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Match Report and Player Ratings: Nottingham Forest 0-2 Manchester City (Premier League)



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Manchester City moved back to within a point of Arsenal at the top of the Premier League with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest at The City Ground.

Having seen their title rivals edge a ding-dong North London Derby earlier on Sunday afternoon, the trip to the banks of the River Trent was one which always looked like a potential banana skin, against a side fighting against relegation and, in their view, injustice.

That pressure did seem to get to City in an unusually scrappy display, but with the help of a goal from the returning Erling Haaland, Pep Guardiola’s men got the job done eventually.

The first half hour had been nervy for the Champions, but those worries were eased in the most simple fashion on minute 31, when Josko Gvardiol bulleted home a free header from Kevin de Bruyne’s near-post corner.

That advantage should have been wiped out by Forest within five minutes, when Chris Wood inexplicably dallied with an open goal and saw the ball bobble between his legs to safety.

The hosts were a big threat throughout the opening period, again going close when Ederson flapped at a corner, before the goalkeeper recovered to put just enough pressure on Murillo to force the defender to put it over.

City’s defensive frailties didn’t seal up in the second half; Kyle Walker was beaten easily by Anthony Elanga, only for Wood to again contrive to miss his chance.

The game continued to ebb and flow dangerously, with City seemingly snapping back into life when de Bruyne’s 25-yard effort drew a great save from Matz Sels.

That invigoration soon drew the clinching second goal; De Bruyne was in space and drove into the Forest half, feeding substitute Haaland, who sat Murillo down and classily steered into the bottom corner.

City played it out from there as they so often do, content not to hunt down Arsenal’s goal difference advantage and instead secure three more valuable points.

The result means that the title is still in Manchester City’s hands due to their game in hand, and whilst you’d expect them to play better than they did today, they still have the champion’s quality of grinding out wins in the run-run. Next up: Wolves at home on Saturday.

Player Ratings

Ederson – 6

Didn’t face too many shots on target in his half on the pitch, although didn’t look too comfortable dealing with Forest’s crossing threat.

Kyle Walker – 6.5

Faced a lot of Forest attention down his side, not often coping with it particularly well. Functional in possession.

Manuel Akanji – 7

Had the unusual proposition of an opponent who is stronger than him in Chris Wood, but shut him out more often than not.

Nathan Ake – 7.5

Asked a lot of questions to cover in behind, doing the hard running and mopping up effectively.

Josko Gvardiol – 8

Looking every inch a City player now, secure both in touch and pass as well as cracking in the opener with his bonce.

Rodri – 8 (MOTM)

Seemed the guiding lighthouse as those around him floundered. Countless vital recoveries and classy long passes.

Bernardo Silva – 7

Got through the hard yards that are always expected of him, as well as being fluid in positioning to help the team wherever needed. Didn’t have quite his usual proficiency in possession.

Jeremy Doku – 5.5

Struggled when tasked with tracking back against Aina, not really producing enough going forward either. Subsequently withdrawn at half-time.

Kevin De Bruyne – 8

Only he can make a few questionable decisions and not look at quite his usual level, whilst still coming away with the two match-winning assists.

Jack Grealish – 6.5

Provided something of a threat with some good passing in advanced areas in the first half. Didn’t hold onto it as well as he normally does in the second, and was hooked after an hour.

Julian Alvarez – 6.5

Harried as hard as ever, but didn’t get truly involved in the game until a shift to the wing when Haaland came on.


Stefan Ortega – 7

Stayed sharp to prevent an Elanga cross from creeping over him in his only real goalkeeping moment.

Mateo Kovacic – 7

Calmed everything down and slotted in next to Rodri to help regain control of the game.

Erling Haaland – 7

Immediately offered a whole new threat to Forest and bagged that nerve-settling second goal.

Matheus Nunes – N/A

Oscar Bobb – N/A