Manchester City take on Wigan tonight in the FA Cup fifth round and could cement their place in the quarter-finals of a domestic competition that has mostly eluded the Blues since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover.
Since Roberto Mancini’s history making City side ended the 35 year wait for a trophy by lifting it, a final defeat to today’s opponents back in 2013 and a semi-final loss to Arsenal last season sums up recent FA Cup luck.
However, arguably the best Manchester City team ever assembled sits prettily perched on top of the Premier League by a whopping 16 point margin, if any side can do it, it’s this one.
Here is my predicted Blues line-up for a crucial clash at the DW Stadium.
GK – Claudio Bravo
The Chilean has expressed his true value as a shot-stopper this season, being at the forefront of City’s Carabao Cup run and getting them through two penalty shoot-outs in the process. Don’t be surprised if he adds another appearance here.
RB – Danilo
This tie gives Pep Guardiola a chance to rest the ever present Kyle Walker who has played the vast majority of games this season. Danilo is a perfectly adequate replacement, hopefully he can replicate his strike against Burnley.
CB – Aymeric Laporte
The 23-year-old is almost certain to gain his third appearance in a sky blue shirt and help keep City on the front-foot with his natural ability on the ball.
CB – John Stones
Stones has had a tough time since returning from injury and will be looking to leave that form behind and get back to his formerly superior ways against star striker Will Grigg.
LB – Oleksandr Zinchenko
The Ukrainian has provided near perfect cover at left-back for Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph, but even now the latter is back in action, Zinchenko is a favourable option for a cup tie.
CM – Fernandinho
One of the standout players this season, the Brazilian has been imperative to Pep Guardiola’s footballing vision for City. Although he could be rested, the presence of such an imperative player will undoubtedly help the Blues over the line.
CM – Ilkay Gundogan
Gundogan has been on fire recently, scoring two brilliant efforts away to FC Basel, and has fit in well when David Silva has been unavailable. Will most likely grace the team sheet once again.
CM – Yaya Touré
Yaya’s lack of playing time this season hasn’t gone unnoticed, but in almost every match that has featured a much lesser side or a contest that lacked importance, the Ivorian has made an appearance.
RW – Bernardo Silva
Due to reports that Raheem Sterling will be rested for this one, Bernardo will undoubtedly come in and continue a noticeable uprise in form.
ST – Sergio Aguero
Having just won the Premier League’s Player of the Month for January, firing on all cylinders, the Argentine’s eye for goal will be a crucial contribution to City’s FA Cup run.
LW – Leroy Sané
Just back from injury and looked a bit rusty when re-introduced. This match is a perfect opportunity to pick up where he left off.