Weblog: The football punter

Warnock's battlers can halt City early on

FA Cup fourth round
BBC1, 4pm Sunday

Neil Warnock and Pep Guardiola have contrasting approaches to the beautiful game but both managers are enjoying excellent 2017-18 campaigns.

Guardiola's Manchester City are 1-50 for the Premier League, 2-5 to see off Arsenal in the EFL Cup final, and 7-2 favourites for the Champions League.

Bookmakers worried about their liabilities on the Citizens scooping all four trophies will be cheering on Warnock's Cardiff in the FA Cup fourth round and the Premier League leaders may not have things all their own way in south Wales.

Their Sky Bet Championship hosts made a meal of their third-round tie with League Two Mansfield, being held to a goalless draw at home before a 4-1 win in the replay.

Their Championship promotion challenge has been based on solid home form, with nine wins and just two defeats from 14 games, and they can take heart from the efforts of other second-tier teams who have taken on Guardiola's men this season.

Wolves kept the Citizens out for 120 minutes before losing on penalties in the EFL Cup fourth round and Bristol City put in bold shows in both legs of the semi-final of that competition, losing 2-1 at the Etihad and 3-2 at home.

The favourites had to be patient in both legs of the EFL Cup semi-final. Bobby Reid put Bristol City ahead from the penalty spot in Manchester, with Kevin de Bruyne equalising in the 55th minute, while it was 0-0 at Ashton Gate until Leroy Sane struck in the 43rd minute.

Cardiff had a miserable Christmas period, suffering four defeats in ten days against Bolton, Fulham, Preston and QPR, but they have tightened up since then, conceding only once in their last four games in all competitions.

Their defenders will have to be at their very best against the rampant Citizens but they should be backed to stay in the game at least until half-time.

Manchester City made another slow start in their third-round tie at home to Burnley, trailing 1-0 at half-time before scoring four second-half goals, and they could be in for another frustrating first 45 minutes.

Only 25 of their 70 league goals have been scored in the first half as damage limitation is the priority for most of their opponents.

Warnock's Cardiff have conceded only ten goals in 14 home league games this term but their illustrious visitors should make their class tell in the second half.

Draw-Manchester City double result

The Football Site

Like on Facebook

Google +1