Manchester City returned to winning ways against a determined Southampton on Wednesday evening, emerging 5-2 winners as they re-established a 14 point lead atop of the Premier League.
Despite an early spell of possession from the visitors, City took the lead after just 14 minutes when Kevin de Bruyne tapped in a rebound against the run of play. Southampton equalised ten minutes later, however, when Jannik Vestergaard earned a penalty and James Ward-Prowse converted.
The Blues were harshly denied a penalty of their own when Alex McCarthy missed the ball in his box and hacked down Phil Foden in trying to repair the damage, but regained the lead after 40 minutes through Riyad Mahrez and added a third from Ilkay Gundogan on the stroke of half-time.
Southampton sat deeper in the second half and Mahrez added a fourth for City after 55 minutes, but the Saints replied instantly through Che Adams to make it 4-2. De Bruyne added a fifth on the hour to put Pep Guardiola’s side into cruise control once more.
Despite spells of possession from Southampton, City always looked comfortable as the game drew on and secured an important three points.
Here’s how both sides rated in a seven-goal thriller from the Etihad.
Ederson (GK) – 6/10 – Made a number of comfortable, but important, saves to prevent Southampton taking the lead in the first half, including tipping a long range effort over the bar from Ward-Prowse.
Kyle Walker (RB) – 6/10 – Caught out positionally a few times early on but got forward well. Also won three aerial duels for his troubles.
Ruben Dias (CB) – 7/10 – The more dominant of City’s defensive pair as usual. Stepped across to cover when needed and distributed the ball confidently, finishing with 94% pass accuracy.
Aymeric Laporte (CB) – 5/10 – Panicked from the corner and pulled down Vestergaard unnecessarily which allowed Southampton to draw level. Lacked authority for Southampton’s second also. A shaky night for the Frenchman.
Oleskandr Zinchenko (LB) – 7/10 – Pushed on well and exploited the space in front of him, weaving between overlaps and cutting inside to constantly trouble Ryan Bertrand. A really positive outing for Zinchenko.
Kevin de Bruyne (CM) – 7/10 – Was relieved to watch his rebounded shot go in off the underside of the bar; could’ve gone anywhere. Powered through a disorganised defence to get his second goal.
Fernandinho (CM) – 6/10 – A rather uneventful evening on a personal note for City’s veteran midfield general.
Ilkay Gundogan (CM) – 6/10 – The German had a quiet first half but popped up with a crucial third on the stroke of half-time, tapping in the rebound from a Mahrez effort to kill off the visitors.
Riyad Mahrez (RW) – 8/10 – Cut inside smartly and finished with style for his first. Scored a second near the hour mark. A man in-form.
Bernardo Silva (CF) – 6/10 – A little too selfless at times when he could’ve perhaps held the ball longer and tried a shot himself. Switched positions regularly with Foden, though, and helped to tie Southampton up in knots.
Phil Foden (LW) – 8/10 – Punished for trying to play on when clattered in the box by McCarthy; honesty isn’t always the best policy. Grew in influence as the game drew on, picking up good central positions and laying the ball into De Bruyne’s path for him to score.
Ferran Torres – 5/10 – Fired a good effort just wide with little over 10 minutes to go.
Sergio Aguero – 5/10
Benjamin Mendy – N/A
Alex McCarthy (GK) – 4/10 – Got down well to deny Foden’s initial shot and was unfortunate to concede the rebound, but was very lucky not to concede a penalty for clattering Foden after half an hour.
Ryan Bertrand (RB) – 4/10 – Comfortable on the ball, but struggled playing as a makeshift right back and too often couldn’t get his position quickly enough.
Jan Bednarek (CB) – 5/10 – Used his body well to legally outmuscle City’s attackers, but was caught on his heels as Gundogan beat him to the ball to score.
Jannik Vestergaard (CB) – 5/10 – The big man went down to win his side an important penalty, but also showcased some impressive long passing. Denied City a sixth in injury time with a solid block.
Mohammed Salisu (LB) – 4/10 – Looked seriously uncomfortable playing on the opposite flank to usual compared to Bertrand, and was unable to stop Mahrez from coming inside – the sole reason he was playing left back.
Stuart Armstrong (RM) – 5/10 – Didn’t track back which gave City the space to score from their first real spell of possession. Armstrong watched play go by too often to influence it for his side.
James Ward-Prowse (CM) – 7/10 – Ice cold penalty to stick it straight down the middle, and continued to pull strings for his side with a catalogue of passes. Almost caught Ederson with a dipping, long-range effort.
Jack Stephens (CM) – 4/10 – Pushed up out of his usual centre back position but couldn’t get up to the required speed and was ball-watching far too often.
Moussa Djenepo (LM) – 5/10 – Lacked any end product when given the space to operate in and looked a little out of ideas, but also struggled with an injury. Hooked at half time as a result.
Che Adams (ST) – 5/10 – Barely involved in attack and played a hospital ball along his own 18-yard box which lead to City’s second goal. Managed to come away with a second strike in two games, though.
Nathan Redmond (ST) – 6/10 – Bright when on the ball, which just wasn’t often enough. Tested Ederson in the first half and produced an intelligent flick in the build-up to Southampton’s second.
Nathan Tella – 5/10 – Put the pressure on City’s defence on the break but wasn’t in possession enough to influence proceedings.
Ibrahima Diallo – 5/10
Caleb Watts – 5/10