Pep Guardiola anticipates “special” first FA Cup game

Pep Guardiola expects a “special” first FA Cup game in charge of Manchester City in their third-round match against West Ham United.

City will meet the Hammers at the London Stadium at 19:55 GMT tonight, with Guardiola naming a first-string team for the FA Cup tie. The match is the first of 32 third-round ties across four days this weekend.

“I will try to win the game,” he said. “It will be a tough match away from home against a Premier League side, so I will not be rotating.”

“I like the English cup competition. In Spain it is a little bit predictable but the FA Cup is more like the cup competition they have in Germany. It is a proper knockout, with small teams able to beat big teams.”

“I’m looking forward to it, but of course it’s a Premier League game so it will be tough. We were unlucky in the draw.”

Guardiola’s West Ham counterpart Slaven Bilic said the tie is a “big game” for both sides and the fans, but is convinced that City are “not that confident any more” and that high pressing could be the key to deterring the Manchester club.

“They will put out a very strong team because it is a big chance for them to get a trophy,” Billic said.

“Some teams tried to press them even in the early period of the season because we knew from Germany and from Spain how they would play. But they were coming out of that pressing more than now.”

“After you have three or four wins on the trot then the opponent may be pressing you but you are not scared. OK, you can occasionally lose the ball but you don’t care; at the end of the day, it’s the plan. But after you make some mistakes and it ends in defeat then you think twice about it. You try it again but you are not that confident any more. It’s like a chain.”

Prediction:

West Ham United 1 – 2 Manchester City

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