City under Guardiola have rarely deviated from 4-3-3.
But in recent weeks, with so many players unavailable for a variety of reasons, we’ve seen increasing fluidity in our system. Players have interchanged positions more frequently, with the lack of recognised central striker calling for new solutions.
It’s worked superbly - we've won our last five - but, more encouragingly, the quality of performances has increased significantly.
Despite the challenges we’ve faced with players being out of action, our victories at Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United were delivered in style.
Guardiola will not want to see our momentum subside.
Jesus' return means we have a focal point once more, and in defence it looks as though Walker will start at centre-back alongside Dias, with Cancelo and Mendy offering width down the flanks.
Today’s visitors sit 18th in the Championship table and haven’t won any of their last six matches.
Their last win came away at Reading in early December, and since then they have drawn one and lost five.
Birmingham XI: Prieto, Colin, Clarke-Salter, San Jose, Friend, Sunjic, Kieftenbeld, Sanchez, Toral, Leko, Hogan
Subs: Etheridge, Pedersen, Dean, Dacres-Cogley, Roberts, Clayton, McGree, Bela, Jutkiewicz
Referee: Robert Jones
Assistant Referees: Edward Smart & Scott Ledger
Fourth Official: Martin Atkinson
VAR: Graham Scott
AVAR: Matthew Wilkes
Stats and facts
This is the first FA Cup meeting between City and Birmingham since a third-round tie in January 2001, with City winning 3-2 at Maine Road.
Birmingham are winless in their last 12 away games against us in all competitions (D2 L10), with this their first visit since a League Cup tie in September 2011 (0-2).
City last failed to reach the FA Cup fourth round in the 2011-12 campaign, losing at home to Manchester United at this stage in that season. We have won our last five third-round ties by an aggregate score of 23-2.
Since beating Wolves 1-0 in 2011-12, Birmingham have been eliminated from their last seven FA Cup ties against Premier League opposition.
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