Mens Team

Laporte returns as City make 10 changes

EYES ON THE PRIZE: Solid at the back, lethal in attack!
City make 10 changes from the side that beat Aston Villa 2-0 on Wednesday evening.

Aymeric Laporte returns after a month out with injury and Ferran Torres also comes into the starting XI.

Youngsters Tommy Doyle and Taylor Harwood-Bellis get rare starts but Phil Foden is the only survivor from the team that kicked off in midweek.

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Raheem Sterling, Ilkay Gundogan, Ederson, Ruben Dias, Bernardo, Oleks Zinchenko and Joao Cancelo are among the subs.

Teams

City: Steffen, Garcia, Mendy, Laporte, Harwood-Bellis, Fernandinho (c), Doyle, Foden, Mahrez, Jesus, Torres

Subs: Ederson, Dias, Sterling, Gündogan, Zinchenko,. Rodrigo, Bernardo, Cancelo, Bernabe

Cheltenham Town: Griffiths, Raglan, Tozer (c), Boyle, Blair, Freestone, Thomas, Clements, Azaz, Lloyd, May.

Subs: Flinders, Harris, Long, Bowry, Addai, Ebanks, Williams

City keen for silverware

City have steadily climbed to second in the Premier League, have made the last 16 of the Champions League and have booked a place in the Carabao Cup final next April.

Victory over Cheltenham would set up a last 16 FA Cup clash with Swansea or Nottingham Forest.

City won all three domestic trophies in 2018/19 as well as the Community Shield – and Pep Guardiola maybe believes his side are capable of repeating that feat, and maybe even bettering it.

Losing key players such as Kevin De Bruyne won’t help that quest, but you feel with this group, anything is possible.

Probable formation and tactics

If City go 4-3-3, it could mean either Taylor Harwood-Bellis or Eric Garcia play as right-back.

However, if City play more in a 3-4-3 formation, Laporte, Garcia and Harwood-Bellis could be a back three.

The main creative role will fall on Phil Foden’s shoulders, with a front three of Torres, Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus.

Robins’ Nest

Cheltenham Town’s Jonny-Rocks stadium has not been a fortress for the League Two promotion-chasers this season.

Their progress has been steady rather than spectacular, with only five wins from their 12 home games so far this campaign.

But they are well placed in sixth spot in the table and held League Two title hopefuls Newport County to a 1-1 draw earlier this week.

As Pep highlighted, the Robins are dangerous from set-pieces with throw-ins a particular threat.

The City defence will need to be aerially commanding when needed and Zack Steffen could be busier than many pundits expect.

Stats and facts

  • This will be the first ever competitive meeting between Cheltenham and City.
  • The Robins have lost all eight of their League Cup/FA Cup meetings with Premier League opponents.
  • Since losing against Wigan 0-1 in February 2018, Man City have won their last seven FA Cup games against sides from a lower division by an aggregate score of 26-4.
  • Cheltenham are looking to reach the FA Cup fifth round for just the second time in their history, previously doing so in the 2001-02 campaign.
  • City have reached the fifth round of the FA Cup in each of the last five campaigns, last losing at this stage of the competition against Middlesbrough in 2015.
  • The winners of this tie will travel to the winners of the Swansea City v Nottingham Forest tie in the FA Cup 5th Round.
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