Man City 2-0 Chelsea: Player ratings as Grealish, Mahrez & Ortega shine in Carabao Cup win

Man City are into the next round of the Carabao Cup
Man City are into the next round of the Carabao Cup / Lewis Storey/GettyImages

Manchester City ultimately prevailed relatively comfortably over Chelsea in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Thursday night, with Riyad Mahrez and Julian Alvarez both scoring at the Etihad Stadium and goalkeeper Stefan Ortega performing heroics at the other end.

City started the brighter of the two sides, although it was Chelsea who had the clearest sight of goal in the opening stages. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Hakim Ziyech attacked down the right, with the ball into the box coming last off City teenager Rico Lewis and needing Ortega to turn it away.

Ilkay Gundogan soon brushed the top of the net with a chipped free-kick after Jack Grealish had been scythed down by Kalidou Koulibaly on the edge of the box.

City created another chance when Lewis broke forward down the right and drove a dangerous ball across the face of the goal. It was just missing an Erling Haaland on the end of it, with the Norwegian sat on the bench and not needed on the night.

But even with City more dominant overall, Chelsea should have taken the lead just before half-time. Blues teenager Lewis Hall was fed by Christian Pulisic and did everything right to cut inside Lewis, but couldn’t beat Ortega from close range as the City goalkeeper threw out a leg to block the finish.

Early in the second half, Marc Cucurella had to get a tackle on the advancing Mahrez spot on to avoid giving away a penalty – and he did, denying an almost certain goal. Edouard Mendy also twice saved from the impressive Jack Grealish, but the Chelsea resistance couldn’t hold out.

Fewer than 10 minutes into the second half, Mahrez smashed a free-kick into the back of the net. There was no time for Mendy to even move but questions will be asked of Koulibaly, who didn’t jump in the wall and saw the ball flash within reach of his head.

Mahrez was also involved when Alvarez made it two not long after. It was actually Alvarez who played the ball out wide to the Algerian, whose shot upon cutting inside from the right was saved by Mendy, only for Alvarez to be following it in on the rebound.

It was a strong Mendy hand denying Cole Palmer that stopped it immediately being 3-0.

Ortega, already with two crucial saves under his belt, then made another great stop. Again, it was Hall who had the chance for Chelsea, unable to beat the inspired City goalkeeper after being found in the middle of the box by Hakim Ziyech.

Chelsea tried to make it a nervous finish for City and almost did when the ball cannoned into the net off substitute Nathan Ake. Ortega’s first mistake of the night saw a cross slip through his grasp, resulting in a bit of penalty area pinball that included the ball striking the post.

Man City player ratings (4-3-3)

Stefan Ortega had a good night in goal
Stefan Ortega had a good night in goal / LINDSEY PARNABY/GettyImages

GK: Stefan Ortega - 9/10 - Made two big saves in the first half and then another in the second, all at crucial times.

RB: Rico Lewis - 6/10 - Struggled defensively at times but did get forward.

CB: Ruben Dias - 7/10 - Handled Chelsea's threats well and seemed to enjoy the physical battle with Broja.

CB: Aymeric Laporte - 7/10 - Did everything asked of him on a relatively quiet night.

LB: Sergio Gomez - 6/10 - A comfortable display overall, though he may have wanted to offer Guardiola more to think about.

CM: Cole Palmer - 7/10 - Looked at home zipping the ball about and playing in tight areas.

CM: Rodri - 5/10 - Brought off just five minutes into the second half.

CM: Ilkay Gundogan (c) - 5/10 - Didn't make his usual impact.

RW: Riyad Mahrez - 8/10 - Fired City into the lead and involved in the second goal when his initial was parried into Alvarez's path.

ST: Julian Alvarez - 8/10 - Made his goal possible in the first place by finding Mahrez in space, then had the anticipation to react to the rebound.

LW: Jack Grealish - 8/10 - Looked dangerous when the had the chance to run with the ball at speed.

SUB: Bernardo Silva (50' for Gundogan) - 7/10

SUB: Kalvin Phillips (50' for Rodri) - 6/10

SUB: Nathan Ake (81' for Laporte) - 6/10

Manager: Pep Guardiola - 7/10 - Didn't waste time making changes only five minutes into the second half. Unorthodox so soon after having the half-time break, but it worked.

Chelsea player ratings (3-4-3)

Lewis Hall
Youngster Lewis Hall was bright and breezy for Chelsea / Lewis Storey/GettyImages

GK: Edouard Mendy - 7/10 - Made a number of saves even though he was also beaten. The deficit could have been more without him.

CB: Trevoh Chalobah - 5/10 - Not the best night for Chalobah, who is making losing a bit of a habit after going unbeaten for so long.

CB: Kalidou Koulibaly - 5/10 - Forced to carry a yellow card for a long time. Should have done more to try and block the opening goal.

CB: Marc Cucurella - 6/10 - Played with good energy in both directions and did make a couple of important tackles.

RM: Ruben Loftus-Cheek - 6/10 - Made a good driving run in the first half but that kind of thing didn't happen enough.

CM: Mateo Kovacic - 5/10 - Only a fraction of his passes went forward into the final third. Too safe.

CM: Denis Zakaria - 4/10 - Probably still lacking match fitness. Saw very little of the ball but also struggled to win it either.

LM: Lewis Hall - 7/10 - Had two great moments to score that were both met by great Ortega saves. Still impressed overall but probably shouldn't have given the City goalkeeper even a chance to save them.

RF: Hakim Ziyech - 6/10 - Missed the target at 1-0 that could have made the difference. Also made a great opportunity for Hall.

ST: Armando Broja - 5/10 - Didn't have many touches at all and looked isolated.

LF: Christian Pulisic - 6/10 - Created a few chances on the night. Should the American offer more? Probably.

SUB: Raheem Sterling (68' for Ziyech) - 6/10

SUB: Mason Mount (68' for Broja) - 7/10

SUB: Conor Gallagher (69' for Zakaria) - 6/10

SUB: Cesar Azpilicueta (69' for Chalobah) - 6/10

SUB: Kai Havertz (75' for Hall) - 6/10

Manager: Graham Potter - 5/10 - Chelsea were too flat in the crucial period straight after half-time and the quadruple substitution was too late because it did seem to make a positive difference.

Player of the match - Stefan Ortega (Man City)