Phil Foden takes centre stage as Man City successfully navigate FA Cup trip to Newport County
Manchester City avoided a giant-killing to reach the quarter-final stage of the FA Cup with a 4-1 victory at Newport County. The Premier League leaders had to survive some uncomfortable moments in a goalless first half before strikes from Leroy Sane and Phil Foden seemed to end the tie. But Padraig Almond pulled a goal back late on for Newport only for Foden to add his second just over a minute later before Riyad Mahrez scored a fourth in injury time.
This was a no-win situation against League Two opposition on a terrible pitch. It was all about survival and City are into the sixth-round draw with the "quadruple" dream still alive, all while avoiding any injuries ahead of their Champions League trip to Schalke.
Newport's set pieces caused City's defence huge problems. The Welsh side launched the ball into the box every opportunity they had and their physicality was a real threat to the Premier League champions. Had they taken one of their chances, it could have been an even more awkward evening.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Pep Guardiola warned that Newport would be a threat in the air and he was proved right. City didn't have the personnel to cope with it so their plan was to give the opponents as few opportunities as possible to get the ball into the box, which they did more successfully in the second half. The Catalan may have looked nervous on the touchline but he didn't panic and eventually their disciplined passing and movement ground down the League Two strugglers.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Ederson, 8 -- Spared City's blushes with a good save from Tyreeq Bakinson early on. Had one scare on the bobby pitch with the ball at his feet but got out of trouble himself.
DF Danilo, 6 -- Had a difficult first half defensively but improved in the second and was unlucky not to score with a long-range strike and another shot that hit the woodwork.
DF John Stones, 6 -- Not easy conditions for a ball-playing centre-back and had a real battle with the physical Jamille Matt.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 5 -- In the side to deal with Newport's aerial threat but didn't command the box from long throw-ins.
DF Oleksandr Zinchenko, 7 -- Built on his impressive performance against Chelsea and looked good going forward.
MF Fernandinho, 7 -- Prepared to do the hard work in the middle of the pitch to cut out any Newport counter-attacking threats.
MF Phil Foden, 8 -- Two brilliant individual goals capped an excellent performance from the 18-year-old who also showed he's prepared for a scrap.
MF David Silva, 7 -- At times, his touch was exquisite on the threadbare pitch as he tried to unlock Newport's defence.
FW Riyad Mahrez, 6 -- A big threat cutting inside onto his left foot but had to wait until the final kick of the match before squeezing a shot past Joe Day.
FW Gabriel Jesus, 5 -- Not easy up against the Newport's centre-backs, who were happy to use some lower league tactics.
FW Leroy Sane, 7 -- Had a nice green patch of grass to play on and made the most of it as City's biggest attacking threat. Flicked the top of the crossbar in the first half before powering in the opener.
DF Aymeric Laporte, N/R -- Lost the flight of the ball for Almond's goal.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, N/R -- Kept City's control of the ball.