Rodney Parade is readying itself for the arrival of Premier League champions Manchester City for this FA Cup fifth round David vs Goliath affair on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola’s men remain firmly in contention for an unprecedented quadruple this season but a visit to League Two Newport County’s ground – which also plays host to two rugby teams – could generate some major concerns for the Blues.
The sodden mud-spattered and uneven surface is a far cry from the lush green carpet at the Etihad that the City stars are accustomed to – with Guardiola eager to avoid any unnecessary injuries as the Citizens continue to fight for silverware on all four fronts.
Check out 90min’s preview for Saturday’s fifth-round tie below.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Saturday 16 February|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||15:30 (BST)|
|Where Is it Played?||Rodney Parade|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||BT Sport 2|
County boss Michael Flynn should have Mark O’Brien and Joss Labadie fit after both sat out Tuesday’s defeat against MK Dons, although new signing Ade Azeez is cup tied having already featured in the competition with Cambridge United.
City will continue to be without Vincent Kompany, Benjamin Mendy and Claudio Bravo but Guardiola may choose to field a heavily rotated team ahead of the forthcoming Champions League clash against Schalke and Carabao Cup final versus Chelsea.
|Newport County||Day; Poole, O’Brien, Demetriou, Willmott, Bennett, Bakinson, Labadie, Butler, Amond, Matt.|
|Manchester City||Ederson; Danilo, Stones, Otamendi, Delph; Gundogan, Foden, D. Silva; Mahrez, Jesus, Sane.|
Head to Head Record
The two sides have only faced each other three times culminating in three defeats for the Welsh side. Their last meeting was in 1962 in the League Cup when City ran out 2-1 winners.
There are 80 places separating these two sides with Newport hoping their home soil continues its reputation as witness to giant killings – having first earned the reputation in rugby where the mighty All Blacks succumbed to a surprise 3-0 defeat to Newport RFC in 1963.
Newport County go into this lucrative fixture on the back of a last minute 1-0 loss to MK Dons on Tuesday night, whilst Manchester City are fresh from Sunday’s 6-0 rout of Chelsea – highlighting the disparity between the two sides.
Despite a bright start the season, Michael Flynn’s men sit 15th in League Two but their sensational cup form – which has seen them match Middlesbrough and Leicester City this year, and Leeds and Tottenham the year before – has earned them the reputation of ‘giant killers.’
Pep Guardiola’s side appear to be firing on all cylinders once again following a rare defeat at Newcastle, beating Everton and recently firing six past hapless Chelsea courtesy of a Sergio Aguero hat trick making him Manchester City’s top league goalscorer of all time.
The visitors are currently top of the Premier League with the six goals on scored on Sunday increasing their goal difference to +54 – ten more than fellow title contenders Liverpool.
|Newport County||Manchester City|
|Newport County 0-1 MK Dons (12/2)||Manchester City 6-0 Chelsea (10/2)|
|Newport County 1-0 Mansfield (9/2)||Everton 0-2 Manchester City (6/2)|
|Newport County 2-0 Middlesbrough (5/2)||Arsenal 1-3 Manchester City (3/2)|
|Grimsby 0-3 Newport County (2/2)||Newcastle 2-1 Manchester City (29/1)|
|Newport County 0-0 Port Vale (29/1)||Manchester City 5-0 Burnley (26/1)|
Newport County have absolutely nothing to lose in this fixture. They have already netted a reported £875,000 from the FA Cup run so far which could ensure the financial security of the League Two side for years to come.
It could be 6-0 thrashing – but it is difficult to see how Newport could get a seventh!