Raheem Sterling a perfect 10 in complete Manchester City display
Nobody will have had a bigger smile than Manuel Pellegrini following Manchester City's 3-1 win at Dynamo Kiev. The manager, criticised for his so-called disrespect of the FA Cup in a 5-1 loss at Chelsea on Sunday, guided his team to perhaps their best display of the season as they dispatched their Ukrainian opposition fairly comfortably.
Still, the club's love affair with complacency continues. Having had chances to score four or five goals in the first half, a deflection off Nicolas Otamendi beat Joe Hart just before the hour mark and a nervy 10 minutes followed.
Overall, though, the performance was probably as close to perfect as could have been expected. Pellegrini's decision to rotate his team on Sunday was vindicated in style.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Joe Hart, 8 -- The goalkeeper had a great command of his area after an early, unpunished error. He was decisively off his line to punch several crosses clear and he produced a brilliant save at 2-1 to keep the hosts from equalising.
DF Bacary Sagna, 8 -- The Frenchman worked up and down the right flank throughout the evening and continued to prove why he's rated as one of the most improved players of the season. He attacked well and was defensively sound.
DF Vincent Kompany, 8 -- There are two Manchester City sides this season and the confident and composed XI is seemingly only present when Kompany is in the team. He kept the defence marshalled -- but for one moment -- and was aggressive in his challenging to stay on the front foot.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 9 -- This was Otamendi's best performance in a City shirt by a mile. He stormed from the back regularly to steal the ball in midfield and was equally as aggressive as his captain in hunting back possession. The only blot on his copybook was a poor header before Kiev's goal.
DF Gael Clichy, 7 -- The full-back struggled through the second half after a composed opening period. He was under pressure when Kiev attacked down their right after the break, but on the offensive he was excellent in supporting Raheem Sterling.
MF Fernando, 9 -- Often under fire, the Brazilian anchored the midfield excellently and was one of the main reasons why City were able to exert such control on the match. Was there a tackle he contested that he didn't win?
MF Fernandinho, 8 -- Played wide on the right, the Brazilian was out of position and yet looked completely at home. He was tireless in supporting Sagna with his defensive duties and kept the team balanced in attack.
MF Yaya Toure, 9 -- The Ivorian rolled back the years with this display. He pulled the strings in the middle and put on a show that proved he's not finished yet. It was a superb strike to seal the match, though quite how he missed a late header is a mystery.
MF David Silva, 9 -- The creative midfielder has been below par recently, but a great display capped off with a goal in Ukraine could be the catalyst for him rediscovering his form. His part in City's one-touch build-up was frequently breath-taking.
MF Raheem Sterling, 10 -- It seems that Sterling excels in the European nights when the pressure is on. This was a throw-back to his offering in Sevilla, as City also won 3-1, and he was every bit as influential as he could have been on the offensive front. He was direct, he grabbed an assist and he had the Kiev defence bamboozled.
FW Sergio Aguero, 9 -- Having eased the pressure with the early goal, Aguero could have bagged himself three or four more. He displayed intelligence throughout and was forever keeping the home side's defence under pressure as he was a nuisance with the ball and with his closing down.
FW Kelechi Iheanacho, NR -- (For Aguero, 90 minutes) The youngster didn't have chance to influence proceedings, coming on in the aftermath of City's third goal.