Newport County vs Manchester City Preview: Exiles looking to claim another Premier League scalp
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Newport County vs Manchester City Preview: Exiles looking to claim another Premier League scalp

Newport County will host Manchester City in the Emirates FA Cup fifth round on Saturday, here's everything you need to know ahead of the matchup.

Josh Slinger

Newport County will look to claim the scalp of another Premier League club in the Emirates FA Cup this weekend as they host Manchester City.

The League Two side have faced some tough tests in the competition in recent years, although welcoming champions of England to Rodney Parade will be their toughest test yet.

The biggest shock in FA Cup history?

As Newport welcome Pep Guardiola’s men to South Wales, they’re the lowest rank side in the competition, sitting an enormous 82 places away from City in the football league.

Manager Michael Flynn knows that his side are huge underdogs, and says if his side can win it’ll be the biggest upset the competition has ever seen.

"If we win this, whether it's extra-time or penalties and I don't care how we do it, it will be the biggest shock in FA Cup history," stated Flynn at his pre-match press conference. "I say that with the biggest respect to other big giant-killings."

The boss of the League Two side went on further to explain his reasoning for this, "My reasons for that are because of the sheer gulf in finances, the quality of the players Man City have, the level they are playing at, and that they have the best manager in the world right now."

Exiles midfielder David Pipe also spoke about the quality that the Welsh side will be up against, describing them as “One of the best teams in the world”, before going on to welcome a shirt swap with a  City star at full-time, “I’d wouldn’t mind Aguero’s shirt, but I’d get more wear out of Pep’s scarf!”

Guardiola wary

City have already dismantled lower league opposition in both the FA and Carabao Cup this season, beating Rotherham United 7-0 and Burton Albion 9-0, although Guardiola remains wary of the threat Saturday’s opposition pose.

"They've done incredible in this competition," stated the Spaniard. "They won against Leicester and Middlesbrough. What they do, they do it really well. We've watched as many games as possible to understand what they do. We respect them a lot.”

Pep added: "If we just expect (to win), because they are in a lower division, it will be easy, we would make a big mistake. We will take it seriously and we know how tough it will be, from the first minute until the end."

City to field strong side

Given Guardiola’s comments, it seems inevitable that he will field a strong side.

The City boss will still be without club captain Vincent Kompany as well as Benjamin Mendy, as the defensive pair continue to near full fitness, whilst Claudio Bravo remains a long-term absentee.

As for the home side, new signing Ade Azeez is suspended, although Mark O’Brien and Joss Labadie should be fit to return from injury.

Newport County predicted XI: Day; Poole, O'Brien, Demetriou, Willmott, Bennett, Bakinson, Labadie, Butler, Amond, Matt.

Man City predicted XI: Ederson; Danilo, Stones, Otamendi, Delph; Gundogan, Foden,  D. Silva; Mahrez, Jesus, Sane.

Differing form

The home side will go into this one off the back of a 1-0 loss to MK Dons, whilst City will be full of confidence having embarrassed Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea 6-0 last weekend – a showing of how far apart these sides are in terms of quality.

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from Newport throughout this competition, it’s that they won’t be phased by the ‘underdog’ title, having already knocked out both Leicester City and Middlesbrough.

The Welsh side will be relishing the chance to go toe to toe with the champions of England, who’ll have to remain focused on the dodgy pitch at Rodney Parade in order to ensure they aren’t left red-faced.