Manchester City - Watford Preview: Premier League champions host Zola's Hornets in FA Cup third round

The build-up to this tie has been dominated by a training ground bust-up between Roberto Mancini and Mario Balotelli, but the hosts must be wary of a dangerous Championship side


Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy
Barry, Garcia
Sinclair, Tevez, Milner


Hoban, Ekstrand, Neuton, Cassetti
Chalobah, Hogg, Abdi, Pudil
Vydra, Deeney

Roberto Mancini is likely to leave out Mario Balotelli after the two faced off in a training ground bust-up earlier this week, while Sergio Aguero (hamstring) is definitely out after sustaining an injury against Stoke City.

Samir Nasri will miss the game because of a domestic three-match suspension following his red card against Norwich.

Brothers Yaya and Kolo Toure will not take part in the tie after joining up with the Ivory Coast national team this week for the African Cup of Nations.

Alexander Kolarov (groin), Maicon (knee), Micah Richards (knee) and Jack Rodwell (hamstring) all remain sidelined.

Watford manager Gianfranco Zola has only two major doubts for the trip to the Etihad; Connor Smith (knee) and Fitz Hall (hamstring) both look set to miss out.

Former Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia (hamstring) faces a late fitness test ahead of the match.

Matej Vydra, Troy Deeney and Jonathan Hogg should all return for Watford after being rested in their match against Charlton last time out.

  • Manchester City have won the FA Cup on five occasions, once under current manager Roberto Mancini in 2011.
  • City have played a total of 141 home matches in the FA Cup, winning 82, drawing 32 and losing 30.
  • The hosts have won 13 and lost just two of their last 19 FA Cup clashes with sides from the second tier of English football.

  • In two previous FA meetings; Watford progressed after two replays in 1986 while City won a fourth round game 4-1 in 1997.
  • Both Premier League matches between Watford and Manchester City in the 2006-07 season ended in draws.
  • Watford lost the 1984 FA Cup final 2-0 to Everton, the closest they have ever come to winning the famous trophy.
  • Watford were eliminated by Premier League opponents last season in a narrow 1-0 defeat to Tottenham in the fourth round at Vicarage Road.
  • Matej Vydra (pictured) has scored four goals in his last two starts for Watford in all competitions.