Holders Manchester City continued their fine form in the Carabao Cup with a routine win over Fulham.
Pep Guardiola tinkered with the squad that narrowly defeated Tottenham at Wembley on Monday evening. The Catalan coach made 10 changes to the side, with just John Stones retaining his place in the starting lineup.
A double from Spaniard Brahim Diaz was enough to see off Slavisa Jokanovic’s side at the Etihad. Here’s how I rated Guardiola’s City players…
Aro Muric – 6
A second successive start in the Carabao Cup for City’s teenage goalkeeper, who is yet to concede a goal for City. In truth, he would have had to make a dreadful error to concede a goal, with Fulham being rendered to mere shots from distance – nothing to trouble the Montenegrin goalkeeper.
Danilo – 7
A pleasing return to first team action for City’s Brazilian, who has hardly featured this season due to injuries. Danilo was an outlet going forward and made some good tackles defensively.
John Stones – 6.5
Out of the two central defenders, John Stones looked like the one who had been playing at City for 10 years, not Kompany. The England international is growing in confidence although he had little to do tonight.
Vincent Kompany – 6
A solid night for Vinnie, who had little to do. The Belgian kept the tough striker Mitrovic quiet for the second time this season.
Oleksandr Zinchenko – 6
Was camped in the attacking half for the majority of the game, and looked promising. Not a lot else to say for Zinchenko, who looks to be enjoying his football in Manchester still.
Fabian Delph – 6
Slotted into Fernandinho’s midfield role with relative ease. Fulham didn’t really trouble Delph or City, with the likes of Tom Cairney struggling to get on the ball.
Kevin De Bruyne – 7
A worrying end to De Bruyne’s night – the Belgian limped off at the end holding his knee. Luckily for City, it seemed to be the other knee to the one that he injured at the start of the season. Apart from this, De Bruyne bossed the midfield and is starting to grow into his normal self after a slow return.
Phil Foden – 7
Another performance to get City fans excited for Phil Foden’s future. The 18-year-old is maturing game by game and looks like he could be the one to buck the trend of City academy graduates. He arrives into the box at the perfect time like a prime Frank Lampard, and turns his men at ease like a prime Andres Iniesta. Foden was unlucky not to have a goal, with a couple of narrow misses.
Brahim Diaz – 8
Two goals and a decent performance for young Brahim Diaz, who seems to be forgotten with the plethora of attacking options City have. Despite this, the Spaniard always makes a good account for himself when he plays, and tonight was no exception to that. Strong rumours have circulated of late that Diaz is probably not going to renew his deal, with Real Madrid reportedly interested. Based on tonight’s performance, he will be a big loss.
Gabriel Jesus – 8
Probably Gabriel Jesus’ best performance in a City shirt this season. The Brazilian made some excellent runs, interpreted spaces in the box with ease, and created chances for himself time after time. A goal would have topped off a brilliant performance, but it wasn’t to be, as he was denied by the post and goalkeeper a number of times. On a few occasions, it felt like Jesus was trying a bit too hard to impress, a bit like Riyad Mahrez this time six weeks ago. If he gets a goal and a run of games, Jesus’ form will start to return to what it was eighteen months ago.
Leroy Sane – 7.5
A great evening for City’s German winger, who gave Fulham defenders a terrible night. He dribbled in and out of Fulham with ease time after time, and created many chances for his teammates. He could have had a goal for himself, but his performance shows City’s depth is top quality.
Riyad Mahrez (for Brahim Diaz) – N/A
Monday’s match winner replaced tonight’s match winner with little time to go, and didn’t really see the ball.
Claudio Gomes (for Kevin De Bruyne) – N/A
City’s teenage midfielder signed from Paris in the summer replaced De Bruyne in what was his Etihad Stadium debut. A proud day for the boy many refer to as N’Golo Kante 2.0.