Manchester City eased into the fourth round of the League Cup thanks to first half goals by Raheem Sterling , Gabriel Jesus and an own goal by Ryan Ledson.
The blues fielded a strong attacking line-up, but the defence consisted of an unfamiliar line-up, with Joao Cancelo and Angelino getting their first starts of the season, while Eric Garcia, touted as a possible Premier League starter in the absence of Aymeric Laporte and John Stones, was partnered by Taylor Harwood-Bellis in the centre of defence. Phil Foden started in midfield alongside Ilkay Gundogan, while Sterling, rested against Watford on Saturday, partnered Jesus up front.
The blues didn’t recreate the same intensity of their performance as the produced in Saturday’s 8-0 victory over Watford, but still had too much for the Championship opponents, who tried to give as much as they got, but ultimately succumbed to City’s strength.
Preston made it to 18 minutes without conceding, which is a lot better than how Watford performed against the blues, when City had breached the defence five times without reply, but they couldn’t prevent the blues from taking the lead in the 19th minute.
Raheem Sterling made up for missing out on the scoring against Watford when he received a pass just inside the Preston half, before turning and running at the Preston defence. With the defenders backing off, Sterling took his time, before hitting a low shot that took a deflection over the keeper and into the net.
Jesus has a goal disallowed for offside when he looked to be on, but the reprieve proved only to be temporary. Again it was Sterling at the heart of the move, charging forward and releasing the Brazilian inside the penalty area and his powerful left foot shot nestled into the bottom corner.
The second goal knocked the wind out of Preston, but City continued to press for more and it duly arrived three minutes before half time. David Silva found himself in almost the same position Jesus had seven minutes earlier and his attempted cross was diverted into his own goal by the unlucky Ledson.
The blues started the second half on the front foot and had chances to increase the lead without really stepping up a gear. Benjamin Mendy came on for Angelino and another youngster, Adrian Bernabe came on for David Silva. The home side had a chance to pull a goal back but Josh Harrop hit the post with Bravo beaten. At the other end, it was another youngster in Foden who came closest to scoring a fourth, but his shot bounced off the woodwork.
Jesus had a couple of chances to seal the victory, but in the end it was more than comfortable as the holders secured their place in Wednesday’s draw.
Final Score: Preston 0-3 Manchester City
Scorers: Sterling (18), Jesus (37) Ledson (OG 43)