Nottingham Forest 0-2 Manchester City: Player ratings as Haaland marks return with a goal

  • Gvardiol and Haaland scored the goals for Man City at the City Groundy
  • The win sees City go within one point of Arsenal
  • Player ratings from the win over Nottingham Forest on Sunday
Back with a goal
Back with a goal / Copa/GettyImages

Manchester City kept within touching distance of Arsenal on Sunday thanks to a 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

Goals from Josko Gvardiol and the returning Erling Haaland earned the win for City, who are now just one point adrift of Arsenal at the top of the Premier League having played one game less.

The Citizens were made to work for the three points on Sunday, with Forest creating a number of chances throughout the fiercely contested Premier League affair.

How the game unfolded

Despite Nottingham Forest's positive start to the game, it would be Manchester City who'd create the first notable chance of the game at the City Ground, with their star men Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri being the architects of the opportunity.

Rodri stole the ball off Morgan Gibbs-White in the final third to kickstart an attack for City, and De Bruyne came within a whisker of finishing it off soon after - seeing an effort from the left of the penalty well saved by the finger tips of Matz Sels in the Forest goal.

After prodding and probing the Forest backline for the best part of the first half an hour of the game, City would finally get their goal through Josko Gvardiol. The full-back rose highest at the near post to flick home a De Bruyne corner kick to make it 1-0.

Forest pressed forward with real intent after going behind, with Chris Wood missing a glaring opportunity to restore parity at the City Ground. The New Zealand striker was found completely unmarked seven-yards from goal by a clever cut-back cross from substitute Gonzalo Montiel, but with goal-gaping, he swung widely and completely mis-hit the ball - seeing it bundle out of the penalty area instead of into the back of the net.

The home side missed another glorious chance before the half-time whistle, with Murillo flicking the ball up onto the crossbar from a set piece after Ederson missed a punched clearance.

In an attempt to quell Forest's offensive momentum, Pep Guardiola opted to bring on Mateo Kovacic and take off Jeremy Doku - who was seemingly allergic to tracking back in the first half.

Said changes failed to prevent Callum Hudson-Odoi from carving Man City's defence open in the first few minutes of the second half however, with the ex-Chelsea man storming past Kyle Walker on the left flank before finding Wood with a clever cut-back pass.

While Wood was able to connect with the ball this time, he saw his side-footed effort on goal cleared off of the line by the back-tracking Gvardiol.

After weathering a storm of attacks from Forest in the opening 15 minutes of the half, Man City started to push forward in search of a crucial second goal.

De Bruyne came close to finding that goal, forcing Sels into a smart save with an effort from just outside the box, before substitute Erling Haaland made it 2-0 in clinical fashion.

Back from an injury, the forward latched onto a clever pass from De Bruyne before drifting past Murillo and side-footing into the back of the net to seal all three points for City.

Nottingham Forest player ratings (5-4-1)

Chris Wood
Missed chances / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

GK: Matz Sels - 6/10 - Made a few decent saves, denying De Bruyne on two occasions.

RWB: Neco Williams - N/A - Came off injured after 30 minutes.

CB: Willy Boly - 6/10 - Won a very impressive 10 duels during his time on the pitch. Did very little wrong on the day.

CB: Murillo - 6/10 - Hit the crossbar in the first half and dealt with Julian Alvarez well. Struggled to contain Erling Haaland once he was introduced.

CB: Moussa Niakhate - 4/10 - The least impressive member of Forest's backline, the Senegal defender struggled to compete with City's world class attackers.

LWB: Ola Aina - 6/10 - Enjoyed a few noteworthy forays forward and dealt with Doku and Silva well defensively.

RM: Anthony Elanga - 5/10 - Not as effective as Forest were perhaps hoping he'd be.

CM: Danilo - 6/10 - Worked hard in the middle of the park throughout.

CM: Morgan Gibbs-White - 5/10 - Struggled in a deeper midfield role. Clearly a better player when he's playing further up the park.

LM: Callum Hudson-Odoi - 7/10 - A consistent threat down the left flank, causing Walker a number of problems.

ST: Chris Wood - 2/10 - Missed two glorious chances. You can't afford to do that against Man City.


SUB: Gonzalo Montiel (34' for Williams) - 6/10 - Got forward well a few times, creating a chance for Wood in the first half.

SUB: Andrew Omobamidele (74' for Murillo) - 5/10

SUB: Giovanni Reyna (74' for Elanga) - 5/10

SUB: Ryan Yates (74' for Danilo) - 5/10

SUB: Ibrahim Sangare (84' for Boly) - N/A

Manager - Nuno Espirito Santo - 7/10 - Forest actually played quite well and Santo's decision to utilise a back five worked. It was just a pity that Wood missed so many chances.

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

Kevin De Bruyne, Anthony Elanga
Class act / Michael Regan/GettyImages

GK: Ederson - 4/10 - Struggled in the first half, flapping at a corner kick to gift Murillo a great chance. Hooked at half-time due to a suspected injury.

RB: Kyle Walker - 4/10 - Hudson-Odoi had the beating of Walker in a way that very few wide players usually do.

CB: Manuel Akanji - 6/10 - Used the ball well when in possession, completing 96% of his passes, and won 100% of his tackles.

CB: Nathan Ake - 6/10 - Made a few noteworthy tracking runs when Forest were on the ascendancy.

LB: Josko Gvardiol - 8/10 - Scored the opening goal and made a goal line stop at the other end to prevent Wood from equalising. Very good day at the office, all round.

DM: Rodri - 7/10 - Typical Rodri performance: 100% tackles won, 94% pass completion, and won five duels.

RM: Jeremy Doku - 3/10 - Refused to track back, causing his team problems defensively as a result. Taken off at half-time.

CM: Bernardo Silva - 5/10 - Not a particularly effective outing from the Portugal international.

CM: Kevin De Bruyne - 8/10 - The best player on the pitch, De Bruyne assisted both City's goals on the day.

LM: Jack Grealish - 4/10 - Spent more time trying to win fouls than he did trying to effect the game in a positive manner. Not a great outing.

ST: Julain Alvarez - 6/10 - Failed to provide anything when playing up top, but began to effect the game when he dropped into an attacking midfield role after Haaland's introduction.


SUB: Stefan Ortega (45' for Ederson) - 6/10

SUB: Mateo Kovacic (45' for Doku) - 6/10

SUB: Erling Haaland (60' for Erling Haaland) - 7/10 - Came on and scored. Deadly.

SUB: Matheus Nunes (89' for De Bruyne) - N/A

SUB: Oscar Bobb (89' for Alvarez) - N/A

Manager - Pep Guardiola - 7/10 - His team struggled in the first half, but his substitutions ultimately turned the game in his side's favour.

Player of the match: Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)

De Bruyne was great / JUSTIN TALLIS/GettyImages