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Man City 1-1 Chelsea: Player ratings as Rodri strikes late to snatch crucial point

Rodri Manchester City Premier League

Manchester City had Rodri to thank as the midfielder’s late goal secured them a 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Saturday.

The Blues were excellent and led through former City man Raheem Sterling’s smart first-half strike, but Rodri struck late in the game to mask over an uncharacteristically poor performance from Pep Guardiola’s side.

Erling Haaland missed two great headed chances and sent another effort wide of goal, summing up City’s struggles.

How the game unfolded

Julian Alvarez struck wide inside the first two minutes as City made a hot start, before Haaland sent a header flying well wide of goal when he should have been celebrating a simple tap-in.

Chelsea did offer some real threat on the counter. Conor Gallagher’s dangerous cut-back was well cleared, as was a smart through-ball to Cole Palmer, while Sterling found an inch of space but could only muster up a tame effort.

Nicolas Jackson should have scored 20 minutes in when a counter left him one-on-one with Ederson, but the City goalkeeper made himself big and suffocated the shot. Ten minutes later, Sterling was guilty of a similar miss, although a late offside flag spared his blushes.

Sterling would make no such mistake on the stroke of half-time, however. Another counter sent the former City star through on goal and, after cutting inside his defender, he made sure his effort rolled into the back of the net.

The second half began with another great chance for Haaland. A delightful passage of play saw Phil Foden whip a cross in the back post, but the Norway hitman couldn’t sort his feet out to control his strike.

Ederson had to keep out another close-range effort from Sterling and got enough on the follow-up from Ben Chilwell to give Ruben Dias enough time to clear the ball away, with City’s defence looking lost at times.

The hosts were throwing everything at Chelsea from the hour mark onwards, leaving an ocean of space behind them. Haaland was handed another glorious chance from a Kevin De Bruyne cross but, once again, his header was skewed well wide.

With eight minutes remaining, City finally got the breakthrough and it was Rodri once again who popped up with an enormous goal.

The Spaniard’s thumping volley ended up in the back of the net after a deflection from Trevoh Chalobah, but it was likely heading into the back of the net anyway.

There was still time for some late drama as Chelsea survived a VAR check beyond the four minutes of added time, with the Blues holding on to secure a result which could have huge ramifications in this season’s title race.

Man City player ratings (4-1-4-1)

Haaland Man City

GK: Ederson – 7/10 – Caught in possession by Jackson in the first half but atoned for his error with some really impressive saves. Stopped Chelsea running away with this.

RB: Kyle Walker – 5/10 – Let Sterling cut inside on his preferred foot far too easily. Regularly left space in behind him which Chelsea should have exploited more.

CB: Ruben Dias – 4/10 – Either poor positioning or some foolish tactics left Dias scrambling in defence at times. Always seemed to be chasing back.

CB: Manuel Akanji – 4/10 – Almost didn’t seem fully fit. Couldn’t keep up with Chelsea’s speedy counters.

LB: Nathan Ake – 7/10 – Made some sensational challenges to keep Chelsea’s right side somewhat quiet.

DM: Rodri – 6/10 – Man-marked out of the first half by Gallagher but enjoyed more time on the ball after the break. Was the hero once again with his equaliser.

RM: Phil Foden – 5/10 – A couple of nice moments in possession but was far too quiet. Got no change out of Chilwell.

CM: Kevin De Bruyne – 6/10 – An uncharacteristically poor pass led to Chelsea’s opening goal. Played some nice balls to try and get City back into the game.

CM: Julian Alvarez – 5/10 – Happy to pull the trigger from range but rarely posed any actual threat to Petrovic in the Chelsea goal.

LM: Jeremy Doku – 5/10 – Had plenty of chances to run at Gusto and even got the better of the Frenchman at times, but rarely offered anything of note when he got into the final third.

ST: Erling Haaland – 4/10 – Should have scored his early header and was left battling to get back into the game after that point. Missed another sitter late in the second half.

Substitutes

SUB: Bernardo Silva (64′ for Alvarez) – 5/10

Subs not used: Stefan Ortega (GK), John Stones, Rico Lewis, Matheus Nunes, Mateo Kovacic, Mahamadou Susoho, Sergio Gomez, Oscar Bobb

Manager

Pep Guardiola – 5/10 – The attack-heavy approach to this game gave Chelsea far too much space and time to score on the counter. The Blues could have had three or four here quite easily.

Chelsea player ratings (4-2-3-1)

Disasi Chelsea

GK: Djordje Petrovic – 6/10 – Surprisingly didn’t have a whole lot to do before having to pick the ball out of the back of the net. The deflection left him with no chance.

RB: Malo Gusto – 8/10 – Always wanted to fly forward but rarely let that impact his defensive duties. A major presence at both ends of the field.

CB: Axel Disasi – 8/10 – Threw himself at absolutely everything, including a clearance off the line late in the first half. Looked really up for this one.

CB: Levi Colwill – 7/10 – Unsurprisingly struggled in the air against Haaland but didn’t get a whole lot wrong aside from that.

LB: Ben Chilwell – 7/10 – Took his battle with Foden personally and rarely gave the City man any room in which to operate.

DM: Moises Caicedo – 7/10 – A little trigger-happy with the fouls but that was an inevitable consequence of his desire to disrupt City’s creators. Always battled for every ball.

DM: Enzo Fernandez – 7/10 – Starved of possession for large parts of the game but seemed to relish the dirty, off-ball side of things. Seemed to cover every blade of grass.

RM: Cole Palmer – 6/10 – Some nice flicks and passes but found space hard to come by against the impressive Ake.

AM: Conor Gallagher – 7/10 – Played some delicious passes early on before focusing his time on squeezing Rodri into his back pocket.

LM: Raheem Sterling – 7/10 – Guilty of a handful of poor touches but made the difference when it mattered most.

ST: Nicolas Jackson – 7/10 – Like Sterling, should have had more from this game but it was his smart ball which freed up the winger for the opening goal.

Substitutes

SUB: Christopher Nkunku (64′ for Sterling) – 5/10

SUB: Trevoh Chalobah (71′ for Palmer) – 6/10

SUB: Cesare Casadei (82′ for Jackson) – N/A

Subs not used: Marcus Bettinelli (GK), Ishe Samuels-Smith, Alfie Gilchrist, Ollie Harrison, Noni Madueke, Mykhailo Mudryk

Manager

Mauricio Pochettino – 8/10 – This tactical setup was exactly what Chelsea needed here. The Blues were so strong in defence against Europe’s reigning champions and were unfortunate not to get more from this game.

Player of the match – Malo Gusto (Chelsea)