FA Cup - Matchpack: Manchester City v Watford

Team news, quotes, facts and odds ahead of the third round FA Cup tie between Manchester City and Watford at the Etihad Stadium.

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Manchester City's Argentinian defender Pablo Zabaleta (L) celebrates scoring the opening goal with Manchester City's English midfielder Gareth Barry (R) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Stoke City


Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero (hamstring) will miss out but controversial forward Mario Balotelli is available after recovering from a virus. Manager Roberto Mancini, who has been pictured grappling with Balotelli in a training-ground bust-up, has said the 22-year-old could be on the bench but forward Samir Nasri is suspended and Yaya Toure, Kolo Toure and Abdul Razak are on international duty. Defenders Aleksandar Kolarov and Maicon (both knee) are not yet ready to return while right-back Micah Richards (knee) and midfielder Jack Rodwell (hamstring) are longer-term casualties.

Fitz Hall will miss Watford's FA Cup third-round tie at Manchester City while Manuel Almunia and Almen Abdi are both doubts. Hall sat out of the 4-3 defeat to Charlton on New Year's Day with a hamstring strain and will not have recovered in time for the Etihad Stadium encounter. Goalkeeper Almunia picked up a slight hamstring strain against the Addicks but managed to complete the match and will be monitored. Midfielder Abi also faces a race against time having been forced off just after the hour mark on Tuesday with a pelvic problem. There is positive news for the Hornets in the shape of defender Lloyd Doyley, who is fit again against a calf injury.


Roberto Mancini (Man City) on the incident with Mario Balotelli: "No fight, not true. The pictures are worse. I will give him another 100 chances if I think it's possible he can change. I give him another chance, sure, because he is 22 and he can make a mistake."

Gianfranco Zola (Watford): "To play against, he was a pain in the backside to be honest – he was so good, so talented and such an intelligent player. I’ve had some good moments with him in opposition, but I’ve also had some painful moments because I played in an era when the competition for places in the Italian national team was so fierce it was crazy."


The Citizens and the Hornets have met twice before in the FA Cup; Watford progressed after two replays in 1986 while City won a fourth round game 4-1 at home back in 1997.

Manchester City have won 13 and lost just two of their last 19 FA Cup clashes with sides from the second tier of English football.

Matej Vydra has scored four goals in his last two starts for Watford in all competitions.

Yaya Toure has scored three goals in his last four FA Cup appearances, including the winner in 2011 FA Cup final.


Man City 1/6, Watford 16/1, draw 8/1

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