Stones, Man City's defence exposed in rout by Leicester

"You don't give yourself a chance when you go 2-0 down after four minutes."

Not the words of Pep Guardiola but Stuart Pearce, Manchester City manager in 2006, after a memorably inept display at Wigan Athletic in 2006.

Guardiola's leaky line-up reminded the onlooker of those tactically barren days ten years ago, as City's defence was once again trampled to pieces in the rush to score. With the away side racking up in excess of 600 passes, it must have been particularly galling to be 4-0 down to a Leicester side using less than a total of 10 passes for all their goals.


Precious little to hold on to from a performance as docile as this. City kept moving forward in the second half when all was lost and eventually registered two goals of their own, but they were scarcely deserved.


Having conceded two goals in the first four minutes and three by the 20th, there was little or no momentum from the side during a disorganised first half. They were second to everything in a busy midfield and a total shambles at the back, where the simplest of passes seemed to be beyond them.

Manager rating out of 10

4 -- Pep Guardiola is persevering with a squad that does not look good enough. He simply does not have the personnel at the back to play the game he wants. Fernando and Bacary Sagna both made a complete mess of simple square or defensive passes that put the defence under terrible pressure. If the players cannot fit the system, you adapt the system or replace the players. Guess which is going to happen?

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

GK Claudio Bravo, 4 -- The Chilean had conceded five goals from his last six shots faced that were on target, but went on to save two dangerous efforts in the second half, thus slightly ruining that impressive statistic. Nevertheless, he managed to make the goal frame look absolutely huge around him.

DF Bacary Sagna, 3 -- Exemplary full-back-as-central defender performance. Played slowly and with little or no appetite for the fight. At one point took a step back from the ball to allow Islam Slimani the time he needed to make the loose ball a 50:50 and ended up in a critical heap in front of his goalkeeper.

DF Pablo Zabaleta, 4 -- Played the archetypal end of era game as he flitted between midfield and right back. Like Kolarov, his best work was going forward but much of that was also off target.

DF John Stones, 2 -- The Rolls Royce dressed as Reliant Robin. A three-wheeler of a display as he strolled around to no effect, making wrong decision after wrong decision. Ended with the wrong decision of all wrong decisions by gifting Jamie Vardy his hat trick with a splendid no-look back pass.

MF/DF Aleksandar Kolarov, 2 -- Was heading for a minus rating before he decided to be City's late catalyst, curling a superb free kick and then setting up Nolito with a slide rule pass.

MF Ilkay Gundogan, 3 -- Difficult to tell whether the usually dynamic German was there at all. When he did register in the game's ebb and flow, it was as a clumsy and mainly passive passenger.

MF Fernando, 3 -- The Brazillian dug in as best he could but looked safer without the ball than with it. Hugely uncertain in short passing back to Stones in an incident that went from safe and simple for City to danger level 5 in the blink of a disbelieving eye. Booked for upending Danny Simpson.

MF David Silva, 5 -- Passing was off-key to start with, but kept plugging away and found some small spaces out to the left flank.

MF Jesus Navas, 3 -- Never let it be said that the Spaniard does not recognise a dead-end when he sees one. Ran up so many from his position on the right that he was instructed to try the left, then removed altogether.

MF Kevin De Bruyne, 5 -- Played a uniquely poor right footer through the middle from his left-wing position at the height of first half deluge. It was twenty yards from any City player and a metaphor for the whole sorry show.

FW Kelechi Iheanacho, 3 -- Anemic display from the youngster. Was taken off for Yaya Toure after 58 minutes after being utterly dominated by Wes Morgan and Robert Huth.


MF Raheem Sterling, 5 -- Replaced the ineffective Navas after 58 minutes and soon caught the same disease as everyone else. Was last seen toe ending a pass into touch instead of controlling it.

FW Yaya Toure, 5 -- Took to the field in place of Iheanacho and went straight up front. Unable to make any great impression.

MF Nolito, 5 -- On for Gundogan after 67 minutes. Made his presence known with a couple of neat passes, before netting the second and nearly hitting a third.