Leroy Sane's double helps Man City see off West Brom in Carabao Cup
It was a hard-fought Manchester City win, as Pep Guardiola rotated his side for the first outing in this season's League Cup. It was a game that should have been sewn up by half-time, as the visitors wasted a plethora of good chances, and that allowed it to become a match that the hosts could have nicked back in the second half. In the end two goals from Leroy Sane were enough to push City past West Brom and into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.
It took a lot of grit for City to dig out the win, especially when things started to go against them in the second half. Leroy Sane's driving runs forward were excellent, while Ilkay Gundogan showed what Guardiola has been missing in the centre of midfield -- he controlled the game until he was forced off injured.
The headlines may be about City's defence, which looked fragile in the closing stages, but the biggest down side was a horrible challenge from Claudio Yacob that could have done some more serious damage to Gundogan. He was scythed down from behind -- with no attempt to play the ball -- and Yacob could have been sent off long before his equaliser.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- After a great start to the game, Guardiola did little to change it when things were starting to go against his team.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Claudio Bravo, 5 -- Will the goalkeeper ever be settled at City? The evidence against was added to on Wednesday evening, as he failed to come off his line convincingly to deal with Yacob's goal -- and his kicking, which should be his biggest strength, was just as often wayward as it was on target.
DF Danilo, 6 -- After a fine first-half display, the defender struggled with the physical game that West Brom made it after the break. He was calm in possession, but found it difficult to keep the ball moving in the latter stages.
DF John Stones, 7 -- The centre-back was excellent in the air for the most part, but -- like his teammates -- began to struggle late on. With pressure mounting, he was perhaps one of the few players who seemed composed enough to keep City on the right side of the scoreline.
DF Eliaquim Mangala, 5 -- Given a chance to impress from the start, Mangala put in a somewhat nomadic performance as he drifted around the backline. With the ball at his feet, he regularly punted it forwards aimlessly.
MF Yaya Toure, 6 -- For his first appearance of the season, the Ivorian was composed throughout the opening hour, but for the closing stages he looked tired. By full-time, he was well off the pace.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, 8 -- It was a welcome return for the midfielder after a long injury lay-off, but it's tinged with the worry that he had to leave the field with a problem following a nasty challenge from Claudio Yacob. He was pulling the strings throughout the hour he was involved.
MF Bernardo Silva, 6 -- It was a physical evening and, as a result, Bernardo ended up drifting in and out of the game. Going forward, he was excellent and kept the ball well, but as West Brom pressed, he was unable to get into the game.
MF Fabian Delph, 7 -- It was a stoic performance from the midfielder, who was much better when City were on top of the game. As West Brom improved late on, he was forced into a more defensive role, harrying the home side well and standing up to the challenge -- but struggling to find an outlet when on the ball.
MF Raheem Sterling, 7 -- The winger could again be left feeling hard done to. Having been kicked all evening, he was given very little from the officials -- and was even mysteriously booked for being pulled down. As an attacking threat, he often had West Brom retreating in fear.
MF Leroy Sane, 8 -- Two thumping finishes will be the headlines from the winger's performance, but he was excellent for large parts of the game unlocking the West Brom defence. On the ball, he was skipping past defenders for fun.
FW Gabriel Jesus, 6 -- The Brazilian began very brightly, but struggled to lead the line as the game wore on. As City finished on the back-foot he couldn't get involved.
DF Kyle Walker, 6 -- Replacing the injured Gundogan on 59 minutes, Walker was reliable and dependable at full-back.
MF Fernandinho, NR -- With City back in front, the midfielder came on for Sane after 79 minutes to shore up the middle.
David Mooney is ESPN FC's Manchester City blogger. Twitter: @DavidMooney