Man City v Huddersfield
FA Cup 5th Round Replay
Wednesday 1 March, 19:45
Live on BBC 1
After losing to Merseyside clubs Liverpool and Everton before throwing away a two-goal lead at home to Tottenham - a sequence of results that in all probability ended their title hopes - Manchester City have rediscovered their mojo in recent weeks, winning three Premier League games on the spin and scoring five past Monaco in last week's Champions League first leg tie.
Attention now turns to the FA Cup where City have yet to concede a goal following impressive wins away to West Ham (0-5) and Crystal Palace (0-3) before a goalless draw at the John Smith Stadium 10 days ago.
The Citizens face Sunderland in four days time and then don't play for a full week, so without being too disrespectful to the Black Cats there's no reason why Pep Guardiola shouldn't field a strong side for Wednesday night's replay against Huddersfield.
Vincent Kompany is close to full fitness but is expected to play no part against the Terriers, though Gael Clichy is fit again following a minor back problem.
Matched at just 5.49/2 to be relegated, and at a high of 500.0499/1 to win the Championship title, Huddersfield have defied the odds in spectacular fashion this season, playing a brand of football that is largely based on hard work and an extraordinary team spirit.
And as the season has gone on, with David Wagner's men mainstays in the play-off places and being the main dangers to Brighton and Newcastle's automatic promotion hopes, confidence and belief within the Terriers camp has continued to soar.
Huddersfield had just recorded six straight Championship victories - including wins over promotion rivals Brighton (1st), Leeds (4th), and Reading (5th) - prior to Saturday's derby draw with Barnsley, so they're in red hot form, and they'll take plenty of positives from the home draw with City in the initial tie when they arguably had the best chances to win.
Wagner made six changes that day and has hinted strongly that he'll field a very similar line-up at the Etihad Stadium, stating that the players that came in for the home tie, "are very hungry to play again and show that they deserve a chance."
I predicted an easy Man City victory in the initial tie on the basis that they were far more likely to be at full strength than Huddersfield, and that wasn't too far off the mark given the players Guardiola fielded. The predicted outcome was off the mark of course.
My thinking is very similar ahead of this replay. City are available to back at just 1.152/13 so I'm not telling you anything that the market doesn't already when it comes to who the most likely winners are, but surely only the big hitters will be interested in taking those odds about a home victory.
I can't help but feel that Huddersfield's best chance of making it to the quarter finals has passed them by, and that a similar line-up at the Etihad Stadium will be put to the sword by a strong Man City starting XI.
If you disagree then you'll be willing to throw a few quid on the underdogs at 23.022/1, or even the draw at 10.519/2, but for me this game will result in a comfortable victory for Guardiola's men.
The Man City -2 can be backed at 10/11 on the Sportsbook and you'd have to think that if the Citizens can produce that outcome away to Premier League outfits West Ham and Palace, then an equally strong side should have few problems doing so at home to second tier Huddersfield if in the same frame of mind. I'm willing to pay to find out.
With the above bet that I've recommended it's obvious where I'd place my money in the Over/Under 2.5 Goals market, though at around 1.384/11 'Overs' doesn't exactly get us rich quick, while in the Half Time/Full Time market the obvious selection - Man City/Man City - trades at just 1.51/2.
So instead I'll back Any Other Home Win (a home win with Man City scoring at least four) at around 2.89/5 in the Correct Score market.
Guardiola's men can be breathtaking at their best, scored eight goals in their first two FA Cup ties this term, and go into this replay on the back of scoring five goals against Ligue 1 leaders Monaco seven days ago.
Back Man City -2 to Win @ 10/11 (Sportsbook)
Back Any Other Home Win @ 2.89/5