Man City vs S'land Player Ratings

Manchester City produced one of their best performances of the Barclays Premier League season on Saturday to beat Sunderland 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium.

McClean's all over Zabaleta...

By ESPNSTAR.com staff

It took Roberto Mancini's men just five minutes to open the scoring when Aleksandar Kolarov drilled home a fantastic freekick from the edge of the area, before he tore down the left in the 60th minute and whipped in a perfect cross for substitute Sergio Aguero to score.

A minute from time, James Milner added a third with a freekick that took a nick off the head of Craig Gardner and flew past a hapless Simon Mignolet, capping off a fine day at the office for the Citizens.

Here, ESPNSTAR.com takes a look at the players that took to the field at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Man City

Joe Hart - 7

Now regarded by some as the best goalkeeper in the world, Hart instilled plenty of confidence in his defenders and showed clean hands on the few occasions he was called into action.

Pablo Zabaleta - 7

The Argentinean was steady at the back and was content to let his more-talented team-mates lead the way when City were on the attack.

Micah Richards - 7.5

Richards was not only steady at the back, but ventured forward with real intent and got himself into a number of excellent scoring positions.

Nonetheless, he displayed a defender's finishing touch most times, and on the one occasion he hit a shot cleanly towards goal, it was headed away by Danny Rose.

Joleon Lescott - 6.5

The England international was engaged in an intriguing duel with Steven Fletcher all afternoon long, and did well to keep his opponent relatively quiet.

Aleksandar Kolarov - 8.5

Kolarov put in a man-of-the-match display for City, and not just because he scored a goal and laid on an assist.

He opened the scoring with a terrific freekick after just five minutes, before whipping in a sumptuous cross for Aguero to poke home on the hour mark.

In addition, the Serb also defended well and tore down the wing at every opportunity, and looked the most likely source of a City goal.

James Milner - 8

Rivalling Kolarov as the best player on the park, Milner took awhile to get going, especially in the first half when he was disappointing with his crosses after finding space on the right.

However, he eventually came to life and was a huge catalyst in the way the Citizens tightened their grip on the game after the break, adding a third for good measure a minute from time with a fierce freekick that was deflected past Mignolet.

Gareth Barry - 7.5

Barry was a real steadying influence for the Citizens and hardly misplaced a pass all game long.

On the few occasions Sunderland looked threatening, he was ever-ready to provide a spare man in the box, and also kept possession well with his simple distribution.

Yaya Toure - 7

Toure provided his usual drive from the middle of the park but he was overshadowed by some of his other team-mates on the day.

Still, it was a very efficient display from the Ivorian.

David Silva (on 90') - 6.5

One of the stars of City's title-winning campaign last season, Silva has yet to really fire so far this season and looks slightly uncomfortable deployed in a less-advanced position.

Mario Balotelli (off 56') - 6.5

Balotelli was relatively lively and did well to drop deep and provide the link between midfield and attack.

However, he looked more interested in riling up the Sunderland defenders than getting into scoring positions, and was understandably replaced early on in the second half.

Carlos Tevez (off 86') - 7

The Argentinean did well on the defensive aspects of the game as he gave the Black Cats backline a real nightmare by constantly harrying them in their own half.

Nonetheless, Tevez should have tried to provide his side with a focal point in attack rather than looking to be a creative force, especially considering City have no shortage of playmakers.

Subs

Sergio Aguero (on 56') - 8

Aguero needed just four minutes to have an impact, timing a run to the near post to perfection and prodding home Kolarov's cross.

Gael Clichy (on 86') - N/A

Clichy was brought on with four minutes remaining and had little time to make an impact.

Jack Rodwell (on 90') - N/A

Rodwell didn't get much of a chance to impress following a series of poor displays as the sole purpose of his introduction was to allow the Etihad faithful to give Silva a warm ovation.

Sunderland

Simon Mignolet - 7.5

Despite conceding three goals on the day, Mignolet can be pleased with his performance after keeping the scoreline down with a number of fine saves.

The Belgian did extremely well to make himself big and deny Zabaleta from point-blank range in the 20th minute, before palming away a blistering drive from Toure five minutes after the restart.

Craig Gardner - 7

Gardner was unlucky to have inadvertently deflected the ball past Mignolet for City's third as he was having an excellent game at that point, and was one of the visitors' best players.

Carlos Cuellar - 4

Cuellar was the main reason why the Blacks Cats looked so shaky in the back and was culpable for their opening two goals.

First, he lost Tevez and had to commit a cynical foul on the edge of the area that allowed Kolarov to step up and power home the resultant freekick, before letting Aguero sneak in behind him to score the hosts' second.

John O'Shea - 6

O'Shea spent plenty of the game trying to cover Cuellar's mistakes and did a decent enough job.

Danny Rose (off 61') - 7

Rose had an excellent game as he provided the Black Cats with plenty of energy down the left, showing real determination to get forward and support James McClean.

But despite his attacking instincts, the 22-year-old also carried out his defensive responsibilities well, and was alert enough to head away a goal-bound shot from Micah Richards midway through the second half.

Jack Colback - 5

Colback spent most of the game chasing shadows and was clearly not at the same level as some of his more-illustrious opponents.

Sebastian Larsson - 4

Ahead of the game, Larsson loomed as one of the players that give City real problems but instead, he struggled to come to terms with a more-central role and hardly touched the ball.

Adam Johnson (off 68') - 5.5

Many were expecting Johnson to come back and haunt his former employers but instead, he showed just why he struggled to force his way into the City starting XI, struggling to impose himself on the game in the manner which the best wingers do.

James McClean - 5

McClean lost his one-on-one duel with Zabaleta and as a result, Sunderland were made to do without one of their main attacking weapons.

Stephan Sessegnon (off 83') - 6.5

Sessegnon was very lively in the first half and was the one player that kept the City defenders on their toes, but his influence eventually waned after halftime and he was duly replaced by Campbell.

Steven Fletcher - 6

Lescott and Richards did well to quell the attacking threat of Fletcher, restricting the Scotland international to pot-shots from distance that were comfortable for Hart.

Subs

David Vaughan (on 61') - 5.5

Despite having half an hour to make a difference for his side, Vaughan was unable to exert and influence on proceedings.

Louis Saha (on 68') - 6

Eager to impress, Saha did plenty of running after coming on but like he has proven in his previous spells with Premier League clubs, he did so without any real direction.

Frazier Campbell (on 83') - N/A

Brought on late in the game with minimal time to make an impact.

Watch: City thrash Sunderland 3-0... More Videos

 



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