Manchester City are heading to Wembley. They still have a second leg to play, but not even in the most calamitous periods of our history could City cock this up.
The Blues were ruthless at the Etihad Stadium tonight, destroying League One side Burton Albion 9-0 – and it genuinely could have been more. The fans who braved the cold were clamoring for a tenth goal at the end, but City couldn’t quite do it.
Gabriel Jesus, shy of goals lately, scored FOUR, while Kevin De Bruyne, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Phil Foden, Kyle Walker and Riyad Mahrez also bagged.
It’s kind of hard to rate players in such a walk in the park – no one had to be at their best – but here’s how we have:
Aro Muric – 6
A clean sheet for the young Kosovan international who only had 16 touches of the ball. He did have to make a couple of easy saves.
Kyle Walker – 7.5
Back in the side, Walker played very well down the right and to cap off a fine performance, got on the end of a Mahrez cross with what was a striker’s finish.
Nicolas Otamendi – 7
Did his job when Burton got forward, which was a few more times than the score would suggest. Nico made 4 clearances tonight, the most of any City player.
Eric Garcia – 7
On his 18th birthday, Garcia was given a start and like in his other appearances – against Leicester in the previous round and during the pre-season tour of America – he looked calm and composed, a typical Guardiola centre-back. Instead of buying another defender in the post-Kompany era, City may have one ready-made right here.
Oleksandr Zinchenko – 7.5
A terrific performance by the Ukrainian down the left. When he’s not put too the test too much defensively, he’s more than a capable left-back in these sort of games. He also scored his first goal for City and what a goal it was – fluke or did he mean it? We reckon fluke, but some will disagree. Either way, a goal is a goal, so good on you Aleks!
Ilkay Gundogan – 8
Another sumptuous performance by the German after his four assists against Rotherham at the weekend. His chipped balls into the box are becoming a highlight of City’s play when he’s on the pitch. He didn’t get any goals or assists tonight but he helped run the game.
David Silva – 7.5
Two assists for El Mago, who also should have scored but put a fairly routine chance over the bar. Burton players couldn’t get near him and he was well above their level.
Kevin De Bruyne – 7.5
Scored City’s first goal… a distant memory by full-time. And he scored it with his head, an absolute rarity. Played some nice passes, the best of them almost finding Sané in the box. He was withdrawn early in the second half and didn’t seem happy about it.
Riyad Mahrez – 8
Two assists and a goal for the Algerian, who feasted on his League One opposition. He’s played below his level many times since his arrival, but today was too good for Burton.
Leroy Sané – 8.5
Simply unplayable for a team of Burton’s quality. Every time he had the ball, it looked like something would happen, and he added two assists to his growing tally.
Gabriel Jesus – 9 (Man of the Match)
Goals galore for a man lacking them this season. He did score against Rotherham too at the weekend but was very wasteful. Not so tonight as he took his chances and scored FOUR goals, making him the man of the match, even if none of them were particularly difficult for a player of his quality.
Phil Foden – 7.5
Many thought he would start again – us included – but did get plenty of minutes, replacing De Bruyne quite early in the second half. The 18-year-old was fantastic after coming on and scored his second goal in two games – and third of the season. He almost seems to glide across the pitch and it’s hard to imagine how good he could be if he continues his development.
Bernardo Silva – 7
Replaced Sané with 25 minutes to go and also got an assist, setting up City’s ninth and final goal, scored by Mahrez.
Danilo – N/A
A late replacement for Walker.