With their total domination of Manchester United, the home side of the Manchester derby had a number of different players shine for manager Manuel Pellegrini.
So who wins the award as best player on the pitch? There are a number of candidates, as the entire team played to near-perfection. Let’s run through the list.
1) Samir Nasri:
The choice of those at the Etihad, Samir Nasri won Sky Sports’ Man of the Match award. Nasri had a hand in three of the four goals. He slotted through a streaking Alexander Kolarov to set up the first goal, he assisted the second with a strong volley which De Gea could only parry, and he scored the third of the match.
The French winger was 42/47 passing (91%), including 17/19 in the attacking third. He created three chances, the most of any Sky Blues players. More importantly, Nasri and Yaya Toure combined for far more passes than any other City players did. The pair hit each other 27 times, and showed why Manchester City bossed the midfield.
2) Sergio Aguero
It’s kind of hard to argue with a brace. His passing numbers weren’t great, but that’s often to be expected from a striker who operates in very crowded areas.
However, his soft touch-volley to score the first goal was nothing short of brilliant, when many players would have instead elected to attempt a highly difficult bicycle kick which has a very low success rate. Aguero’s knack for being in the right place at all times is fantastic. He can play as the target man, supplanting Edin Dzeko, or he can play behind the strikers in a supporting role and be just as effective.
In this situation, it was his strike abilities which downed the champions, and he certainly has a Man of the Match worthy resume.
3) Vincent Kompany
The Manchester City captain has the armband for a reason. He kept Wayne Rooney in check the entire match, causing the English international to become visibly frustrated by the end of the first half. And in the middle? All he did was go a perfect 12/12 on clearances, including 7 with his head.
Kompany, a center back, even showed wing back capabilities by making a precise run down the right side and feeding Nasri for City’s fourth and final goal. Look out Pablo Zabaleta, Kompany’s gunning for your spot! (not really)
The defender was incredibly strong, and one could make a very solid case to say the Belgian is in the top three of center backs in the world.
4) Alvaro Negredo
The dark horse in today’s debate, Pellegrini brought Negredo for Edin Dzeko in one of the most important fixtures of the season, and Negredo delivered.
Looking at his dashboard for received passes, Negredo was open in dangerous areas constantly, and his teammates found him. The 28-year-old Spaniard certainly rewarded his manager for the choice to play him.
I have to say, as much as Samir Nasri was the most effective player in the attack for Manchester City, Vincent Kompany must get the nod. To keep Wayne Rooney at bay was a superb effort, and to get an assist in the process is even better. Manchester United could do nothing to break down Kompany’s back line, and the Belgian is certainly deserving of the award.
Who do you think was the most valuable Citizen on the day?