Manchester City host Blackburn Rovers in an FA Cup 3rd round replay 15 January 2014. The first attempt at finding a winner for this fixture ended 1-1 after Blackburn defender Scott Dann brought them level following Negredoís 45th minute opener.
This time itís winner takes all with extra time and penalties on the cards if itís a draw after 90 minutes. The winner will be rewarded with a home tie against either Bristol City or Watford (their replay being played 14 January 2014) in the fourth round.
Clearly the team just off the top off the Premier League should have enough, even outside the first team, to overcome a Championship team. That said, Blackburn have some players, and even more fans, that will remember that not so long ago their team were contesting this sort of match week in week out. They also have some young and ambitious players that might see an FA Cup upset against a team a whole league above them as a decent forum for a move in this transfer window or the next.
At the least the travelling faithful won't want to see a 6-0 beating the likes of which West Ham received in the League Cup a week ago.
How will Manchester City approach this game? They play at home to Cardiff on Saturday, so not the kind of game they may necessarily need to rest players for, not the way theyíve dispatched teams at the Etihad this season. They do have commitments on four fronts though which means Pellegrini (fresh off winning the December manager of the month award) will need to manage his squad.
The line-up isnít known at this point, but expect to see a few of the second string starting, and key players given a rest (or taken off early if a decent lead is won). All this could have an impact on value in the first scorer market (and by extension double delight and hat-trick hero).
This Blackburn side are in a decent vein of form having only lost two of their last ten in the league, a run thatís seen them climb up to 8th in the Championship table, two points off the playoffs.
They play Nottingham Forrest in the Championship this weekend, a win there would put them in serious consideration for the playoff places and a return to the Premier League must be a priority for them. That means that although a cup run, especially one that includes dispatching Premier League teams, is a good thing, their attention may still be elsewhere.
All things considered, it should be a comfortable win for Manchester City, with Blackburn defending in numbers and looking for damage limitation.
In terms of the odds Manchester City are the overwhelming favourite, best priced at 2/15 on at BetFair. Blackburn can be backed at 25/1 with Bet365 (Winner are the next highest at 22/1).
For first goal scorers, Sergio Aguero is the shortest price at 5/2 with BetVictor, despite only just being back from injury and no confirmation as to whether heíll start or not.
Negredo and Dzeko are the same 31/10, again with BetVictor. We think Dzeko will probably start, with Aguero replacing him at some point in the second half.
Interestingly John Guidetti can be backed at 5/1 (again with BetVictor who seem to be offering the best across this market), even with his loan move to Stoke seemingly imminent.
For Blackburn, their goal machine Jordan Rhodes is best priced at 14/1 with PaddyPower.
Extra value can be found with BetFred and BWin both offering double delight and hat-trick heaven, and there will be plenty of other offers available on the Todayís Offers page.
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