Another week and another defeat filled with individual defensive errors.
Steve Bruce and Mike Ashley deserve their fair share of the criticism, but the players can no longer hide behind them.
Too many players aren’t good enough at this level. Although there has been a clear improvement in the style and the positivity under Howe, the results are still very bad.
Below we rate the players of each player:
Martin Dubravka – 4 – There was a great save from Dubravka in the second half from Gabriel Jesus, which showed his quality. However, he was partially at fault for the first goal, as he should have come to claim the ball, especially after it seemed he did call for it. His limitations with the ball at his feet also led to him conceding a cheap corner just moments before City’s opening goal.
Jacob Murphy – 5 – He isn’t a full back and his vulnerability showed on the final goal, as he was beaten too easily by Jesus. Murphy does do some nice things in possession and carries the ball well, but his defensive weakness means he shouldn’t be used as a right back. We need reinforcements in January.
Jamaal Lascelles – 3 – The two centre backs just aren’t good enough. Lascelles looks to have lost some of his pace and mobility after the injuries he has suffered. He was deeper than the rest of the defensive line for City’s third, which led to the goal being allowed to stand. He was weak in the build-up to the second goal too.
Ciaran Clark – 2 – There isn’t enough time to write about all of Clark’s weaknesses. He just isn’t a Premier League standard centre back and he makes two or three big errors a game. For the first goal, it was an awful piece of judgement not to head the ball away.
Matt Ritchie – 3 – Like Murphy, he isn’t a full back and he was targeted by the City attack. This wasn’t his worst performance of the season, but it was still bad. We need a better left back if Jamal Lewis is out long term.
Isaac Hayden – 6 – His effectiveness was lost early, as he picked up an early yellow card. This rules him out of the next game against Manchester United. Hayden does add some ball-winning ability in the middle of the park. After he was taken off, we were regularly played through with ease, which does put his performance into better light.
Joe Willock – 4 – He was withdrawn early, which suggests Howe wasn’t happy with his performance. Willock showed good energy and covered a lot of grass, but he didn’t do much in possession. His attempted tackle in the build-up to the second was poor.
Joelinton – 8* – It was another very good performance from Joelinton in a midfield role. He regularly bodied Rodri when running with the ball, while his passing is much improved. He played a lovely ball through to Callum Wilson, while his strike from range in the first half showed the confidence in his game.
Miguel Almiron – 5 – The Paraguayan caused Manchester City problems with his pressing, as he won the ball back in the attacking half on numerous occasions. The problem was he did nothing with the ball at his feet. He had a number of chances to make something happen and he wasted all of them.
Ryan Fraser – 7 – There has been an improvement in Fraser’s performances during recent weeks. His directness caused problems for Manchester City and he was very unfortunate not to be given a penalty in the first half.
Callum Wilson – 5 – It was an isolated afternoon for Wilson. However, there were a few occasions where he had a chance to run at the City defence and he was a bit heavy footed. He will look back on the afternoon as a disappointing one for him.
Allan Saint-Maximin – 6 – The Frenchman showed the problems he can cause for one of the best defences in the league. He was lively and he did create a couple of openings for us. If he plays like this for the rest of the season, goals and assists will follow.
Sean Longstaff – 4 – This clearly showed why Longstaff hasn’t been playing. He was loose in possession and didn’t offer much protection to the defence.
Jeff Hendrick – N/A – Barely got a kick as he came on for the final few minutes.