The FA Cup fifth round clash between Chelsea and Manchester City on Sunday at Stamford Bridge should be the tie of the round.
Unfortunately though City have a European engagement with Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League on Wednesday, so are set to rest a number of their regular players.
Sweet FA help for European competitors
City boss Manuel Pellegrini has been critical of the FA in how they have arranged the competition and the fact they do not take into account the fact teams are playing in the Champions League.
The Chilean told Sky Sports: “In other leagues, they try to help the teams in the Champions League a little bit more, because it is not so difficult to change one game on one day.
“I don’t want to talk lightly about this but the people in charge must study it. The other leagues do it so we must do it here too, if you want to be successful in Europe. Something must change.
“The FA Cup is difficult because it’s on a weekend, so you must postpone games and arrive at the end of the season with more to play. There are so many games at the end and it is difficult to play all of them. Some things are not correct in this cup.
“Unfortunately for us, because of injuries and we have to play in the Champions League, we just have 13 first-team players available to play, so we will see what the best team is that we can play in the FA Cup.”
Poor old Manchester City
Poor old Manchester City having to cope with an injury crisis and too many games. Maybe they should move all City’s games to accommodate the Citizens and their burgeoning fixture list. The old saying if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen seems to spring to mind in this one.
Manchester City have spent the last half a decade spending a fortune and not only strengthening their senior playing staff, but creating an academy fit for kings, well Sheikhs really.
City are likely to field a number of youngsters at Stamford Bridge in that FA Cup game, with the likes of Cameron Humphreys, Brandon Barker and Manuel Garcia set for a run-out at Chelsea. Those youngsters will get a chance to prove that they are good enough to feature for City.
Not many players have come through the City academy and into the first team in recent years, as the Citizens have continued to spend to stay on the shirt tails of the likes Leicester and Tottenham at the business end of the Premier League.
City have been all about lashing out money in recent transfer windows with the likes of Nicolas Otamendi, Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling arriving at Etihad Stadium. All those who say that they are sick of people talking about the money City have spent need to take a reality check and see where they are in the table.
The fact is those new signings have produced mixed results for the club. Instead of turning City into a dominant force with two high-quality players in each position, they are a team with questions marks all over the field. Is half of the City team capable of playing at the highest level?
The answer is probably not and that comes down to poor recruitment. The Citizens may currently have injuries, but a club with the ambitions of City should be better equipped to deal with such problems.
Pellegrini claims his side have 13 players out injured, but in reality its closer to seven players. City could quite easily field a first eleven completely comprising first team regulars at Chelsea. However, with the Champions League tie on Wednesday, the City boss is obviously prioritising the clubs European campaign.
An example for youngsters at City
Pellegrini’s inevitable naming of an understrength team has made Chelsea the favourites for progression into the quarter-finals at odds of 4/5.
However this game could be a showcase of some of City’s youngsters. Nigerian youngster Kelechi Iheanacho has impressed this season with some vital goals, mostly off the substitute bench.
The youngster scored a hat-trick in the last round at Aston Villa. The 19-year-old is likely to start upfront against Chelsea and will be looking to make an impact yet again. His recent appearances for City give those youngsters a hope of making it in the first team at City.
Whatever team lines-up for City at Chelsea, Pellegrini will know that the pressure is now on to gain results, or City’s season could unravel very quickly and too many games will no longer be a problem.
Is Manuel Pellegrini right to field the youngsters in the FA Cup?
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