Teenager Aleix Garcia impresses as Man City defeat Swansea in EFL Cup
It wasn't a vintage performance from Manchester City, but despite a very late scare from Swansea, Pep Guardiola's team cruised through to the next round of the EFL Cup with a 2-1 win. Sporting their new orange-and-blue third strip, City survived some defensive lapses to make it nine wins in nine games for the new manager, and the Catalan continues the club's best start to a campaign.
City were able to play a hodgepodge side in dispatching Swansea. Fringe players such as Jesus Navas and Fernando were able to show the manager that they can be part of the squad. Others coming back from injury, such as Leroy Sane and Vincent Kompany, were able to put in good showings from the off. Some youngsters, such as Aleix Garcia and Brahim Diaz, were given the opportunity to impress.
Although the result was comfortable in the end, a late scare didn't help matters, and it could have been 2-2 had Swansea been a little more clinical in stoppage time. City's playing out from the back left a lot to be desired at times, and there are fresh injury worries for Kompany after the skipper left the action late.
7 out of 10 -- Guardiola got the team selection right and managed the game well to introduce some extra youth players toward the end of the match. However, perhaps he should have taken the captain off, as he's only just back from injury, and there are now questions about his fitness again.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Willy Caballero, 5 -- The Argentine produced a couple fine stops, but that was overshadowed by some dangerous passing at times. He was lucky to not have given away a couple goals through slack distribution, and he managed to find touch on more than the odd occasion when looking for his defenders.
DF Pablo Zabaleta, 6 -- A solid, if unspectacular, display from the full-back left Swansea with little opportunity for joy down his flank.
DF Vincent Kompany, 7 -- It was a fine return to first-team action for the captain. However, there are fresh injury concerns after he walked straight off the pitch in the midst of Swansea's consolation goal. Time will tell if he is to face another lengthy spell on the sideline.
DF John Stones, 5 -- The centre-back struggled a little for the first time in a City shirt. He seemed nervy in possession, which isn't like him so far at the club, and he almost cost his side a goal with a heavy touch in the second half, only to be bailed out by his goalkeeper.
DF Gael Clichy, 7 -- A rare goal for the left-back! The Frenchman was his usual energetic self on the left flank and got up to support the attack well. When in space in the middle in an uncomfortable position, he had the confidence to take on the shot. He got a little lucky with the deflection, but he won't care, as he bagged his first goal in nearly two years.
MF Angelino, 6 -- Playing a little out of position on the left flank, Angelino looked to slot into City's first team well.
MF Fernando, 6 -- The Brazilian was given the opportunity to show that he could anchor the midfield, and he did a decent job of breaking up play. However, there were a few iffy moments, and he let the ball run loose once or twice.
MF Aleix Garcia, 8 -- For a youngster to come in and control the match from an attacking point of view must be really pleasing for both City's fans and manager. He finished a great performance with a lovely goal, and he's looking ready to be involved with more first-team affairs.
MF Jesus Navas, 6 -- When he was involved, he was dangerous, and the Spaniard was unlucky to not bag an assist with a series of dangerous low crosses.
MF Leroy Sane, 6 -- Just coming back from injury, Sane wasn't quite as able to get involved as he would have liked. The German was always willing to run at the Swansea defence.
FW Kelechi Iheanacho, 6 -- After a run of strong performances, Iheanacho was a little underwhelming. However, he's still young and learning the trade, while his work rate kept getting him into excellent positions.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 6 -- The Belgian kept City on the front foot and was instrumental in keeping the momentum his side's way, as he joined the action for Angelino after 58 minutes.
MF Brahim Diaz, NR -- The youngster got the final 10 minutes in place of Iheanacho and ran his socks off.
DF Tosin Adarabioyo, NR -- A stoppage-time swap for Garcia, Adarabioyo kept things tight in the closing stages.
David Mooney is ESPN FC's Manchester City blogger. Twitter: @DavidMooney