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Opposition report: Manchester City

Blues travel to the Etihad for the first time since 2011.

BCFC

A closer look at this afternoon's opponents...

FORM GUIDE

City guaranteed another League Cup final appearance this week after sweeping aside rivals Manchester United 2-0 on Wednesday night. Their league form in recent weeks has picked up as well and they’re currently six unbeaten (four wins and two draws) and sit fifth in the table.

This is their first game in the FA Cup this season as, like Blues, they enter at the third-round stage.

In last season’s tournament, Pep Guardiola’s team were beaten in the semi-finals by eventual winners Arsenal.

IN THE DUGOUT

Pep Guardiola needs little introduction. With over 30 managerial titles and dozens more as a player, the Spaniard’s coaching career has been as special as his playing days.

His teams are well known for their retention of possession but also their work off the ball in pressing. At Barcelona, Guardiola coached his players citing ‘the six second rule’ – namely that the team should aim to win back the ball within six seconds of losing it. Part of this tactic includes working with defenders and goalkeepers who’re as comfortable playing and passing the ball as the midfielders.

In his first season as manager at Barcelona, Guardiola led his team to the treble of La Liga, Copa Del Rey and the Champions League. At just 37-years-old, he became the youngest ever manager to win the European competition. From there, he went onto coach at Bayern Munich – winning the Bundesliga every season he was present. He also won two domestic doubles. In 2016, he joined City and guided them to a Premier League title in his second campaign, breaking numerous records as the team surpassed the 100 points mark.

ONE TO WATCH

All of them.

LAST TIME OUT

The last time the two teams met was over eight years ago in the League Cup during the 2011/12 season. The game was played at the Etihad and finished 2-0 to the home side. Owen Hargreaves, making his debut after signing from Manchester United scored the opener, before Mario Balotelli added a second.

The game was Blues’ return to the competition having famously won the 2010/2011 trophy by beating Arsenal 2-1 at Wembley.

PREVIOUS KNOCKINGS

Neither team were known by their current names when they first met all the way back in 1892 in an old League Division Two fixture. The honours were shared by both teams in Blue – as both Small Heath and Ardwick picked up a point after a 2-2 all draw.

Their record down the years is fairly equal – Man City just edging the head to head with 67 wins to Blues’ 55, with 24 draws in-between.

The Blues of Birmingham enjoyed a real spell of success over Man City during the 20’s and into the 30’s, beating City ten times in a row.

In the FA Cup itself, Blues have met the Citizens on eight previous occasions with the most significant of those coming in the 1956 final – eventually won by the side from the North West.

DID YOU KNOW?

Manchester City hold the record for the fewest goals scored at home in a regular Premier League season.

The Citizens scored just ten goals at home during the 2006/07 campaign and finished 14th in the division, with Stuart Pearce as manager and John Wardle the owner.

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