Manchester City strolled into the Carabao Cup semi-finals with a routine 4-1 win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night.
City took the lead after just three minutes when Gabriel Jesus headed home ahead of goalkeeper Alex Runarsson following a Oleksandr Zinchenko cross. The Citizens dominated throughout the first half but Arsenal snatched an equaliser against the run of play after half an hour.
Gabriel Martinelli, making his first start since a knee injury he picked up in June, put in a lovely left footed cross which Alexandre Lacazette headed into the top corner after holding off Aymeric Laporte.
Arsenal did well following that for the remainder of the first half, but the second half found a more familiar rhythm.
Riyad Mahrez’s free-kick found the top corner through the hands of Runarsson, before Phil Foden took complete control of the game. The young England man got on the end of a swift counter attack to dink the ball over the onrushing keeper, before his cross found the head of Aymeric Laporte to seal the victory.
It was a game where Kevin De Bruyne was given complete rest and the keys to the kingdom were handed to Foden by Pep Guardiola, and the 21 year old delivered like his name was DPD.
Foden was consistently looking for the ball in dangerous areas, always finding space between the lines and on the half-turn. He was progressive with the ball and also fought hard defensively, pressing hard and effectively too.
It was arguably the first time that Guardiola has trusted Foden to be the key creator in his side and it was proven to be the right decision. It was only the second time this season that City have managed to score four goals, with the other coming in a 5-0 win over Burnley.
At 21 years old, Foden is quite clearly the future of the Manchester City team. I wrote earlier this year that he should be given the keys to the England team now and City now know they can trust in him to do the same for them too if needs be.
David Silva’s absence has been felt this season but putting Foden into that role could be the answer to City’s creative woes going forward.