Fabian Delph epitomises flat Man City performance in loss to Lyon

ESPN FC’s Craig Burley and Shaka Hislop assess where Manchester City’s UCL opener went wrong following their 2-1 defeat against Lyon.

If the result of Manchester City’s 2-1 Champions League group-stage defeat to Lyon at home is a shock, then the performance of the hosts was even more surprising. The boos at full-time told the story: City didn’t show up for 60 minutes and Lyon were able to keep the home side at arm’s length for the duration. With Pep Guardiola watching from the stands, Mikel Arteta’s test as his stead in didn’t get off the ground.


There’s very little positive to take from the game, beyond there being five more group games for City to go on and recover the situation. Leroy Sane was a decent spark following his introduction.


City were so flat. It was a performance more like a throwback to the second half of Manuel Pellegrini’s final season in charge, when the players looked lethargic, and the team had lots of possession but little penetration. How many times did City shoot from range compared to the number of efforts they managed inside the box? This was not the sort of display that will get the already-sceptical fans to buy into the competition.

Manager rating out of 10

5 — The audition for a full-time managerial role didn’t go well for Arteta, although his substitutions were influential.

Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Ederson, 7 — It’s alarming that the goalkeeper was one of the best players on the pitch for the hosts. Without him tipping a one-on-one onto the post, it would have been 3-0 and his expert calmness sweeping up behind his defence set up an attack for the second-half goal.

DF Kyle Walker, 5 — It wasn’t a great game from the full-back, who will perhaps get away with it because there were others far worse on the pitch. He was loose for the opening goal, he couldn’t get going when attacking and the less said about his free kick attempt — why did it seem like a good idea for him to take it? — the better.

DF John Stones, 6 — The second goal went through his legs as he attempted to block it, but with his defensive partner, he was at least trying to get the ball down and play through the lines.

DF Aymeric Laporte, 5 — His pass put Fernandinho into trouble and, seconds later, City were 2-0 down. The defender kept carrying the ball forward, but Lyon seemed to care little and managed to force him to then pass sideways or backwards.

DF Fabian Delph, 4 — It was a horrible mistake that led to the opening goal, and his game didn’t really get better from there. He took on about six too many shots from range, too.

MF Fernandinho, 5 — Perhaps it was the midfielder’s performance that was the most problematic. This was the Fernandinho that showed up for Brazil against Germany in that 7-1 hammering and not the one City fans have come to know and love. He had no grip of the midfield and Lyon countered too easily.

MF Ilkay Gundogan, 4 — The midfielder was replaced by Sane on 55 minutes, and that was the sum total of his involvement in the game. He just couldn’t get on the ball in dangerous areas.

MF David Silva, 5 — So much possession, but so little danger. This was an uncharacteristically underwhelming display from the Spaniard, who just couldn’t force Lyon into any problems.

MF Raheem Sterling, 7 — For long spells in the game, the winger was pretty much City’s only threat. Throughout an atrocious first half from the team, Sterling was the only player who looked like he could make something happen. His pace, trickery and movement was always a problem for Lyon.

MF Bernardo Silva, 6 — The message was clear from this performance: Bernardo Silva should be playing centrally for City. He was so much more effective when he wasn’t hamstrung by playing wide on the right. It was a lovely finish for what would turn out to be a consolation.

FW Gabriel Jesus, 5 — There was absolutely nothing coming the striker’s way in terms of service from his teammates. A deflected second half effort and a stretched header in the first half were the scraps he had to feed on.


MF Leroy Sane, 6 — Replacing Gundogan, he provided added impetus to the team. He’s surely staked a claim for a starting role now.

FW Sergio Aguero, 5 — The problem in making a like-for-like change is when the problem isn’t the fault of the person going off. When Aguero replaced Jesus after 63 minutes, the issue was that City couldn’t get the ball to the striker. Aguero suffered in the same way, until the final few minutes when he was unlucky with two blasted efforts.

MF Riyad Mahrez, NR — A late change for Sterling, Mahrez didn’t really answer his critics — not that he had much time to, in fairness.