City 4 - 2 Leicester

MANCHESTER ENGLAND - JANUARY 18: Adam Johnson of Manchester City scores his team's third goal during the FA Cup sponsored by E.On Third Round Replay match between Manchester City and Leicester City at the City of Manchester Stadium on January 18 2011 in Manchester England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Progression to round 4 it is then.

The potential upset was avoided in Sven's return to the City of Manchester Stadium in a game that was far less comfortable than it could and should have been.

What got the side through (as was the case against Wolves) were those moments of individual skill that can create something and turn a game; evident tonight was once again the value of both David Silva and Carlos Tevez to the side but although the result never really looked in doubt, there were once again questions over the defensive play and the sides ability to both control and retain possession.

Roberto Mancini opted for as strong a side as he has put out in a Cup game this season. There were starts for Tevez, Silva and Adam Johnson and only Nigel de Jong (replaced by Patrick Vieira) a notable absentee.

As in the first game ten days ago, Leicester started the faster and brighter of the two sides. Finding a great deal of space going forward, they managed to create plenty early. I have posted previously about the absence of both de Jong and Vincent Kompany before and the void left by de Jong was noticeable with Vieira struggling to settle early. 

de Jong not only covers so much ground in that deep role, but so often sets the tempo to the sides play - the launchpad for the possession based game that the side has profited from in the main this season. Without that, too often the defence is put under the pressure and susceptible to attack. Whilst Patrick Vieira has qualities, he is no match for de Jong in this area.

Unlike the first tie, Leicester couldn't profit early and an individual spark from Tevez saw City take the lead. It was to brief however, as Vieira left a trailing leg in the tackle and Lloyd Dyer needed no invitation to go down (think very Adam Johnson-esque). All square at 1-1.

A bright spot in the first half was the play of Pablo Zabaleta. Marauding full-backs are what Mancini covets and whilst Aleksandar Kolarov has now settled, Jerome Boateng has less so and Zabaleta appears the preferred choice. He often linked well with both Tevez and Silva and it as his play that created City's second, Vieira prodding home from Silva's blocked shot.

Although City struggled to put together cohesive and fluent passages of play, the third goal just before half-time was a thing of beauty. And yes, it was created by David Silva. The Spaniard weighted a perfect ball that split the defence and Johnson's clever diagonal run gave him the space to go and slot home.

Johnson's goal clearly deflated Leicester and they were less lively, less creative and less threatening in the second half. The quality in City's play as better; the midfield trio of Vieira, Milner and Yaya Toure looking more compact, assured and positive and this also translated back to the defence.

The cushion City had built even allowed for a second successive Tevez penalty miss which in truth has been coming even during his early successful run earlier in the season. Would anyone dare take the ball from him though?

With Leicester looking out of the game, they were handed a way back in. Referee Mark Halsey (supposed to be a City fan?) played a nice assist but Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott were too flat and allowed Lloyd Dyer to poke home. Game on with little over five minutes remaining.

Leicester committed men forward in search of an equaliser and this allowed City to break in numbers. They remained patient in the build up (Johnson even eschewing the option of sliding in Jo) and Kolarov hit home from the edge of the box to seal the win and get his first City goal in the process.

Of course the win as what was required and in that regard it was a successful evening, yet the concerns that have creeped in to the game the past couple of weeks - particularly an impenetrable looking defence that suddenly appears generous - have not been eradicated and will be of concern to Mancini.

A trip to Notts County in the next round is a tricky looking fixture but one that should be navigated.

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