Manchester City advance to the sixth round of the FA Cup
Manchester City managed to advance to the next round of the FA Cup after beating Peterborough in a complicated match full of inaccuracies.
To tell you the truth, I was quite surprised to see the lineup that we presented today, as I didn't expect to see such a good team on the pitch, especially considering that the Manchester Derby will be played on Sunday.
However, I'm obviously not complaining, I appreciate that these games are taken seriously from the start, at least as far as the starting XI is concerned, because there have been times when it seems that this is not the case and it doesn't seem fair to anyone.
That said, the reality is that from the defensive line the team looked pretty good, as Aké and Zinchenko have been at an excellent level for several games now. On the other hand, the midfield also looked fabulous, as Fernandinho is incredibly good and it's always a pleasure to watch him play.
Now talking about the match, I must confess that I thought the rival team's approach was fabulous from the start because at no time was their intention to go out and hide, in fact, the match started with them pressing high and having the first dangerous chance of the game.
I always highlight this kind of attitude because you don't normally see it and, to tell the truth, it gets frustrating and boring to see the same old games where the opponent puts 10 of their players in their own box to defend.
Having said that, I found it quite interesting how from the start all the forwards rotated positions so that even Jack used to move a bit to the midfield so that Phil had the freedom to occupy the false 9 position.
Now, being honest the model we used today is one that works against a team that is clearly inferior in terms of the squad, but I don't think it is something we would use on a regular basis.
I say this because for most of the first half our center backs were so far forward that they played almost the midfield line accompanied by Fernandinho, while Cancelo and Zinchenko were constantly stepping into the opposing box.
This may seem good at first, but the reality is that it is not so simple, because during many moments with long balls they ended up winning the backs of both Ruben and Ake, in fact, early in the game Nathan was booked just for that situation.
Having clarified this I must highlight Foden's performance as many times as possible because playing as a midfielder the guy is a spectacle. Today he was in charge of leading the team, but that's not all, he also attacked, defended, recovered the ball, and gave a couple of masterful assists.
To be honest, I don't understand why he doesn't play much in midfield, I imagine Pep will have his reasons, but after today's performance, I think he should be considered to play in that position more often.
Finally, I would like to highlight some of the negative points of the game.
Some time ago I mentioned that we were seeing more and more preparation in free kicks and corner kicks, but today it seemed that all that work had completely disappeared. During the first half, City had countless crosses into the box and not a single one resulted in any dangerous play, in fact, most of them ended up at Ederson's feet, meaning that the ball went all over the pitch.
Secondly, there is the issue of long-distance shooting. I find it incredible to think that players with so much quality are not encouraged to shoot and want to enter the box with passes, especially in a game where the opponent was defending spectacularly.
Finally, there is the case of Zinchenko and I hope I am not being misunderstood here by any means, I understand that the Ukrainian is going through a very complicated situation right now and it makes me very happy that he was given the captain's armband today, but the reality is that in this game for many moments it seemed like we were playing for him to score, and that, in my opinion, is not taking the game with the right seriousness either.
The match was marked by 3 important moments.
- 9' Ederson's save: As I said, Peterborough had the first chance to open the scoring just after 9 minutes, but Ederson miraculously saved a ball that looked like it was going to end in a goal. This moment was crucial because I think it would have been extremely difficult to come back.
- 60' Mahrez's goal: At this point in the match things were not going well, in fact, the team looked unfocused, but fortunately, Riyad came up with a brilliant strike to score and give us the lead.
- 66' Grealish's goal: Jack has been one of the most criticized players both for his cost and his "low" performance, that's why this goal deserves to be highlighted, as it will surely help him to get out of this bad streak.
Players of the Match
As it could not be otherwise and as you may have already deduced from what he says in the first part, the man of the match was undoubtedly Foden.
At his young age, he has an impressive ability to understand each match and to occupy the spaces that his teammates leave free, in addition, he enjoys a privileged left foot, which gives him the ability to make assists like today.
Secondly, we have Riyad, as the Algerian has been one of our best players for quite some time and today his goal gave us the opportunity to gain confidence and open the scoring.
Mahrez is being a key player for us this season, so hopefully, he will start next Sunday.
Last but not least is Jack. As I said Grealish has suffered a lot of hate from people because he has not delivered the results expected, but today not only did he score, but he also looked very involved.
Surely this goal will help him to get out of the bad streak, which is good news, as we all know the great quality he has.
· Grealish talked about his aspirations with the team. "I expect more, I want to get a lot more. I’ve been speaking with the manager and he’s been helping. I want to get goals and assists but he said it’s not all about that. He’s trusted me in a lot of big games which I feel I’ve done alright in..." [via @itvfootball]
· On the other hand, our coach spoke about Riyad's good moment. "He loves football, he loves to play football. For him, it's not a profession, it's a joy. That's why he would play tomorrow, day after tomorrow, every single game, every single day. He has an incredible quality up front." [via @itvfootball]
· Finally, Pep spoke about Foden's assistance and Jack's return. “The pass from Phil was excellent - the control was excellent from Jack. He was aggressive in the final third and is back from injury.” [via @ManCity]
Manchester City will face Manchester United next Sunday, March 6.