Phil Foden 9/10 as Man City rout Oxford United in Carabao Cup
Manchester City cruised through to the next round of the Carabao Cup with a comfortable 3-0 win at Oxford. What could have been a tricky evening was well negotiated with professionalism and Pep Guardiola begins his defence of the trophy with a night where very little went wrong.
The shining light of the match were two of City's youngsters. Brahim Diaz impressed before he was forced off injured but the night belonged to Stockport-born City fan Phil Foden. The 18-year old grabbed his first goal with a fine finish and was involved with the other two goals with a sublime pass for each.
It was unfortunate for Diaz to have to leave the match early having picked up a knock, while Riyad Mahrez was also complaining of a niggle as he was substituted. On top of that, City's third strip -- a purple effort with an orange sash -- doesn't look any better in action than it does hanging in the club shop.
Manager rating (out of 10)
8 -- Guardiola played a rotated team to give players both minutes and experience, but it was still more than strong enough to get the job done.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Aro Muric, 7 -- A clean sheet on his club debut isn't to be sniffed at even if the rookie goalkeeper was facing third-tier opposition. He had one shaky moment coming off his line for a long throw, but aside from that he showed great maturity and decent footwork to be able to deputise while Claudio Bravo is injured.
DF Danilo, 7 -- Only just back from injury, it was a good shift for the defender and he slotted right back into the team where he left off. He was strong both in and out of possession, standing up well to keep things tight on the right.
DF Vincent Kompany, 7 -- The captain might not be Guardiola's first choice at the moment, but he's shown he can still dominate a match. He was great in the air and made several vital blocks.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 8 -- Like his central defensive partner, the Argentine has been out of favour this season but he has surely given Guardiola a selection headache after his displays against Cardiff and Oxford.
DF Oleksandr Zinchenko, 7 -- Back again to play as a makeshift left-back after his move to Wolves collapsed on transfer deadline day, Zinchenko didn't look out of place. He's clearly not a defender, but he coped with the pressure well and moved the ball comfortably when he needed to.
MF John Stones, 6 -- Playing in a new position as the defensive midfielder, Stones adapted well though he did drift in and out of the game for spells. He could have perhaps offered himself for a short pass more often and he seemed to have to think about where to move. If Guardiola's serious about him playing in this role, though, there are certainly positive signs.
MF David Silva, 7 -- The Spaniard was only on the field for an hour but it was enough for him to pull the strings for the visitors with some deft passes and great vision. He was perhaps taken off to save his legs for a packed schedule ahead.
MF Phil Foden, 9 -- A dream evening for the youngster got even better when he rounded off his performance with the third goal. A wonderful pass to Diaz to set up the first goal was topped by a superb follow-up to assist Mahrez -- before he slotted home a crisp effort in the closing stages. His celebration said it all and he's certainly going to be one to watch this season.
MF Brahim Diaz, 8 -- Often finding himself in space on the left flank, Diaz was killing Oxford with his movement and touch. He was only let down by his end product on occasion but that will come in time and with experience. He was too tricky for the Oxford defence and it was a shame he picked up a knock in the second half.
MF Riyad Mahrez, 8 -- The Algerian is beginning to settle at City. He tried a lot of long-range efforts, not really getting close to the target. As soon as he was put through by Foden, though, he was calm and composed to double City's lead and put the game beyond doubt.
FW Gabriel Jesus, 6 -- It's just not happening for the striker at the moment. He's working his socks off but isn't getting the bounce of the ball. He even had a goal ruled out for offside.
MF Raheem Sterling, 7 -- The winger gave City some added thrust when he came on for Diaz on 55 minutes, though the boos from the Oxford fans were baffling.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, 6 -- It was steady but not spectacular from the German, replacing Silva after 63 minutes. p>MF Adrian Bernabe, NR -- Five minutes of a senior debut didn't give fans much to make a judgement on, when the youngster came on for Mahrez.