Man City 5-1 Luton: Player ratings as champions move back into Premier League top spot

Manchester City climbed back to the top of the Premier League table with a thumping win over relegation-threatened Luton Town at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Just the one goal was netted in the first half of this high-scoring clash as Daiki Hashioka inadvertently nodded into his own net.

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But following what must have been an inspired team talk from Pep Guardiola, City came out in the second half and scored four fine finishes to enter pole position in the Premier League.

How the game unfolded

It was a dream start for the hosts and a nightmare for the visitors as just 90 seconds into this clash, Erling Haaland’s acrobatic effort hammered off the head of Hashioka and flew into the top corner.

Josko Gvardiol, confident from his first City goal in midweek against Real Madrid, came close to scoring another long-range strike but his effort in the ninth minute was palmed away by Thomas Kaminski. Kevin De Bruyne had a go himself from the following corner but this chance sailed over the woodwork.

It could have been 2-0 on the 15-minute mark as Jeremy Doku worked hard down the left and pulled the ball back for Matheus Nunes, the midfielder’s shot ultimately lacking the venom to hit the back of the net.

Luton’s first chance arose soon after as Alfie Doughty broke past several players in blue. Andros Townsend managed to cut in from the left but his pass to Carlton Morris was below par, allowing Ruben Dias to retrieve possession.

Haaland could have immediately punished Rob Edwards’ men as De Bruyne found the Norwegian at the back post, but his sliding strike was off target.

Guardiola’s side continued to exhibit sheer dominance in the first half and on the half-hour mark, Nunes came remarkably close to extending their lead, with his low strike narrowly missing the target.

As the opening 45 minutes drew to a close, De Bruyne’s strike from distance was well read by Kaminski before Mateo Kovacic became the last City player to shoot without scoring in the opening 45. The home side tallied up 18 shots and ultimately scored with none of them in the first half.

The first notable chance of the second half came in the 57th minute when Dias whistled the woodwork from outside the box before Alvarez lashed the ball over the crossbar with time and space on his side.

At long last, the scoreline read 2-0 when a short corner routine found its way to Kovacic about 20 yards from goal. Despite the ball bouncing awkwardly, the midfielder executed a flawless half-volley, sending the ball soaring into the top corner with precision.

It could have been 2-1 soon after as substitute Cauley Woodrow struck the bar for Luton following some fine pressing from Fred Onyedinma.

Nevertheless, a victory for City was made certain when Onyedinma tripped Doku in the box and Haaland coolly dispatched the penalty kick, the third goal inspiring Guardiola to bring on some young legs.

Ross Barkley gave the Luton support something to cheer about when he scored in the 81st minute but City’s three goal advantage was restored when Doku picked up the ball soon after, the winger travelling into the visitors’ box with ease before bending a low shot in.

Ultimately, Gvardiol had the final say in this contest scoring a goal as good as the one he obtained at the Bernabeu this week, blowing a sorry Luton away.

Jeremy Doku and Fred Onyedinma

Doku proved to be a real handful for the Hatters. / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

GK: Ederson – 6/10 – Back in goal after missing the last few games with a thigh injury. Didn’t have an awful lot to do and was well protected by his centre-backs.

RB: Rico Lewis – 6/10 – Supported the wide midfielders well and made the right passes at the right times.

CB: Ruben Dias – 7/10 – Strong and experienced. Was an aerial threat for most of the game.

CB: Manuel Akanji – 6/10 – Quiet but an integral member of City’s backline. Was happy to stay back when fellow defenders Dias and Gvardiol attacked.

LB: Josko Gvardiol – 7/10 – Deservedly got on the scoresheet. A fine display, posing a significant attacking threat throughout the match.

CM: Matheus Nunes – 7/10 – Versatile. Appeared plenty of times in Luton’s box and had a number of attempts at goal. Did his defensive duty very well.

CM: Mateo Kovacic – 7/10 – Reliable. Swept away the danger and kept running. Top-drawer finish to double City’s lead.

RM: Julian Alvarez – 6/10 – Not the most dazzling of displays. Could have benefitted from playing in a more central role.

AM: Kevin De Bruyne – 7/10 – Sent in plenty of crosses and his intricate passing caught the Luton defence out more often than not.

LM: Jeremy Doku – 7/10 – Saw plenty of the ball and demonstrated formidable pace. Proved to be a real handful for many of Luton’s players. Arguably scored the goal of the match.

ST: Erling Haaland – 7/10 – Had a say in the opening goal and sent Kaminski the wrong way from the spot. A good performance following a few below par displays.

Substitutes

SUB: Sergio Gomez (81′ for De Bruyne) – N/A)

SUB: Oscar Bobb (81′ for Haaland) – N/A

Subs not used: Stefan Ortega (GK), Kyle Walker, Nathan Ake, Jack Grealish, Rodrigo, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden.

Manager

Pep Guardiola – 8/10 – Addressed the necessary issues following a frustrating first half. Played fearless football and got the rewards.

Ross Barkley

Barkley scored Luton Town’s solitary goal. / Matt McNulty/GettyImages

GK: Thomas Kaminski – 6/10 – Had to be constantly on his toes as City dominated the 90 minutes.

RB: Fred Onyedinma – 5/10 – Tried to make things happen for Luton, offering himself well in attack, but gave away a penalty to make a win for City certain.

CB: Daiki Hashioka – 5/10 – Unfortunate to have scored an own goal and didn’t look too confident thereafter especially when face-to-face with Haaland.

CB: Reece Burke – 6/10 – Reasonable display from the 27-year-old and got fellow centre-back Hashioka out of trouble on a few occasions.

LB: Alfie Doughty – 5/10 – Found it hard to find a way through down the flanks. Outmuscled by City’s midfielders.

CM: Jordan Clark – 5/10 – Dribbled around and was anonymous for much of the game.

CM: Ross Barkley – 6/10 – Pressed well and scored brilliantly. Gave the away fans something to cheer about.

CM: Luke Berry – 5/10 – Underwhelming display from the number eight.

RW: Tahith Chong – 5/10 – Should have been more selfish at times and gave the ball away cheaply.

ST: Carlton Morris – 6/10 – Supported his side well in defence but needed to have been more aggressive in the City box.

LW: Andros Townsend – 5/10 – Lacking the pace to really challenge the opposition and had a tough time finding Morris.

Substitutes

SUB: Cauley Woodrow (59′ for Townsend) – 6/10

SUB: Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu (77′ for Berry) – N/A

SUB: Joseph Johnson (88′ for Clark) – N/A

SUB: Zack Nelson (88′ for Onyedinma) – N/A

Subs not used: Tim Krul (GK), James Shea (GK), Axel Piesold, Christian Chigozie, Taylan Harris.

Manager

Rob Edwards – 6/10 – Will be looking over his shoulder even more so now. A defeat is bad, a heavy defeat is even worse for the Hatters.

Player of the Match – Erling Haaland (Man City)

Erling Haaland

The day belonged to Haaland / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

Source of the article

Author: XenBet