If Manchester City win every game remaining this season they will be champions. Cardiff at home is seen as a guaranteed three points for any top six side but when the game is played this late in the season, any result can happen.
However, Man City were professional and took the game as serious as Pep Guardiola would have wanted his players to take it, as the rhetoric that comes out of the Manchester City camp is based upon every game is a cup final.
Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden, who was handed a shock start, set the tone and their quality was far too good for Cardiff. De Bruyne had his best game this season by far as he opened the scoring from a very tight angle. Leroy Sane, who also played very well, finished superbly following Riyad Mahrez’s delivery.
Here’s how I rated the Manchester City players:
Ederson - 7
Ederson had very little to do but when he was called upon late in the game when Cardiff countered, he was there to provide a crucial save.
Danilo - 7
Danilo has an excellent footballing CV and I feel because Kyle Walker is Man City’s number one, Danilo does not get the credit he deserves. Nonetheless, he was excellent at both right-back and left-back providing a constant attacking threat.
John Stones - 6
It was a simple return for John Stones as he got a vital 90 minutes required to be at his best. He was effective on the ball and looked composed.
Aymeric Laporte - 7
Aymeric Laporte is a top-class centre-back and has been a revelation since becoming a Man City player. His performance against Cardiff was excellent and he was rewarded with an assist for Kevin De Bruyne.
Oleksandr Zinchenko - N/A
It was a sad sight for the current first choice left-back, as it appeared he has pulled his hamstring and will be injured for some time.
Fernandinho - 7
Fernandinho returned to the Man City XI with a typical Fernandinho performance, although the defensive side to his game was less because Cardiff offered little threat. He passed the ball superbly and deserved an assist if Gabriel Jesus had his shooting boots on.
Kevin De Bruyne - 9 (MOTM)
Kevin De Bruyne showed his quality against Neil Warnock’s side. He drove at the Cardiff defence with such aggression that it looked as if everything he produced would cause a goal. He got his reward with a goal after five minutes, and had Gabriel Jesus been on form De Bruyne would have left with a handful of assists.
Phil Foden - 8
I had a gut feeling that Phil Foden might play against Cardiff, but as he was yet to start in the league I went against my gut. However, he was picked and was magnificent, he worked hard like Bernardo Silva, had the grace of David Silva and offered a unique goal threat. Had Neil Etheridge not had the game of his life, he would have got his goal.
Riyad Mahrez - 6
Riyad Mahrez is a maligned figure, I think he will grow out of this but his performance against Cardiff showed why. At one moment he was wasteful or scared because he cut back inside and passed it inside. However, Mahrez did take his opponent down the outside and it resulted in a delicious cross to Gabriel Jesus, who knocked it down for Leroy Sane to score.
Leroy Sane - 8
Leroy Sane is a special talent and once more proved this is the case. He caused Cardiff so many problems and genuinely looked world class at times. This was reflected by his fantastic finish for Man City’s second goal.
Gabriel Jesus - 6
Sergio Aguero has been unbelievably good this season and Gabriel Jesus’ performance showed that. Gabriel Jesus’ all-round game is scarily good, he is so clever and creates so many chances for himself and his teammates. However, he simply could not score and this has been a consistent problem this season.
SUB: Kyle Walker - 6 (19')
Kyle Walker came on and was largely solid. He was strong in the tackle but because Cardiff were far more defensive, he was able to get forward and linked up well with Riyad Mahrez.