Sunday 21st January – 16:00 – Stamford Bridge
When Chelsea vs Manchester City was pulled out first in the FA Cup fifth round draw a few weeks ago, it was immediately named the stand-out tie and with good reason. The Blues, seven times winners (most recently in 2012), sit 12th in the Premier League having improved massively since the appointment of Guus Hiddink as interim manager. However, they did lose for the first time under the Dutchman on Tuesday when they suffered a 2-1 defeat at PSG in the Champions League. So far in the FA Cup this season, Chelsea have twice beaten lower league opposition – Scunthorpe 2-0 in round three and MK Dons emphatically 5-1. Five times winners Manchester City meanwhile have only drawn Premier League sides, beating Norwich City 3-0 and Aston Villa 4-0. They perhaps have more chance in Europe than Chelsea, and travel to Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday, whilst they’re also still in the title race despite losing to Tottenham last weekend. It’s a huge week for Manuel Pellegrini’s men as along with the trip to Ukraine, they face Liverpool in the Capital One Cup final next weekend.
- Captain John Terry will miss Sunday’s tie because of the hamstring injury he suffered against Newcastle last weekend.
- Oscar returned from a calf injury in midweek and could start, whilst Nemanja Matic is available following his European suspension,
- Alexandre Pato is still short of match fitness and Kurt Zouma (knee) and Radamel Falcao (thigh) are long-term absentees.
- Manuel Pellegrini says he will rest several senior players, so youngsters such as Bersant Celina and Manu Garcia could feature.
- The Chilean has concerns about the effects on the fit members of his injury-ravaged squad at the start of a week that also includes a Champions League trip to Dynamo Kiev and the Capital One Cup final at Wembley.
- Defenders Bacary Sagna and Eliaquim Mangala, midfielders Samir Nasri, Kevin De Bruyne, Fabian Delph and Jesus Navas, and striker Wilfried Bony are all sidelined.
The Key Battle: Gary Cahill vs Kelechi Iheanacho
With both John Terry and Kurt Zouma both injured, Gary Cahill is the only senior natural centre-back fit at Chelsea. Branislav Ivanovic has been drafted in alongside him in a rookie partnership.
Cahill has not played that regularly this season, only making 12 league starts, so he needs to make these opportunities count with Euro 2016 approaching. I think he should be in England’s starting XI in France, but if Roy Hodgson doesn’t see him playing every week, he may not think the same.
One man who has certainly made a good impression on his opportunity is Kelechi Iheanacho, who is City’s second choice striker with Wilfied Bony injured. Manuel Pellegrini has said he’ll play a youthful looking side at Stamford Bridge, so the 19 year should start up front.
He has nine goals in 20 appearances this season, including four in the FA Cup – placing him only behind Reading’s Matej Vydra in the scoring charts.
Chelsea wins = 63 / Manchester City wins = 51 / Draws = 39
*According to http://www.11v11.com
Last Meeting: Manchester City 3-0 Chelsea (16th August 2015)
Manchester City laid down a significant early marker in the Premier League title race with a commanding dismissal of champions Chelsea at Etihad Stadium. Sergio Aguero had been thwarted three times by Chelsea keeper Asmir Begovic before giving City a deserved lead just after the half-hour, an advantage they never looked like losing. City’s superiority was emphasised with two more late goals as captain Vincent Kompany headed in David Silva’s corner and midfielder Fernandinho sent a thunderous finish past Begovic, whose excellent performance was just about the only positive for Chelsea. [BBC]
Guus Hiddink: “I will make hardly any changes because we take the FA Cup very seriously. Winning the FA Cup is a prestigious prize in England but also worldwide.”
Manuel Pellegrini: “We have just 13 (senior) players available to play. We have to play Champions League on Wednesday. We’ll see the best team we can play on Sunday. Young players have the option and they must take their chances. For me the priority is always the next game but we must make an exception now because of so many injuries. We never think about four trophies – we go game by game.”
The Referee – Andre Marriner
- Last FA Cup game: Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Leeds United (30th January 2016) – 2 yellow cards, 0 red cards
- Last Chelsea game: Chelsea 2-2 Watford (26th December 2015) – 5 yellow cards, 0 red cards
- Last Manchester City game: Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City (21st December 2015) – 2 yellow cards, 0 red cards
2015-16 Record: Games =23 / Yellow Cards =79 / Red Cards = 4 / Penalties = 9
Infographic (courtesy of Sporticos)
All stats only taken from FA Cup and correct up until 20/02/16
Stat of the Match
This is their third FA Cup meeting in four seasons. Manchester City won the previous two: knocking out holders Chelsea in an enthralling 2013 semi-final and then enjoying a convincing 2-0 home win in the fifth round in 2014.
Where Can I Watch It?
BBC One are showing the game live from 3:30pm on Sunday, with kick-off half an hour later. The quarter-final draw then follows. The highlights will be on the same channel on FA Cup Match of the Day at 10:30pm on Sunday evening.
My Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City
I get the impression that Manuel Pellegrini is not too concerned about the FA Cup, whilst Guus Hiddink is placing a lot of importance on it. For that reason, I’m going for a Chelsea win with goals from Diego Costa and Oscar. City might get one back though through Kelechi Iheanacho.
The Other Fifth Round Ties
As I don’t do a prediction game for the FA Cup, I thought I’d let you know how I thought the other games this weekend would pan out.
Arsenal vs Hull City (Saturday 12:45pm) 1-0
Reading vs West Bromwich Albion (Saturday 3pm) 1-1
Watford vs Leeds United (Saturday 3pm) 2-1
Bournemouth vs Everton (Saturday 5:15pm) 1-2
Blackburn Rovers vs West Ham United (Sunday 2pm) 0-1
Tottenham Hotspur vs Crystal Palace (Sunday 3pm) 3-1
Shrewsbury Town vs Manchester United (Monday 7:45pm) 0-1