Manchester City picked up a chaotic 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest to register their 20th consecutive victory at the Etihad Stadium.
City dominated the match from the kick-off, forcing Steve Cooper’s side into their own half, as Phil Foden started on the right of Pep Guardiola’s attack and took charge of leading the front-line towards their opener.
Foden received help from summer recruit Matheus Nunes, Julian Alvarez, and Kyle Walker on the right, while Jeremy Doku seamlessly paired with Josko Gvardiol on the left. Erling Haaland assumed his central role and looked back to his goalscoring best.
Pep Guardiola’s men were efficient in finding pockets in Nottingham Forest’s defence. A little after the opening five minutes, Rodri switched the play with a sublime ball to Kyle Walker, who was rushing inside the penalty box. The latter placed the ball into the path of an incoming Phil Foden.
The ‘Stockport Iniesta’ – in all his glory – struck a magnificent half-volley to bury the ball in the bottom corner. Manchester City’s splendid opener received a well-deserved standing ovation from the home fans, as Foden bagged his first Premier League goal of the season.
City notably made 46 passes leading up in the build-up to the opener – the longest sequence recorded in the Premier League since 2014.
City soon grabbed their second after Nunes received a well-calculated pass from Foden at the by-line and sent it across the goal to Erling Haaland, who was unmarked. The Norwegian headed the ball inside the net to extend the home side’s lead.
Both teams walked out with clear instructions, but all turned around in the opening minute. Rodri became involved in a brawl with Morgan Gibbs-White over a challenge at the corner and appeared to put his hands on the Forest midfielder’s neck. The latter fell to the ground, and Rodri was shown a straight red card.
VAR agreed with the decision upon review, causing Rodri to walk straight back to the locker room, forcing tactical changes that saw Kalvin Phillips and Nathan Ake being brought onto the pitch for Manchester City.
Moments later, Ederson came together with Forest forward Taiwo Awoniyi, who had found his way past the defence, and both were promptly shown yellow cards after bringing their heads together.
Although City stayed disciplined with their defence, the players did not shy away from squabbling with Forest despite being down to ten men. It was a frustrating afternoon for the home side, but Pep Guardiola’s team ultimately managed to walk away with the three points.
It is worth noting that Rodri’s moment of madness now means he will miss the match against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium next month. But the defending champions have two other challenges before they take on Mikel Arteta’s side.
Manchester City will face Newcastle United next in a Carabao Cup third-round fixture away from home, before returning to Premier League action against Wolves at Molineux just days later.
Here’s how we believe the Manchester City players fared in a challenging fixture against Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon, taking their tally to six wins out of six this season in the top-flight!
Ederson – 7
Made great saves, quietly stepped closer to the half-way line when bored, and fought with Taiwo Awoniyi. It was a day as typical as it could get for the Manchester City goalkeeper.
Kyle Walker – 8
Unstoppable on the right, made the most of the space and was instrumental in creating goals. Left Nuno Tavares struggling throughout the match.
Manuel Akanji – 7.5
Was regrettably booked early in the second half, but ultimately kept his composure. Had to resort to defensive responsibilities entirely for the second half
Ruben Dias – 8
Kept Taiwo Awoniyi from running behind the defence on most occasions and held the fort in a challenging second half.
Josko Gvardiol – 7
Despite a couple of misplaced passes, balanced the attacking and defensive responsibilities impressively.
Rodri – 5
Dominant, accurate, and sublime in the first-half. Ludicrous, puzzling, and uncharacteristic during the minute-long appearance in the second half.
Matheus Nunes – 7.5
Involved in the first goal and assisted the second. Comfortable pairing with Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez, and impressive run-ins towards the byline.
Julian Alvarez – 8
The Argentine asserted his position in the Starting XI with yet another brilliant display. Came close to scoring a goal from a freekick and made for the miss with his relentless involvement in the attacks.
Jeremy Doku – 7
Impressive runs, as always, could have been more dangerous but had to be subbed after Rodri’s red card.
Phil Foden – 9 (Man of the Match)
Was brilliant in finding and exploiting pockets in the Nottingham Forest defence and scored a gold of sublime quality. As a legend once eloquently put it – he’s “different gravy”.
Erling Haaland – 7
Scored the second goal. Missed a chance later in the game but was more involved in the build-ups. Rallied the crowd behind the team as the hosts grew increasingly frustrated with their opponents.
Kalvin Phillips – 7
Impressive and composed after coming on in the second half. Massive responsibility to replace Rodri, but did well in confining Nottingham Forest midfield.
Nathan Ake – 7
Settled into the defensive line and closed the space. Made promising runs with the ball upfront during Manchester City’s sporadic attempts in the match’s closing minutes.
Jack Grealish – N/A
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