Manchester City faced Sheffield United at Wembley on Saturday in the FA Cup semi final as they set their sights on reaching the final.
The blues put on a slow-paced, yet professional display as they led their way to a comfortable 3-0 win against the Blades.
Whilst City never really stepped out of first gear, and with some significant changes to the side, they never really looked troubled other than once instance in the opening minutes of the game.
As predicted, some rotation ensued as Pep selected a starting line up that enabled him to rest some big players ahead of the intense upcoming fixtures.
Starting XI: Ortega, Walker, Akanji, Laporte, Gomez, Gundogan (C), Bernardo, Mahrez, Grealish, Alvarez, and Haaland.
The first goal came late in the first half as Bernardo was taken down in the penalty area. Considering it was quite evidently a “clear and obvious” foul on the Portuguese, the ITV commentary team managed to have a nonsense debate about the challenge and penalty decision.
With fans ringing Haalands name around Wembley, it was Mahrez that stepped up to take the spot kick. Sending the keeper the wrong way, he slotted it home to make it 1-0 before the break.
Pep made no changes at half time, and the blues looked to continue controlling the game and preserving their energy.
The commentary team spoke of how well Sheffield United were doing in defending as a unit in the hopes to catch the City on the counter. However, this played into Pep’s and his boys hands as this could have been a very physical tie. It was instead a training ground, relaxed game of domination which enabled the City boys to save their energy and avoid any injuries.
Manchester City’s second goal came from some individual brilliance from Riyad Mahrez, as he won back the ball on the half way line and progressed the ball forward singlehandedly directly to the penalty area.
As Sheffield United defenders backed off, understandably aware of goal-machine Haaland, and World Cup winner Alvarez on either side of Mahrez, who comfortably finished his run by simply passing the ball past the keeper.
The third goal saw Grealish with further goal contributions, adding another assist to his tally. With his havoc causing down the left, he passed a perfectly weighted ball to Mahrez who had entered the 6 yard box unmarked and banged it into the bottom corner.
Subs saw one of our own, Foden return to action for the first time since his surgery, and Palmer on for Haaland and Grealish, presumably with the big one on Wednesday in mind.
Gundogan then made way for a decent Kalvin Phillips cameo; and finally Rico Lewis replacing Bernardo Silva in the 81st minute.
Manchester City will find out who they will face in the FA Cup final on Sunday, as Manchester United hope to ease their European blues by knocking out Brighton who are in good form.