Another game, another win for Manchester City. It was a tough test for City at home to Cardiff, but not one they are used to. At this stage in the season, any form of win is vital, especially if City plan on continually challenging in three competitions.
Not at their very best, but again, City were clinical against the Bluebirds from South Wales. Kevin De Bruyne put City 1-0 up in just the sixth minute, forcing the ball past Neil Etheridge in the Cardiff goal from a seemingly impossible angle. From then on it was all City, who continued to threaten.
Had it not been for an injury to inform full-back Oleksandr Zinchenko in the 20th minute, it would have been a perfect start to the game from the Blues. Post-match, Guardiola raised his concerns for the length of time Zinchenko’s injury could leave him sidelined.
Back on the pitch, City made it 2-0 in the dying moments of the first half. Riyad Mahrez’s perfectly weighted cross was nicely cushioned down by Gabriel Jesus at the back post, which set up Leroy Sane at the edge of the box, who volleyed in cooly.
A dominant second half which lacked end product from City meant the points were sealed after 45 minutes. 79% possession, with 27 goal attempts, 11 which were on target showed this dominance. It’s now 13 wins in all competitions for Man City, who have a date at Wembley this Saturday to look forward to.
Here are my three stars from the game:
City seem to have an issue keeping their full-back’s fit this season. However, as much as an issue this may look to be, Danilo has come in at times and really impressed. Not necessarily the first name on the team sheet, but when he has played he looks like one of the calmest, composed and hardworking players in City colours.
It shows just how much confidence Guardiola has in the Brazillian, who naturally plays as a right-back often switches to play on his less-favoured left side, with England international Kyle Walker swapping the right-back. Rarely beaten by Josh Murphy at right-wing for Cardiff, and was quick to support Sane when attacking.
A big night for the lad from Stockport, who was making his Premier League debut.
At times, Foden looked the most confident and experienced player on the pitch, helping the break-up play and driving at Cardiff’s defence from deep. Foden’s ability to keep hold of the ball with his low centre of gravity is exceptional and shows shades of a young David Silva.
His close control and passing range are superb and it shows just how much he is benefitting from working with Guardiola and players such as Bernardo Silva, David Silva and De Bruyne.
He was unlucky not to score in the second half, in a night where it didn’t look as though City had the finishing touch in parts. A quite brilliant Premier League debut for Foden.
Kevin De Bruyne
De Bruyne is back to full fitness and back to his best. A game in which City dominated from the first to the last minute, the Belgian needed only one sight of goal in the early minutes to stamp his mark on the game.
He has an ability to beat a goalkeeper from impossible areas on the pitch and it was shown last night. Alongside Foden in a more advanced role in the midfield, he constantly caused problems for the Cardiff defence and proved how essential he is going to be for the Blues now in the run-in for the title.
The scary thing is that De Bruyne didn’t even get into second gear for the majority of the game. A good showing from a top player.