A strong Manchester City side advanced to the FA Cup fourth round with a comfortable 3-0 home win over Birmingham City on Sunday afternoon.
The quality chasm on display has far exceeded the 33 championship positions that separate sides. Manchester City’s class were on full display for their first two goals. Bernardo Silva got them both, first with a wonderfully executed hip-height volley before putting the finishing touches on a complex team effort in the opening 15 minutes.
Phil Foden added a third with a clean record shortly after half an hour to end the game as a contest. Manchester City’s positional fluidity left Birmingham in pursuit of shadows throughout the game. A trio of halftime changes stole some of the home side’s zipper in play, although Birmingham also deserves some credit for a flurry of menacing moments that were too little, too late.
Here are the Manchester City players’ ratings from their sixth spin win as they menacingly click in top form.
Zack Steffen (GK) – 5/10 – Keeping his place despite Ederson’s return to the bench, the US international has seen moments of unstable handling on the sporadic occasions he has been tested.
Joao Cancelo (RB) – 8/10 – Caused mass confusion in Birmingham’s ranks as he slipped into central midfielder when Manchester City had the ball – which was a lot.
Kyle Walker (CB) – 7/10 – In Cancelo’s absence for the second half, Walker often came out of midfield defense on the ball with ease.
Ruben Dias (CB) – 6/10 – Happy not to have been in contact with an opponent following a typically firm tackle. Rested after the interval.
Benjamin Mendy (LB) – 7/10 – Guilty of a few rusty touches that left Pep Guardiola exasperated on the sidelines in the first exchanges but tightened.
Rodri (DM) – 8/10 – Skillfully swept away the few forays Birmingham dared to mount.
Kevin De Bruyne (CM) – 8/10 – The home team captain played the game with such ease that he had time to tie his laces while the ball was in play. With his boots adjusted, De Bruyne incessantly sliced the visitors several times before being charitably replaced at the break.
Bernardo Silva (CM) – 8/10 – Casually stepped on the ball for a first goal of the season that was worth the wait. Was lucky to win his second career treble, but squandered them.
Riyad Mahrez (RW) – 8/10 – The arrogance personified by a daring goes off the foot in the construction of Silva’s second goal. One of many sounding passes from his left foot throughout the afternoon.
Gabriel Jesus (ST) – 6/10 – Drifted wide to the left with embarrassing regularity, but inflated a flurry of chances on either side of half-time.
Phil Foden (LW) – 8/10 – Turned around the pitch with another performance that pokes fun at the fact that he’s only started 15 of the possible 26 games for the club this season.
Taylor Harwood-Bellis (CB) – 7/10 – Hidden inside when Walker pushed forward, but didn’t have much to do defensively.
Félix Nmecha (CM) – 6/10 – Despite Manchester City’s abundance of possession, struggled to exert any real influence on the proceedings.
John Stones (CB) – 6/10 – Largely untested from the back but responsible for one or two unusually sloppy passes.
Fernandinho (DM) – 6/10
Liam Delap (ST) – 6/10