Pep Guardiola’s side are through to the fourth round of the FA Cup after an expected and decisive win over a struggling Birmingham City.
Similar to the last few games, it took City a fair few minutes to get into rhythm but once they did the slick passes flowed and the goals followed. With four or five players in the forward line, the Blues were able to stretch the play enough to easily get around the opposition defence.
The introduction of new players throughout the second-half saw the balance of play shift as the away team looked increasingly threatening. The scoreline remained the same however and City picked up a deserved 3-0 win.
Here’s how we rated the players in their first FA Cup game of the season…
Zack Steffen – 6.5
Spent most of the match camped outside his penalty area and was ready when called upon to make a save, despite spilling the ball on a few occasions.
Joao Cancelo – 7
Played in central midfield for much of the game and was involved in a lot of the build-up play. As time went on he became complacent with some sluggish passing and was substituted at the right time.
Kyle Walker – 7.5
Looked equally as comfortable in the centre of defence for the first-half as he was as at right wing-back in the second.
Ruben Dias – B+
If you spent all your time analysing statistics as opposed to actually watching City, you might not recognise the transformational effect Dias has had in his short time at the club. As in-jest as the rating is it’s probably accurate for this match, though. Was lucky not to see a card for an Otamendi-esque tackle early on.
Benjamin Mendy – 6
As much of a spare part here as he has been all season. Playing much further back than expected he did well when needed.
Rodrigo – 7
Made a well-timed tackle in the area to prevent a good goal scoring opportunity and looked sharper than he has lately.
Bernardo Silva – 8.5 (MotM)
Was one of many in contention for man of the match and with two goals he just edged it. The first was a magnificent, well-timed half-volley into the top corner, and the second the culmination of a well worked team effort. Could have grabbed a hat-trick but shot wide several times.
Kevin De Bruyne – 8
The maestro was on top-form with skilful passes and perfectly timed runs. The Belgian’s collaboration with Mahrez on the right was one of his many highlights. If he played the second-half it could have been his best match of the season so far.
Phil Foden – 8.5
His first touch to create space for a shot is a thing of beauty and his liveliness on and off the ball kept the opposition under pressure throughout. Got a well earned goal for his efforts today.
Riyad Mahrez – 8
Much of the attack came through Mahrez and he played tremendously with the ball at his feet. Whether on the right or dropping deep he was a constant threat. Unlucky to be narrowly offside for a second-half goal.
Gabriel Jesus – 7
Had a good game to reintroduce himself into the side post-covid. The determination to recover the ball after losing it was evidence of how hard he tried to keep attacks going.
Taylor Harwood-Bellis – 6.5
Made a good interception to prevent conceding a goal late in the second-half.
John Stones – 7
Was similarly needed to deny an opposition chance to get into the box with a sliding tackle. Did well as time went on and Birmingham saw more of the ball.
Felix Nmecha – 6
Moved the ball forward well in attack but didn’t make much of a contribution.
Fernandinho – 6.5
Brought on to take over for Rodri and did just that.
Liam Delap – N/A
While he got fifteen minutes, the young striker didn’t see enough of the ball as the momentum of the game had shifted.
You can follow Richard on Twitter here: @ignoblewretch
Follow us on Twitter for live updates: @City_Xtra