Manchester City booked their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup with a comfortable 4-1 victory over a spirited Swindon Town on Friday evening.
Pep Guardiola's aggressive obsession with cup competitions was clear from the start, with Cole Palmer the only academy player getting the nod in a lineup full of established international stars.
Bernardo Silva had the game's first chance inside five minutes when he steered his shot over the crossbar, but he made no mistake ten minutes later as he tapped home following an excellent cross from Palmer.
Swindon's desire to play out from the back had to be admired, but some sloppy passing gifted Gabriel Jesus with an easy second shortly before the half-hour mark.
The first half ended with a thunderbolt from Joao Cancelo that was so close that even the ITV team covering the game changed the score to 3-0, but alas, City had to settle for a two-goal cushion at the break.
That third goal came 15 minutes after the interval, when Ilkay Gundogan bent a free kick around the Swindon wall to beat the goalkeeper in the bottom corner.
The action had barely restarted by the time City were awarded a penalty, but Jesus' tame effort was well saved by Lewis Ward in the Swindon net.
The hosts refused to lie down and were obviously keen to make the most of this opportunity, and they got the goal their ambition deserved 12 minutes from time. Harry McKirdy flashed real composure to rifle beyond Zack Steffen to give the home fans something to cheer about.
To quash any excitement, the superb Cole Palmer bagged a fourth soon after which a glorious effort which arrowed into the top corner.
Rodri nearly added a late fifth but his screamer from range was superbly kept out by the fingertips of Ward, who ensured City had to settle for just the four goals.
Man City player ratings vs Swindon
1. Goalkeeper & defenders
Zack Steffen (GK) - 6/10 - Quick off his line but fortunate not to gift Swindon a goal back with a poor pass. Probably could have done better with the goal.
Kyle Walker (RB) - 7/10 - Made numerous interceptions at the back post to deny Swindon on their forays forwards.
Ruben Dias (CB) - 6/10 - Not particularly busy but did everything needed with class.
Nathan Ake (CB) - 7/10 - Really solid and impressive in the air. Played like a player trying to prove a point.
Joao Cancelo (LB) - 8/10 - Typically superb and nearly had a glorious goal for good measure.
Rodri (DM) - 7/10 - Kept everything calm in midfield and recycled possession perfectly.
Ilkay Gundogan (CM) - 6/10 - Didn't really do a lot but bagged a nice free kick.
Kevin De Bruyne (CM) - 6/10 - Not as devastating with his passing as usual but was neat and played a smart ball for the second. Replaced after 65 minutes.
Cole Palmer (RW) - 9/10 - Really impressive. Wanted the ball and always tried to beat his man down the right. A huge threat and an excellent goal.
Bernardo Silva (ST) - 8/10 - As Impressive as ever. Drifted all around the final third and looked like a true striker with his goal.
Gabriel Jesus (LW) - 6/10 - Struggled up against the excellent Kaine Kesler-Hayden but took his goal very well. Shame he didn't match that with his penalty.
James McAtee (CM) - 6/10
Romeo Lavia (CM) - N/A
Luke Mbete (CB) - N/A
Kayky (RW) - N/A
Source : 90min