Man City didn't look good in FA Cup win at Bristol but they're still treble favourites

6 months ago 179

10:20 PM GMT

  • Mark OgdenSenior Writer, ESPN FC

Phil Foden scored doubly successful a uncommon commencement for Manchester City connected Tuesday arsenic Pep Guardiola's squad coasted into the FA Cup quarterfinals with a 3-0 win against EFL Championship squad Bristol City astatine Ashton Gate successful Bristol, England.

Foden, who has been overlooked successful favour of Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez successful caller weeks, netted City's archetypal 2 goals earlier Kevin De Bruyne made it 3-0 successful the 81st minute.

Rapid reaction

1. Man City look unconvincing, but don't stake against them

Ask astir Man City fans and they volition archer you that the team's performances of Pep Guardiola's squad this play person been the slightest awesome since the erstwhile Barcelona and Bayern Munich's coach's archetypal run successful complaint backmost successful 2016-17, erstwhile the squad failed to triumph a trophy.

Those fans are astir apt close considering the heights Man City person reached since that season, but aft winning astatine Ashton Gate, they are inactive live successful 3 competitions, and it would beryllium foolish to suggest they volition beryllium unsuccessful successful immoderate of them.

You won't perceive overmuch speech of a treble astatine the Etihad close now, adjacent though City are present successful the quarterfinals of the FA Cup -- but marque nary mistake, Guardiola's squad could inactive triumph each 3 trophies. They are conscionable 2 points down Premier League leaders Arsenal and person a location 2nd limb successful their Champions League round-of-16 necktie against RB Leipzig, with the people astatine 1-1 from the archetypal leg.

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Yes, City aren't playing good and person been unconvincing for a while, but this triumph highlighted conscionable wherefore they tin inactive execute a treble.

Phil Foden, who seldom starts these days, scored doubly to marque a constituent to Guardiola, portion Kalvin Phillips and Julian Alvarez were besides fixed their accidental to impress. City person specified extent that they tin marque changes, commencement with the likes of Erling Haaland, Jack Grealish and Rodri connected the bench, and inactive win.

Their caller trophy-winning pedigree makes them favourites to triumph the FA Cup and past has shown that the champion squad doesn't ever triumph the Champions League, truthful an inconsistent City could inactive triumph that competition. And it would beryllium ironic if, aft truthful galore years of being levels supra the rest, they yet triumph the Champions League portion not being truthful formidable this clip around.

2. Despite goal, De Bruyne inactive stuck successful post-World Cup slump

Kevin De Bruyne has been 1 of the champion midfielders ever to grace the Premier League, but the 31-year-old is struggling to look from his post-World Cup signifier slump. His extremity successful the 81st infinitesimal of this triumph was classical De Bruyne, but it shouldn't disguise his different mean performance.

Since returning from Belgium's aboriginal exit astatine Qatar 2022, De Bruyne has scored conscionable doubly successful 13 appearances and helium has seldom produced the benignant of powerhouse performances that person go his trademark successful a Man City shirt.

Against Bristol City, each of the accustomed effort and committedness was there, but determination were lone little flashes of the prime that helium possesses, contempt facing a squad that are presently sat successful mid-table successful the EFL Championship.

De Bruyne missed past week's Champions League necktie against RB Leipzig successful Germany due to the fact that of unwellness and helium was besides dropped to the seat for the decision astatine Tottenham earlier this month, truthful determination are mitigating factors for his below-par performances successful caller weeks. But aft implicit a decennary astatine the apical with Wolfsburg and City, De Bruyne simply looks exhausted.

With City inactive pushing for occurrence connected 3 fronts, Guardiola volition request De Bruyne backmost to his champion erstwhile the decisive games travel astir successful April and May. Maybe it is clip to springiness De Bruyne a interruption to recharge his batteries successful bid to beryllium caller and firing for the run-in.

3. Bristol City shows there's young endowment extracurricular Premier League

Alex Scott is simply a sanction worthy making a enactment of. The Bristol City midfielder is lone 19 years old, but helium was arguably the champion subordinate connected the nighttime against the Premier League champions.

With his socks rolled down his shins and an appetite for moving astatine the opposition, Scott looks and plays similar Man City's £100 cardinal prima Jack Grealish, who was connected the substitutes' seat for this game.

But helium besides showed that helium has the courageousness to instrumentality the shot and look for openings further forward. When the apical clubs scout players, 1 of the biggest attributes immoderate young subordinate indispensable person is the readiness to beryllium bold capable to spell guardant alternatively than play it harmless by passing backwards oregon sideways and Scott ever looked forward.

Scott hails from the tiny land of Guernsey successful the English Channel -- conscionable similar Southampton large Matt Le Tissier -- and the youngster intelligibly has a large aboriginal successful the game.

The aforesaid tin beryllium said for Sam Bell, different of Bristol City's homegrown stars, who was awesome up beforehand astatine the property of conscionable 20.

Few Premier League teams prioritise the little levels of English shot erstwhile looking for caller players arsenic they present favour European oregon South American leagues. But Scott and Bell proved against City that determination is plentifulness of endowment worthy watching successful England extracurricular the Premier League.

Best and worst performers

Best: Phil Foden, Manchester City

The Man City winger made a uncommon commencement astatine Ashton Gate, but helium much than justified his enactment and did capable to suggest helium should commencement much often. Scored a important extremity and offered plentifulness of threat.

Best: Alex Scott, Bristol City

The Bristol City subordinate is lone 19, but helium was the champion midfielder connected the pitch, contempt being up against truthful galore internationals successful the Man City side.

Best: Sam Bell, Bristol City

Man City's defenders won't hide the Bristol City guardant successful a hurry. The 20-year-old pressed incessantly and conscionable lacked a finishing interaction to people for the location side.

Worst: Julian Alvarez, Manchester City

He whitethorn person won a World Cup with Argentina, but backmost connected nine duty, Alvarez needed to bash much to transportation Pep Guardiola that helium is much than conscionable a squad player.

Worst: Ederson, Manchester City

The goalkeeper lone played the second-half arsenic a half-time substitute for Stefan Ortega, but helium was erratic and astir talented the location broadside 2 goals.

Worst: Nahki Wells, Bristol City

A pugnacious inquire to people against City's defence, but the Bermuda planetary guardant needed to bash much to marque beingness hard for Guardiola's defenders.

Highlights and notable moments

Phil Foden enactment Manchester City up successful lone the seventh minute, allowing his broadside to seashore for overmuch of the game.

A well-worked @ManCity determination is finished by @PhilFoden 🤩#EmiratesFACup

— Emirates FA Cup (@EmiratesFACup) February 28, 2023

Foden returned 67 minutes aboriginal to onslaught again with a beauteous walk from Julián Álvarez.

The extremity made the effect his 5th multigoal crippled for Manchester City successful each competitions.

Helped 🏡@ManCity #EmiratesFACup

— Emirates FA Cup (@EmiratesFACup) February 28, 2023

After the match: What the managers and players said

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola connected speech of a treble: "No, hide astir it. Forget it. When you commencement to speech astir that, you commencement to suffer competitions and driblet competitions. We are not ready. Not adjacent 1 2nd to deliberation astir that is, we conscionable deliberation astir [next crippled against] Newcastle."

Guardiola connected Phil Foden's performance: "Dynamic, rhythm, enactment rate, his quality. His vocation was ever up, up, up. This play helium struggled a spot and was a spot down. But present he's backmost for the champion spot of the season."

Foden connected his show aft a pugnacious spell: "I consciousness overmuch amended with my feet. I consciousness 100 percent acceptable present and comfortable. It has been 1 of the worst parts of my vocation but everyone goes done them and it is however you react. [The contented was] discomfort successful my feet and not playing arsenic much. I emotion to play shot and erstwhile I don't I americium a spot frustrated."

Key stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information research)

  • This is Manchester City's 5th consecutive quality successful the FA Cup quarterfinals. The erstwhile 4 times they reached that round, they precocious to astatine slightest the semifinals.

  • With the loss, Bristol City's 12-game unbeaten streak successful each competitions has been snapped. It was their longest since a 15-game streak successful 2018-19.

Up next

Bristol City: The Robins instrumentality to league play successful the Championship with games astatine Cardiff City (March 4) and Huddersfield Town (March 7). Then they big Blackpool connected March 11 (stream unrecorded connected ESPN+ astatine 7:30 a.m. ET).

Manchester City: The Citizens big Newcastle United successful Premier League enactment connected Saturday, March 4 astatine 7:30 a.m. ET. Then they sojourn Crystal Palace the pursuing week successful league play connected Saturday, March 11.

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