Date: 4th January 2013 at 10:37pm
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Here comes the FA Cup Third Round. City welcome Watford with 16 senior players available for selection. Following European strife, this has become an important competition for The Blues…

Vital Quotes:

Roberto Mancini:
‘Zola was very successful as a player in Italy and with Chelsea. As a manager he needed time. I thought he did a great job at West Ham and now he has a great chance to bring Watford into the top division?For them this is the most important game of the year and I won’t be changing any players. Anyway, I can’t change for players I don’t have.

‘…Mario made a tackle on his team-mate that I would prefer to see in a game and not against a team-mate. I asked him to leave the pitch – he said no so I moved him off. That’s all that happened and it was nothing more than that. Nothing has changed between Mario and me and my thoughts have not changed about him and these things happen from time to time.’

Gianfranco Zola:
‘We are playing against the champions, so theoretically it should be the hardest task. Man City will see this competition as a priority so it’s not going to be easy for us. If we go there to only stop them we will get a beating. We will go there and play our game…we will have a proper go.’

Yaya Touré:
‘I’ll be keeping up with what is happening while I am away and I’m hoping I can take part in the FA Cup on my return. We are out of Europe now so it’s important we focus on the competitions we can still win. It’s vital we do this because we want to win more and more cups for our fans and I think they would really enjoy another trip to Wembley.’

Manchester City Team News:

Aleksander Kolarov
Micah Richards
Jack Rodwell
John Guidetti
Sergio Aguero
Samir Nasri – suspended
Yaya Touré – international duty
Kolo Touré – international duty
Abdul Razak- international duty

Player to watch: Mario Balotelli

Don’t rule out Mancio confounding the worldwide column inches devoted to this week’s training ground clash with Balotelli and bringing him on from the bench against Watford. There’s little else to add other than the fact that Balotelli continues to owe his manager and the Manchester City supporters some massive performances.

Watford Team News:

Fitz Hall
Connor Smith
Almen Abdi

Manuel Almunia

Player to watch: Nathaniel Chalobah

The versatile 18 year old Chelsea loanee is a fine player and this week saw his loan period extended until the end of the season. In the Kompany mould, The England Under 21 international can play in central midfield or as a centre back. A big lad born in Sierra Leone who has represented England at all youth levels.

Match Facts & Stats

City are 5 times winners and 4 times FA Cup runners-up.

Watford have lost each one of their last 4 FA Cup games against Premier League clubs.

In 1986 (see video below) The Hornets took 3 games to see off in the 4th Round.

Gianfranco Zola has 2 FA Cup winners medals with Chelsea.

City were knocked out by Championship clubs Sheffield United (4th Round) and Nottingham Forest (3rd Round) in 2008 and 2009 under Sven-Goran Eriksson and Mark Hughes respectively.

League: 4 City Wins, 3 Draws, 5 Watford Wins
League Cup: 1 City Win
FA Cup: 1 City Win, 2 Draws 1 Watford Win
Total: 6 City Wins, 5 Draws, 6 Watford Wins

Sa 21Apr 2007 Watford 1 – 1 Man City PL
Mo 04Dec 2006 Man City 0 – 0 Watford PL
Su 20Jan 2002 Watford 1 – 2 Man City C
Sa 11Aug 2001 Man City 3 – 0 Watford C
We 05Feb 1997 Man City 3 – 1 Watford FAC

BETTING: City 1/7 Draw 7 Watford 14Racing Post Soccerbase



CLASSIC CITY TUBE: Manchester City v Watford, FAC4, Jan 25th 1986

Ref Watch:

Philip Dowd of Staffordshire 4th Official Jeremy Simpson -Last Season:
Su 07Aug 2011 Man Utd 3 – 2 Man City CS, Su 28Aug 2011 Tottenham 1 – 5 Man City PL, Sa 01Oct 2011 Blackburn 0 – 4 Man City PL, Su 18Dec 2011 Man City 1 – 0 Arsenal PL, We 25Jan 2012 Liverpool 2 – 2 Man City LCSF, Sa 31Mar 2012 Man City 3 – 3 Sunderland PL -This Season: Tu 25Sep 2012 Man City 2 – 4 Aston Villa LC-2011/12: 36 Games, 94 Yellows, 4 Reds -2012/2013: 19 Games, 65 Yellows, 3 Reds.

Match Prediction:

Johnny On The Spot:
According to the tree top Carrington craparazzi, there was trouble at the City mill between Roberto Mancini and Mario Balotelli this week. Trouble that needs addressing despite Mancio’s robust defence of the situation in his FA Cup presser. The craparazzi shouldn’t have been in a position to take those training ground pictures. Mark Hughes had screens erected at Carrington a few years back but they aren’t enough and Manchester city council refuse to close off the area concerned to the public. The camera scratters must have thought Christmas had come around again inside a week. Questions will have been asked in Abu Dhabi. Some of the images have Etihad Airways emblazoned across the backs of training jackets. His Highness Sheikh Mansour’s relatives won’t be happy…It was unsavoury stuff and the release of the images has cast our gaffer in a bad light. I’m a big fan of Mancio. He’s been renowned throughout his career for being an absolute boss yet also hot headed. At the very least this episode proves he’s no soft touch but the owners could yet fine him and how he takes that and goes about his job, and how the rest of the squad react to the media shitstorm and his or Balotelli’s behaviour could yet have an impact upon City’s season…And so to the match in hand. I think it’s going to be closer fought than some people think. Affable Gianfranco Zola is one of the true gentlemen of football but City can expect no favours from the livewire Watford gaffer this weekend. He manages a keen young side and has vowed to take the game to City from the off. However, despite having a greatly reduced selection scope I expect Mancio and City to prevail ahead of next week’s massive league clash at Arsenal where revenge is high on the agenda. City 2 Watford 0

Next Fixtures:

all times East Manchester
Su 13Jan 16h00 Arsenal, The Emirates, PL
Sa 19Jan 15h00 Fulham, The Etihad, PL
Tu 29Jan 19h45 QPR, Loftus Road, PL
Su 03Feb 16h00 Liverpool, The Etihad, PL
Sa 09Feb 17h30 Southampton, St Mary’s, PL


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