Man City's Kevin De Bruyne gets 8/10 for orchestrating win vs. Rotherham
MANCHESTER, England -- Manchester City brushed aside Championship club Rotherham United 7-0 to secure a place in the FA Cup fourth round. First-half goals from Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and a Semi Ajayi own goal gave City a comfortable advantage before Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez, Nicolas Otamendi and Leroy Sane scored after the break.
After the crazy intensity of the clash with Liverpool on Thursday night, this was exactly the low-key game that City will have wanted and they came through it impressively. They went back to their passing, controlled game and against inferior opposition, they cut them apart time and again with a performance oozing quality and confidence.
A slight concern in a vastly superior performance, but Gabriel Jesus only scored a tap-in from close range when he could easily have had a hat trick. The striker has just eight goals this season and is still short of some confidence after his difficult World Cup with Brazil. With City still competing in four competitions, City cannot over rely on Sergio Aguero and need Gabriel at his very best.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- With players returning from injury, Pep Guardiola was able to put out a strong side with only two outfield players remaining from the side that started the win against Liverpool. It worked out well with his players hungry and relaxed as they put the intensity of the Premier League title race on hold.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Ederson, 6 -- Almost got caught being over-confident playing out from the back. It was a rare incident he was involved in and, more importantly, he kept his first clean sheet in 11 attempts.
DF Kyle Walker, 7 -- Had a point to prove after losing his place to Danilo in recent games. Enjoyed getting forward as an overlapping full-back and it led to Ajayi's own goal when his low cross put him under huge pressure.
DF John Stones, 7 -- None of the drama of his performance against Liverpool and no need for the goal-line clearances. A laid-back, stylish display when he was able to show his passing ability and comfort on the ball.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 7 -- The physical Jon Taylor did his best to throw him out of his stride but the Argentine was having none of it and gave him few opportunities while smashing in a header in at the other end.
DF Oleksander Zinchenko, 7 -- Made a major couple of errors in his last appearance against Southampton but was back to his best in what is not his favoured position. Solid defensively and enterprising going forward.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, 7 -- Back as a deep-lying midfielder but had a much comfortable afternoon. He was only concerned with getting his team going forward rather than worrying about opposition attacks.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 8 -- His quick thinking and vision clearly haven't been affected by his injuries. Could have had a bagful of assists had his teammates been more clinical but did set up the opener with a delightful disguised pass.
MF Phil Foden, 7 -- Some strong runs from the centre of midfield and was rewarded with his first goal at the Etihad Stadium -- a miscued first touch that was more about luck than judgment.
FW Riyad Mahrez, 6 -- Some bright moments and finally got his goal with a neatly-worked move and finish.
FW Gabriel Jesus, 6 -- Missed a couple of early chances from close range, which would have given him confidence. His build-up work was good and finally got his goal at the start of the second half.
FW Raheem Sterling, 8 -- Caused Rotherham huge problems with his pace and movement. Took the opening goal well and went close on a number of occasions.
MF Leroy Sane, 7 -- A straight replacement and gave Rotherham the same problems only with fresher legs. Scored with a deflected strike.
MF Philippe Sandler, 6 -- An easy debut for the former Ajax defender.
DF Danilo, N/R -- Late change with Stones earning a rest.