to deal with simple long balls to Jackson. Even so, no one attempted and completed the most passes in today’s game.

Kyle Walker – 5.5 – Booked for simulation after racing into the penalty box. “The referee has got this right. Walker puts his leg across Sterling,” Jamie Carragher said on Sky Sports commentary.

Rodri – 7 – Unquestionably the best ‘DM’ playing today. Tentatively stuck to his retaining and recycling duties before forcing home City’s equaliser with a thumping long-range effort. He’s now registered nine Premier League goal involvements this season, his joint-most in the league, along with 2021-22 (7 goals, 2 assists).

Jérémy Doku – 5.5 – Saw plenty of possession, though frustratingly, the Belgian winger lacked that killer instinct, often freezing up in the final third.

Julián Álvarez – 5 – Seldom involved across City’s attacking play while on the pitch.

Kevin De Bruyne – 7 – He could have done nothing more this evening. The mercurial playmaker created enough opportunities, but a lack of finishing robbed him of improving his assist total.

Phil Foden – 5.5 – He had ample moments in which he could have made a difference, but this was far below what many come to expect from England International, who showed a dejected figure soon after the full-time whistle was heard.

Erling Haaland – 4.5 – Had the game’s first real opportunity but saw a headed effort fly over Chelsea’s goal. There was a similar, but more glaring, miss late in the second half. Overall, the Norwegian machine had nine shots and an xG total of 1.71 against Chelsea, his most for both without scoring in a single game for City in all competitions.

Substitutes:

Bernardo Silva (for Álvarez 65) – 4 – Booked for a late tackle on Caicedo.


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Chelsea

Djordje Petrovic – 7.5 – Pulled off a brilliant save to deny Haaland soon after being cautioned for wasting time. Unlucky not to finish with a shutout. 

Ben Chilwell – 7 – Enjoyed a fascinating battle with international teammate Foden down Chelsea’s left flank.

Levi Colwill – 6.5 – Produced a big saving block after the hour mark. “I can’t quite work out how Man City haven’t got a goal,” enthused Carragher afterwards.

Axel Disasi – 9 – Made three vital goal-saving clearances on the stroke of half-time. He never let up after the break. Disasi was nothing short of immense at the back this evening.

Jamie Carragher was full of praise for the Frenchman after the game, saying “I can’t remember a better defensive performance this season, certainly for a central defender. He was MOTM, he was the best player on the pitch. Talking about Chelsea, that was a John Terry performance.”

Malo Gusto – 7 – This was a strong outing for the young full-back, who competed in 10 duels, winning seven.

Enzo Fernández – 6 – Was up for the fight and even squared off with teammate Jackson after taking the ball away from his feet and sending a shot high, wide and handsome.

Moisés Caicedo – 5.5 – Fortunate not to have been sent off this evening. Referee Andrew Madley or the VAR team didn’t see his reckless stamp on Doku. He did go into the book after going through De Bruyne.

Raheem Sterling – 8 – Punished his former club, and it was coming. After again finding himself staring down Ederson via another Blues counter-attack, the ex-City forward sent Walker for a walk before finding the far corner. Only Sergio Agüero (106) has scored more Premier League goals at the Etihad Stadium than him (52). Didn’t finish the game, but this was among his better showings this season. He’s also the first player in the competition to score home and away against City having previously played for them. 

Conor Gallagher – 6 – Unsurprisingly, this was another combative performance from Chelsea’s distance runner, but he was on his behaviour, not adding to his yellow card collection.

Cole Palmer – 6.5 – Returning to his former stomping ground, Palmer was part of the build-up for Chelsea’s opener, which was as good as it got for the City academy graduate.

Nicolas Jackson – 7 – Kicking himself after Ederson thwarted him. The much-maligned Senegalese forward, in fairness, needed an extra touch as Gusto’s cross wasn’t perfect. However, no side has missed more big chances in the Premier League this season than Chelsea (48), with Jackson missing 14 (the fourth most of any player in the division). He did, though, produce the ideal cross for Sterling’s go-ahead goal.

Substitutes:

Christopher Nkunku (for Sterling 64) – 4 – Had the one real chance in front of goal.

Trevoh Chalobah (for Palmer 71) – N/A – A late sub.

Cesare Casadei (for Jackson 82) – N/A – A late sub.

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