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Manchester City vs Birmingham City at Etihad Stadium

Etihad Stadium Referee : Robert Jones
10th January 2021 1:30 PM (GMT)
  • 3 Manchester City

    • ‘8' Bernardo Silva
    • ‘15' Bernardo Silva
    • ‘33' Phil Foden
  • 0 Birmingham City


Commentary By Neil Leigh


Signing off ๐Ÿ‘‹

Right, that's all from me after another impressive day for City.

Pep Guardiola's side delivered a really professional performance to dispatch Birmingham and book our FA Cup fourth round ticket and you can check out all the match stats and reaction below.

Next up for us is a return to Premier League action at home to Brighton on Wednesday 13 January.

Kick-off is at 18.00pm (UK) and you can follow all the action here in our Matchday Centre on, so hopefully you can join us.

Enjoy the rest of your day, Blues!


The boss on Aymeric Laporte's fitness

Pep Guardiola:

"Laporte yesterday had a first session alone. So hopefully in one week, I don't know exactly but hopefully one week, ten days he will be OK."


More from the boss...๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป

 Pep on Sergio Aguero:

"Unfortunately he was in contact, more than usual, with a person who is positive... so he isolates for a few days

"I don't know exactly because he has been tested like all of us six times in the last 10, 15 days.

"He is negative and he is negative now too, but the protocol says if we have been in contact we have to isolate. He could not play today."


Pep's verdict...๐Ÿ‘‡

 Pep Guardiola:

"Our first objective is done. Some young players were involved and we have qualified for the next round.

"If you follow the trajectory of our team since I arrived, we didn't drop one game. That's why we are in a fourth Carabao Cup final in a row, the FA Cup we won two seasons ago, and a semi-final last season.

Players like Kyle and Gabriel came back. Rodri didn't play last game, Mendy long time didn't play.

"So for six, seven players today was good. Every game we play, we will try to win and if the players are more or less fresh, I will use them."


'I love playing'

More from Zack Steffen

"I love playing, it was great to get out there for a few games, I feel confident and got into a rhythm.

"I think the players in front of me have done a great job and I'm going to keep working hard to get myself out there."


'We are hungry for trophies'

Zack Steffen:

"It was class. (Bernardo's first goal) He is a special player, congratulations to him and congratulations to the guys.

"We want to lift as many trophies as we can, we want to win as many games as we can, and we want to play as best as we can by playing the best football. We want to lift this trophy."



Positives aplenty

Some more vital game time for several of our youngsters in that second half.

So many positives once again for City from today's display.

Some Bernardo brilliance, Phil Foden magisterial and 45 minutes of KDB at his bewitching best.


Nmecha tries to play a 1-2 with Mahrez and is blocked as he tries to get the return.

San Jose with a cynical block.

I think its called taking one for the team.



Bernardo teases in an inviting cross to the far post and Delap is there to meet it.

However the teenager's header is just a fraction high and drifts past the far post.


Numbers game ๐Ÿ’™

City in cruise control. Fourth round beckons.

And on today's evidence I would hazard a guess that most teams would be only to happy to avoid us in tomorrow's draw.


Hand it to Zack...

Zack Steffen actually gets a touch of the ball for once as he gathers Friend's cross.

A very quiet afternoon for our American keeper.


May the the fourth be with you?

So close again after yet more brilliant build up.

Bernardo is free on the right and is found by Mahrez but his cut back is scrambled clear by the Birmingham defence.

Surely only a matter of time before that fourth goal arrives.


Just wide

Bernardo so close to the treble.

Walker drives down the right flank, he cuts the ball back and Bernardo guides the ball towards the target but it drifts agonizingly wide.


Almost four...

How has that not gone in?

A corner wings in there is panic in the Birmingham ranks as Bernardo and Rodri try to force the ball home before Prieto gratefully dives on the bal.


In many ways this is resembling a training exercise at the moment. The intensity had dropped.

Inevitable I suppose with a 3-0 lead and several changes.


Birmingham actually enjoying a decent spell of possession so far this half albeit without really threatening very much.

You do feel the onus will be on damage limitation - and they will be very glad that KDB has come off!


Three changes

Three changes at the break. Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Felix Nmecha and John Stones are all on.

Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo and Kevin De Bruyne have come off.


KDB has bird's eye vision

Richard Dunne on De Bruyne

"Itโ€™s like he has birds eye vision stuck in his head. The pass to Foden is incredible. Itโ€™s just a joy to watch.

"If the Birmingham players switch off for one second, he will pick them off.'" 


Almost a hat trick!

Foden the provider and Bernardo lashes in a  stinging drive which is inches wide.

The Portuguese star can sense a treble here!


Animated Pep

We may be 3-0 up but the boss is still asking for more from the touchline.

Always seeking improvement - never standing still.

Not a bad manifesto for life.


Off the line!!

Kieftenbeld is there to hack the ball off the line after Jesus had dinked the ball goalward from another sensational De Bruyne pass


Quality street

He's deserved that.

Another sublime move and another sublime finish as Foden cuts inside and then unleashes a fine crisp show to beat Prieto and make it 3-0.


A few meaty challenges creeping in now from the visitors. The rain has made the surface very greasy - vital we try and avoid any injuries today given the packed schedule.


Joao's on fire!

Cancelo's flexible movement has caused Birmingham all sorts of headaches in the first 25 minutes.

The Portuguese star has been a tower of strength again so far today.


Strength to endure...๐Ÿ’ช

Great work and strength from Rodri averts a Birmingham attack after Leko had got the better of Cancelo on the left hand side of the box.



Ruben Dias slides in a tad late and is maybe lucky to escape with just a stern word from referee Robert Jones.

No intent from the City but a warning to keep our focus and discipline.


Out of this world

That was brilliant.

A superb outside of the foot pass from Mahrez puts in De Bruyne on the right touchline, he cuts inside and crosses for Bernardo to rifle home.

What a goal, what a start!!



A deft through ball from Foden puts in Gabriel Jesus but his shot is deflected for a corner.

City utterly dominant both in possession, territory and chances.


What a finish

Superb, just superb. City probe forward, Friend tries to clear but the ball drops to Bernardo who shows amazing technique to drill home a stunning shot.

Just brilliant.



De Bruyne finds space on the right. Though George Friend does well to close the Belgian down, Cancelo's through ball almost puts in Mahrez.

City just getting their bearings



Early scare there as Birmingham break at pace and the ball almost runs through for Toral but Ben Mendy gets a vital block in just in the nick of time.


Fitting tribute

City again step out wearing those iconic retro number eight shirts in tribute to the legendary Colin Bell.

The King will never, ever be forgotten.


'Phil Foden's a joy to watch'

Dunne on Phil Foden

"Heโ€™s a joy to watch. Every time he gets the ball you donโ€™t know what to expect and he gets you to the edge of your seat.

"Itโ€™s great to see him getting a lot of game time too.

"Heโ€™s worked hard,  and he has knuckled down, so it will be a great example to the lads on the bench today from the Academy."


Stat attack (part two)...๐Ÿ“ˆ

 ๐Ÿ”น City last failed to reach the FA Cup fourth round in the 2011-12 campaign, losing at home to Manchester United at this stage in that season. We have won our last five third round ties by an aggregate score of 23-2.

 ๐Ÿ”น Since beating Wolves 1-0 in 2011-12, Birmingham have been eliminated from their last seven FA Cup ties against Premier League opposition.


Salute to the King

The pre-match scene at the Etihad with a new banner honouring the magnificent career and life of the late, great Colin Bell.


'A big ask for Birmingham'

Andy Morrison on Birmingham

"It is a huge ask for them .Theyโ€™re not coming into the game with any form and and theyโ€™ll need a master plan to nullify City, but that is a huge ask.

"I think Aitor Karanka is a defensive manager and likes to play on the counter attack. If they open up and try to take the game to City, then they could be opened up for fun by the likes of De Bruyne."


'Stone and Dias complement each other'

Richard Dunne on Stones and Dias

"I donโ€™t think there is a better partnership in the Premier League.

"They complement each other so well, Dias is a modern defender but with the proper defensive capabilities, and Stones just looks like a Rolls Royce carrying the ball forward.

"There was a bit of doubt around Stones earlier in his career, but he has proved that he is good enough. Every young centre half makes mistakes, but it does not define him.

"Stonesโ€™ ability is insane and they're so good together - their record together absolutely proves that."


Stat attack...๐Ÿ“ˆ

 ๐Ÿ”น This is the first FA Cup meeting between City and Birmingham since a third-round tie in January 2001, City winning 3-2 at Maine Road.

 ๐Ÿ”น Birmingham are winless in their last 12 away games against Manchester City in all competitions (D2 L10), with this their first visit since a League Cup tie in September 2011 (0-2).


'Cancelo now a key figure'

Richard Dunne on Joao Cancelo:

"Heโ€™s made himself one of the most important players in the team.

"It takes time to learn Pepโ€™s system but now he understands it, and now heโ€™s got the trust of Pep to play him almost anywhere. 

"He can play central midfield or full-back. It was a lot of money spent on him but heโ€™s really exciting to watch and a very valuable asset for City right now."


'Under the radar'

Richard Dunne:

"The team went under the radar at the start, and theyโ€™ve built this sort of siege mentality together and almost said โ€˜Right, weโ€™ll show everyone!โ€™

"Itโ€™s almost like the handbrake is off now and theyโ€™ve hit form at the ideal time.

"Theyโ€™re getting stronger game by game and have a great togetherness because theyโ€™re spending so much time together."


'Winning breeds confidence'

Richard Dunne's view

"City have started over the last months to raise their level, so you donโ€™t want to come into this FA cup game and sit back a little because it will drop the level that theyโ€™ve worked hard to raise.

"Winning games breeds confidence and thatโ€™s what the motto is at Manchester City now.

"Thereโ€™s players there who have a chance to prove some points and the manager was born with a desire for success, to win trophies and cups."


'Every game is a must-win game'

Andy Morrison's view:

"Manchester City have to win the game - thereโ€™s no way we can look at it as an easy afternoon. Itโ€™s a trophy and a Wembley appearance at the end of it.

"I think the identity of the Club now is success, it is expected of us to go to the latter stages of every competition.

"I think he approaches every game as a must-win. Thatโ€™s the DNA that has been ingrained in the club, especially since Pep arrived.


Here's how we line up today... โšฝ๏ธ

CITY XI: Steffen, Cancelo, Dias, Walker, Mendy, Rodrigo, De Bruyne (C),  Bernardo, Foden, Jesus, Mahrez

Subs: Ederson, Stones, Gundogan, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Delap, Nmecha, Harwood-Bellis, Mbete


Elsewhere today...

There are eight third round ties in total taking place today with one standout David v Goliath clash.

Marine from the Northern Premier League play host to Premier League Tottenham with the game getting underway at 5pm.


The view from the opposition...๐Ÿ”‰

Birmingham boss Aitor Karanka: 

"I think it is a nice game to play. I hope that everybody likes to play these sorts of games against one of the best teams, not just in the Premier League but in Europe and the world.

"If we are organised and committed on the pitch, we are going to have our chances to score goals. We have to go there thinking we can compete and let's see what happens."


Form guide ๐Ÿ“ˆ

Birmingham will be fired up at the thought of taking on City but I think it would be fair to say that we have the edge in the form book, though, thanks to our 12-match unbeaten run in all competitions, a period in which we've conceded just three goals.

In contrast, Aitor Karanka's side have lost five of their last six games, the only exception being a goalless draw away at Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day.

That has left the St Andrews side down in 18th place in the Championship table.


Happy New Year!

I think it's fair to say that City have started 2021 in fine fettle.

Last Sunday's superb 3-1 Premier League win at Chelsea was seriously impressive.

And I was lucky enough to be present at Old Trafford last Wednesday when we secured a fourth successive Carabao Cup final appearance.

Pep Guardiola's side were magnificent - especially in a dominant second half display - as we secured a 2-0 win over United.

If we can record a third win in three competitions today it would represent a magnificent week's work.


Get involved ๐Ÿ“ฑ

As always, we want to hear your thoughts today.

How are you feeling ahead of this one? What would your team be? Score predictions?

Let us know using #WNRH on Twitter and your tweets could feature here in the Matchday Centre and on the We're Not Really Here show.



Richard Dunne and Andy Morrison are the special guests on today's latest edition of our We're Not Really Here matchday show and they'll join presenter Natalie Pike in the studio at the Etihad Stadium to provide their expert analysis.

The show gets under way at 12:30 (UK), one hour before we kick-off against the Championship outfit. It returns at half-time for a brief summary of the opening 45-minutes and again after the full-time whistle for half an hour of post-match analysis.

You can watch it all here in our Matchday Centre and the video will automatically appear at the top of the page.


Up for the Cup!! ๐Ÿ†

Hello, and a very good morning to you all!

The games keep coming thick and fast for City with the focus today trained on the FA Cup as we launch our 2021 campaign with a third round home tie against Birmingham City.

We get under way at the Etihad at 13:30 (UK) and you can follow it right here in our Matchday Centre

Iโ€™ll be bringing you live updates throughout the pre-match build-up, match action and post-match reaction as we bid to start the year in winning fashion, so, stay tuned!


Matchday ๐Ÿ‘Œ

Good morning, and welcome to the Matchday Centre for Manchester City's game against Birmingham City in the FA Cup third round.

Kick-off is at 13:30 (UK) and we'll have minute by minute updates from 11:30 onwards, to guide you through the pre-match build-up, match action and post-match reaction.

Until then, scroll down to find everything you need to know before kick-off, as well as a few things to keep you entertained.

We're Not Really Here ๐Ÿ“บ

Richard Dunne and Andy Morrison are the guests on today's We're Not Really Here matchday show and they'll join presenter Natalie Pike in the studio at the Etihad Stadium to provide their expert analysis.

We're Not Really Here gets under way at 12:30 (UK), one hour before we kick-off against the Championship outfit. It returns at half-time for a brief summary of the opening 45-minutes and again after the full-time whistle for half an hour of post-match analysis.

You can watch it all here in our Matchday Centre and the video will automatically appear at the top of the page.

Share your thoughts and get involved using #WNRH on Twitter.

Pep: It will be great to have Aguero back

โ€œYesterday he trained really well. Today [Friday] we are off. If tomorrow he feels good, he will play, yeah. His mood is better than ever, this is important. In the last two weeks, his reaction in his knee has been really good.

โ€œHe is going to start and his performance and his knee will dictate. We want good quality minutes. It will be great to have Sergio back and in good condition. He is optimistic.

"He says he wants to come back and score goals. We don't put pressure, but most of the games we need him because he is a striker."

Birmingham boss Aitor Karanka: We have to think we can compete

"I think it is a nice game to play. I hope that everybody likes to play these sorts of games against one of the best teams, not just in the Premier League but in Europe and the world.

"If we are organised and committed on the pitch, we are going to have our chances to score goals. We have to go there thinking we can compete and let's see what happens."

Other games that day

  • Newport County1
    Brighton and Hove Albion1
  • Marine0
    Tottenham Hotspur5
  • Barnsley2
    Tranmere Rovers0
  • Bristol City2
  • Crawley Town3
    Leeds United0
  • Chelsea4
  • Cheltenham Town2
    Mansfield Town1
  • Southampton0
    Shrewsbury Town0