HUDDERSFIELD, England — Manchester City cut Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League back down to four points with a comfortable 3-0 win at bottom side Huddersfield Town on Sunday. City were far from their best in the first half but led through Danilo’s goal, which deflected in off Christopher Schindler. Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane then scored in the space of three minutes as City killed off the game.
City became the first team in Europe to reach 100 goals for the season in all competitions. Throughout his two-and-a-half years at the Etihad Stadium, Pep Guardiola has bemoaned a lack of ruthlessness, but his side are now leading the way in goal scoring and are up to 102 goals in total.
The opening 45 minutes were lackadaisical and error strewn and had City come up against better opposition than bottom-of-the-table Huddersfield, it could have given them a problem. City can’t afford to slip any further behind leaders Liverpool and need to be at it from the first whistle if they are to maintain the pressure on Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Manager rating out of 10
7 — Guardiola must have had some strong words at half-time because the contrast between the two periods was stark. After a poor opening 45 minutes, his side came out after the break with much more purpose. The City boss decided to freshen up his starting lineup with Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne, who will be key players in the crucial part of the season, needing minutes on the pitch after missing recent matches. Ilkay Gundogan was brought in with his ability to ghost in the box but City seemed to miss the energy the Bernardo Silva provides.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Ederson, 6 — Barely called into action but made one comfortable save from a Steve Mounie header. Sadly, none of his midfield antics to entertain the fans.
DF Kyle Walker, 6 — Got booked for a rash, sliding challenge on Chris Lowe. It was the right decision, but it was an unnecessarily risky tackle that could have been costly.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 7 — Back in the team with Huddersfield’s threat from set pieces and produced a solid display.
DF Danilo, 8 — The Brazilian loves to cut inside and shoot, and provided the crucial breakthrough. He is starting to make the left-back spot his own.
MF Fernandinho, 6 — Gave the ball away more often than he normally does. Has set high standards this season, and this performance wasn’t up there with his best.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, 5 — Recalled to the side and didn’t make the most of his opportunity. Got caught in possession a couple of times and wasted chances when he found space in the box.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 7 — He was City’s most dynamic midfielder running between the boxes and started to pull the strings in the second half as the game opened up.
FW Raheem Sterling, 6 — Brought down for a clear penalty not given by referee Andre Marriner but couldn’t be stopped turning in a rare header.
FW Sergio Aguero, 6 — Freshly bleached hair was the most striking aspect of his performance. No real opportunities, although a neat assist for Sane’s goal.
FW Leroy Sane, 7 — Had plenty of space on the wing and made it pay in the second half with an assist and tidy goal.
MF David Silva, 6 — Offered City more control when he came on.
MF Bernardo Silva, N/R — Forced Jonas Lossl into an excellent save.
MF Fabian Delph, N/R — Rare runout in holding midfield and had an easy time.