Defending champions Manchester City host League Two Port Vale in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
City secured a 2-1 win over Everton in the Premier League on New Year’s Day but still sit in third in the Premier League, a whole 11 points behind leaders Liverpool, who still have two games in hand.
The FA Cup represents a better chance for the Cityzens to add to their trophy haul and it starts with this clash against Port Vale.
Vale are tenth in England’s fourth tier and come into the match off the back of a 2-2 draw with Macclesfield. They sit four points outside the play-off spots having won one of their last five.
City will obviously be huge favourites for this game as they will want to kick off their defence of the FA Cup with a performance that shows that they mean business.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Saturday 4th January|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||17:31 (GMT)|
|Where Is It Being Played?||Etihad Stadium|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Final Score/The FA Cup (Highlights)|
Both Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sané remain long term injury absentees for Pep Guardiola. These are the only two injuries that the Spaniard will definitely have to deal with.
Both Eric Garcia and Phil Foden started in the league win over Everton so it will be interesting to see whether the teenagers continue to deputise in the FA Cup. Sergio Agüero is likely to start as he steps up his recovery from injury and needs more minutes under his belt.
Former Liverpool striker David Amoo will be part of a three man attack for Port Vale, who have no real injury concerns to deal with.
Club captain Tom Pope will be pushing for a start after he was left on the bench for the draw against Macclesfield.
|Manchester City||Bravo; Cancelo, Garcia, Fernandinho, Angelino; Gundogan, Foden, D. Silva; Bernardo, Aguero, Sterling|
|Port Vale||Maddison; Gibbons, Legge, Smith, Montano; Atkinson, Joyce, Burgess; Amoo, Pope, Worrall|
These two side have played a total of 22 times with City winning 18 of the clashes to Port Vale’s four, with another one being drawn.
Three of Vale’s four wins came back-to-back in the late 1990s when they beat City three times in Division One.
The last meeting between the two sides came in the last millennium when City won 2-1 in October 1999. Entering a new decade, it is likely that the Sky Blues will continue their dominance in this fixture.
A lot has been made of Manchester City’s title defence this season as it looks certain that they will be dethroned by a rampant Liverpool. However, their form has picked up recently in the Premier League.
They’ve lost only once in their last five – to Wolves 3-2 after being 2-0 up and having Ederson sent off. Their win against Everton secured them back-to-back wins in the Premier League having beaten Sheffield United 2-0 at the Etihad at the end of December.
Port Vale are unbeaten in their last five games but have managed to win only one of them. Their draw against Macclesfield was their fourth draw in five games as they’ve struggled to gain on the teams above them.
They beat Cheltenham 3-1 in the second round of the FA Cup to progress onto this stage of the competition.
Here are both side’s last five results.
|Manchester City||Port Vale|
|Manchester City 2-0 Everton (1/1)||Port Vale 2-2 Macclesfield (1/1)|
|Manchester City 2-1 Sheffield United (29/12)||Port Vale 2-0 Swindon (29/12)|
|Wolves 3-2 Manchester City (27/12)||Mansfield 2-2 Port Vale (26/12)|
|Manchester City 3-1 Leicester (21/12)||Port Vale 1-1 Cheltenham (21/12)|
|Oxford 1-3 Manchester City (18/12)||Crawley 0-0 Port Vale (14/12)|
It’s hard to predict anything but a convincing home win in this game with City being heavy favourites to come out on top.
Port Vale will try to cling onto any sort of opportunity that is thrown their way. It will be a great away day for their fans and they will hope they can put on some sort of performance.
Manchester City to breeze past in this one – but Vale to get a goal to take away from the home of the Champions.
Prediction: Manchester 5-1 Port Vale