Manchester City’s late onslaught was enough to overcome a dodgy affair, as they beat a brave Cheltenham side 3-1 in the FA Cup fourth round.
The Robins made a sumptuous start to the game, wherein they managed to stun Pep Guardiola’s men. As the game progressed Manchester City’s fate took an astounding turn. In spite of creating a glut of chances in the first half, Cheltenham’s valiant fight kept the visitors at bay.
In the 59th minute, Alfie May grabbed his moment, and his awareness in front of goal gave Cheltenham the lead early in the second half. However, Guardiola made some crucial substitutions to eliminate any chances of misfortune, and with those introductions, Manchester City began to unleash their intrinsic strength.
Just when Cheltenham were thinking of a colossal outcome, Phil Foden spoiled the party. The 20-year-old Englishman’s splendid volley at the back post changed the course of the game, which allowed the visitors to take command of proceedings. After that equaliser, Brazilian international Gabrial Jesus ensured City’s grip, as his composed finish made it 2-1 in the 84th minute.
FULL TIME | We're through to the next round of the @EmiratesFACup! 🙌
Full credit to @CTFCofficial who gave us a hell of a cup tie – you did yourselves proud! 💪
— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 23, 2021
Ferran Torres then put the game to bed just before the final whistle after being set up by Ilkay Gundogan. With the comeback complete, Manchester City booked their place in the FA Cup fifth round and here’s how we rated the performance of Guardiola’s men at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium on Saturday.
Zack Steffen: 6.5/10
Despite conceding a goal, Steffen did not have to face any major threats for most parts of the game. He looked comfortable with his positioning between the sticks, and with his distribution, he maintained accuracy.
Taylor Harwood-Bellis: 5/10
The young Englishman had a rough evening at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium. as he was not able to form any kind of structure in his game. The 18-year-old struggled throughout the game, allowing Cheltenham to pull few strings against City. He needs to bring more composure in his passing; along with that he has to be more confident in his defensive responsibilities.
Eric Garcia: 6.5/10
The Spaniard looked convincing from the very first whistle, and with Laporte beside him, he did not face much of a challenge to keep the defensive posture intact. His future is uncertain, but off the field circumstances did not make any difference in this game. Completed 87 passes out of 94 which indicates his mobility in the backline and with two crucial interceptions, he brought solidity in the back four.
Aymeric Laporte: 7/10
The 26-year-old Frenchman brought stability to the backline, and he produced a decent outing against the Robins. Laporte has always been a significant figure of this Manchester City squad, and he yet again showcased his ability to command the defensive unit. Completed an impressive 92 passes – the most by anyone.
Benjamin Mendy: 5.5/10
The French left-back was not able to influence the game in a manner he would have liked. With 92 percent passing accuracy, he maintained the rhythm for the Citizens, but a lack of attacking intent was the main reason why Guardiola replaced him with Joao Cancelo. The 26-year-old was not able to pull the trigger in front of goal, and with just one cross into the box, he just had to leave the pitch.
Riyad Mahrez: 5.5/10
Mahrez has been a reliable presence throughout his tenure with City but in spite of being one of those lethal outlets of the side , he was not able to steal the show. Mahrez should have equalised for City earlier in the game, but a casual approach in the most craved position eradicated the chance. Provided five key passes in the game, but Mahrez also lost possession the most times in the game.
A typical performance from the Brazilian midfielder who sat deep to help the backline in moving the ball with ease. In spite of losing most duels in the game, Fernandinho’s unique ability to make up for his mistakes yet again brought permanency in the midfield region. His lofted pass to Gabriel Jesus was the reason behind City’s late equaliser.
Thomas Doyle: 7/10
The 19-year-old central midfielder had a decent game on an occasion which will allow him to gain experience from the senior players. His ability to stand tall in midfield was impressive, and his set-pieces continuously posed a threat in the final third. A solid base to build upon.
Phil Foden: 7.5/10
One of the hottest talents on English soil, Foden yet again showcased his potential in full tune, as he played an influential part to break the deadlock for City. His impressive runs through the left flank not only helped portray a staggering display, but his confidence over his craft also managed to lighten up the fixture. Foden created five major chances for his side and looked dangerous each time he ran in the Cheltenham half.
— Phil Foden (@PhilFoden) January 23, 2021
Ferran Torres: 6/10
The Spanish international provided fluidity upfront. The 20-year-old was fruitful with his passes and maintained attacking intent in the final third. Torres wrapped up the game with a point-blank finish; and with an 88 percent pass accuracy, he displayed his passing ability with finesse. Needs to be more decisive.
Gabriel Jesus: 6.5/10
The 23-year-old Brazilian forward did not had a spectacular game as he would have wanted, but his 84th minute strike was enough to drag the conclusion of this fixture. Jesus was able to build some momentum upfront with Foden, but his efforts were not as clinical in most parts of the game. Guardiola will be looking forward to his progression as he demands more consistency.
Ruben Dias: 5/10
The Portuguese international did not have much to provide in the game, as his side spent the later minutes of the game in the Cheltenham half. He completed 18 passes and brought stability in the backline.
Ilkay Gundogan: 6/10
The 30-year-old came on as a substitute in the 68th minute to showcase his experience, and he desperately tried to make the difference in an hour of need. His staggering run inside the box was way too much to handle for Cheltenham’s defense, and his final assist to Ferran Torres killed the game off.
Joao Cancelo: 6.5/10
Sent on in place of Benjamin Mendy for the final thirteen minutes, the Portuguese full-back delivered within no time. Just a few minutes after his arrival, the former Juventus man created four chances for his colleagues. It was his cross in the final third that allowed Foden to slot the ball into the net.