Manchester City confirmed their place in the Carabao Cup final tonight with a fairly drab 1-0 win over Burton Albion to make it 10-0 on aggregate.
It was a much changed team featuring many youngsters – two of whom were handed first-team debuts – and it was mainly a case of getting the job done, which the Blues did with professionalism. Now the holders wait and see if it’ll be Chelsea or Spurs that they face in the final.
Here’s how we rated the players on a chilly night in Burton.
Aro Muric – 6
Had a fairly easy save to make in the first half from a Boyce flick in the box, and did well to rush out of the box to prevent the same player from having a one-on-one chance. Channeled his inner Ederson with one or two nervy moments.
Danilo – 6.5
Solid again, this time in his natural right-back position and also good going forward. He played a nice pass to Delph in the second half that the Englishman should have done more with. Had the final chance of the game, forcing a save from a free kick.
Philippe Sander – 7
Sandler looks like a really good talent and a Guardiola style centre-back, and it’d be interesting to see him against higher quality opposition. His passing is good but he’s still somewhat awkward at times. A slip in the box almost handed Burton a surprise goal, but his partner Garcia bailed him out. That was Sandler’s only real blemish in an otherwise fine performance.
Eric Garcia – 7.5
City have a real talent here and he impresses every time he performs. Once or twice he was nervy under pressure but generally speaking, he is super-composed on the ball and intelligent beyond his years. As mentioned above, he was also in the right place at the right time to make a clearance off the line.
Oleksandr Zinchenko – 6
Got forward a lot today with very little defending to do and was okay. Did get caught out one time doing his defensive duties and had to be careful to not concede a penalty when chasing the player back.
Fabian Delph – 6
Delph was surprisingly started further forward than De Bruyne and seemed to enjoy his license to roam, but didn’t really take advantage of the space and opportunities he got. Received the ball from Danilo in the box in the second half and had two bites at the cherry but couldn’t get on the score sheet.
Phil Foden – 6
Foden worked hard but has played better in this competition for City in previous rounds and unlike in other games, didn’t really shine tonight. He’s always good to watch though, being such an elegant player.
Kevin De Bruyne – 7
Surprisingly deployed in a deeper role, with Pep perhaps continuing to try alternate options to Fernandinho. De Bruyne’s passing was very good and his ball to Mahrez led to City’s one and only goal. He’s still not ‘there’ yet but every minute is moving him closer to his best.
Ian Carlo Poveda – 6.5
Reminiscent of the now departed Brahim in ways, the young debutant clearly has a lot of talent but is still working out how to use it and how good his decision-making becomes may define how far he goes in the game. Grew into the match as it went on and was given the full 90 minutes. At times he ran into blind alleys but other times he looked like a real talent.
Riyad Mahrez – 6.5
Mahrez was wasteful at times, but played a big role in the only goal of the game, teeing up Sergio Aguero to finish. Otherwise, there were one or two good moments but like several others tonight, he can do better.
Sergio Aguero – 6.5
City’s only goal scorer of the game and it was a nice finish by the Argentine icon. Missed an absolute sitter that VAR would’ve ruled out for offside if called upon. Otherwise, he was clearly rusty and some of his touches weren’t great. He did improve after a sluggish start and is another who will benefit from these minutes.
Gabriel Jesus – 6
Hard-working and eager to impress after he came on but couldn’t convert the chance he was given when he found himself with space in the box.
Benjamin Mendy – 6
The Shark is back! It’s going to take a while for Mendy to reach his best but we did see some of his powering runs down the left after he came off the bench. He sent a couple of crosses into the box but they were lacking his renowned precision.
Felix Nmecha – 6
The second youngster to be handed a full senior debut by Guardiola and Nmecha was very lively when he came on, making some good runs. Was bundled down in the box and had a half-shout for a penalty, but would’ve been a soft one if given.