A bad result for City last night as Everton lost to Reading. With Everton waiting in the wings, and given the poor performances of late against the Toffees, City would have been fully focused against Villa. Unfortunately with Reading the opponent at home there is a clear path to the FA Cup semi final.
The Manchester Evening News is reporting that David Silva will be fit for the tie, although Nigel de Jong has failed to recover from his ankle injury. Team selection and tactical formation will be crucial in the match if City are to see a repeat of the December 28th hammering of Gerard Houllier's side.
Curiously Carlos Tevez didn't start that game, Balotelli scoring a memorable hat trick, and there's an argument for a similar situation given the injuries that Villa have in the centre of their defence. However I expect either Balotelli or Dzeko to start on the bench given that Villa, unlike most Premier League teams, have an abundance of width. As such I wouldn't be surprised to see the Christmas Tree formation make an unwelcome return.
Villa are an under-rated side with a lot of potential. The loss of manager Martin O'Neill prior to the start of the season massively impacted the Midland's club and in many ways it has been a lost season. Such clubs are inherently dangerous in Cup competitions.
Garry Cook doesn't like the phrase "Typical City," but with Reading up next and a semi-final berth a real possibility this has all the makings of a frustrating evening.
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