Like no other competition the FA Cup brings out the optimist in football fans. When Leicester kick-off against Manchester City on Sunday afternoon they’ll be battling against a side with Champions League ambitions and an outside chance of winning the title. The Foxes will have to be at their best, and the visitors below par, but who knows?
Before we begin to dream lets get some grim realities out of the way. Roberto Manchini’s side have the best away record in the Premier League, the best away form in the division, the best travelling defence and the second best attack on the road. At times they have been simply ruthless this season. Aston Villa were tanked 4-0, Liverpool 3-0, City travelled to Craven Cottage and demolished Mark Hughes’ Fulham 4-1. When the men from Eastlands are on song they have been almost unstoppable. Manchester City will arrive at the Walkers with a squad costing hundreds of millions of pounds and a not dissimilar wage bill. Sheikh Mansour’s children could buy King Power with their pocket money.
But there is hope. Leicester haven’t been beaten at home by a side from a higher division in an FA Cup tie since 1983. Manchester City, Spurs, Fulham and Crystal Palace have all visited Leicester and failed to win (although admittedly three of them went on to beat City in the replay).
Manchester City are no strangers to FA Cup shocks too. At this stage of the competition just two years ago Nottingham Forest humiliated City 3-0 at Eastlands. A year earlier Sheffield United dumped Sven’s Manchester City out in the 4th Round, and in 2005 Oldham shocked the visitors with a 1-0 over City at Boundary Park in the 3rd Round.
In addition, if his record against Aston Villa is anything to go by, Darius Vassell has a taste for scoring against former clubs. The former Man City man netted five goals in eight appearances for Manchester City against Villa.
Finally, and I appreciate this is all a bit of a stretch, the footballing Gods must give Leicester a break against Manchester City at some point. These sides have been drawn against each other five times in the FA Cup 3rd Round and each time Manchester City have progressed. And of course, Leicester’s defeat by Manchester City in the 1969 Final doomed the Foxes to become the side which has competed in more finals (4) without ever winning the competition.
It’s about time Leicester got one over Man City, isn’t it?