Manchester City cast Crystal Palace aside to progress to the quarter final of the League Cup.
The match was notable for a few reasons, not least the ease with which City dispatched of their visitors.
Crystal Palace are becoming something of a milestone club for the 19-year-old; he scored his first ever senior goal against them back in September and, in this match, he was making his first start for City. He must have been desperate to impress, but ithere were no signs of over-eagerness. If there was any anxiety at all, it was well suppressed.
His overall performance was fantastic; he was linking up play, working the channels and unafraid to try and take on defenders. He assisted Kevin De Bruyne for City’s second goal; he showed great awareness to see his teammate making the run to the back post and displayed good technique to put it on a plate for the Belgian. Most impressive though was the maturity to play that pass when it must have been tempting to take the shot on himself. He belied his years and inexperience to put the team first – it must just have been his best contribution of the night. That said, his left-foot turn-and-finish to put his side 3-0 up wasn’t too bad either.
One more thing; his name isn’t that hard to pronounce. Yes, to English eyes it might require a double take and, yes, it might be an unfamiliar word to the English tongue, but just give it a go, ok? If you are so lazy and rude that you resort to calling him ‘Cheesy Nachos’ or some equally-humourless variant (as an unfortunate number of people have done), then quite frankly you are an ignorant bore. Stop it.
Pellegrini’s treatment of the League Cup has been spot on
Remember when people were furious before the away game at Sunderland in the third round because ManuelPellegrini didn’t name a starting 11 made up of children? One social media using City fan was so incensed that he demanded the immediate sacking of the Chilean and appointment of Pep Guardiola.
How daft does that look now? Had a team of EDS players been picked that night, City may well have been knocked out. Instead, Pellegrini has picked teams good enough to win their two games so far and give valuable playing time to the more promising young Blues. Now the likes of Iheanacho, Manu Garcia and Patrick Roberts have got a little bit of game-time under their belts and have a quarter-final to play in. Isn’t that so much better than rushing them in for the sake of it? City have a very real chance/likelihood of making the semi-finals now – Pellegrini deserves credit for this.
Wilfried Bony had a mixed night. His headed goal that set City on the road to this victory was fantastically well taken, but his overall performance was cumbersome and clumsy. He missed a few good chances by not making a good connection with the ball; for a proven goalscorer, this is his lack of confidence laid bare. Hopefully, the goal will continue to help him settle into the team.
City’s run of extreme bad fortune with injuries continued when Pablo Zabaleta was stretchered off. The Argentine defender has only recently returned from injury; this knee-injury is most unwelcome and threatens to leave City with just one recognised right back for a lengthy period. Bacary Sagna has been in impressive form this term but it wouldn’t be great to have him and only him to rely on. As always, we’ll know more when City make a statement about the injury.
Overall, this was a good night for City. With Championship side Hull visiting the Etihad in December for the last-eight tie, there is a very real chance for City to progress the semi-final. They will now be overwhelming favourites to win the competition.
Written by Richard Burns