Our FA Cup dream is over for another season, with goals from De Bruyne, Sterling and a few costly errors at both ends seeing Man City coast to a 0-2 win.
Here’s an assessment of each player’s performance along with my mark out of 10:
Darlow – 7 – Made two good stops in the space of a few minutes to deny Sterling, with one parrying away an attempted lob and the other being a solid stop down to his right. Then came off his line on the half hour mark to deny Sterling from a tight angle and showed his bravery in the second half to intercept a dangerous cross Sterling looked set to tap in. Went the wrong way for De Bruyne’s penalty and couldn’t do a great deal about Sterling’s inch perfect finish to make it 2-0. People questioned his inclusion today, but he didn’t let us down, to be fair.
Manquillo – 5 – Really struggled to get close to Sterling, despite all his efforts and looked like he was reluctant to ever get forward as a result. Also had Mendy to think about on the overlap, making for a long old afternoon for the hard working Spaniard who’s barely put a foot wrong this season.
Schar – 3 – Just about survived a Man City onslaught for the first half an hour, but all our work was undone by his moment of stupidity, with him giving away a penalty via a needless push on Gabriel Jesus. After that he cut a frustrated figure and was sloppy on the ball, with him allowing Sterling to get in behind him moments after their opener. Perhaps this costly moment of madness is one of the reasons Bruce has opted for Fernandez and Lascelles in a four-man defence. Moved into midfield in the second half and, although he sprayed a few nice passes, he made just as many bad ones.
Lascelles – 6.5 – Good early challenge on Sterling on the cover and often got himself in the right place at the right time to clear our lines. He looked a bit ragged on the ball at times, sometimes miscueing his clearances, however he was one of our best defenders today. Showed his pace on one occasion late on to stop Gabriel Jesus going past him.
Fernandez – 5 – Made one crucial early block to stop a fierce Mahrez shot after he cut inside, but struggled with Man City’s swift attacks and constant movement in and around the box early on. Recovered well and had a decent second half, but was made to suffer for most of it.
Rose – 6.5 – Got tight to Walker and managed to stop a few crosses coming in from him, also making a potentially goal saving interception to stop Jesus making it 2-0 on the hour mark. Looked sloppy on the ball at times in the first half, not that he ever had many options ahead of him, but his distribution and quality on the ball improved as the game went on. Another improved display from the Spurs loanee.
Hayden – 5 – Put in a shift to protect that five-man defence, tracking runs and making blocks to unsettle City’s fast flowing attacks, but was chasing shadows for most of it. Struggled to get on the ball and was often crowded out when he did. Poor by his high standards, yet the scoreline could’ve easily been bigger if he hadn’t passed a late fitness test.
S Longstaff – 4 – Made a few good blocks during an early City onslaught, but couldn’t impose himself on the game enough and really struggled on the ball. Totally overhit a free-kick Carroll did well to win in a dangerous position and completed just 9 passes all night. Looked off the pace, but this was always the worry on his first game back for several months against top opposition.
Almiron – 4 – Didn’t always do enough to help Manquillo, with Mendy gettning plenty joy down the left, and played as though he’d forgotten the offside rule at the other end at times. Showed a lack of composure, playing few balls in hope more than expectation, and didn’t make any impact in the final third. Was hooked just after the hour mark.
Saint-Maximin – 5 – Broke from deep to try and get us out of our own half early on, but was caught on the ball in bad areas a few too many times, with City often picking his pocket just as he tried to get us on the counter. They did make it difficult for him and had bodies around him immediately when he got a chance to break away, however his touch did let him down too often. He showed glimpses in the second half and could’ve bagged himself a brilliant assist if Gayle hand’t blazed over, however it wasn’t his day at all here. A rare poor performance from our start man – especially based on the high standards he’s set since we returned from the break.
Carroll – 6 – Left one on Laporte early on and did well to win a few free kicks in decent areas. Was incredibly isolated for most of it but battled for every ball, held the ball well on occasions and pinged the odd decent ball out wide to get us up the pitch and into good areas. Also made a great defensive clearance in the first half, showing his aerial dominance has its used at both ends! That said, he cut a frustrated figure as the game went on, being booked after one too many whacks on Laporte. Put himself about and was typically committed, but didn’t pose enough of a threat and never looked like scoring.
Joelinton – 6 – Showed plenty fight and put himself about over the final 30 minutes, but was a little too physical at times and was booked for it. Struggled to get on the ball, with City dominating possession and us failing to create as a result, but tracked back well and was trying to drive us forward when he did get on it.
Gayle – 3 – This rating may seem harsh, but one of his only touches was skying a huge chance from six yards out that he simply had to score from. It was one step forward with that sharp finish against Villa, but he’s making a habit of missing big chances at the highest level now (remember how many he missed in that 0-1 win at Southampton before the break?!). Feel for him, but it was a sitter and miss that cost us, sadly.
Lazaro – 5 – Showed some neat pieces of footwork, but barely got a chance to show what he could do on the ball.
Yedlin – 5 – Made a couple of good blocks, but struggled to get close to the marauding Mendy, allowing him to put in a few dangerous crosses late on.