Eric Garcia

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League Cup: Spurs shocked by Colchester United; Saints win derby

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A fierce derby returned after years away, and a League Two side outlasted a Champions League finalist while another fourth-tier entrant clinched a spot in the Round of 16 as well.

[ MORE: JPW at Fratton Park ]

The League Cup delivered the goods on Tuesday.

Colchester United 0-0 (4-3, penalties) Tottenham Hotspur

Lucas Moura smashed the cross bar with Spurs’ fifth penalty kick, and Paulo Gazzaniga couldn’t get to Tom Lapslie’s effort as the U’s advanced to the fourth round and supporters stormed the pitch.

Dean Gerkin stopped Christian Eriksen‘s opening penalty kick to start the extra set, but Jevani Brown’s miss leveled things in the third round.

Spurs were the better side by far despite a lineup with two regular starters in Davinson Sanchez and Dele Alli, as Spurs lined up: Gazzaniga, Walker-Peters, Sanchez, Tanganga, Davies, Dier, Wanyama, Skipp, Dele, Lucas, and Parrott.

The U’s had not attempted a shot by the hour mark, with Spurs taking a dozen. It was a departure from their defeat of Crystal Palace in the last round, when they went hit for hit with the Premier League mainstays and emerged with a win in penalties.

Courtney Senior was a bright spot for the U’s, lashing a shot wide in the 89th.

Portsmouth 0-4 Southampton

This is certainly one of Danny Ings‘ favorite memories since returning home to the South Coast, as the Winchester-born striker scored twice in the first half to give Saints a halftime lead in the first South Coast Derby match in close to a decade.

The game, like most between the heated rivals, was a busy one, as Kenny Jackett’s League One side Pompey punched above their weight and even out-attempted the visitors for some time. But Cedric Soares and Nathan Redmond scored late as Saints outlasted Pompey’s adrenaline to assert their class.

Preston North End 0-3 Manchester City

There was no doubt about this one, though the Championship side put up a better fight than Watford at the weekend.

And to be fair to Watford, City started a much weakened lineup. Seventeen-year-old Taylor Harwood-Bellis started, and mostly impressed, alongside fellow teen Eric Garcia.

Garcia assisted Raheem Sterling on the opener, with Sterling in turn setting up Gabriel Jesus for 2-0. An own goal made it 3-0 before halftime.

Elsewhere

Arsenal 5-0 Nottingham Forest – Gabriel Martinelli scored his first two Arsenal goals, while Emile Smith-Rowe was stretchered off after apparent head injury. Rob Holding, Joe Willock, and Reiss Nelson also scored as Kieran Tierney made his Gunners debut in the shutout.

Crawley Town 1-1 (5-3, penalties) Stoke City – Goals traded in first half as Potters go down to 10 men in 61st minute. Stoke goal scorer Sam Vokes cracked the side’s first penalty off the bar,

Luton Town 0-4 Leicester City – Pretty easy for the Foxes, who rested most of its main men for a Premier League date with Newcastle United. James Justin scores in return to hometown club. Demarai Gray was at the double while Youri Tielemans also scored.

Watford 2-1 Swansea City – Danny Welbeck gets first Hornets goal, but Watford needed a late goal from Roberto Pereyra to push past Swans.435

Sheffield Wednesday 0-2 Everton – Two early goals from Dominic Calvert-Lewin quickly put upset hopes to bed as Marco Silva gets some relief.

With Laporte out, what now for Man City?

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Aymeric Laporte has had “successful” knee surgery, but Manchester City will be without their best center back for at least the next few months, as a January return is optimistic.

What now for Pep Guardiola and his defense?

John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi are the only two center backs they have in their squad, while Fernandinho has revealed he has been training as a center back in recent weeks.

After Vincent Kompany moved on this summer, everybody thought City would splash the cash to sign a new center back. They went after Harry Maguire but couldn’t match the fee Man United wanted to pay, and now here we are.

Losing Laporte, who was superb for City last season, was the last thing Guardiola would have wanted.

It is no exaggeration to say this injury, depending on how serious it is, has swung the pendulum in Liverpool’s favor when it comes to the Premier League title race.

What options do Man City have to plug the gap left by Laporte?

Stones, who is returning from injury himself, and Otamendi are the obvious choices, but the latter has struggled in the early weeks of the season after being left out for most of last season. And Stones’ issues from a pure defensive standpoint continue.

Another option is to play Kyle Walker at center back and have Joao Cancelo at right back, while playing Fernandinho as a center back is also a very decent option, as youngster Eric Garcia is still probably a little too raw.

Guardiola isn’t against playing a central midfielder at center back. He did it with Javier Mascherano at Barcelona and Fernandinho’s spot as a holding midfielder has now been taken up by Rodri so the Brazilian veteran may have a big role to play.

Simply put, it was a big mistake by Man City to not bring in a new center back over the summer. Relying on three center backs for the entire season, which will likely consist of over 60 games, was a huge gamble.

Despite all of their attacking options, Laporte’s injury is a massive blow for Man City’s defense and their title push.

Man City complete Burton battering, reach League Cup final

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As far as formalities go, Manchester City’s task of seeing a nine-goal advantage over the line against Burton Albion in Wednesday’s League Cup semifinal second leg might be best describe as overkill.

[ MORE: Gonzalo Higuain completes loan move to Chelsea ]

The defending Premier League champions completed their rout of the League One side, 1-0 on the day and 10-0 on aggregate, to reach what will be the club’s fourth League Cup final in six seasons on Feb. 24. They have lifted the Cup on each of their previous three trips to the final.

Man City will face the winner of the other semifinal, set to be decided on Thursday. Tottenham Hotspur’s slim 1-0 lead will be put to the test by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Despite his side’s 9-0 lead following an overwhelming demolition job in the first leg, Pep Guardiola named a handful of first-team regulars and fringe players in Wednesday’s team. Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez and Fabian Delph were picked for the starting lineup.

[ Transfer rumor roundup: James to Spurs, Martins to Newcastle ]

For 25 minutes, City enjoyed a three-quarters majority of the ball and did little more than roll it around Pirelli Stadium. While it took the PL giants longer to open the scoring on Wednesday than in the first leg (five minutes), it didn’t take too terribly long for Aguero to break the deadlock and threatened to reopen the floodgates in the 26th minute.

Burton came closest to a consolation goals in the 70th minute, when they won possession in the middle third of the field and quickly countered. Goalkeeper Arijanet Muric had been beaten, but 18-year-old defender Eric Garcia was perfectly positioned to clear the ball off the line.

Pep on Man City win, Sterling’s poor panenka, Mourinho sacking

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Pep Guardiola‘s Manchester City needed penalties to outlast hosts Leicester City in the quarterfinals of the League Cup, but got the job done thanks in no small part to some laughable efforts from the Foxes.

[ RECAP: Leicester 1-1 (1-3 pens) Man City ]

Kevin De Bruyne and Marc Albrighton scored good-looking goals in regulation, and Oleksandr Zinchenko converted City’s third penalty after Leicester missed three-consecutive offerings at the King Power Stadium.

Man City’s only miss was an awful missed panenka from Raheem Sterling, but Guardiola was mostly okay with the outcome given their lineup.

Eric Garcia started and made his first team debut at age 17. Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz also started the match. Young goalkeeper Arijanet Muric starred for Man City, stopping two penalties in the win. From the BBC:

“A tough game, it is always difficult at Leicester. We played with a guy who is 17 years old and some injured players, it was a good game. … Raheem took that decision [to chip his penalty], unfortunately he missed it but that is OK.”

Guardiola was also asked about fired Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho. He feels compassion for his longtime rival.

“I am always sad for the manager when that happens. We are alone in that situation. I am close to all of the managers. You are sacked when results are not good. He doesn’t need me, he is so strong. I wish him all the best and he will be back soon.”

Man City is one win from a third League Cup final in four years, and will face either Burton Albion, Arsenal, Spurs, Bournemouth, or Chelsea. Next up is a visit from Crystal Palace on Saturday and another trip to Leicester on Boxing Day.

Player ratings: Salah, Mane shine with brilliant second-half showings

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NEW JERSEY — The stars weren’t fully aligned on the pitch during Wednesday’s INternational Champions Cup clash at MetLife Stadium, but the three big names that did appear in the second half made for quite the entertainment.

[ MORE: Wing wizards Mahrez, Sane aim for Man City glory ]

Liverpool’s dynamic duo of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane completely altered the complexion of the match for the Reds, who went on to win the match 2-1 behind stellar performances from each man.

Salah’s ability to pick out the open spaces began to stretch the Citizens defensively, and the Egypt international created several dangerous chances, on top of his goal just moments after entering the match.

Meanwhile, Leroy Sane did well to introduce himself early in the second stanza, scoring 12 minutes after entering for Pep Guardiola‘s group.

Riyad Mahrez and Jack Harrison were among the tone-setters for City early on in the match, with Mahrez proving why the defending champions went out and spent significant funds on the Algerian.

Here are PST’s player ratings for Wednesday night’s all-PL ICC clash.


Manchester City

Claudio Bravo: 5
Jason Denayer: 5
Oleksandr Zinchenko: 5
Eric Garcia: 5
Cameron Humphreys: 5
Phil Foden: 5
Brahim Diaz: 4
Jack Harrison: 6
Riyad Mahrez: 6
Luke Bolton: 4
Lukas Nmecha: 5

Key Subs

Leroy Sane: 7

Liverpool

Loris Karius: 5
Andrew Robertson: 5
Virgil Van Dijk: 5
Joe Gomez: 5
Nathaniel Clyne: 5
Fabinho: 6
James Milner: 4
Georginio Wijnaldum: 5
Adam Lallana: 5
Curtis Jones: 5
Daniel Sturridge: 4

Key Subs

Sadio Mane: 7
Mohamed Salah: 8