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Elusive FA Cup, Clarets dilemma and clever Pep

GIVE US A HUG: Sergio celebrates with his team-mates after his early strike

GIVE US A HUG: Sergio celebrates with his team-mates after his early strike

Four topics to mull over ahead of our FA Cup clash with Burnley...

Blues eye Wembley triple

City are looking to appear in a third Wembley showpiece this season – a very rare domestic feat and one Pep Guardiola clearly wants.

If the Blues can see off Burnley on Saturday afternoon, we will go into mid-February - at the very least – still competing strongly in all four competitions.

 

CENTRE OF ATTENTION: Phil Foden savours the moment after his first goal at the Etihad against Rotherham

 

Victory would mean City are in the last 16 of both the FA Cup and Champions League; Carabao Cup finalists and just four points off the Premier League summit as things stand – quite a season, already…

READ: Where can I watch City v Burnley?

Improving Clarets

Burnley finally looked to have turned a fairly protracted corner this season.

Last year’s surprise package, a mixture of additional European cup football, high expectation and a slight loss of their backs-to-the-wall mentality have seen Sean Dyche’s struggle for much of the campaign as emphasised when City beat them 5-0 last.October.

 

POWER SERG: Kun can't contain his delight after his early goal

Highlights

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City 5-0 Burnley: Extended highlights

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But since a Boxing Day drubbing by Everton, the Clarets have been unbeaten, winning four and drawing one as well as shipping just two goals.

It seems on paper to be very much a ‘back to basics’ situation, with Burnley reverting to what they do best – scrap for everything, defend with discipline and organisation.

But sitting just three points clear of the relegation zone and with Manchester United to face next Tuesday, it will be interesting to see how Dyche views this FA Cup tie in terms of importance.

He will also be thinking of momentum and how a damaging defeat to City could knock his team out of their rhythm.

Clever Pep

Pep Guardiola’s team selection for cup matches has been spot-on.

He’s used the cup competitions to gain momentum, give his strikers confidence, allow players returning from injury to get competitive minutes under their belt and also blood some of the Club’s exciting talent.

In midweek, we was able to rest almost an entire starting XI against Burton Albion and with Burnley and Newcastle to play in the space of four days, one or two key players could be rested against on Saturday – but not many.

Aro Muric, Eric Garcia and Phil Foden in particular have benefited from cup competitions this campaign, fully condoning the City chief’s selection process.

 

CLEARING THE DANGER: Eric Garcia stops a Burton attack with a timely interception

 

In many ways, the plan thus far has been perfectly executed.

It's been a while...

Every City fan is aware of how important the 2011 triumph was for the Club, ending a 35-year wait for a major trophy.

Beating Stoke to end the silverware drought was a hugely emotional moment and gave the Blues the belief that the Club could once again compete for major honours.

Since that glorious day in May, however, the Blues have not managed to win the trophy again.

 

SEVEN UP: Leroy Sane is congratulated after his late strike

Highlights

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City 7-0 Rotherham: Brief highlights

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Three Premier League titles, three League Cup triumphs and two FA Community Shield wins have followed, but the FA Cup has been more elusive – thanks mainly to Wigan Athletic!

The Latics are responsible for a defeat in the 2013 final, quarter-final loss at the Etihad in 2014 and last season’s 1-0 knock-out while they were still a League One side – an incredible run of results.

Pep guided the Blues to the semi-final in his first season as manager in 2017, but Arsenal won the game in extra time.

All that means that this will be our eight attempt to win the trophy we have won just once in 49 years…

 

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