Manchester City's Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva star in thrashing of Southampton
MANCHESTER, England -- Manchester City moved two points clear at the top of the Premier League with an emphatic 6-1 victory over Southampton. It could have been even more as Pep Guardiola's side sent an ominous message to their title rivals that they will again take some stopping this season.
Some of City's attacking play was simply breathtaking and would have caused serious problems to better sides than Southampton. The attacking five's link-up play and movement was irresistible and the confidence is oozing through the entire squad as they look to punish any slip-up from the top-five contenders.
City conceded just their second goal in eight games, which is even more surprising as it came against a side that hadn't scored in five matches -- and the Saints could potentially have had more. That isn't such a problem for a side that creates as many chances as City, although they were again less ruthless than they could have been, with the opportunity of registering double figures a realistic proposition after their lightning start.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Pep Guardiola decided to name a strong line-up despite fixtures against Shakhtar Donetsk and the Manchester derby coming up later this week. It brought a brilliant response with the game essentially over inside 18 minutes as his side raced into a three-goal lead.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Ederson, 6 -- The Brazilian had little to do but misjudged the through ball that led to him bringing down Danny Ings for the penalty. He spilled a shot in the second half, although he made up for it with a smart reaction stop, and was probably the only disappointed City player on the pitch.
DF Kyle Walker, 7 -- He never looked troubled defensively and supported the attack well, offering extra width as City tried to stretch the Saints' defence.
DF John Stones, 7 -- Liverpool loan player Ings would have been keen to do his parent club a favour, but he was safely shackled by another dominant performance.
DF Aymeric Laporte, 7 -- Another strong performance up against a pest of a player in Shane Long, who had little joy.
DF Benjamin Mendy, 6 -- The French defender always looks much more comfortable defensively at the Etihad Stadium, although he had a couple of unconvincing moments. He remained just as much a threat supplementing the attack, which he did for the majority of the match.
MF Fernandinho, 7 -- He linked up the midfield and defence in his usual effective at the base of midfield. The Brazilian didn't even need to bring out the "dark arts" as he contained Southampton's counter-attacking threat.
MF Bernardo Silva, 9 -- The injury setbacks to Kevin De Bruyne would be a problem for most teams, but that has been offset by the brilliant form of the Portuguese playmaker. He turned the Saints defence inside out with his quick feet and passing.
MF David Silva, 8 -- Another exquisite performance as he unlocked the Southampton defence with his perfect passing game. He showed a lovely technique with his controlled volley for City's third.
FW Raheem Sterling, 9 -- His trickery in tight spaces was sensational with Southampton filling the box to try to keep City out. He was a constant threat and took both his goals emphatically.
FW Sergio Aguero, 7 -- He got his 150th Premier League goal inside 12 minutes but could have had a lot more. Even on such a comfortable afternoon, it was a source of frustration and he was booked for smashing the ball into the stands in annoyance after giving away a free kick.
FW Leroy Sane, 8 -- Back in the Premier League starting line-up and back enjoying himself. Whether it was his skill or pace, he had too much for Cedric Soares and finally got the goal he deserved in injury time.
DF Vincent Kompany, 6 -- The club captain strolled through the final 20 minutes.
MF Phil Foden, N/R -- Another impressive cameo as he stepped effortlessly into David Silva's boots.
MF Fabian Delph, N/R -- He gained more experience of Guardiola's high demands in the holding midfield role.