Devoid of the services of the Touré brothers and Abdul Razak, Roberto Mancini is also missing a whole host of squad members due to injury. It means that he may not be able to rotate the side as much as he ideally would have done, but there should still be more than enough quality to dispose of Watford.
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Costel Pantilimon could be given an opportunity in goal, as he was for last season’s FA Cup third round match against Manchester United, whilst Karim Rekik is likely to replace Gael Clichy on the left of defence. Scott Sinclair should be handed a very rare start, whilst Sergio Aguero’s absence means that Carlos Tévez is scheduled to partner Edin Dzeko. Mario Balotelli could be named on the bench.
Here is the side Mancini could select:
Visitors:They are likely to deploy a 3-5-2 formation, with their possible starting XI something along these lines: Bond – Ekstrand, Hoban, Nosworthy – Cassetti, Hogg, Abdi, Chalobah, Pudil - Deeney, Vydra. (thanks to Dan Cohen for this information.
Referee: Phil Dowd – This will be the first FA Cup game that Dowd has refereed City. His most recent Premier League match involving the Blues was last season’s pulsating 3-3 home draw with Sunderland.
Prediction: MAN CITY 3 – 1 Watford – It could be quite an open, entertaining affair with plenty of chances. City’s extra quality should shine through, with goals to be scored by Edin Dzeko, James Milner, Carlos Tevez and Troy Deeney.
William Hill have some excellent odds for this match: Edin Dzeko score first and City to win 3-1 is hugely tempting at 33/1, whilst Scott Sinclair to score the final goal of the game is 7/1.