The team selection
It's fair to say Manuel Pellegrini caught us by surprise when the teams were announced. Granted, there are a number of injuries or injury concerns in the squad at the moment, but the expectation was that we would see the likes of Scott Sinclair and Dedryck Boyata (Capital One Cup stalwarts) and a smattering of the Academy prospects (much talk pre-game centred on Jose Pozo). Instead, we saw several high-profile members of the squad from the start in addition to the likes of Jesus Navas, Martin Demichelis and James Milner, all players looking to get more minutes under their belt on a regular basis. One thing it did show was the level of depth in the squad, illustrating perfectly Pellegrini's desire for two players competing in every position.
How about that second half?
Despite the strong line-up it was a City performance in the first half that mirrored some of their struggles this season. Whilst not threatened by Sheffield Wednesday they struggled to create a great deal and the half ended scoreless. Any threat of a defeat, or even extra-time to contend with was washed away in a 13 minute spell as City hit four unanswered goals. The first, just two minutes was a reprise of Sunday: James Milner setting up Frank Lampard; then City ran riot with Edin Dzeko, Jesus Navas, Yaya Toure, Pozo and Lampard adding further goals. The cushion allowed Pellegrini to bring on Pozo, Boyata and Sinclair as the game wore on; even being witness to spectacle of a Martin Demichelis sighting in midfield. The last time City scored seven in a half? We worked out they got six back in 1987 against Huddersfield. Seven? Maybe it's not been done before and it was a second half that City were in utter control of, completely blowing away Wednesday who barely got out of their half. Having struggled in recent weeks to convert chances tonight was a good habit to get into.
A much-maligned figure in football circles is James Milner but this was his third start in successive games domestically. Coming into the season his was a future that was uncertain; as we know his contract expires at the end of the season with the chatter being that he was reluctant to put pen to paper (despite the club wanting him to re-sign) given the lack of minutes (or meaningful minutes at least). Not only has he featured this season then - in important games too - but he has done so in a meaningful way. He hasn't been shunted out wide to track a runner but he has directly influenced the play. Coming inside to link centrally and assisting on goals, he has put in performances that will see him get a sustained run in the side - and hopefully extend his stay at the club.
There is always a fear in early season cup competitions that there will be an underwhelming crowd, which has historically been the case. Perhaps the lack of television coverage helped, as well some sensible ticket pricing brought out a healthy crowd which was augmented by a travelling Sheffield Wednesday contingent that wouldn't have looked out of placed in an FA Cup third round tie, rather than the Capital One Cup. Positive to see and a sign perhaps that the planned increase in capacity will pay dividends.
Repeating as Cup winners?
Lest we forget, City are the reigning holders of the Capital One Cup. The competition of course provided Pellegrini with his first trophy in English football and whilst it does not have the cachet of the other domestic and European competitions it is an important one nonetheless. The Capital One Cup does provide the opportunity for some fringe players to get valuable minutes but with the final taking place in mid-February it doesn't impinge on the season run in and can provide momentum ahead of the final stages of the season. Given City's depth as evidenced this evening they must be favourites to go on and lift the trophy once again. Newcastle await in the next round.