Premier League leaders Manchester City are through to the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup after hammering Championship Hull City 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
Kevin De Bruyne scored a brace and Wilfried Bony and Kelechi Iheanacho also got on the scoresheet against the Tigers.
The competition will not be at the top of City boss Manuel Pellegrini’s trophies to win this season, but he picked a very strong team anyway in the quarter-final.
A strong team selection
A number of teams rested their star players in the league cup, but City decided to pick a line-up that would not have been amiss in the Premier League. Some may say that City have the resources to field two teams and the strength of the City starting line-up last night probably illustrated that.
However, the inclusion of the likes of David Silva, back from injury and in need of playing time and Belgian attacking midfielder Kevin De Bruyne showed that City were taking progression in the competition seriously.
Silva’s return from injury is a major boost for City. The Citizens may have big resources and a strong squad, but the little Spaniard adds a touch of magic to the City team that very few players in European football possess.
He is quite simply a cut above most of his teammates and opposition when it comes to vision and football intelligence. The thought of Silva linking up with the likes of De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling will be a mouth-watering one for City fans.
Clean sweep of silverware
The Citizens owners have invested a lot of money in the club in recent years, so will likely expect a clean sweep of trophies this season. The league cup is often derided, but it is still a piece of silverware to go in the trophy cabinet.
Winning a trophy just adds a winning mentality to any club, even if City’s priorities lie with winning the Premier League title and progressing in the Champions League.
It may seem strange to other teams supporters that City are taking the competition seriously, but I am sure City fans would not turn their noses up at winning the league cup, as long as it is not at the expense of the others competitions they are involved in.
Give somebody else a turn
Manchester City are attempting to take over the universe, Darth Vader will be in the Etihad dugout soon. I am not sure how he would take to being fired if results did not go his team’s way though.
The players would definitely have extra motivation to perform with Lord Vader in charge. Current boss Manuel Pellegrini has made changes to his team in the league cup this season, but it has not given opposition team’s enough of a chance to beat the Citizens.
Admittedly it is not City’s job to give the opposition a chance, but the likes of Everton and Stoke are in far worse need of a trophy. The trophy cabinets of both clubs have been gathering dust for a fair while now and the tour guides have fallen asleep.
Stoke’s only ever major domestic trophy win came in this competition over 40 years ago. Meanwhile it has been well-documented that it is 20 years since the Toffees won any silverware.
The joke on Merseyside is that when any dignitaries come to visit Goodison Park and ask to look at the trophies the Toffees point them across Stanley Park to Liverpool. However, to be fair the Reds have only won two trophies in the last nine years, so they are not exactly in a position to scoff at winning the Capital One Cup either.
However, City remain the favourites to win the trophy at odds of 4/5 and seem determined to win as much silverware as they can, maybe their owners have bought shares in Brasso, who knows. Maybe they just have their minds set on City dominating every competition.
Whatever the reason for City taking the league cup seriously, they have the will and resources to win the competition this season. At the moment I certainly would not bet against the Citizens, because as they proved against Hull they have enough players to challenge for every competition.
Will Manchester City win the Capital One Cup this season?