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Sky Blue News: Women Cruise, Laporte Anniversary, Fifth Round Draw, and More...

Monday morning headlines from Bitter and Blue.

Manchester City v Sheffield United: Vitality Women’s FA Cup Fourth Round Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

What a weekend for Manchester City Football Club. The men sent Arsenal FC crashing out of the FA Cup at the fourth round with a 1-0 victory, and the women dispatched Sheffield United in the Women’s FA Cup fifth round by a score of 7-0. Sky Blue news is here to help you get your week started with all the latest.

Women’s FA Cup: Big wins for Manchester City and Arsenal as Birmingham City upset Everton - BBC Sport

Khadija Shaw scored a hat-trick while England star Chloe Kelly also netted and contributed three assists as last season’s losing finalists Manchester City thrashed second-tier strugglers Sheffield United 7-0.

Arsenal were just as imperious in ending fourth-tier Leeds’ run - eight different players scoring in a 9-0 hammering as the Gunners did not allow the visitors a single shot, let alone one on target.

Brighton joined in the goal spree with a dominant display at third-tier West Bromwich Albion, winning 7-0 and registering 19 shots on target compared to the Baggies’ none.

Magnificent Seven: Manchester City Women Blunt The Blades - Manc Pete - Bitter and Blue

Manchester City Women strolled to a handsome victory as the blues hit seven past Sheffield United to secure their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup. Chloe Kelly, Deyna Castellanos and a brace from Julie Blakstad topped a great performance by the blues, who followed up their 6-0 midweek win at Bristol City in style. And Kelly secured a hat-trick of assists as the blues ran riot at the Academy Stadium.

With a trip to Leicester next weekend, followed by back-to-back games against Arsenal, City needed a good performance to set themselves up for those matches, and they did it with aplomb.

The blues were in control from the first whistle, with Kelly causing the Blades all sorts of problems on the City right. It seemed only a matter of time that the blues would get the opening goal and when it did in the 16th minute, it was from a source that City fans have got used to seeing this season.

Pep Guardiola has a new undroppable Man City star for big games - Simon Bajkowski - Manchester Evening News

Nathan Ake is not strictly the direct swap for Oleksandr Zinchenko following the latter’s £32m move to Arsenal, not least because he is already at the club and specialises in another position. However, with Joao Cancelo and Sergio Gomez - the youngster from Anderlecht brought in to cover Zinchenko’s absence when the club refused to pay what Brighton wanted for Marc Cucurella - Ake has made himself integral to Pep Guardiola’s plans in any which way he can - which was a very Zinchenko thing to do.

It should be said that not every game Ake has played for City has been at left-back. Equally, had City followed through with their original intention to sign a Zinchenko replacement there is every chance that new faces would have acquitted themselves there.

However, it remains telling that Guardiola has gone for Ake at left-back in a number of big games this season. Recently, the manager was purring over the number of duels that the Dutchman won up against Mo Salah when he played there against Liverpool.

Five years of Aymeric Laporte at Manchester City - Brandon Evans - City Xtra

Joining midway through the 2017/18 season, Laporte enjoyed a decent, albeit unspectacular, first few months in Sky Blue – in which the future Spain international played a small, but important role in Manchester City’s legendary ‘Centurions’ campaign.

Aymeric Laporte’s first season in Manchester culminated with League Cup and Premier League winners’ medals, however the jury was still out on whether he was was a worthwhile acquisition.

But the following season, the central defender kicked on.

From the outset of the 2018/19 campaign, Aymeric Laporte quickly established himself as a mainstay of the Manchester City side and an integral component of Pep Guardiola’s team – a team that would later achieve an unprecedented feat.

Manchester City chief shoots down Pep Guardiola to Barcelona links - Ben Knapton - Sports Mole

Guardiola earned his big break in management during his time at Camp Nou, where he won a total of 14 trophies during his four years in charge between 2008 and 2012.

The 52-year-old led Barcelona to two Champions League titles and three La Liga titles during his time in the hotseat, collecting two World’s Best Club Coach awards in the process.

Guardiola recently signed a new contract at Man City to keep him at the Etihad Stadium until 2025, but he recently admitted that the door was not closed on a future return to Barcelona.

“If I’m training here, wherever and Barcelona calls me, I’ll go to Barcelona, it’s my club,” Guardiola told a press conference ahead of Friday’s FA Cup win over Arsenal.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola reacts on January 5, 2022

However, CEO Soriano insisted that Guardiola’s comments were taken out of context, as he would only be prepared to return to Barcelona if he was an assistant coach.

At the time, Guardiola was referencing Mikel Arteta, who spent time as assistant manager at Man City before returning to Arsenal to take up the manager’s vacancy in 2019.

Speaking to DAZN during Barcelona’s La Liga win over Girona on Saturday, Soriano said: “No, I don’t think [Guardiola joining Barcelona] is possible.

“If you actually listen to Guardiola’s statements, he says ‘if I were assistant coach at Manchester City...’, but he’s not an assistant coach.


As the competition heads into its last 16 following this weekend’s fourth round games, there will be eight ties drawn out on the show which begins at 7pm GMT.

The fifth round proper will be playing midweek during the week commencing Monday 27 February 2023 with winning clubs in this round collecting £225,000 from the competition prize fund.

The draw will also be streamed live on the official Emirates FA Cup Twitter and Facebook social media channels.

And finally... City might be looking to block the big Spanish clubs from snatching up one of CFG’s young stars.

Manchester City could sign Barcelona right-back target with €20 million release clause - Michael Durant - Barca Universal

It is no secret that Barça are on the lookout for a new right-back. While the idea would be to try and sign a top-quality player for the position, the financial situation at the club might not allow for it.

Hence, a player like Martinez, who has shown immense potential and would be feasible financially, has emerged as a prospective target for the Catalan giants.

However, according to Lluis Canut on Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona could end up facing competition from Manchester City for the signing of the young right-back.

The owners of the Premier League club also happen to own Girona and manager Pep Guardiola might try and secure the 19-year-old services despite having Kyle Walker at his disposal, claims Canut.

There you have it. Stay with Bitter and Blue throughout the week for all the breaking news. Check back here tomorrow for more from Sky Blue News.