Manchester City started their Emirates FA Cup defence with a comprehensive win over Huddersfield Town on Sunday afternoon.
The Championship side arrived at the Etihad knowing that anything other than a loss would be a tough ask against the treble-winners; and Pep Guardiola’s side started the better but lost Manuel Akanji to injury after less than 20 minutes.
City had to be patient but the broke the deadlock after the half hour mark through Phil Foden, who smashed in with his left foot from a tight angle at close range.
Just like buses, after waiting some time, two come at once and this was just what happened at the Etihad as Julian Alvarez doubled his side’s lead.
After a scramble in the box, Rico Lewis’ scuffed shot was turned goalward by the Argentine as Huddersfield struggled to stop the floodgates opening.
Following as many as seven minutes of injury time, City went into the break with a two-goal lead despite Town’s stoic defending.
Ten minutes into the second-half and Guardiola chose to make two substitutions, welcoming back the injured Kevin De Bruyne and Jeremy Doku.
The Belgian duo replaced Julian Alvarez and Jack Grealish respectively, before City added a third goal through a deflected strike from Oscar Bobb.
Foden soon fired in a fourth for his side and a second for himself on the day with a well-placed powerful finish from the edge of the box, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance.
The goals did not stop there though, with City’s returning Belgian duo combining for the first time in City colours as De Bruyne assisted Doku wonderfully to make it five.
Midfielder Jacob Wright came on to make his debut for the club alongside youngster Michah Hamilton, as Mateo Kovacic and Foden departed play.
Here are five things we learned from Manchester City’s cup win over Huddersfield Town.
Treble defence continues
Manchester City completed an amazing triumph last season by emphatically winning the Treble including the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.
Before Sunday they were yet to play in the latter but when they took to the Etihad pitch it was a stark reminder why Pep Guardiola’s side were so victorious last campaign.
The Catalan coach often talks about the FA Cup with a lot of respect for the oldest football competition in the world and his passion clearly remains for it this year as well.
If the Cityzens are to replicate last time’s fantastic achievements they must continue to win in all competitions and getting that first victory on Sunday was an important step.
Attackers on red-hot form
It is no secret that Manchester City are missing several players through injury with the majority of these being key attackers.
Without Erling Haaland, Jeremy Doku and Kevin De Bruyne, City have had to find the goals through different sources.
Both Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez have been in red-hot form since the injury crisis with them scoring nine and 12 goals respectively this season in all competitions.
Both notched again on Sunday to break the deadlock and reminded the fans once more just how pivotal they have been in recent weeks in keeping City afloat on all fronts.
Fan favourites return
Despite Manchester City winning the match and scoring a fair few goals, most fans leaving the ground will have been more happy about something else at the Etihad.
Belgian stars Kevin De Bruyne and Jeremy Doku returned from their injuries, coming off the bench on Sunday afternoon.
Both as strong fan favourites due to their attacking prowess are welcome additions back to the City squad, especially De Bruyne, who had been out since the season’s opening day.
The pair combined for the first time in City colours with the midfielder assisting Doku to add the fifth for their side on the day.
Having both back and fresh is almost like having two brand new January transfers to help boost Pep Guardiola’s title charge as the fixture list begins to build-up.
Injury problems continue
Despite some faces returning on Sunday, Manchester City were hit with more injury woes during their FA Cup encounter with Huddersfield Town.
As mentioned, City have been without the likes of Erling Haaland, Jeremy Doku and Kevin De Bruyne in recent weeks and months through injuries.
It was announced before the cup clash that Bernardo Silva would miss out through illness and Manuel Akanji was then forced off injured early on in the match.
With a fully fit squad at his disposal, Pep Guardiola will hope to push on in the coming months and try and replicate their triumphs of last season.
After a rocky period prior to Christmas, Manchester City appear to have well and truly found their groove once more.
The goals have been flowing in recent games with as many as 12 in four matches prior to Sunday’s clash, and City only built on this at the Etihad!
Five goals in a convincing and comprehensive performance from the Premier League champions helped, with familiar faces returning from injures and the goals pouring.
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