Chelsea 5-1 Manchester City: The verdict on City's youngsters
By Adam Bate at Stamford Bridge
Last Updated: 22/02/16 12:45pm
Manuel Pellegrini caused a stir with his team selection for Manchester City's FA Cup fifth-round tie with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Chelsea thrash youthful City
Chelsea booked their place in the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 5-1 win over a young Man City side.
The City boss's youthful line-up included five teenagers making their full debuts for the club and it proved a difficult afternoon as they went down 5-1 to Chelsea's first-teamers.
But there was plenty of promise on display, with David Faupala even marking the occasion with a goal. Here's the verdict on the five full debuts and Brandon Barker's late cameo...
Pellegrini defends selection
Manuel Pellegrini defended his decision to make nine changes after Man City lost 5-1 to Chelsea.
Getting on the scoresheet must be regarded as a triumph even against the backdrop of a 5-1 defeat and Faupala earned his moment after impressing from the outset. The Frenchman announced himself by turning Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill inside out in the third minute - nutmegging both men before firing off a shot on goal.
A free transfer arrival in the summer having run his contract down at Lens, this was his first appearance for the first-team and he forced the ball into the net for a debut goal when seizing upon Kelechi Iheanacho's squared ball. Not everything was straightforward for him after that, but he worked hard throughout and will be hoping for more opportunities now.
The one local lad among the youngsters included by Pellegrini, Adarabioyo's first taste of first-team action saw him up against Diego Costa. With pace and strength, he appears to possess the physical attributes to cope at this level, but there were signs of nerves in his distribution. Indeed, the 18-year-old completed only four of his 12 passes in the first half.
One passage of play on the hour mark summed up his afternoon - a poor pass, followed by a well-timed tackle and then another misplaced ball forwards. But as a pure defender, his assets were in evidence with important blocks from Pedro and Willian in quick succession just before the interval. His seven clearances were also more than anyone else on the pitch.
Garcia's only involvement prior to this match came in two substitute appearances in the Capital One Cup, with the Spaniard marking the second of those with a goal in a 5-1 win over Crystal Palace. He had the chance to add to his account at Stamford Bridge but delayed his shot from the edge of the box and saw a left-footed effort blocked by Gary Cahill.
Aside from that, this was an accomplished performance by the 18-year-old as he showcased a series of nice touches - at one point gliding away from Cesc Fabregas - and also working hard tracking back with Baba Rahman. His best moment came in the build-up to City's goal as he traded passes with namesake Aleix Garcia to fashion the opening.
The 18-year-old Spaniard was another making his first appearance for Manchester City's first-team but did debut in La Liga for Villarreal in May prior to making his summer switch. Playing in central midfield alongside Fernando, this was a test for him and he did show signs of fading late on - but only after displaying a composure that will serve him well in his career.
He was on hand to play the aforementioned one-two for City's goal and that was just one example of his astute use of the ball. Garcia made more passes than any of his team-mates - 69 in total, with 90 per cent of them finding a City shirt. He also made five interceptions. Nobody made more. Could he be someone Pep Guardiola might be keen to mould next season?
Celina, a Kosovan winger who grew up in Norway, made an impression in coming on for his Premier League debut against Leicester as he set up Sergio Aguero for City's late consolation goal. He'd also appeared as a substitute in the previous two FA Cup ties but this was his first start and the 19-year-old was unable to exert much influence from the left flank.
In fact, he struggled to make any impression up against marker Cesar Azpilicueta, failing to fashion a chance, shot or even a dribble during his 53 minutes on the pitch. His use of the ball was tidy enough when he was fed possession but this was an experience to highlight the steep learning curve ahead for a talented player.
Cameron Humphreys also made a late appearance - his second in the competition - but for Barker, this was his first game at first-team level for City and the 19-year-old England Under-20 international offered glimpses of his obvious potential. Indeed, he certainly caused more problems for Azpilicueta than Celina, the man he replaced early in the second half.
Barker, who has been at City since the age of eight, introduced himself by running at Azpilicueta to win a corner and there was also a fine chest control late on that almost saw him evade the full-back. One loose pass did hint at a certain nonchalance, but he enjoyed his cameo and there were words of encouragement from Joe Hart upon the final whistle.