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domingo, 23 de outubro de 2016
Manchester City 3-1 Southampton: Five things we learned as Kevin De Bruyne shone at the Etihad
Kevin de Bruyne scored one and assisted two more as Man City beat Southampton at home to move top of the table - for now at least
Manchester City were looking to end a run of three games without a win and provide an immediate response following their 4-1 hammering at home to Liverpool last weekend.
Southampton were also looking to bounce back, after their nine-game unbeaten run in all competitions came to an end with a 1-0 home defeat to Stoke in the Premier League.
In the end, City ran out 3-1 winners, although Manuel Pellegrini's side were made to work hard for the win, with Saints getting it back to 2-1 five minutes into the second-half, before Aleksandar Kolarov's goal gave the home side the breathing space they needed.
Aguero has only just returned from a six-week injury lay-off and City can ill-afford to be without him for another prolonged period.
Here are five things we learned.
1. Still no clean sheet without Kompany
City skipper Vincent Kompany's importance was underlined once again with the Blues failing to keep a clean sheet for the 11th time without their imperious leader. City may be able to cope without the likes of David Silva and Sergio Aguero, but they have no sufficient cover for Kompany, whose ongoing loss is felt with every goal City concede.
2. Delph proves his worth on long-awaited debut
Fabian Delph has endured a difficult start to his Manchester City career following his summer move from Aston Villa. He suffered a hamstring injury on City's pre-season tour in his first game, then a repeat of that problem on England duty.
The midfielder finally made his City debut against Saints and proved his value with an industrious display, capped by a goal.
Delph playing in a midfield two, along with Fernandinho, also has the bonus of liberating Yaya Toure to play in a more advanced role, which suits him better, although he proved a disappointment once again.
3. Toure continues to underwhelm
Delph's deployment in a midfield two alongside Fernandinho allowed Pellegrini to play Toure in a more advanced role just off Aguero. Toure is better suited to that role, because it requires less defensive responsibility.
Against that backdrop, Toure should have thrived in a more attacking role, but the midfielder once again looked subdued, disinterested even, and incurred the wrath of City fans for his latest sluggish display.
Pellegrini cannot go on picking Toure on reputation if the 32-year-old continues to under-perform.
4. De Bruyne keeps delivering
When City paid Wolfsburg £54million for Kevin De Bruyne, many questioned the wisdom of such a huge outlay on a player who had cost the German club around £18m from Chelsea only 18 months earlier.
But De Bruyne has made an immediate impact at City, his goal here taking his tally to seven in 14 appearances this season, as well as six assists.
City may have paid over the odds for De Bruyne, but the Belgium international cannot be accused of failing to produce.
5. Mane continues to shine
Sadio Mane is playing like a man who knows he will once again be in demand come the January transfer window. Manchester United were among the clubs who enquired about Mane's availability in the summer, and with James Wilson on loan at Brighton until the end of the season, they could well revive their interest.
Saints will fight to keep Mane, who provided further evidence of his worth with the cross for Shane Long's goal here.