Teenage starlets were the shining lights as a youthful Manchester City overcame early setback to put Wycombe Wanderers to the sword.
Manchester City used the right blend of youth and experience to see off a plucky Wycombe Wanderers side that attempted to unsettle the applecart at the Etihad. The visitors took a shock lead through Brandan Hanlan in the 22nd minute. Rather than set the stage for an upset, it woke up Pep Guardiola’s side who were unrelenting in their punishment.
What followed was a barrage of goals, something key after the blank they struck against Southampton at the weekend. Kevin De Bruyne brought City on level terms in the 29th minute before Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden made the score 3-1 at half-time. Second half strikes from Mahrez, Ferran Torres and Cole Palmer added the gloss on what was an utterly dominant display on the night.
Guardiola’s side on the night featured a new-look back four that was made up entirely of 18-year-olds. To their credit, the youngsters held their own and used the stage to showcase their potential. City will definitely face bigger challenges in the coming weeks, but the game served as a stepping board for some promising youngsters while also helping get some of the veterans to full speed. We now look at how the City players fared on the night.
Zack Steffen: 7/10
Should have done better to prevent Wycombe’s opener. Did well to make a point-blank save from Jordan Obita to keep the score at 3-1. Had little to do otherwise. Marshalled his young defence well and will be disappointed not to have kept a clean sheet.
Conrad Egan-Riley: 7/10
The Manchester City academy starlet formed an excellent partnership on the right alongside the mercurial Kevin De Bruyne. Belied his years and put up a proper performance that had shades of a veteran in it.
Finley Burns: 7/10
The youngster did exactly what Pep Guardiola demands of his backline. Not only was he solid in defence but stepped out of the backline, bringing the ball forward. Took his opportunity well.
Luke Mbete: 7/10
The teenager turned 18 just three days ago but produced a performance that made a mockery of his youth. Mbete was strong, aerially dominant, commanding and showed off his impressive passing range. The youngster impressed Guardiola in pre-season and it is easy to see why. Manchester City might have a real talent on their hands.
Reflections from Burns and Mbete after their senior debuts! 💬
— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 21, 2021
Josh Wilson-Esbrand: 7/10
Wilson-Esbrand looked nervous and hesitant but got into his groove as the game went on. Linked up well on the left flank and even got himself an assist thanks to Riyad Mahrez. Taken off after 72 minutes. Remains to be seen if he will compete with Oleksandr Zinchenko for more playtime in the coming months.
Romeo Lavia: 7/10
The young Belgian played the anchoring role in midfield to perfection. Lavia helped dictate play and formed a real point of connection between the attack and defence. Booked in the first half but otherwise did not let Manchester City miss Fernandinho.
Kevin De Bruyne: 6/10
Not the veteran midfielder’s best outing. However, De Bruyne still managed to make an impact and also scored his first goal of the season. Slowly getting back his groove ahead of upcoming clashes against Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool.
Riyad Mahrez: 7/10
The Algerian started off slowly but grew into the game as the match went on. Scored an impressive brace and also struck the bar with an impressive strike. Gives himself a real opportunity of starting the mouthwatering clash against Chelsea at the weekend.
Phil Foden: 9/10
The pick of Manchester City’s players on the night. Foden showed off exactly why he is so highly rated with an excellent goal and two assists. Another City star who is rediscovering his best before a run of key games.
6-1 into the next round, so happy to be back on the scoresheet 💪🏻😄 pic.twitter.com/aCPbHkhnCB
— Phil Foden (@PhilFoden) September 21, 2021
Ferran Torres: 6/10
The 21-year-old Spaniard showed good movement and helped stretch the Wycombe defence. Scoring on the night, which will have done his confidence good.
Raheem Sterling: 6/10
The English international was handed just his third start of the season for Manchester City. Linked up well on the flank, playing a key role in a number of good City attacks. However, he lacked the final touch and often fell apart whenever he got near goal. A good performance but more will be needed if he is keen to return to the City first XI.
Job done…. In the Hat for Round 4! pic.twitter.com/tWtO6DyJbw
— Raheem Sterling (@sterling7) September 21, 2021
Cole Palmer: 7/10
The youngster came on for Ferran Torres in the 72nd minute. He got himself onto the scoresheet in what was a night he will remember. Another player to watch out for this season.
James McAtee: 6/10
Replaced the impressive Wilson-Esbrand in the 72nd minute and slotted in at left-back. Gave a good account of himself and was solid even if unspectacular.