DAILY MAIL 🔵 PLAYER RATINGS: Foden revels in central role with superb hat-trick – Shango Media
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DAILY MAIL 🔵 PLAYER RATINGS: Foden revels in central role with superb hat-trick

  • Manchester City pulled off a classy home win to keep pace in the title chase 

With a pulsating three-way title race underway, serial winners Manchester City showed off their quality against Champions League contenders Aston Villa in a classy 4-1 win at the Etihad. 

Rodri was the first to open the scoring for the night’s hosts, ably assisted by Jeremy Doku, just past the 10-minute mark, but Unai Emery’s side were keen to prove their credentials too when Jhon Duran levelled just nine minutes later. 

The visitors did well to hold onto the deadlock for much of the first-half, only for Phil Foden to send the first of his eventual three moments before half-time. 

Without Erling Haaland or Kevin De Bruyne – both on the bench – to pull focus, Foden dazzled, his second strike coming on the other half of the break, before he completed his hat-trick to crush Villa’s spirits in the 69th minute.  

Here, Nathan Salt shares his player ratings on a night which saw Man City keep pace with Liverpool in third, and Villa’s grip on fourth falter. 

Rodri opened the scoring after just 11 minutes played at the Etihad on Wednesday evening

Aston Villa saw their grip on fourth place in the table loosened, with Tottenham just two points behind them

Manchester City (3-2-4-1)

Stefan Ortega – 6.5

Could do absolutely nothing about Duran’s impeccable finish low into the far corner. Made a crucial save to deny Douglas Luiz when Villa counter-attacked in numbers just before the hour mark, then Clement Lenglet from the resulting corner.

Josko Gvardiol – 7

Managed to nullify the threat of Moussa Diaby for the most part, which is no mean feat. Best of the City back three on the night.

Ruben Dias – 6

Was caught in two minds for Villa’s goal in terms of pressing Rogers and tracking the run of Duran. Did little else wrong thereafter.

Manuel Akanji – 6

The Swiss is solid enough but it was down his side on the right of the back three that found itself exposed on more than one occasion.

Ruben Dias (right) was solid but struggled to contain Jhon Duran in the build-up to his goal

Rico Lewis' performance was one of supreme confidence - particularly in light of his age

Rico Lewis – 7.5

May be the new kid on the block at age 19 but he’s supremely confident and is never one to be shy of the ball. Provides good legs alongside Rodri.

Rodri – 8

Delivered a thunderous finish to fire City ahead. That’s now eight goals for City in all competitions this season; his most in a single campaign in his club career. His clever footwork on the edge of Villa’s box took three players out the game before he teed up Foden for 3-1.

Phil Foden – 9

Absolutely breathtaking. His first was magic, his second was clinical and his third was world class. He’s just an absolute joy to watch. The way he glides past people like they are in a different postcode to him looks so effortless… and it most definitely isn’t. His third career hat-trick for City.

Bernardo Silva – 6

Should have scored on the turn when played in in the area by Foden five minutes after the interval. A fabulous player but he’s influenced games much more than he did here.

Foden was keen to celebrate with the benched goalscoring behemoth Erling Haaland (right) and Kevin De Bruyne (left)

Jeremy Doku's thrashed crossed could unleash Rodri but he nearly found himself in hot water

Jack Grealish was the pantomime villain for the away fans but his work rate was beyond doubt

With Haaland on the bench, Julian Alvarez had a frustrating night stepping up to lead the line

Jack Grealish – 7

The pantomime villain for the away fans, who booed him upon every touch, Grealish was well up for this one and his work-rate could not be questioned. Looked desperate to score. Booked.

Jeremy Doku – 6.5

Had a nervous wait to see if his shoulder was offside before his thrashed in cross was hit home by Rodri for 1-0. Felt the wrath of his manager when he was careless in possession to gift Villa a three-on-two counter-attack… thankfully for him it came to nothing.

Julian Alvarez – 5.5

A frustrating night for the Argentine, who showed in some wasteful finishing flashes of what City fans saw time and again when Gabriel Jesus was here.

SUBS

Mateo Kovacic (for Rodri, 75) – 6

Matheus Nunes (for Silva, 75) – 6

Sergio Gomez (for Jeremy Doku, 80) – 6

Oscar Bobb (for Phil Foden, 80) – 6

Manager: Pep Guardiola – 8

ASTON VILLA (4-2-3-1)

Robin OIsen – 7

Feels high a mark given he shipped four but it would have been a lot worse were it not for Olsen. Made a huge save at 1-1 to deny Alvarez’s low drive and more fine stops followed. Nothing he could do about Rodri or Foden’s finishes, though.

Lucas Digne – 6

Simply couldn’t deal with Doku’s pace and there was no magic solution his manager could come up with to help him out. A long night.

Diego Carlos – 6

Liked the back and forth chat with Grealish for the most part but, like everyone in Villa’s back line, found City’s interplay a second too quick for them to combat.

Clement Lenglet – 6

Was unlucky not to equalise for 2-2 when his near-post header from a Douglas Luiz corner was smartly parried clear by Stefan Ortega.

Robin Olsen may have been outsmarted four times, but his quick-thinking reduced the potential deficit

On just his second Premier League start, Tim Iroegbunam far from disgraced himself against the serial champions

Ezri Konsa – 5.5

Like Digne on the other side, full-back was not a place you wanted to be playing when you’ve got Grealish, Silva and Foden buzzing around, with Doku on the other side. Will have been glad to get on the bus home.

Douglas Luiz – 5

Booked for a cynical foul on the edge of the box to fell a full flight Grealish and should have been sent off minutes later when he clipped Foden on the edge of the box.

Tim Iroegbunam – 6

Only the second Premier League start of his young career, it was the deepest of deep ends for the 20-year-old to find himself in. He was far from disgraced, even if he struggled to get a foothold up against Foden, Silva, Rodri and Lewis.

Nicolo Zaniolo – 5

Got out-worked and Emery let him know about it time and again. Also was far too weak in the wall for Foden’s goal when he did a tummy tuck to let the ball through. Type of stuff that – rightly – leaves fans and managers fuming.

Morgan Rogers – 6.5

Produced a clever one-two to tee up Duran for their equaliser at 1-1 but his influence waned. While this is only one game there were enough flashes to show everyone inside the Etihad Stadium that Villa have a real player on their hands.

Nicolo Zaniolo was a weak link in Villa's wall to allow Foden's freekick to sneak through in the second-half

Duran's slick strike put Villa back on terms with their hosts but it wasn't enough by full time

Morgan Rogers had another promising night, showing off why Villa moved for him in January

Moussa Diaby – 6

Tireless runner but nothing seemed to come off. Even when he did break free and get in behind City he was short of support and the chance came to nothing.

Jhon Duran – 7

Fabulous goal on only his second ever Premier League start for Villa. Even in this heavy defeat he took his chance to fill the boots of a sidelined Ollie Watkins.

SUBS

Youri Tielemans (for Tim Iroegbunam, 63) – 5

Leon Bailey (for Moussa Diaby, 63) – 5

Callum Chambers (for Douglas Luiz, 64) – 5

Omari Kellyman (for Nicolo Zaniolo, 77) – 6 

Manager: Unai Emery – 5

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