Manchester City progressed to the last eight of the FA Cup with a 5-1 victory over Huddersfield last night.
Pep Guardiola’s side had to come from behind to reach the quarter finals for the first time in three years.
The Spaniard was brought in with the aim of ‘transforming’ the club and that has so far had a mixed effect. They currently sit third in the Premier League, albeit 11 points behind leaders Chelsea. They also lost to rivals Manchester United in the fourth round of the EFL Cup.
However, they are well placed to reach the Champions League quarter finals after a first leg 5-3 victory over Monaco. A favourable trip to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup suggests they are not far away from a visit to Wembley either.
Team selection has become a big talking point in the FA Cup over recent years. In a time when many say the ‘magic’ of the cup is dying it was refreshing to see a top side make just four changes from their previous match. Even though Huddersfield themselves played a weakened side Guardiola was still determined to show his intentions to win a domestic trophy this season.
Compare just four changes to the nine changes he made in the EFL Cup defeat back in October and it shows a shift in momentum. Back then there was a strong belief that City would be in the title hunt so a cup was not the priority. Chelsea’s dominance of 14 wins in 17 games since then has changed the agenda for the 2014 champions.
That four of the top six in the Premier League had already qualified for the last eight must have contributed to Guardiola’s decision to play a strong side. Alan Shearer went as far as saying that the success of their rivals in the EFL Cup contributed to his selection.
Having won a trophy in every season as a manager further explains why the 46-year-old would take the FA Cup seriously. With the Premier League title seemingly now out of reach the man with 21 managerial trophies to his name is under pressure to produce in other competitions.
Bringing the FA Cup to Manchester would give fans hope that this is just the beginning of a great era for the club under Guardiola. City fans will be hoping that come the summer they will have at least one if not two more trophies in the cabinet.