Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

CITY SLICKERS ON A HIGH ; with the Premier League Season at the Midway Point, PAUL HANDLERgives His Report on the Blues Players and Marks Them out of Ten

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

CITY SLICKERS ON A HIGH ; with the Premier League Season at the Midway Point, PAUL HANDLERgives His Report on the Blues Players and Marks Them out of Ten

Article excerpt

JOE HART England's number one has risen to the challenge of new signing Willy Caballero and been a rock for the Blues. Signed his long-awaited new deal in December and should be between the sticks for along time to come. 8 WILLY CABALLERO For a player brought into contest the first team shirt, Caballero will be disappointed to have only four appearances under his belt in all competitions. 6 PABLO ZABALETA A relatively slow starter but that could have been down to his heavy involvement in the World Cup. Has returned to his marauding best during City's recent revival and even chipped in with goals at Sunderland and Roma. 8 BACARY SAGNA The summer signing has been steady without being spectacular. His extra yard of pace has come in handy on occasions and he's rarely flustered, but in an ideal world City would like more from a full-back on the attacking front. 7 VINCENT KOMPANY Another season that has frustratingly been disrupted by leg muscle injuries for the skipper. He has managed 18 appearances but hasn't had the flow to really hit the top form he is capable of - City have coped relatively well without him. 7 ELIAQUIM MANGALA A strange start to his Blues career. Fantastic on his debut against Chelsea and away in the crunch Champions League decider at Roma, but struggled against Hull and Burnley. Has all the tools to be a success and should be given time. 7 MARTIN DEMICHELIS Another one to start slowly and that again could be down to his World Cup exertions. More recently has stepped up excellently in Kompany's absence with his leadership, composure and natural football ability coming to the fore. 8 DEDRYCK BOYATA The Belgian has been used sparingly, making just three appearances, but stepped in well at Sunderland. 6 MATIJA NASTASIC Barely used and looks set to leave, a shame he didn't kick on from an encouraging start to life at City. 5 GAEL CLICHY A mixed start to the season but the Frenchman hit form in the run up to Christmas, playing in eight successive victories before Aleks Kolarov's return from injury in the win over Crystal Palace. City's win ratio with Clichy in the team is 65 per cent as opposed to 38 per cent without him. 8 ALEKS KOLAROV Despite last season's impressive performance and his summer deal, Kolarov has struggled. Injury has hampered his progress and doubts persist over his defensive solidity. There are no questions about the quality of that left foot though. 6 FERNANDO The Pounds 12m summer signing started well, faded and then has come strong again. Injury played its part in that pattern, and the affable Brazilian came good in the nick of time to help City to the Champions League last 16, one of the main reasons he was bought. 7 JAMES MILNER Forced his way into the first team with characteristic grit and no little skill, even playing up-front in the absence of any strik-strik ers. …

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