Sunday, September 27, 2020

Preston North End 0-3 Manchester City: Sterling and Jesus see holders into fourth round

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 24 Sep 2019

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Manchester City cruised into the EFL Cup fourth round with a 3-0 win at Preston North End.

The holders, who have a defensive injury crisis, named a back line including teenagers Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Eric Garcia but were untroubled at Deepdale on Tuesday.

Raheem Sterling excelled, scoring the opening goal in the 19th minute and recording two assists in the first half, with Gabriel Jesus also on target for Pep Guardiola’s men.

City led 5-0 inside 18 minutes against Watford last time out in the Premier League, but Preston held firm a little longer. 

Sterling created space for himself with a darting run and his shot deflected off defender Ben Davies to beat Connor Ripley in the Preston goal.

The England forward then created two more before half-time, feeding Jesus to get on the scoresheet and then setting up David Silva for another deflected finish which was credited as a Ryan Ledson own goal.

Jesus headed Angelino’s cross over the top following the restart, then Preston went close to getting on the scoresheet as Josh Harrop’s shot came back off the post.

Phil Foden’s long-range effort rattled the crossbar, Sterling wasted a free-kick in a good position and Ripley brilliantly saved from Jesus in added time, with Alex Neil’s side preventing City from adding to their tally.

What does it mean? City still have enough depth for multiple trophies again

Defeat at Norwich City, when Guardiola rested Kevin De Bruyne, showed the Premier League champions can be vulnerable when they do not name their strongest team. But although Preston are third in the Championship, the gulf in class was large despite De Bruyne’s absence again.

Rookie centre-backs Garcia and Harwood-Bellis were largely untested at the back; the pair will likely see more action in the weeks to come as City aim to repeat their dominance from last term by defending all three of their domestic titles.

Sterling thrives under top billing

With Sergio Aguero and De Bruyne among those given a break, it was down to Sterling to shine in the spotlight. Rested for the demolition of Watford, he looked sharp in a match-winning first-half performance, although he needlessly went down too easily in the box early on.

Foden unable to take his chance

There is rightly huge excitement around Foden, a player believed to be so talented he will be crucial for both City and England in the future. But, on his first start of the season, the 19-year-old could not take the game by the scruff of the neck. He recorded an unimpressive passing accuracy rate of 82.5 per cent.

What’s next?

City are away to Everton on Saturday, when Preston host Bristol City in the Championship.

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