Today’s final tie of the afternoon features Cardiff City vs Manchester City. Championship high-flyers Cardiff host Manchester City looking to create a huge upset in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Manchester City come into this tie following their return to winning ways against Newcastle. Saturday’s 3-1 win over Rafa Benitez’s side re-established the Citizens 12 points lead at the top of the Premier League. Sergio Aguero was back in the goals for Pep Guardiola’s men as his hat-trick was enough to seal all three points. City glided into the fourth round of the competition, beating fellow Premier League side Burnley 4-1. It’s worth remembering that City were 1-0 down at half-time in that game, before coming back to book their place in the next round. After opting against signing both Virgil van Dijk and Alexis Sanchez, City are still looking to bolster their defensive options. The latest speculations has seen them linked with a 60 million pound move for Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte. To enable the deal, City would be required to trigger the Frenchman’s release clause and this would secure them the services of one of Europe’s hottest young centre-backs.
Cardiff needed a replay to secure their spot in the fourth-round, eventually beating Mansfield 4-1 in the return leg. Neil Warnock’s promotion-chasing side have won two of their three games, after previous losing four in a row. Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Sheffield Wednesday kept the Bluebirds in third spot, two points behind second-placed Derby County. With the push for automatic promotion very much alive in the Welsh capital, this will be a great opportunity for them to pit their wits against the Premier League’s very best. Neil Etheridge record this 12th clean sheet at the weekend, the third highest in the league. With Cardiff’s promotion charge built around defensive solidity, it will be a real test for Sean Morrison and Co as they look to shut out the most potent attack in England’s top flight.
Cardiff have lost just one of their last four meetings with Manchester City. They’ve also won their last two home games against the Citizens, with the last coming back in 2013. Lee Mason has been appointed as the referee for Sunday’s standout fixture. He has an average of just 25.5 average booking points, which registers as the fourth lowest in the Premier League. He has produced just 33 yellow cards and is yet to send anyone off this campaign.
After the recent loss to Liverpool, I can’t see Pep Guardiola taking anything for granted in this tie. With City securing their place in the Carabao Cup final in midweek, I think they’ll be desperate to continue their push for a domestic treble. As a result, I think they’ll have too much for Cardiff, who will want to concentrate on the Championship.
Prediction: Cardiff 0-3 Manchester City.
Suggested tips (Skybet):
Correct score, City to win 3-0 – 13/2
Aguero to score a brace – 11/4.
City to win and over 2.5 goals – 4/6.
Sterling and De Bruyne to both score – 5/1.
Zohore to score and win – 10/1.