Looking at the Fulham starting lineup before kick-off, it seemed like a much-changed City side could be in for a battle against a very strong-looking Fulham XI. It turned out to be anything but as a City side featuring three teenagers and a number of other young players completely outclassed their Premier League opposition in the Carabao Cup fourth round.
Two goals from Brahim Diaz were enough to see City into the quarter finals, though they must wait until late November to know if they’ll be playing Leicester or Southampton.
Here’s how we rated the team tonight…
Aro Muric – 6
‘6’ is the default mark for a player and given that he was basically a spectator, the young goalkeeper warrants that rating. It was his second clean sheet in two games for City, both in the Carabao Cup, and though one or two shots were fired his way, they were straight at him. When he received the ball, he was very composed as is required of any City keeper.
Danilo – 7.5
An impressive return for the often injured Brazilian who came close to scoring, hitting the outside of the post, and was solid at the back. A perfectly timed tackle to halt Sessegnon as he tried to break into the box highlighted his defensive quality.
John Stones – 7
An easy night at the back for the England international, who was rarely troubled. Despite that, he was active, having 119 touches of the ball – the most of any player on the pitch – and as always his passing was crisp and accurate.
Vincent Kompany – 7.5
Even though City were rarely troubled at the back, Kompany made two smart tackles to snuff out potentially dangerous attacks by Fulham. Booked late in the night after a rare lapse in concentration that forced him to bring down Mitrovic.
Oleksandr Zinchenko – 7
In Zinchenko, City have a really useful player who can slot seamlessly into Guardiola’s system in different areas of the pitch. Tonight he was on the left side again and did a good job, winning several tackles and passing well.
Fabian Delph – 7
Deployed in his old midfield role tonight, Delph helped City control the game and proved to be an able deputy for the overworked Fernandinho, who was given the night off.
Kevin De Bruyne – 9 (Man of the Match)
Some may favour Brahim as tonight’s Man of the Match, and he was named that in the stadium, but for us De Bruyne was the best performer on the night. A tireless performance by the midfield ace who looked much sharper than he did at the weekend. 4 key passes, 11 crosses and a match-high 7 tackles give an idea of how involved and impressive he was. Unfortunately, he had to go off with a knee problem at the end, but it seemed to be an impact injury and hopefully not too bad.
Phil Foden – 8
A silky performance by the new fan favourite, who didn’t look out of place at this level against what was a very strong Fulham XI on paper. Some of his passes and turns drew gasps from the Etihad crowd and he played his part in Brahim’s second goal. Continues to push for more minutes in bigger games.
Brahim Diaz – 8
The other highly-rated City kid, who is subject to much transfer speculation right now, was the hero of the night with two goals – his first competitive strikes for City. Early on it looked like Sessegnon might have his number, but both goals showed his knack of being in the right place at the right time. Otherwise, he was good and played well.
Gabriel Jesus – 8
Gabriel Jesus puts so much work into matches but the one thing strikers are known for, goals, are proving difficult to come by for the Brazilian. His overall performance tonight was excellent and he never stopped working, while showing some nice Brazilian skills. Hit the post in the lead-up to Diaz’s second goal, and surely the goals will return soon.
Leroy Sané – 7.5
At times brilliant, other times wasteful, Sané often took Fulham’s defence to the cleaners but wouldn’t make the most of good openings. He hasn’t been starting much lately but remains a dangerous weapon for City going forward.
Riyad Mahrez – N/A
Replaced Brahim for last 12 or so minutes on the pitch but didn’t have much to do.
Claudio Gomes – N/A
Much is expected of the young French midfielder and he was thrown on when De Bruyne had to go off after 85 minutes.