• Dillon Meehan

Review and Player Ratings as Erling Haaland nets two more – Manchester City 5-0 FC Copenhagen

Following a dominant display this weekend in the Manchester derby, Manchester City had an even better outing against FC Copenhagen. Another brace from Erling Haaland gave City the early lead they needed to impose themselves on their Danish counterparts. Following the game’s conclusion, the English champions are first in Group G by three points, doubling the goal difference of second-place Borussia Dortmund.

 

With a match against Southampton on the horizon, Pep Guardiola elected to give his first-choice defenders the nod to build some chemistry. Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte started alongside each other for the first time this season, with Joao Cancelo and Sergio Gomez at right and left back, respectively, protecting Ederson in goal.


Everyone’s favourite partnership of Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez started on the wings, with Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan acting as the midfield pivot. This left Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez to start up front, with the Argentine playing just behind the Norwegian.

 

In a decision that will shock no one, Copenhagen started the game off incredibly compact. City spent the opening minutes constantly recycling possession and switching play, looking for any opening.


However, less than seven minutes into the match, their defensive wall was broken. Cancelo attempted across to Alverez, who was crashing in at the near post. But his cross was slightly deflected and fell to a wide-open Haaland, who rifled his shot past the keeper.

Photo courtesy of Michael Regan/Getty Images

Following the opening goal, City had a ton of opportunities to try and grab a second. In the 11th minute, Grealish found Bernardo cutting through on goal, but the Portugal international’s effort caught the inside of the post and bounced out.


A few moments later, another Cancelo cross found Haaland open in the box, but his header went directly into the hands of keeper Kamil Grabara.


It was the first of a slew of saves for the Polish keeper, who was tested again and again throughout the entire first half. There was a moment during the first half where it was looking like a City game of old – when no matter what, the side just could not finish their chances.


But that changed in the 32nd minute when Haaland grabbed his brace. The goal was set up by a Gomez long-range effort that Grabara couldn’t handle, falling to Haaland’s foot for an easy tap-in to double City’s lead.

Photo courtesy of Michael Regan/Getty Images

City grabbed their third just a few minutes before halftime when another Gomez’s shot from distance deflected off two different Copenhagen defenders for an own goal.


It was yet another dominant half from this City side, who finished the first 45 minutes with 18 shots, 10 of which were on target, and a 3-0 lead.

Cole Palmer replaced Haaland at the start of the second half. The Norwegian was the only player taken off at halftime, with a potentially tricky league game against Southampton this weekend.


City were awarded a penalty in the 53rd minute when Aymeric Laporte was rugby tackled in the box by a Copenhagen defender. Mahrez stepped up and easily converted a penalty to give his side a 4-0 advantage. It was the Algerian’s first goal of the season.

Photo courtesy of Michael Regan/Getty Images

Following Mahrez’s penalty, Rico Lewis came on to replace Cancelo, and shortly after, Joshua Wilson-Esbrand was brought on to give Bernardo Silva a rest.


Alvarez almost grabbed City’s fifth in the 70th minute. The Argentinian forward saw his effort careen off the side of the post after Grealish set him up with a no-look pass.


Copenhagen had their first real effort on goal in the 74th minute after Ruben Dias lost possession of the ball and kickstarted a counter for the Danish side, but Rico Lewis stepped in and deflected the shot at goal. The offside flag was raised in the end, but it was stellar defending from the youngster nonetheless.


Moments later, Alvarez finally got his goal in the 76th. Grealish carried the ball from midfield nearly into the box before finding Mahrez on the right wing. The Algerian beat his defender and then laid it across the six-yard box to Alvarez for the easy tap-in.

Photo courtesy of Michael Steele/Getty Images

The rest of the match was the Grealish show. The 27-year-old was the most dangerous man in attack for City and had a few opportunities to grab a sixth goal, but every attempt was narrowly wide.


With another Champions League match done and dusted, the Blues will face Southampton this Saturday at 3 pm (BST).

 

Man of the Match


Jack Grealish takes home the Man of the Match award. He was involved in almost every chance throughout the game. Although he did not have a goal or an assist, he was a constant threat, created a few big chances, and unlocked the defence for Alvarez’s goal. It’s beginning to look like Grealish is entering the second season renaissance.


Player Ratings


Ederson - 7

Cancelo - 8

Dias - 7

Laporte - 7

Gomez - 8.5

Mahrez - 8

Gundogan - 8

Bernardo - 7

Grealish - 9

Haaland - 8

Alvarez - 8


Subs: Palmer - 8, Lewis - 7, Wilson-Esbrand - 7

Photo courtesy of LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images
 

Written by: @IVIeehan


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