Prediction & odds for the game: Manchester City (1/11) v Birmingham (19/1) – ST is backing the home win
When: Sunday, 10th January @ 1.30pm K.O
Where: Etihad Stadium
Manchester City will begin their push to reclaim the FA Cup when they host Championship strugglers Birmingham City in the third round this weekend.
Domestic cup competitions have been a real strength for Manchester City across the last decade or so and that’s been especially true since Pep Guardiola walked through the door and became the club’s new manager. In addition to being one game away from retaining their League Cup crown, they’ll also want to try and regain the FA Cup after Arsenal won it back last season. In order to do that, though, they need to take things one game at a time, and they can’t afford to underestimate the Blues.
The 1-1 draw against West Brom in mid-December seemed to be a wake up call for City because since then, they’ve been fairly ruthless. They beat Southampton, battered Arsenal, eased to victory over Newcastle and Chelsea, and then beat rivals Manchester United to book their place in the Carabao Cup Final.
The days of Birmingham City being top half contenders in the Premier League are long gone, and these days, they’re just avoiding the urge to slip down into the third tier of English football. As a unit they’ve certainly got some strengths but there’s no way of getting around the sheer gulf in quality that exists within this tie. They should give as good as they get in this game, though, even if that means a resolute defensive performance.
Bizarrely enough, a 0-0 draw against Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day has actually been the highlight for the Blues in recent weeks. They continue to pile up loss after loss with no end in sight, registering defeats against the following clubs since mid-December: Watford, Cardiff, Middlesbrough, Derby and Blackburn.
We do think that Birmingham are going to hold City off for a while in the first half, but when Pep’s men get that inevitable first goal, they’re going to run away with it pretty quickly. The aim will be for the hosts to get the job done by the hour mark, or potentially even by half time so that they can start to really rotate and test the waters with some fresh players. Manchester City should progress into the fourth round but don’t be surprised if the visitors put up a fight.
Our scoreline prediction is going to be 4-1 Manchester City, ensuring that we hit the over 2.5 goals bracket in what should be an intriguing game.
Verdict: Back the home win at odds of 1/11 and the over 2.5 goals scored at odds of 4/9 (All odds are taken from bet365).
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If you want to bet on Manchester City vs Birmingham then head on over to the betting page. Alternatively, you can check out some of the other available fixtures at the soccer predictions page as we continue through the journey of this season’s FA Cup.