Manchester City are through to the FA Cup final on the 18th of May. At the time of writing this article, Watford have just beaten Wolves after an epic comeback at Wembley.
The FA Cup semi-final yesterday was less of a spectacle and Man City were able to win the game courtesy of a Gabriel Jesus goal after just three minutes. However, there was one another incident that happened in the first half which was the Kyle Walker ‘headbutt’. To me this was not a headbutt, some referees would have sent Kyle Walker off but I believe that the right decision was made, and confirmed by VAR.
The second half brought one major scare for Manchester City, as Aymeric Laporte was able to lift the ball over the bar before Glenn Murray pounced for an easy tap in. Nonetheless, Man City had a few more chances to kill off the game, a few chances for Raheem Sterling with a huge one V one, and had Sterling put the ball straight at Matt Ryan.
Here’s how I rated the players against Brighton:
Ederson - 7
Ederson had much more to do than he usually does in previous games. However, he stepped up to the challenge and was commanding in the air, due to the bombardment of deep free-kicks that Brighton had.
Kyle Walker - 6
Kyle Walker did not play badly and was able to deal with the threat of Alireza Jahanbakhsh very well, because he was very quiet in the first half. However, Kyle Walker could have been sent off had their been a different referee so needs to be careful.
Nicolas Otamendi - 8 (MOTM)
The game plan from Brighton suited a CB like Nicolas Otamendi down to a tee. They played the long ball game so it meant that Otamendi could win header after header.
Aymeric Laporte - 7
Aymeric Laporte is a fine defender and yesterday was another example of a top performance. The Man City attackers were not at their best, but the defence stepped up to the plate. That clearance in particular showed where Laporte is in his current confidence.
Benjamin Mendy - 7
It feels so good to be able to write a review on this player. It is never nice for a player to be injured for a short amount of time, let alone two whole seasons. He made his mistakes as a few passes were sloppy and he was caught out of position when defending once or twice. However, his whipped crosses shows why Man City paid £52 million because he can provide a unique attacking threat to add another string to Man City’s bow.
Ilkay Gundogan - 6
Ilkay Gundogan put in a tidy performance as he was tenacious in the midfield and won the ball back many times. However, with Kevin De Bruyne on the pitch his attacking presence was far more limited.
Kevin De Bruyne - 8
Kevin De Bruyne might be getting back to his best. One can only imagine where City would be in the title race if they had the De Bruyne of last year in their side. They have him now and he could be vital in this final stretch of the season. That whipped cross to Gabriel Jesus for the first goal showed the extra quality he can add.
David Silva - 6
David Silva has been off the boil for a while now and yesterday was another match where he looked much slower. However, there were moments of quality shown by his through balls to both Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva.
Bernardo Silva - 6
This was not Bernardo Silva’s best game for Manchester City but it was by no means awful. In the second half he looked far more threatening and linked up very well with Benjamin Mendy, promising signs for the future.
Raheem Sterling - 6
Just like Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling did not have his best game. He lost the ball a few times recklessly in the first half by simply taking a bad touch. However, when he moved to the right in the second half he was far more effective. He was able to drive at the Brighton defence and every time he did, it looked as if Man City would score.
Gabriel Jesus - 6
Gabriel Jesus had a quieter game then usual. Once he scored his goal after 3 minutes he became fairly anonymous, he was involved in the link up but created no major chances.
SUB: Danilo - 6 (45')
Danilo came on to replace Kyle Walker, Pep Guardiola has said a hamstring injury but I would imagine that it also has something to do with the yellow card. I found it very ironic that Danilo got booked after just 50 minutes, although Alireza Jahanbakhsh dived.
SUB: Fernandinho - 6 (65')
When Fernandinho came on the game needed some defensive leadership and he provided just that. He instantly started breaking up the play and you could see the boost that he gave the Man City team.
SUB: John Stones - N/A (79')
At this point in the game Benjamin Mendy looked as if he had run out of energy and needed to come off. John Stones came on to see out the win.