Phil Foden produced a strong display in midfield as Manchester City qualified for the FA Cup quarter-finals after defeating Peterborough United.
Manchester City advanced to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup after securing a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Peterborough United. It was a rather difficult outing for the Premier League champions, who had to remain patient and defensively resilient to see off the threat from a spirited opposition.
Despite losing the tie, Peterborough gave a good account of themselves by remaining solid at the back and offering very little space inside the box. The Manchester City attack deserves their share of the blame for dwelling on the ball for too long and appearing quite wasteful in front of goal.
It translated into a frustrating first-half that saw the game remain goalless. Peterborough United even made a strong start to the second half and created a couple of good half-chances. Unfortunately for them, they were caught off-guard by Riyad Mahrez’s precise strike in the 60th minute, as he put the ball past Steven Benda, who otherwise had very little to do.
Manchester City capitalised on the momentum created by the goal to extend their advantage seven minutes later, with Jack Grealish exhibiting immense quality to round the ball past Benda. The Citizens could have scored a few more goals but lacked the precision in front of goal.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 1, 2022
Ederson Moraes: 7.5/10
Ederson had a good game between the sticks and came to the fore whenever he was required, notably making an excellent first-half save to deny Jeando Fuchs. He was always alert to the danger and never quite let his guard down, making yet another crucial save in the second half to retain the clean sheet.
Joao Cancelo: 6.5/10
Joao Cancelo produced a slightly underwhelming display, given his lofty standards. He could not offer a consistent source of attacking support on the flanks, though he did look considerably more dangerous in the second half.
Ruben Dias: 6.5/10
Ruben Dias did not have much to do as Peterborough United failed to offer much of an attacking threat in the first half. He was taken off at half-time, with Pep Guardiola keeping one eye on the important Manchester derby on the weekend.
Nathan Ake: 6/10
Nathan Ake was slightly responsible for his losing his concentration and allowing Fuchs the space to make a run in behind and test Ederson in goal. He was off at half-time, but unlike Dias, the youngster may not start in the next game.
Oleksandr Zinchenko: 6.5/10
It was a special night for Oleksandr Zinchenko as he was asked to captain the side. Performance-wise, the Ukrainian left-back did not have the best of nights, but he did improve as the game progressed.
Oleksandr Zinchenko captains Manchester City for the first time against Peterborough United ?? pic.twitter.com/TgV4a22uqX
— GOAL (@goal) March 1, 2022
Fernandinho was given the nod ahead of Rodri as he occupied the holding midfield role. The Brazilian was a key figure in helping Manchester City dominate the proceedings in the middle of the park, while he did not shy away from making tactical fouls either.
Ilkay Gundogan: 7/10
Ilkay Gundogan offered the creative essence in the final third and played a key role in carrying the ball forward. He was unable to play an incisive pass to break open the Peterborough defence that remained resilient throughout the ninety minutes.
Phil Foden: 8/10
Phil Foden was undisputedly the best player on the pitch in the win over Peterborough. He worked hard for his team, notably making a goal-saving block to deny Jorge Grant a goal. It was followed by some exemplary creative work that saw him produce a truly wonderful pass for the second goal scored by Jack Grealish. A creative phenom in the middle of the park.
The pass from Foden. The touch from Grealish.
Perfection ? pic.twitter.com/TXkCC9lpTS
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 1, 2022
Riyad Mahrez: 7/10
Riyad Mahrez was a menace for the Peterborough defence throughout the ninety minutes due to his runs out wide. At the same time, he was quite frustrating to watch, often struggling to offer any real attacking output. He did, however, produce a good finish to net the all-important opener around the hour mark.
Gabriel Jesus: 6.5/10
Gabriel Jesus could not add much of an impact in the Manchester City frontline after being handed a rare starting opportunity. He looked a bit rusty, which is understandable given his lack of footballing action this year.
Jack Grealish: 7/10
Jack Grealish was under pressure to perform after a rough patch. He was always a threat on the left flank thanks to his footwork and ability to probe the defence. For large parts, though, the former Aston Villa captain was not able to create something substantial, and it was only after Foden’s excellent pass that he managed to capitalise and find the back of the net.
Jack Grealish has scored his first ever goal in the #EmiratesFACup.
It's taken him 13 games to break the duck. ? pic.twitter.com/hVHcd36L5P
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 1, 2022
John Stones: 6.5/10
John Stones kept things neat and tidy after coming on for Ake at the start of the second half. He notably created an excellent opportunity for Aymeric Laporte.
Aymeric Laporte: 6/10
Laporte missed that opportunity, with his effort from the six-yard box somehow failing to find the target. The Frenchman was not troubled much defensively, though, despite a nervy start to the second half.