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Middlesbrough 0-2 Manchester City, 2017 FA Cup: 3 Things We Learned

City could have won by four or five goals, but in the end their narrow win over Boro sends them to Wembley

Middlesbrough v Manchester City - The Emirates FA Cup Quarter-Final Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

The eventual dominance that Manchester City showed against Middlesbrough has earned the Blues a spot in the FA Cup semifinals and a swell of pride before the trip to Monaco.

It took a while find the second goal, but throughout the match the team protected their half of the pitch with proper intensity and resisted Boro's efforts to turn the game around.

Here are three things we learned:

1 - City can keep clean sheets

The back line acted out Pep Guardiola’s ideal as they raced into the middle of the pitch while pushing possession and, in conjunction with midfielders and forwards, tracked Boro's runs with purpose.

Pablo Zabaleta and John Stones were in the net to prevent ricocheting shots from going in and, across the pitch, the Blues maintained a superior defensive mentality.

The nature of defense as a comprehensive effort, not only in covering opponents, but in managing possession further and further away from your goal, has been central to City’s strong run of clean sheets.

Against Middlesbrough, most notably, the defenders played a smart, reliable 90 minutes.

2 - Missed chances are still a thing

As the entire team urged forward, the final touch or the final movement evaded City’s attackers. At 1-0, a touch of anxiety rippled around the side as chance after chance went astray.

An overwhelming sense that the team is capable of enormous wins has been growing as the defense shows more stability.

Their offensive efforts have become more rampant and consistent. With a front six containing the likes of Yaya Touré, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sané, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Agüero, slight tweaks of movement and final touches will lead to some interesting results.

3 - The team stays calm all the time

Frustration didn’t oppress City in this match. They kept their heads up and their options open, they pressed, they tackled, they sprinted.

Multiple players saw passes and shots go slightly astray but they never succumbed to the agony. Their ability to fight from a deficit, as seen in a number of their Champions League matches, highlights the well-rounded strength of the players, who have proven quite capable of mustering a goal or two (or five) through sheer will.


One or two additional chances in the back of the net would have made this match really fun to watch. However, the defensive focus that City displayed bodes well for their match with Monaco in a few days.

With a comfortable win under their belt, the Sky Blue machine will seek to be humming at a high level under the Champions League lights on Wednesday night.