Player Ratings: Manchester City 2-0 Preston North End (Pre-Season)

Manchester City kicked off their pre-season with a behind closed doors friendly against Championship side Preston North End. Here’s how we rated the players…
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Pep Guardiola surprisingly named the likes of Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo, Nathan Ake, and Zack Steffen in the starting line-up, despite the quartet only returning to training on Monday morning. 

Liam Delap meanwhile missed out after being deemed ‘not fully fit’.

The Blues started the better of the two sides and Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring midway through the first half with an excellent free-kick. 

At the break, Pep Guardiola made 10 changes with only Zack Steffen appearing in both halves before Samuel Edozie doubled City's lead with a powerful shot from close range. 

Here’s how we rated the players…


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Zack Steffen - 7.5

The American shot-stopper looked sharp, showed excellent anticipation, swept very well, and showed his strength in distribution with the USMT 'keeper rarely putting a foot wrong. 

Steffen was substituted after 65 minutes before returning to the field 20 minutes later after Cieran Slicker was unable to continue following a nasty looking collision with Preston’s Tom Bayliss.

Joao Cancelo - 8 (MOTM)

Started strongly and oozed class, defended very well, produced several accurate crosses, and displayed his ranged passing ability. Looked as though he had a point to prove and dominated his side of the pitch alongside Riyad Mahrez.

Nathan Aké – 7

Had relatively little to do but did very little wrong. Nathan Ake read the game well and performed a few important interceptions during the first half as the Dutchman put in a composed performance.

Ruben Dias – 7

His usual composed self. Dias was typically strong aerially, played the ball well throughout his time on the pitch and led by example. Focused.

Benjamin Mendy – 6.5

Started slowly but grew into the game after initially looking a little lost defensively, although the left-back did perform well going forward. 

Played an excellent through ball for Ben Knight late in the first-half and later put it on a plate for Cole Palmer who skied it from five yards out.

Fernandinho (C) - 6.5

The Manchester City skipper mostly did well but was occasionally sloppy in possession and looked somewhat rusty during the first half.

Morgan Rogers – 6

Did okay and won the free-kick that resulted in Riyad Mahrez opening the scoring. Rogers looked lively on the left wing although his final ball was occasionally lacking.

Ben Knight – 7

Led the line, worked hard, pressed well, and made several excellent well-timed runs. Operated on the shoulder excellently and looked dangerous throughout but fluffed a 1-on-1 midway through the first half.

Riyad Mahrez – 8

Had the ball in the back of the net inside two minutes although the goal was disallowed for offside. Scored a lovely free kick to open the scoring. The Algerian was his usual tricky self and noticeably linked-up very well with Joao Cancelo on the right flank.

Cole Palmer - 7.5

Carried the ball well and showed great technique from the off. Palmer showed for the ball well throughout the game but should’ve done better with his chance late in the first half. Gave a good account of himself and the youngster shows great potential.

Iker Pozo - 7

The Spaniard was lively from the off, worked hard and made himself a nuisance early on. Impressive performance.


Substitutes:


Yan Couto – 6.5

The young Brazilian performed well following his introduction and did very little wrong throughout.

Luke Bolton – 6.5

Read the game well and barely put a foot wrong. 

Finley Burns – 6.5

Gave a good account of himself as Manchester City's kids controlled the game against experienced opposition.

Phillipe Sandler – 7.5

Donned the armband in the second half and his experience compared to his teammates was immediately evident. Carried the ball well out of the defence.

Matt Smith – 6.5

Smith was strong in possession and frequently anticipated play well.


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Claudio Gomes – 7

Displayed pace, read the game well and showed good technique when carrying the ball. The young Frenchman looked comfortable operating in the holding midfield role and usually played the ball accurately.

James McAtee – 7.5

Showed great vision and trickery as he superbly assisted Edozie for City’s second goal of the evening. McAtee’s creativity was apparent and he was one of the better performers of the second half.

Patrick Roberts – 6

Looked dangerous on the right wing often cutting inside to fire in a left-footed shot, although his final ball was lacking.

Samuel Edozie – 7.5

Made several good driving runs and showed great technique throughout the second half. Edozie doubled City’s lead with a driven low-shot to beat the Preston ‘keeper at his near post.

Pablo Moreno – 6

The Spaniard linked the play well in the final third but could have done more to establish his presence.

Cieran Slicker – N/A

Replaced Steffen on the 65 minute-mark but was substituted off after a nasty looking collision and landing in his first real involvement in the game. Fortunately, it was revealed after full-time that the young goalkeeper was 'fine' and 'walking about'.


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