Phil Foden was in danger of becoming one of the forgotten players at Manchester City this season.
Maybe not anymore.
The England winger is over his injury problems and back in favor with City manager Pep Guardiola – and is repaying the faith with goals as the English champions head into the final stretch of the season on the hunt for more trophies.
Foden scored in each half in City’s 3-0 win at second-tier Bristol City in the FA Cup on Tuesday, helping the team secure a place in the quarterfinals.
Kevin De Bruyne netted the other goal at Ashton Gate as City stayed on course in a competition it last won in 2019.
Foden lost his place as a regular starter at City just before the World Cup and after returning from the Qatar tournament has been overshadowed by fellow wingers Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez.
Now Guardiola has an embarrassment of riches in the wide positions with Foden over some foot injuries and shining again. He scored against Bournemouth on Saturday and was probably City’s best player against Bristol City on a night star striker Erling Haaland was rested.
“This season he struggled a bit and was a bit down,” Guardiola said of Foden. “But now he’s back for the best bit of the season. His impact has been amazing. Football pays off when you work like he does.”
Foden converted a cross from Mahrez in the seventh minute to give City the lead and then provided the side-footed finish – via a deflection from a covering home defender – to make it 2-0 in the 74th.
“I feel 100% fit now and comfortable,” Foden said. “(It has) been one of the worst parts of my career but everyone goes through them and it is how you react.”
De Bruyne curled in City’s best goal of the game in the 81st from outside the area.
City has reached at least the semifinals in five of the last six seasons.
There will be at least one non-Premier League team in the last eight of the FA Cup.
Blackburn, which plays in the second-tier Championship, provided the shock of the evening by winning 2-1 at Leicester, the 2021 champion.
Tyrhys Dolan capitalized on a sloppy pass out from the back by Daniel Amartey to open the scoring for Blackburn before Sammie Szmodics dribbled through the soft center of Leicester’s defense before poking in a finish shortly after halftime.
Kelechi Iheanacho scored his customary FA Cup goal – it’s now 18 in his last 24 appearances in the competition, more than any other player in that time – but Leicester couldn’t grab an equalizer.
Leicester can now focus all its attention on staying in the Premier League. The team is only three points above the relegation zone.
Manor Solomon scored for a fourth straight game to help Fulham beat Leeds 2-0 and continue its excellent season, in which the London club is also impressing in sixth place in the Premier League.
Solomon is an Israel winger who joined on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk in the offseason but missed almost the entire first half of the season because of injury.
Now that he is healthy, he has been starring off the bench – his previous three goals came as a substitute – but was handed a start against Leeds and scored again after playing a one-two with Aleksandar Mitrovic and curling into the far corner.
Joao Palhinha’s opening goal was even better, the Portugal midfielder intercepting a pass out from the back by Tyler Adams and bending in a shot off the post from 30 meters.
In the second half, there were five U.S. internationals on the field at Craven Cottage – Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson for Fulham and Weston McKennie, Brenden Aaronson and Adams for Leeds.
Fulham reached the last eight for the first time in 13 years.
Brighton advanced to the quarterfinals for the fifth time in its history and the first time since the 2018-19 season, when the team lost to Man City in the semifinals.
A 30th-minute goal from Evan Ferguson, who tapped in from Kaoru Mitoma’s square ball, earned a 1-0 win at second-tier Stoke.
DRAW FOR QUARTERFINALS
The draw for the quarterfinals takes place Wednesday after the remaining last-16 matches are completed. Those games include Manchester United hosting West Ham and Tottenham visiting second-tier Sheffield United.
Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80
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