Player Ratings: Manchester City sneak by Arsenal 1-0

Manchester City were not at their best, but just did enough to grind out three points.

It was far from scintillating football from Manchester City, but the Citizens capitalized on their best stretch of the game to see out a nervy 1-0 win against Arsenal. City were very good in the game’s opening stanza, as they have been many times this season, and grabbed a goal through Raheem Sterling before surviving some good Arsenal chances to see out the result.

With Liverpool faltering and the potential long-term injury to Virgil Van Dijk, the Premier League’s balance of power could have flipped, even though City have not played well in any of their four league games to this point.

Defense

Ederson (GK): A Man of the Match performance, making two crucial saves when Arsenal were well and truly in control. Other than his mistake at Leeds, he has almost singlehandedly grabbed City four points in their last two. (8)

Kyle Walker (CB): Swept up well at the back, using his recovery speed to keep Nicolas Pépé in check for much of the match, but nearly gave away a penalty for a high foot just before the break. (7)

Rúben Dias (CB): Very nearly the Man of the Match, but was just beaten out by Ederson for the two crucial saves. Nevertheless, Dias was easily the team’s best defender without Aymeric Laporte, and helped see out the first clean sheet in what feels like ages. He looks to be the real deal. (7.5)

Nathan Aké (CB): He did exactly what he was signed for; filled in due to a Laporte injury and helped keep the ship steady at the back. The Dutchman is not a game-changer for the team in terms of ability, but the left-footed cover and stability he provides is invaluable. (7)

Midfield

Rodri (CDM): Gave away a clumsy yellow card and continued what has been a very poor start to the season. Teams seemed to have figured the Spaniard out, as running at him and beating him for pace causes real issues in a way that peak Fernandinho was able to cope with. (5.5)

João Cancelo (CM): This game spoke to Cancelo’s versatility as a player. While we all expected a back four, Cancelo flowed between defense and attack and contributed on both ends. He is an extremely talented footballer in excellent form carried over today from the international break. (7)

Bernardo Silva (CM): Much like Cancelo, he was asked to move between both defense and midfield depending on the situation. This was the best performance he has had in some time, with slaloming runs reminiscent of his 2018-19 campaign and creativity combined with the excellent work rate he maintained every match last season, even when he was playing poorly. A player with true heart and willingness to fight for the team. (7)

Attack

Riyad Mahrez (RW): Was somewhat involved and was willing to be more direct than the rest of the team, but it was hardly a vintage performance from the Algerian. (6.5)

Raheem Sterling (ST): He was allowed to float in a free role in the attack, and ended up scoring the winner off Phil Foden’s rebound with the captain’s armband. After that, it was a very quiet day. (7.5)

Sergio Agüero (ST): His return to the lineup was a major surprise, but an exciting one. While he clearly was not up to total match sharpness, his presence clearly influenced the team’s play in the first 30 minutes, which ended up leading to the win. (6)

Phil Foden (LW): Created the game’s only goal by cutting through the Arsenal’s defense and firing a shot into Bernd Leno. His driving runs created more opportunities later, but he could not quite find the finishing touch. (7)

Substitutes

İlkay Gündoğan (CDM): Looked solid, providing defensive cover to help the team see out the game in his debut for 2019-20. (6)

Fernandinho (CDM): Came on late in the game as City just needed to finish out the result. (6)