The visitors opened the scoring early on through Brandon Hanlan and there were fears of a long night ahead for the Cityzens. However, Kevin De Bruyne led the comeback for City with a powerful shot drilled into the bottom right corner, announcing a proper return to the fans at the Etihad.
It was all Manchester City from there on, with Riyad Mahrez’s mirror-image brace, a thunderbolt from Phil Foden, a cheeky tap-in from Ferran Torres and an extremely well worked solo goal from Cole Palmer late into the game, taking Pep Guardiola’s men into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.
Coming off the back of a disappointing 0-0 home draw against Southampton at the weekend, the reigning Carabao Cup champions did extremely well to dispatch of a decent Wycombe side to progress further into what has seemingly become their favourite cup competition.
Here are five things we learned from City’s resounding victory against the Chairboys!
The Carabao Kings are back!
The eight-time champions returned to League Cup action with a bang on Tuesday at the Etihad with a 6-1 thumping of Gareth Ainsworth’s side. The Blues are now on course for a record-breaking ninth title as they progress into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.
If City do manage to go all the way into this year’s campaign, they will become the most successful team in the League Cup’s history, winning five of those in a row. And now with Pep Guardiola managing to win the fixture with a playing eleven which had more City Academy scholars than senior players, it is safe to say that the Carabao Kings are back!
A youthful night at the Etihad
With five injuries to key players in the senior squad, Pep Guardiola summoned a handful of talented City Football Academy scholars to face Wycombe on Tuesday night.
Pep Guardiola surprised everyone with an all-academy back four of CJ Egan-Riley, Finley Burns, Luke Mbete-Tabu and Josh Wilson-Esbrand against an experienced Wycombe side led by the monstrously built Adebayo Akinfenwa.
Despite conceding a goal early on as a result of vigorous pinballing in City’s box, the young defence shined on their debut for the English champions. James McAtee marked his senior debut, a bit unusually, as he slid into the left-back position and gave his best nevertheless.
Romeo Lavia slotted in perfectly at his mentor Fernandinho’s position in the midfield, and produced a fine performance at the highest level, without looking out of pace at just seventeen years of age.
Cole Palmer, now with a few senior outings under his belt, came on at the 72nd minute and made his mark with a brilliant drive down from the halfway line, finished off with an exquisite finish for City’s sixth.
With a host of exceptionally talented youngsters ready for first-team action, these are exciting times for the City Football Academy as the future has never looked brighter!
Phil Foden’s thunderous return
Another academy product, but now a CFA veteran, inspired City’s astounding victory which took them through to the fourth round. Phil Foden announced his proper return to action after a two-month spell on the sidelines due to a foot injury.
The 21-year-old was right on the money against Wycombe, as he set up Kevin De Bruyne for City’s equaliser and put the Blues firmly into the lead just before half-time with a ripping stunner from 25 yards out.
The Stockport-born player went on to set up Ferran Torres for City’s fourth early in the second half and capped off a brilliant return to action just before a vital set of fixtures in the coming days.
Rested for the upcoming battles
Pep Guardiola rested a big group of key individuals for the fixture on Tuesday night with high-pressure games against league leaders Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool on the horizon.
Ederson, Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo had played every minute of City’s season so far and were due a rest coming into this fixture.
New addition Jack Grealish, Kyle Walker, veteran Fernandinho, City’s midfield machine Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus were also given the day off with demanding fixtures in mind.
Nathan Ake, who is one of the only two fit centre back’s at City currently, was granted compassionate leave due to the sad and unfortunate passing of his father last week.
With a short break for numerous key individuals in the squad ahead of crucial fixtures before the international break, Pep Guardiola will be a little relaxed heading into the next three games.
City’s left-back prospects looking bright
Pep Guardiola’s left-back struggles, now well into his sixth season at the club, are very well documented and sympathised with. However, a brilliant outing from the 18-year-old Josh Wilson-Esbrand on Tuesday night afforded a breath of fresh air to everyone watching.
An extremely energetic display on the left side from Wilson-Esbrand, capped off by a clever cut-back towards the penalty spot which was finished off by Riyad Mahrez, earned the exciting youngster an assist on his senior debut.
Although he is perhaps too raw to directly fit into City’s senior squad, Wilson-Esbrand showed enough quality to be earmarked for bigger things in the future.
With his lively runs forward and astute defensive display, this was easily one of the best authentic left-back performances by a City player in quite some time and was surely one of the top five highlights of the night.
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