Sun 17 Mar 2024, 10:59 · NUFCFEED

Manchester City (A) player ratings: This was like a training game for Pep Guardiola's treble winners

Manchester City (A) player ratings: This was like a training game for Pep Guardiola's treble winners
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Manchester City effortlessly swatted aside Newcastle United in the FA Cup quarter-final on Saturday evening, with two deflected goals from Bernardo Silva earning Pep Guardiola's side an easy 2-0 win.

Setting out his stall in a 5-3-2 formation reminiscent of the dark days of the Steve Bruce era, Magpies head coach Eddie Howe left Sean Longstaff and Joe Willock with far too much to do to cover their wing-backs.

While Jacob Murphy coped manfully on the right despite being given a stern examination by the electric Jérémy Doku, Dan Burn didn't fare so well on the opposite flank up against Silva and Kyle Walker.

Howe's tactical approach completely took Anthony Gordon out of the game, too. Our best player this season touched the ball just nine times in his 62 minutes of action playing up front instead of wide left.

Sven Botman had yet another stinker, Fabian Schär wasn't much better, Jamaal Lascelles looked uncomfortable in the right-sided centre-back slot, and Martin Dúbravka was left stranded for both goals.

Bruno Guimarães did at least perform well, though cut a frustrated figure by the end, while Alexander Isak won't look back fondly on a contest where he was barely involved and lacked composure in key moments.

There were some positive showings from the bench, with a rare Lewis Hall sighting and an energetic cameo from Miguel Almirón catching the eye, but this was another game where we didn't score anyone higher than seven.


Nobody expected us to win here but we made it easy for Man City

Chris Radburn/Reuters via Getty Images
Eddie Howe tried to put a brave face on things in his post-match media appearances

Martin Dúbravka – 6

The woeful defending on display in front of him left him with little chance of stopping either of Silva's goals, but he did make a couple of very decent saves to deny Doku. He was the least of our problems today as we were playing deep enough to make sweeping unnecessary.

Jacob Murphy – 7

Deployed in an unfamiliar right-wing-back slot, Murphy pushed Bruno close for our 'Player of the Match' award here. It was his cross that led to our best chance of the first half and he put in quite a few good deliveries while defending well enough against the dangerous Doku.

Jamaal Lascelles (c) – 5

He never looks comfortable when fielded as the right-sided centre-back, but the choice was likely made because he's faster than Schär. Still, it robbed us of the ability to progress the ball up the right and he found it tough against Doku regardless, so it wasn't the right call.


Fabian Schär – 5

We'd have preferred to have seen him on the right of the three centre-backs—a role he excelled in under Rafa Benítez—because he struggled in the middle. He was lucky not to see a second yellow for a late challenge, but he shouldn't have been booked in the first place.

Sven Botman – 4

The Dutchman needs to be taken out of the firing line for his own sake at this stage. He lost Haaland time and time again from set pieces, made more than one poor clearance, and topped off another awful showing by needlessly heading past Dúbravka for the second goal.

Dan Burn – 4

We never want to see Burn fielded at left-wing-back again, especially in a 5-3-2 where he doesn't have cover. It was his lazy block that caused the deflection for the opener and while he atoned by making the chance for Isak, his refusal to shoot in the 56th minute was criminal.

Sean Longstaff – 5

He started the game well, using the ball smartly and covering Murphy and Lascelles to help defend the threat of Doku. He gradually disappeared as the clock ticked on, though, managing just 19 touches in his 62 minutes. A central midfielder needs to do so much more.


Bruno Guimaräes – 7 ⭐️

We felt for Bruno here and not for the first time in the last month. While many of his teammates are completely out of sorts, he's doing everything possible to compensate for them. He can't be enjoying his football at the minute, but he's playing at a high level.

Joe Willock – 4

Defending has never been his strength, so fielding him as one of three central midfielders and effectively asking him to cover two positions was always a big risk. And so it proved, with both Silva goals coming from his zone. He'd have been better off on the wing in a 5-4-1.

Alexander Isak – 5

A lot was made of his miss from Burn's knockdown, but he struck the ball well on his weaker foot and forced a good save out of Ortega. It was his failure in other moments that rankled more, with his composure deserting him, but he did still make a big chance for Burn.

Anthony Gordon – 5

Moving him up front alongside Isak was probably a good idea in theory with counter-attacking always the order of the day at the Etihad but he only managed nine (9!) touches in 62 minutes. The 5-3-2 completely took him out of the contest, which was a crying shame.

Howe made four substitutions on the hour that injected impetus

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There was a rare Lewis Hall sighting at the Etihad and he performed well off the bench

Miguel Almirón – 7

The usual grumbles about his failure to make key passes aside, this was a decent cameo from Almirón in difficult circumstances. He did still manage to thread a useful ball or two into teammates and he was a big part of our brief resurgence after his introduction.

Lewis Hall – 7

This performance will do nothing to quell the calls for him to feature more as he acquitted himself very well off the bench in a tough environment. He connected with 12/13 attempted passes, showed a good turn of pace, and made one decent interception to stop a break.

Elliot Anderson – 5

He almost looks too keen to impress at the moment after his long layoff and it's not doing him any favours. There's no doubting his attitude or desire but he had the appearance of a headless chicken here, easily being the poorest of the five substitutes that saw action.

Lewis Miley – 7

Alternatively to Anderson, this was a typically calm and collected showing from the 17-year-old Miley. 13/13 passes found a teammate, he was successful in his solitary duel, and he further strengthened his claim to be worthy of starting ahead of Longstaff in the midfield.

Emil Krafth – 6

The Swede only saw 10 minutes of action due to Botman's late knee trouble and slotted into the back five with 'nee trouble', although the game was well and truly done by the time he arrived on the pitch.

Next up for the Magpies is West Ham at home in the league

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We drew 1-1 with David Moyes' side at SJP last season, with Callum Wilson scoring our goal

There's an international break before the Hammers come to St James' for a disgustingly early 12.30 p.m. (GMT) kick-off on Saturday 30th March that will be shown live on TNT.

While plenty of the squad are jetting off to represent their countries, most are heading to Dubai for a much-needed warm-weather training camp for a third successive year.

Here's hoping we see a response similar to the ones we got in the last two campaigns and by the time of the West Ham game Kieran Trippier, Harvey Barnes, and Tino Livramento are all back in contention.

Howay the lads!