They may be fighting for the title in both of their respective leagues but this weekend top of the Premier League Manchester City take on Championship second place Cardiff City in the Welsh capital on Sunday.
Manchester City are one of the best teams in the world right now having lost only one Premier League game all season and being in the final of the EFL Cup and the knockout rounds of the Champions League but this weekend they return to the FA Cup against Championship high flyers Cardiff with there sights firmly on the fifth round. The starting line up for the blues this weekend should be quite predictable as the likes of De Bruyne, Ederson and Sterling should look to receive some much-deserved rest with the likes of Fabian Delph, Bernardo Silva and Claudio Bravo taking their place. Most will predict a resounding win but is there an open door for a giant killing to take place. In the two cup competitions, this season City have been troubled by Championship opposition with a young Wolves side taking them all the way penalties in the first round of the league cup and Bristol City making them work for a place in this years final after running them close in both semi-final legs.
So it will be interesting to see how Pep will look at this one. Will he stick with a weakened side to save his superstars for their return to league football and with a Champions League knockout game just three weeks away or will he be taking no risks and put out a strong side of household names to get the job over and done with and see them through to the next round.
Neil Warnock’s Cardiff City will be stern competition for the Mancs on Sunday. Sitting pretty in third in the Championship and having the title be pretty much out of their reach, the FA Cup could be the former QPR managers main objective for the rest of the season. The 2009 finalists come into this on a hot and cold run of form which saw them be taken to a replay by league 2 Mansfield in the third round. And will be determined to turn there form around after dropping out of the automatic promotion places in recent weeks. Warnock will be relying on the likes of Liverpool loanee Marko Grujic and former Leicester defender Sol Bamba to carry them through in a game where he knows they are massive underdogs.
However, one thing is for sure. Cardiff will be taking no risks with there starting lineup and with championship fixtures left right and centre the blues will almost certainly want this game over and done within 90 minutes as a replay is the last thing you want when you’re trying to make up ground on your fellow promotion contenders.
This game will make for interesting viewing as both sides are in different positions in their season and it will be interesting to see which one takes the risk to try and win it. But in my opinion there can only be one winner and that is Manchester City.