This season of the FA Cup brought us a wonderful change: the sixth round, also known as the quarterfinals, will not have a replay, meaning that if the game ends in a draw the tie will be decided in the same day, with extra-time and penalties if needed. It's do or die. It's a real final, and if the quarterfinals are really entertaining with the new format, we could FINALLY have the no-replay rule extended to the entire competition.
Manchester City and Middlesbrough play the first quarterfinal match on Saturday's early kickoff at the Riverside Stadium. These two sides played a very good game at the Etihad when they met in the Premier League a few months ago, and we should be in for another good 90 minutes of Cup action. Or 120 minutes plus penalties. The winner will play the semifinal at Wembley. STAKES!!! THE FA CUP IS FUN, GUYS!!!
Date/Time: Saturday, March 11, 2017, 12:15pm BST (UK), 7:15am EST, 4:15am PST (USA), 5:45pm IST (India)
Venue: Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, England
Referee: Mike Dean
Television: BT Sport 2 (UK), Fox Sports 1 (USA), SuperSport 5 (Africa), Sony ESPN (India), Sportsnet World (Canada), elsewhere
(Listings via LiveSoccerTV)
apart from long-term injuries for Gabriel Jesus and Ilkay Gundogan! It has been a healthy few weeks for the City squad, and Pep Guardiola once again has all of his players available for selection.
Captain Vincent Kompany trained with the group throughout the week and is ready to return to action, and given that most of his appearances this season have been in Cup matches, it's reasonable to expect the Belgian to start on Saturday, with John Stones, Pablo Zabaleta and Claudio Bravo also coming back in.
Guardiola rested Raheem Sterling for 90 minutes and David Silva for 45 minutes against Stoke City, so both playmakers should start in midfield alongside Fernandinho and Aleix García, who was wonderful in his last Cup appearance against Huddersfield Town. Grandpa Yaya Touré gets a day off.
Leroy Sané and Sergio Agüero will probably rest and get ready for Monaco, with Nolito and Kelechi Iheanacho coming in. Jesús Navas should probably stay home for a little while. A few years, maybe.
Middlesbrough: Guzan; Fábio, Bernardo, Gibson, Friend; Leadbitter, De Roon, Forshaw; Adama, Negredo, Fischer
Manchester City: Bravo; Zabaleta, Stones, Kompany, Clichy; Silva, García, Delph; Sterling, Iheanacho, Nolito
Wembley, here we come. 2-0 City.