Manchester City’s run of four straight wins in all competitions came to an end as they failed to break down Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola’s side came into the game off the back of wins over Norwich, Arsenal, Leicester and RB Leipzig, scoring 17 goals in the process, but were unable to continue their positive momentum as they were held to a 0-0 draw by the Saints.
Although City struggled in attack as they only managed one shot on target all afternoon, they were able to show defensive resolve to ensure that Southampton did not come away from the match with all three points.
One player in particular who contributed heavily to the clean sheet was Portugal international Ruben Dias. The centre-back was a shining light on an otherwise dismal afternoon for City as his superb play at the back helped Guardiola’s team to pick up a point.
Defensively, Dias was outstanding. As per SofaScore, Dias won eight duels during the game, including six of his eight in the air. This shows that he was up to the physical challenge placed on him by the Saints as he won his personal battles. He also made six clearances, one tackle, three interceptions and an eye-catching four blocks to stop the opposition from troubling Ederson’s goal.
The fact he was able to make four blocks shows that his positioning was exceptional. Dias was able to put himself into positions where he could get his body in the way of Southampton shots, which shows bravery and tactical intelligence.
He also caught the eye in possession. As per SofaScore, the 24-year-old had 102 touches of the ball and completed 90% of his passes, including three of his five long pass attempts. Along with that, he also created two chances for his teammates from centre-back, although he was let down by their finishing.
These statistics show that Dias was superb defensively and in possession of the ball to build up the play, but his team-mates were unable to do the rest of the job to ensure victory. Regardless of the disappointing result, though, Guardiola will surely be pleased to see such a complete performance from the former Benfica man.
Hopefully Dias will continue to be as solid as ever at the back for City and provide them with the platform for his attacking team-mates to make the chances count at the other end.