It’s FA Cup fourth round weekend, City’s once traditional time for bowing out of the competition to lower league opposition. This weekend sees Pep Guardiola’s men travel to League Two side Cheltenham Town for a place in the fifth round and a match at either Swansea or Nottingham Forest.
The blues are six times winners of the FA Cup and last took the trophy back to Manchester in 2019, when they hammered Watford 6-0 at Wembley. The blues beat Birmingham in the last round, and will be expected to go through at Cheltenham’s expense…well expected by everyone except City fans who really know better than to expect!
Let’s take a look at our hosts this weekend so at least if we do lose, we know what sort of team we were beaten by.
Cheltenham are currently sixth in League two, having played 23 games, which puts them in a good position to make this season’s play-offs – if they miss out on automatic promotion. The Robins are only four points behind leaders Cambridge United, with a game in hand, however they haven’t won a league match since beating Exeter City 5-3 at the Jonny Rocks Stadium, however they are unbeaten in four league games (all draws) and beat Mansfield Town 2-1 in the FA Cup to get to the fourth round.
Cheltenham have won ten games so far this season, with five of those wins coming at home. They have lost three and drawn two, scoring 18 goals but also conceding 13, however form goes out of the window in the FA Cup and City will do well to be wary of the Robins to avoid a potential banana skin.
Path To The Fourth Round
While City entered the competition at the third round stage, Cheltenham began their journey in round one by beating South Shields (1974) 3-1. They were drawn at home to Crewe in the second round, who they beat 2-1 and also beat Mansfield in round three by the same score.
FA Cup History
One of Cheltenham’s biggest FA Cup surprises came in January 2002, when the beat League One, promotion chasing Burnley in the fourth round, and in recent years they have faced Spurs, Newcastle and Everton in this competition, with the Premier League sides all progressing…no pressure City.
Alfie May has hit 7 goals in 26 matches so far this season, and leads the way with most shots attempted (54). Liam Sercombe and Andy Williams have both scored 6 each from 25 and 27 games respectively.
May also leads the assist chart, but is joined by Matty Blair, Ben Tozer and Chris Hussey, who all have 4 assists to their names. Hussey is the bigger threat from those four, with a pass accuracy rate of 78%. Tozer however, has attempted the most passes with 1,269, completing 891 from 28 games, giving him a pass accuracy of 70%.
Who’s The Boss?
Former Burnley defender Michael Duff has been in charge of the Robins since 2018 and will not have too fond memories of playing against City. Duff was part of the Burnley side that were 5-0 down to City by half-time at Turf Moor in April 2010.