A strong Manchester City side advanced to the fourth round of the FA Cup with a comfortable 3-0 victory at home to Championship side Birmingham City on Sunday afternoon.
The gulf in quality on display far exceeded the 33 league positions which separate the sides. Manchester City’s class was on full display for their opening two goals. Bernardo Silva got them both, first with a wonderfully executed, hip-high volley, before applying the finishing touch to an intricately-worked team effort within the first 15 minutes.
Phil Foden added a third with a crisply hit drive shortly after half an hour to end the game as a contest. Manchester City‘s positional fluidity left Birmingham chasing shadows throughout the match. A trio of half-time changes robbed some of the zip from the home side’s play, though Birmingham also deserve some credit for a flurry of threatening moments which were all too little, too late.
Here are Manchester City’s player ratings from their sixth victory on the spin as they menacingly click into top form.
Zack Steffen (GK) – 5/10 – Keeping his place despite Ederson’s return to the bench, the US international had some shaky handling moments on the sporadic occasions he was tested.
Joao Cancelo (RB) – 8/10 – Caused mass confusion among Birmingham‘s ranks as he tucked right into central midfield when Manchester City had the ball – which was a lot.
Kyle Walker (CB) – 7/10 – In the absence of Cancelo for the second half, Walker often stepped out of defence into midfield on the ball with ease.
Ruben Dias (CB) – 6/10 – Fortunate not to have connected with an opponent in the followthrough of a characteristically firm tackle. Rested after the interval.
Benjamin Mendy (LB) – 7/10 – Guilty of some rusty touches which left Pep Guardiola exasperated on the sidelines in the early exchanges but tightened up.
Rodri (DM) – 8/10 – Adeptly swept up the few forays forward Birmingham dared to mount.
Kevin De Bruyne (CM) – 8/10 – The home side’s captain played the match with such ease that he had the time to tie his shoelaces while the ball was in play. Once his boots had been adjusted, De Bruyne relentlessly sliced the visitors apart time and again being before charitably subbed off at the break.
Bernardo Silva (CM) – 8/10 – Nonchalantly strolled onto the ball for a first goal of the season worth the wait. Had the chances to earn his second career hat-trick but squandered them.
Riyad Mahrez (RW) – 8/10 – Arrogance personified with an audacious outside-of-the-boot pass in the build of to Silva’s second goal. One of a litany of probing passes originating from his left foot throughout the afternoon.
Gabriel Jesus (ST) – 6/10 – Drifted wide to the left with bamboozling regularity, but fluffed a flurry of chances either side of half-time.
Phil Foden (LW) – 8/10 – Flitted around the pitch with yet another performance which makes a mockery of the fact that he has started just 15 of a possible 26 games for the club this season.
Taylor Harwood-Bellis (CB) – 7/10 – Tucked inside when Walker pushed forward, but had little to do defensively.
Felix Nmecha (CM) – 6/10 – Despite Manchester City’s abundance of possession, struggled to exert any real influence on proceedings.
John Stones (CB) – 6/10 – Largely untested at the back but responsible for one or two uncharacteristically sloppy passes.
Fernandinho (DM) – 6/10
Liam Delap (ST) – 6/10