Cardiff City v Manchester City - 4pm Sun 28th Jan - FA Cup 4th round Preview & Match Day Thread


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As the dust settles after Sanchez-Gate, Manchester City finds themselves back on the road yet again for the 4th round of the FA Cup when they travel to Wales to face Neil Warnock’s Cardiff City.

Not for City the relative comfort of a tie against a side currently in 21st place in League Two and perched on the trap door of relegation from the Football League, a side that has only won two of their last six matches. No that is reserved for Preening Maureen and his Stretford Galacticos and the bright orange and juicy fruit of his newest “I always wanted to play for U*d” signing. Good old Rio eh? Found the warm ball in the bowl perfectly…..well after two rehearsals.

But enough of this…….

Pep and his players will be focused on getting the job done in Wales against yet another side pushing for promotion to the Premier League. Having secured they place at Wembley next month in the League Cup Final with two hard fought victories over Bristol City, Pep will clearly have no illusions about the task ahead on Sunday afternoon. He is now well schooled in the ways of English football where no match is a ‘Gimme’ and you can be tested if you let your guard down - as Lee Johnson’s men proved right up to the final minutes of the tie at Ashton Gate. Pep saw what Bristol City had to offer at the Etihad and, in paying them due respect in the second leg, was vindicated in doing so with only Kevin De Bruyne’s last kick winner made absolutely sure of the win.

He can expect much the same graft and effort from Neil Warnock’s Bluebirds. Cardiff have been excellent for much of the season and they currently sit third in the Championship, two points behind second-placed Derby County and set for final push for a return to the Premier League. However, they've lost four of their last six in the league, their worst run of form this season. Their 4-0 win over Sunderland and last weekend's 0-0 draw with Sheffield Wednesday has arrested a run of four consecutive league defeats. 

Unsurprisingly for a side managed by Mr Warnock, Cardiff play a direct style, with long balls up to frontman Kenneth Zohore a clear tactic. City will have to be prepared for that threat and I am quite sure that Warnock will have noted the recent errors within our defensive line in dealing with this threat. Zohore has pace that could cause problems and he will be charged with gathering any long balls and bringing others into play. Although he has only scored four times this season in 20 appearances, he has an all-round game that is key to Cardiff’s style.

Joe Ralls and Marko Grujic will be given the task of taming City’s creativity in central areas. Ralls, in particular, is well-versed in disrupting the opposition and has been one of Cardiff’s most consistent performers this season. Grujic, on loan from Liverpool who he joined in January 2016 for £5.1 million, is a Serbia international with plenty of technical quality.

Cardiff's main attacking threat is undoubtedly Junior Hoilett.

The winger has scored eight goals this season and brings the kind of pace and trickery that can cause any side problems. Considered inconsistent by many in the past, the 27-year-old has found his groove at Cardiff and is now one of the best players in the Championship.

Team News

Cardiff - Danny Ward, Matt Connolly, Aron Gunnarsson, Lee Peltier and Craig Bryson are currently injured for Cardiff City.

City - Jesus and Delph remain sidelined alongside Foden and long term absentee Benjamin Mendy

Referee: Lee Mason
Assistant Referee: Simon Long, Simon Beck
Fourth Official: Robert Jones

Cardiff, in front of a packed, partisan crowd, will look to start quickly and press City in an attempt to disrupt their play. Pep has been to watch them when they defeated Mansfield in the 3rd round replay - perhaps the ticket was a birthday treat from his wife - but that scouting mission will only have provided so much information given that it was away from home and against lower league opponents rather than other sides challenging for promotion.

We can expect the Cardiff players to raise their game in front of their noisy home crowd as they try to secure the scalp of the Premier League leaders. Neil Warnock, everyman’s salt-of-the-earth archetypal ‘they don’t like it Up ‘Em’ & ’take no prisoners’ manager, would absolutely love to be able to get one over on his more lauded opponent and his ‘fancy dan’ players. He will undoubtedly have instructed his players to ‘get amongst them’ and I think we can expect some ‘robust’ challenges.

Let’s hope Mr Mason and the two Simon’s are watching and apply the laws of the game correctly without any ‘we’ll give you a bit of leeway because you are playing better opponents so that tackle through he back of Raheem Sterling was fair play’ thrown in. We’ve had enough of that in the games against Newcastle and Palace thank you very much.

Pep is likely to rotate his squad and with Kompany having made the bench for the Bristol match I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start perhaps alongside either Stones or Otamendi. With the days of Mangala looking increasingly numbered given the potential arrival of Laporte I suspect he may not even make the bench. Sterling may well get a start and with Jesus still sidelined and Aguero chomping at the bit following his hat trick last weekend the question may be whether Pep continues to play him and use the desire and hunger that always emerges when a striker is finding the net, or give him a bit of a breather and start him on the bench. I expect Gundogan to start in place of David Silva and alongside the evergreen Fernandinho. Walker took a knock and was withdrawn against Bristol so Danilo may get the nod at the back on the right with young De Bruyne lookalike Zinchenko continuing his footballing education on the left. Ederson between the sticks methinks.

Predicted XI


Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Zinchenko

De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Gundogan

Sterling, Aguero, Silva B


Bravo, Walker, Otamendi, Toure, Sane, Diaz, Nmecha

This is the FA Cup, another competition which Pep will be keen to do well in. Facing Championship opponents once again in a cup competition (after Wolves and Bristol City) may, despite all my joshing, not be a bad thing. City’s players cannot even contemplate taking their foot off the gas either collectively or individually and I am sure Pep will have driven this message home.

One game at a time boys, one game at a time. The time to squash the juicy oranges at the top of the tree will come but for now deal with what is in front of you. Stay focused and get the job done - no replay please.

Come on City!!!
I was looking at the appointments for this game on City watch and thought oh no it is Bob Mad Lee, but having seen your Lee May's son which is totally correct, that City watch although the too have lee the picture is the aforementioned Bob M. L, perhaps they did not have a pic of lee.

Another top preview Skoorb, Craig Bellamy who has been saying nice things about city of the Debate (shown on Sky) is youth coach at Cardiff and he and I are in agreement that he should never have left City.

Buzz Picks


Danilo Stones Kompany Zinchenko

Bernardo, Sterling, Sane, Gundogan, Silva


subs Ederson, KDB, Fernandiho, Walker, Otamendi, Mangala, Touré


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I can envisage a slip-up and a 1-1 draw. Cardiff are doing well in the Championship and are currently pushing for promotion.

I suspect Pep will tinker with our starting XI hence my pessimism. Just hope i'm wrong.
Salut Blues!

So Cardiff. Arguably a tougher assignment than Bristol on and off the park. I will take a professional 0-3. However. Still shudder when I remember that freezing day at Notts County in 91 when Warnock did for us in the cup. Time to exorcise the ghost. Joe Ralls inclusion should serve as a warning that we can’t expose Yaya into a combative midfield. Expecting a tough encounter.
How long into his pre-match interview before he mentions the “gulf in spending power, I mean just look at the cost of their forward line” :040: :040: or some such.

I too am anticipating some early “robust” challenges from his side.
or the commentator telling us how much City squad cost compared to Cardiff City £63 quid and a bag of Marleys and not a Jaffa in sight. oops.

I note your rant on Gary Neville in the other thread Skoorb, think he has a problem, surely he should be happy that City dropped out of the chase for a player that City did not need and continue the chase for a position we do.
He has a real bee under his bonnet about it to still be banging on about it for sure. Instead of the usual crowing about “getting one over on liddle Ciddy”, here he is a week later STILL going on about the matter.

For me it simply shows just how concerned he is that City & Guardiola we’re prepared to step away from the deal. The barb from Carragher last Monday that “maybe U*d have to pay more for players now” really seems to have sunk in deeply. LOL.
Bravo, Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Danilo, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Gündogan, Bernardo Silva, Sterling, Sané

Ederson, Stones, Agüero, Mangala, Adarabioyo, Zinchenko, Diaz
The City women currently leading Sunderland away 2-0 with goals from Parris and Christensen, 20 mins to go and look like regaining the lead in the league after Chelsea had won their game a couple of hours earlier
BT will show City v Chelsea women on Thursday, a top of the table clash, which if City win, could be the title decider, because these two teams are a different class from the others