Five Things We Learned: Man City 2-1 Bournemouth (Carabao Cup)
Goals from Liam Delap and Phil Foden were enough to see Manchester City edge past Bournemouth, despite a respectable showing from the visitors.
Here's what we learned from City's first cup outing of the 2020/21 season...
I'm Not Getting Carried Away, But...
Liam Delap might be the best striker of all time. The 17-year-old, who isn't legally old enough to drink until February, made his first Manchester City start on Thursday night and delivered in quite some style.
The pass from Phil Foden was fantastic, but Delap's finish was absolutely wonderful. Before tonight, most Manchester City fans had gotten no more than whispers about teenager's promise, so it was fantastic to get our first taste of him in action for the senior team. I'd be very surprised if that's the last time we see him bag this season. If he's nurtured right (fingers crossed he will be), we could have an academy prospect banging them in on the regular for years to come.
The Backup Brigade's Backup Brigade Deliver
It would be an understatement to say we played our second team. Even some of the usual second-choice players - Nicolas Otamendi comes to mind - were unavailable for the Bournemouth match, so Pep Guardiola was forced to deploy a plethora of academy talent. In many ways, it was a third team.
Coming up against a team of mostly senior Bournemouth players, the majority of whom have spent the last several years playing Premier League football, it's fair to say that the kids are alright. From Liam Delap's great debut, to Taylor Harwood-Bellis at the back, there's certainly plenty of promise in this generation of youngsters for Manchester City.
Solid Debut for Steffen
For the last few seasons, Manchester City have called upon Claudio Bravo as their backup shot-stopper, and it's fair to say it's been a turbulent ride. The Chilean international wasn't perfect, but he did deliver some fine moments once the pressure of being number one was lifted.
Tonight, a new era began for Manchester City's goalkeeping department thanks to the debut of USA international Zack Steffen. I think he did pretty well, although it wasn't the busiest night of his career. I've been genuinely impressed with how he's been talking in the build-up to tonight, and his performance backed that up: calm, mature, already a part of the team spirit. My only worry is that he may not be happy to play back-up for long - and as good as he is, why should he be?
Pep Still Cares About the Carabao
Before tonight's game, some people were anticipating a complete write-off from Pep Guardiola. But the line-up this evening, although weakened, was nowhere near Manuel Pellegrini vs Chelsea levels. There were still plenty of experienced players on show.
In the second half, too, Pep's substitutes reminded us why he's one of the best managers of all time. He takes every competition seriously, and always wants to win. Bringing on Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne was a stark reminder that he wants to win every game he plays, no matter how many times we've won it in the last five years.
Phil Foden: A True Goalscoring Midfielder
This guy could be one of the best goalscoring midfielders since Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard. I'm not kidding. Phil Foden seems to always know where to be to tap in the rebounds, low crosses, through-balls. You can't teach that kind of instinct.
Of course, Foden is also capable of some fantastic goals, and spectacular moments that light up the pitch, but what will make him one of the best midfielders of his generation is that almost striker-esque instinct to arrive in the right place at the right time. There's no doubt by now that we have something very special on our hands. Let's not waste it, yeah?
You can follow the author on Twitter here: @zufariblue
You can follow us on Twitter for live Man City updates: @City_Xtra