JACK GAUGHAN: Phil Foden proved there is so much MORE to his game than just being a left winger as he thrived in a central role… when Man City play like this there is little an opponent can do to stop them
- Manchester City sauntered into the fourth round of the FA Cup with an easy win
- Chelsea put on a rank display as Graham Potter loses yet another game as boss
- Phil Foden played in a more central role and this improved City’s attacking play
- City dominated even with stars Kevin de Bruyne and Erling Haaland on the bench
‘You’re not letting anybody else in, are you?’ a Manchester City official asked of the club’s stewards at the front entrance during half-time.
But by that point, the direction of travel was the other way. Plenty of Chelsea supporters had slouched off into the night and did not bother returning. Their bewildered team had been sent packing.
That was in part down to themselves – a rank display did nothing to calm talk around Graham Potter’s credentials – although City more than had their say in it. After some stodgy performances so far this season, the 15-minute first-half blitz which saw them saunter into round four should act as some form of standard during the trickier weeks to come.
Manchester City dominated against Chelsea as they eased to a comfortable 4-0 victory
It was certainly slicker through midfield than has been the case recently, more of an insistence on looking forward when receiving possession. Phil Foden’s inclusion centrally was a definite improvement in that regard and his goal threat significantly improves in those areas. There is a great deal more to his game than acting as a left winger.
When City do this, and do not overly worry about the opposition, they resemble the seamer who is just too quick, armed with that extra half a yard nobody can pick up. You can stand there attempting to block all you like but eventually the stumps will scatter everywhere.
Yet sometimes they can forget how good they are. Certainly that was the case in the first 45 minutes when these two teams met last Thursday. A little bit too much respect paid to Chelsea on the night. None here.
‘When we play in this way, with this incredible hunger – don’t give them time to think about it – means we are alive,’ Pep Guardiola said. ‘You realise something is dropping when we don’t do what we did today. This is who we are. They know the guys who don’t do it – it doesn’t matter their name – they don’t play with us.’ Without Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland, both wrapped up warm on the bench, it is fair to assume there were a few more gears if required.
Phil Foden played more centrally against Chelsea and showed he has the ability to do so
The England star slotted home City’s third goal of the game and was a threat throughout
Really pressing down on the accelerator is the way in which City’s supporters will want the Premier League champions to attack Manchester United next weekend.
They give up more chances playing like this – the sort of silly chances that have done for them in Europe over the years, and why Guardiola has become slightly more methodical in his set-up – but there ought to be the feeling that they can out-score anybody and everybody. It gives them considerably more chances to put games to bed and they have never before had Haaland on the end of those, either.
The positives continued for Guardiola, who claimed they were far better when drawing against Everton than winning at Stamford Bridge. Kyle Walker completed his first full match since August; Julian Alvarez was sharp; Riyad Mahrez came alive with purpose.
‘Today was addictive,’ Guardiola added. ‘We need the whole squad. If everyone is humble to accept their minutes, they are more than welcome. I need them to see in the mirror who they are.’
Manchester City will play the winner of Oxford United vs Arsenal in the FA Cup fourth round
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