Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola
Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola will be expecting a tough battle against Bristol City in the FA Cup fifth round. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Championship side Bristol City will be aiming to pull off a giant killing act on Tuesday night when they welcome Manchester City to Ashton Gate for the FA Cup fifth round clash.

The Robins are languishing in 13th in the table but are unbeaten in 2023 and will be feeling confident against Pep Guardiola’s reigning Premier League champions.

In round four they beat West Brom 3-0 while Man City saw off Arsenal and even though Guardiola and co are the favourites to advance, Nigel Pearson’s team will make life difficult for them.

Unbeaten run

If the Citizens take this one lightly, they could be in for an uncomfortable evening. The teams last met in the 2017-18 League Cup semi-finals where Man City were made to work over the two legs to advance 5-3 on aggregate.

Bristol City are currently on a 12 match unbeaten run in all tournaments and have scored in 11 of those fixtures. They will be hoping to progress to the quarter finals for the first time since 1974. But they may need to field a patched up side what with the number of injuries they have. Rob Atkinson will miss the rest of the season due to a cruciate ligament rupture while the Robbins will also be without the injured Kal Naismith, Kane Wilson and Tommy Conway. Harry Cornick and Anis Mehmeti are both cup-tied.

Stones out

Guardiola only has the 2018-19 FA Cup trophy in his cabinet from his time in charge so far and has seen his side knocked out in the semi-finals stage in each of the last three seasons. The coach should welcome Aymeric Laporte back from illness, but John Stones’s thigh injury is unlikely to heal in time. The infamous ‘Pep roulette’ could come into play as the Spaniard rotates his resources, with Stefan Ortega, Kalvin Phillips, Sergio Gomez and even Maximo Perrone forcing their way in. Kevin De Bruyne has recovered from illness but Guardiola may be reluctant to throw the Belgian in from the first whistle.

Bristol City are on a brilliant run at the moment and they will be hard to break down. But City have too much quality in their ranks and with Erling Haaland, Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez on song, they should book their spots in the last eight for the fifth year running.