Guardiola, Sterling get 8/10 for City win; De Bruyne, Silva disappoint
Manchester City battled hard -- very hard -- to take maximum points in a 2-1 win at Huddersfield. The atmosphere was tetchy, as the visitors tried to impose their passing game on the match, with the Terriers dogged in their determination to cut off all avenues of City's attack. It took a stroke of good fortune for the winning goal, but Pep Guardiola's side were worth the victory.
This was no simple job for City. Huddersfield threw themselves in front of everything, won little fouls to break up play, and stayed compact to cut out nearly every through-ball City had to offer. Yet, despite that, City still had enough to fight back from a goal down to win. In previous seasons, City would have lost that game without a fight.
It was difficult for City to pass through the Huddersfield defence and for a long time it looked like they'd not be able to create many clear chances, despite dominating possession and hundreds of successful passes on the edge of the box. That said, they still had enough to win.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- It took guts for Guardiola to take off a centre-back and bring on a striker in that situation and it was Gabriel Jesus's movement that sparked the winner late on.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Ederson Moraes, 7 -- The goalkeeper showed calm footwork and a sensible head to clear from behind his defenders when necessary. He was left stranded for the opening goal, but there was little he could have done.
DF Kyle Walker, 6 -- The full-back worked tirelessly up and down the right flank to support Raheem Sterling, while he was alert defensively to snuff out a couple of attempted breaks.
DF Vincent Kompany, 7 -- A sliced clearance allowed Huddersfield the opportunity to cross from a corner for their opening goal, but that was pretty much his only mistake. An impressive slide challenge on Laurent Depoitre to stop a one-on-one showed why he's still crucial to the team.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 7 -- An unfortunate own goal tarnished his display, but there was very little he could have done to stop the ball flicking in off his shoulder as he was unsighted. On the ball, he was confident and calm, and he was strong in the air once Kompany had been taken off.
MF Fabian Delph, 5 -- This was one of the first times since the midfielder has deputised at left-back where he was uncomfortable. Faced with Tom Ince, he didn't look as assured as he had been previously, and he stepped up erroneously a few times to leave the defence exposed.
MF Fernandinho, 7 -- A strong display in breaking up Huddersfield attacks and getting the ball back to forward players made Fernandinho one of the key players to this victory. However, he should be embarrassed after a dive that rightly earned him a yellow card.
MF David Silva, 6 -- The midfielder was always close to providing the ball that would provide the breakthrough, but Huddersfield's packed defence meant there was very little space for him to work in. He declined a couple of good opportunities to shoot and found himself crowded out.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 6 -- It was a frustrating afternoon for the Belgian. He saw a lot of possession but found it hard to pick out teammates, occasionally over-hitting the ball over the top. He deserves credit for not hiding, though, and his delivery from set pieces was bang on.
MF Leroy Sane, 7 -- There's nothing quite like seeing Sane glide past players in possession. It wasn't as frequent as City fans would have liked at Huddersfield, but he was certainly a constant danger. He was unlucky with a free kick that hit the bar.
MF Raheem Sterling, 8 -- It was nothing but the same old story from Sterling: another tight game and another victory courtesy of the winger. He should have been given a penalty for a clear foul by the goalkeeper moments before he was dragged to the ground for the spot-kick for the equaliser. His winner may have been lucky, but it's thanks to getting into those positions this season that he's been finding the net so often. He's roundly booed by opposition fans for very little, yet it doesn't affect him in the slightest. A joy to watch.
FW Sergio Aguero, 7 -- With so many defenders and midfielders dropping deep for Huddersfield, it's little surprise that the striker didn't see a lot of the ball. Nevertheless, he almost broke free to score twice, and coolly converted a crucial penalty under immense pressure.
FW Gabriel Jesus, NR -- It was a shock to see him replacing Kompany on 80 minutes, but it was his movement and shot that forced the winner.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, NR -- Brought on after City took the lead for Aguero on 85 minutes, the German was a calming influence in the middle.
DF Eliaquim Mangala, NR -- There can't be many situations where bringing on Mangala in the last minute to shore up the defence would be the right decision, but this proved to be one.
David Mooney is ESPN FC's Manchester City blogger. Twitter: @DavidMooney