Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Friday January 3 2014
Handily placed in the Premier League, City now turn their attention to The Budweiser FA Cup Third Round in the first of a domestic cup double header...
'Tomorrow will be a difficult game. We must play with concentration, intensity and with the tempo we need if we want to win. We are going to make changes, because we are playing too often in recent weeks. We will try and have a good squad and win our first FA Cup game because for our team the FA Cup is important. I repeat from the beginning of the season that we are going to play every competition with exactly the same importance. The FA Cup is a very traditional competition in England and in every country in Europe the cup is important. All the teams playing at home are very difficult. Blackburn are not in the best moment in the Championship but they are at home and laying against us they will be very motivated to try to win. The FA Cup is an important competition that we want to win. It's an important test, not only for the team, but for individuals who now have a chance to play in the team.'
'Mr Pellegrini's job is far more difficult than mine with massive challenges in terms of managing the group, keeping all those players happy, and the expectation of winning the Premier League. He's doing a fabulous job. Look at the games against Arsenal and Liverpool and some of the football was some of the best there has ever been in the Premier League. When we were going over the videos of City, we had to stop. 'All right, that's enough, forget that, let's move on to something else!' That was just the coaches!
'...The excitement around here is great. The players have come in bouncing, looking forward to it. It's a massive challenge. They are enjoying taking challenges on because you have to at this club. They should be getting out of bed in the morning, driving to the ground in anticipation at pitting themselves against the best. That's our message to them: go and enjoy it, measure yourself against some of the world's best, learn from it and use it as motivation for the rest of the season. We have players who could play in the Premier League. We tell the players to aim as high as they possibly can...I always look out for City's results. They are a huge club.'
LATE FITNESS TEST:
The young forward from Oldham will be the man to mark on Saturday. With 16 goals from 27 games across all competitions thus far this season the 23 year old who cost Rovers a record outside the top flight £8 million from Huddersfield in August 2012 will be the player tasked with taking the game to City.
Having been suspended for City's fine performance at Swansea, Merlin will be expected to make things happen at Ewood Park. The cunning Spaniard celebrates his 28th birthday during next Wednesday's League Cup semi-final date with West Ham. Like other Blues of similar age in the City squad he is at the perfect stage in his career to run into the form of his life. Under Pellegrini, don't rule that out.
THE NUMBERS GAME:
City have played in 2 of the last 3 FA Cup finals. There's a score to settle this season after that chastening defeat to Wigan.
The two clubs have met 6 times in the FA Cup. The last time around was March 2007 when Blackburn beat City 2-0 at Ewood Park. Leslie Hughes was the Rovers gaffer, defeating Stuart Pearce's Blues.
HEAD TO HEAD
League: 45 Rovers Wins, 27 Draws, 40 City Wins
FA Cup: 2 Rovers Wins, 1 Draw, 3 City Wins
League Cup: 1 Rovers Win
Total: 48 Rovers Win, 28 Draws, 43 City Wins
THIS COULD BE THE LAST TIME:
Sa 25Feb 2012 Man City 3 - 0 Blackburn PL
Sa 01Oct 2011 Blackburn 0 - 4 Man City PL
Mo 25Apr 2011 Blackburn 0 - 1 Man City PL
Sa 11Sep 2010 Man City 1 - 1 Blackburn PL
Betting: Rovers 9 Draw 5 City 1/4 Racing Post Soccerbase
FORM LAST 6 GAMES ALL COMPETITIONS:
CLICK HERE TO MAKE YOUR PREDICTIONS AND FOLLOW THE GAME LIVE IN THE VMC FORUM
TV COVERAGE: BT Sport 1 / HD
FOURTH ROUND DRAW:
The Budweiser FA Cup Fourth Round draw will take place live on TheFA.com, ITV and BT Sport from around 14h00 GMT on Sunday afternoon. Blackburn and City have been allocated Number 24.
- Ties to be played over the weekend of 25th and 26th January.
mcfcofficial: PELLEGRINI ON FA CUP: Blackburn Rovers v City FA Cup Preview
Michael Oliver from Northumberland -Last Season: Su 11Nov 2012 Man City 2 - 1 Tottenham PL, Tu 01Jan 2013 Man City 3 - 0 Stoke PL This Season: Sa 19Oct 2013 West Ham 1 - 3 Man City PL-2012/13: 39 Games, 105 Yellows, 1 Red -2013/14: 19 Games, 76 Yellows, 2 Reds.
Johnny On The Spot: So City face a Championship mid-table side in the legendary FA Cup Third Round. A legion of hacks and learned pundits would have you believe the outcome should be a formality but this correspondent suggests that above all else City should guard against any hint of complacency in the quest for glory on four fronts. Blackburn come into this one having won at Leeds United and must not be underestimated...Manuel Pellegrini's team selection will be have a bearing and be full of intrigue for this game and the first leg of the League Cup semi-final with West Ham ahead of the next tricky Premier League assignment at Newcastle. He's certain to continue to rotate a squad bursting with belief and increasingly on message with his tactics. As ever, an early goal very often spells curtains for the opposition and that's what Rovers will be keen to avoid. A potentially fascinating contest. Blackburn 0 City 2
all times East Manchester GMT
We 08Jan 19h45 West Ham United, The Etihad, LCSF1
Su 12Jan 14h05 Newcastle United, St James Park, PL
Sa 18Jan 15h00 Cardiff City, The Etihad, PL
Tu 21Jan 19h45 West Ham United, Upton Park, LCSF2
We 29Jan 19h45, Tottenham Hotspur, White Hart Lane, PL
Mo 03Feb 2014 20h00 Chelsea, The Etihad, PL
Date:Friday January 3 2014
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