Following a 7-0 rout of Rotherham United just three days ago, Manchester City continued to demonstrate their attacking prowess, this time in the first semi-final first-leg of the Carabao Cup.
Despite the absences of a few key players, Guardiola elected to play a fairly strong team with Kevin De Bruyne earning his second successive start since returning from a knee injury. Aro Muric was also given the nod in goal with Eric Garcia celebrating his 18th birthday with a start for the blues.
After playing almost entirely in Burton’s final third, David Silva floated a ball into the box which was met by the head of De Bruyne – the Belgian’s thirteenth involvement in a League Cup goal, scoring nine and assisting four in just thirteen appearances. Burton sought to claw their way back into the game and came very close to doing so through left-midfielder Marcus Harness whose shot flew over the bar.
Although Burton seemed to finally get a hold of the game, Gabriel Jesus crushed any hopes of a response with a classic poacher’s goal in the 30th minute. Following a positive move from Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane, the Brazilian tapped the ball in with a strong header after Sane’s shot deflected off the Burton keeper.
Given the approach City demonstrated in the Rotherham match, the goals kept flowing as Jesus scored his second just four minutes later. Gundogan proved his class once again with a phenomenal ball over the top to David Silva who squared it into the path of the ever-present Jesus. Oleksandr Zinchenko also had his eyes on the score sheet – spotting the run of Jesus, Zinchenko looked to have crossed the ball in, but instead saw his delivery fly into the back of the net, much to the surprise of the Ukrainian full-back as well as the Burton goalkeeper.
The second half saw the blues increase the tempo and showed no signs of letting up. In the 57th minute, Jesus got his hat-trick after phenomenal build-up play from Riyad Mahrez and David Silva.
Kevin De Bruyne then made way for Phil Foden, who scored just five minutes after he was substituted on making it two goals in two games. Despite having a relatively quiet game, Mahrez contributed with a delightful ball over the top to Sane who slid the ball across to Jesus for his fourth – the Brazilian equaled the tally City scored just three days prior in the FA Cup, however with 25 minutes left to play, City were showing the potential to score even more.
Kyle Walker celebrated a goal in the 70th minute as Mahrez sought to add another assist and crossed the ball straight into the Englishman’s path. The Algerian winger put the nail in the coffin as City hit scored their ninth of the game in the 83rd minute. The ball was drilled in from Bernardo Silva on the wing and fell kindly for Mahrez after scuffing his first shot before tapping it home.
It’s now 16 goals in two games for Manchester City and effectively eliminates any hopes of a Wembley appearance for Burton Albion. The second leg takes place on January 23rd, but with the tie settled after the first 90 minutes, Manchester City’s focus will now turn to the Premier League title race with Wolves making the trip to the Etihad on Monday night.