Almost unanimously considered more likely to concede the +4 handicap than avoid defeat, Cheltenham Town have only once previously reached the FA Cup fifth round. To miraculously replicate that, the League Two side must rewind the clock to early December, when they last won a competitive match inside 90 minutes (D6, L3 hence).
For what it’s worth against the six-time FA Cup winners, Cheltenham have lost just once in their last five FA Cup home games (W1, D3, L1 – 90 mins). However, their challenge is further underlined by the fact that they have lost each of their last eight competitive matches against Premier League teams.
City have revived their season with a nine-match competitive winning streak, which is their joint-best since a 14-match competitive winning run in 2019 (including one via penalties). Defensive improvements have propped City in the current run, as seven of their last nine wins have come ‘to nil’.
The same clean-sheet attribute applies to nine of their last 12 FA Cup wins. Adding further aura to City’s form is their record of reaching the FA Cup fifth round in each of their last five campaigns. Although City have also won their last four competitive away games, their form prior to this sequence (W1, D2, L1) raises the hosts’ slim hopes.
Cheltenham 0-4 Manchester City