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Bristol City 2-3 City: Talking Points

WEMBLEY: City are through to the Carabao Cup final after a 5-3 aggregate win over Bristol City

WEMBLEY: City are through to the Carabao Cup final after a 5-3 aggregate win over Bristol City

Manchester City are into the Carabao Cup final after a 5-3 aggregate win over Bristol City in the semi-final.

We will play either Chelsea or Arsenal in the final at Wembley in late February.

Club journalist Rob Pollard has taken a look back at the second-leg win at Ashton Gate and picked out some of the game's major talking points. 

1Bernardo shines

There were plenty of good performances for City on a night where our professionalism shone but it was perhaps Bernardo Silva who really caught the eye.

The Portuguese playmaker never stopped. In possession, his quick feet and ability to retain possession were constantly on show, and when we didn’t have the ball, he worked incredibly hard to try and win it back.

Indeed, it was his tenaciousness on the byline that was key to setting up Leroy Sane for the opener, and from there he was influential in many of City's best moments going forward. 

 

2Productive Leroy

Sane is fast becoming one of City’s most consistent weapons.

He has now had direct involvement in seven goals in his last six games (3 goals, 4 assists).

And his assist record this season is worthy of high praise. He’s set up 14 goals so far in all competitions, which is more than any other Premier League-based player (level with Kevin De Bruyne).

A special mention must go to Sergio Aguero, too, who has scored eight goals in six appearances in 2018. The Argentine's goal last night, a fine finish, was his 56th since Pep Guardiola took charge of City in the summer of 2016. Remarkable.

 

3We fight ‘til the end

This was the latest example of City’s ability to score late on.

We’ve already managed goals in the last 10 minutes of games against Everton, Bournemouth (home and away), Liverpool (home and away), Napoli, Watford, Crystal Palace, Huddersfield, Southampton, West Ham, Tottenham, Burnley and the first leg of this semi-final with Bristol City.

And we managed it again last night. After throwing away a two-goal lead, De Bruyne’s finish with the last kick of the game made it 3-2, adding some much-deserved gloss to the aggregate scoreline.

It’s no coincidence City keep managing late goals. It’s a manifestation of the team’s fighting spirit and a sign that our intense high-pressing and quick-passing game wears sides down.

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Bernardo Silva: Full respect to Bristol City

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4History beckons

We are now through to our sixth League Cup final and our record in the competition is pretty good.

We’ve won four of the previous five finals - 1970, 1976, 2014 and 2016 – with our only defeat coming against Wolves in 1974.

Further history beckons on February 25th.

5Congratulations, Pep!

This was Pep’s 500th game as a manager and he registered his 363rd victory – an incredible record. 

The win has put him on the brink of his first major trophy in English football and he will be looking to add to the 21 he managed during spells with Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

He has won a trophy every 23.8 games he’s managed. There can be little doubt he is a genius and City are now benefiting from his ideas and beliefs. 

6Quadruple remains on

Guardiola has, understandably, played down the possibility of winning all four trophies this season.

The sheer number of matches and the quality of our opponents suggests it’s a near-impossible task to win every competition we are involved in.

But, as it stands, here we are in late January still fighting on all four fronts.

Only trophies will see this City side go down as one of the all-time greats in English football but, as Guardiola said after the second-leg win over Bristol City, it’s been an amazing six months, and no one can ever take this away from us. 

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