Manchester City marked Pep Guardiola’s 700th game in management with a comfortable 2-0 win against Fulham on Saturday afternoon.
First-half goals from Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne secured the three points for the Citizens, in a result that sees them move up to fourth in the Premier League table.
However, it was perhaps the defensive display that will have pleased Guardiola most, as the result means that City have now kept seven clean sheets in their last nine games.
Once again, it was the performance of John Stones that stood out for City, with the former Everton man having re-established himself in City’s first-team in recent weeks, which has coincided with their strong recent form.
As per SofaScore, the 26-year-old picked up a sold 7.3 rating for his display against Scott Parker’s side, with Fulham rarely threatening Ederson’s goal.
During the 90 minutes, Stones made two clearances, one interception and two tackles, whilst he was dribbled past just once.
The England international also won two out of three of his ground duels during the game, suggesting that he was rarely bested by the Fulham players.
Stones was also superb on the ball, as he enjoyed 117 touches during the game, suggesting that he was consistently trusted with the ball at his feet by his City teammates.
He was extremely efficient with the ball, losing possession on just three occasions, which was the least of any outfield City player, whilst he completed an incredible 106/109 of his passes, resulting in a pass accuracy of 97%.
Therefore, it was an almost perfect display from the centre-back and if he continues his current form, it is hard to see Aymeric Laporte reclaiming his place in Guardiola’s first-team any time soon.
Earlier this year, former Inter man Ivan Cordoba had this to say about Stones when speaking to the Daily Mail:
“I really like John Stones of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
“A very strong defender. He is a complete defender in everything he does. I think he is one of the best in the world.”
Considering his recent displays for City, it seems as if Cordoba was not far off in this suggestion, as with him and Ruben Dias at the centre of City’s defence, Guardiola’s side are looking impenetrable at this moment in time.