Player ratings: Manchester City v Birmingham City

Pantilimon – The Romanian giant is surprisingly known for shot stopping rather than catching crosses and this is an area the coaching staff need to work on. He’ll also need more games against English opposition before we can be confident of him as a deputy for Joe Hart. 6

Onuoha – Welcome back Nedum. Strong in defence but lacked the deftness of touch required in the attacking third. 6

Savic – Doesn’t appear the tallest yet managed to win headers against Zigic! Superb on the ground, looking the best footballer amongst our centre-backs. 8

K Toure – A strong comeback where it was good to see him looking sharp, particularly with one goal-line clearance. Can’t be anything wrong with his fitness either as Kolo was the first to the rebound after Tevez’s breakaway shot in the closing minutes. 7

Kolarov – Lovely pull-back for Mario to score. Provided some much needed attacking width and was untroubled defensively. 7

Hargreaves (Milner 56) – No doubt who was going to get the headlines after a sumptuous goal from outside the area. Heavily involved in our dominance of first half possession and should improve with additional match time. 8

Razak (Scapuzzi 85) – Great to see one youngster on from the start. A terrier like presence alongside Hargreaves and later Milner. 7

Zabaleta – Plenty of protection for Onuoha with Pablo stationed on the right wing. A solid game, if predictably lacking in flair. 6

Tevez – With the lack of creativity in midfield, Carlos was required to drop deep and act as playmaker, which he was happy to do. Should have broken his duck for the season with a late breakaway. 7

Bridge (Rekik 77) – Amazingly Wayne was stationed in the David Silva role, nominally on the flank but given free rein to drift infield as Kolarov pushed forward. Showed decent footwork at times, though it’s fair to say the Spanish international won’t be sweating on his place. 6

Balotelli – Showed some sharp touches which were a class above this fixture and took his goal excellently. Drifted in and out of the game as service was patchy. 7


Milner – Added some forward thinking to the midfield passing which too often went sideways. 6

Rekik – In receiving his first team debut at 16, Karim is clearly impressing the coaching staff. Wasn’t heavily involved with so many other defenders around. 6

Scapuzzi – Looked sharp in his desire to get into the box. 6

Man of the match: Stefan Savic.

Carling Cup preview: Manchester City v Birmingham City
Carling Cup verdict: Manchester City 2 Birmingham City 0

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