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Connor Roberts scored a late, late winner against Fleetwood Town to take us into the sixth round of the FA Cup for the first time in twenty years and as we all made our way home we learned that our opponents in that sixth round would be Manchester City and at the Etihad.

As news filtered through that Grimsby had won at Southampton, we hoped, with no disrespect to Grimsby, that they might be making a visit to Turf Moor but, alas, we’ve landed the most difficult tie possible against the reigning Premier League champions.

From 1959 to 1962, four successive seasons, we reached the sixth round in each of them, winning the latter two, despite our own club this week telling us that we hadn’t played in a semi-final since 1961. I think it’s fair to say that our record hasn’t been quite so good since with sixth round appearances coming only in 1964, 1974, 1983 and 2003 and only of them, 1974, bringing a victory and a semi-final place.

Manchester City, it’s fair to say, have had a better recent record in the FA Cup than we have although they’ve won it just once in the last decade, that in 2019 when they beat Watford 6-0. They’ve had one other final appearance,  four more going out in the semi-finals and they’ve gone out just three times before the sixth round. The one team that’s had the better of them in this time is Wigan who have beaten them three times, in the 2013 final, in the sixth round in the following year at the Etihad and then in the fifth round at Wigan in 2018 when Will Grigg was on fire and scored the only goal of the game.

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Vincent Kompany won his first honour in England in the FA Cup, playing in the 2011 team that beat Stoke in the final. He brought his playing days for City to an end eight years later when he played his last of 360 games for them in the 2019 final.

This season, we’ve beaten Premier League Bournemouth and League One opponents Ipswich and Fleetwood to reach this stage. City, meanwhile, have won against Chelsea, Arsenal and Bristol City and are still to concede a goal in the competition.

They beat Chelsea 4-0 at home in the third round. Riyad Mahrez scored twice in that game with the others coming from Julian Alvarez and Phil Foden. Home again in the fourth round against Arsenal, a Nathan Aké goal was enough to give them a 1-0 win and a fifth round tie against Bristol City at Ashton Gate which they won 3-0 with Kevin de Bruyne adding to two goals from Phil Foden.

And so to tomorrow and I think it’s fair to say we are not favourites to go through but you never know and anything can happen on the day.

One thing we know for sure is that our manager, guaranteed a great reception from the travelling Clarets, might just get an even bigger response from the home fans given his contribution to their club in the decade or so he was there.

If we do win tomorrow, it will be one of those memorable days watching our club. If not, we can go back to the old cliché that we can now concentrate on the league and we all know where that’s taking us.

I’ve travelled to the Etihad with some trepidation in recent years; tomorrow I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be gutted if we lose, I always am when we go out of the cup, but I’m looking forward to us putting in a good display and giving City something to think about.

You never know, this might just be our day.




We were beaten 2-0 there last season in the Premier League with Bernardo Silva and Kevin de Bruyne scoring the goals, but our last FA Cup visit came in the 2018/19 season when, for the second season in succession we were drawn away against them.

We’d lost there 5-0 in the league earlier in the season on a day when Vincent Kompany should have been sent off in the first minute for a challenge, if it could be called a challenge, on Aaron Lennon. Unfortunately, Jon Moss, who had a day of shocking decisions that all went in City’s favour, deemed it not worthy of a red card.

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When it came to the cup tie we had a decent enough first half, playing with a back five incorporating Charlie Taylor at right-back. We trailed 1-0 at half time to a Gabriel Jesus goal. It had been 1-0 in the league game too and just to keep things simple; we conceded four in the second half here too and lost 5-0.

Bernardo Silva and De Bruyne, scored to extend the lead early in the second half before Kevin Long had something of a nightmare, scoring an own goal and then conceding a penalty that Sergio Agüero converted.

Time to concentrate on the league then and three days later we were back in Manchester earning a point in a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford against Manchester United, a game we probably would have won but for Jon Moss, yet again.

The teams at the Etihad were;

Manchester City: Ederson, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Nicolas Otamendi, Danilo, Kevin de Bruyne (Phil Foden 75), Fernandinho (David Silva 66), Ilkay Gündogan, Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus (Sergio Agüero 75), Riyad Mahrez. Subs not used: Arijanet Muric, Aymeric Laporte, Leroy Sané, Raheem Sterling.

Burnley: Nick Pope, Charlie Taylor, Kevin Long, James Tarkowski, Ben Gibson, Stephen Ward, Robbie Brady (Jack Cork ht), Jeff Hendrick, Steven Defour (Ashley Westwood 77), Dwight McNeil, Matěj Vydra (Chris Wood 62). Subs not used: Joe Hart, Ben Mee, Ashley Barnes, Sam Vokes.

Sadly, the game saw a last ever appearance in a Burnley shirt for a clearly unfit Steven Defour. He left the club early in the following season, a player remembered for his performances in the first half of the 2017/18 season when we, at one point, reached the dizzy heights of fourth in the Premier League.

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