It was a tie that many Newcastle United supporters were looking forward to as the cup holders were drawn to visit St James' Park in the last eight of the competition, however with the COVID-19 pandemic interfering with the day-to-day life of everyone this was put on hold.
Manchester City have failed to win on each of their last two visits to St James' Park, with the Premier League meeting in November ending in a 2-2 draw as Newcastle came from behind twice thanks to goals from Jetro Willems and Jonjo Shelvey.
With that result in mind, and the victory over the eventual league champions in the 2018/19 campaign some Magpies supporters felt that there was potential for their side to upset the odds and reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2005 when they lost out to Manchester United in Cardiff.
So far this campaign, Newcastle have had to overcome Rochdale, Oxford United and West Bromwich Albion with Karl Darlow keeping his place in goal in all but one of the Magpies' cup games and that was the first match as they were forced to a replay following a 1-1 draw in Rochdale. But is it now time to change that and bring in the number one Martin Dubravka?
So far this campaign?
Barring the initial third round tie against Rochdale, Darlow has been the cup goalkeeper for Steve Bruce since his arrival at the beginning of the 2019/20 campaign. Dubravka has been an ever-present in the Premier League and his only cup appearance was in the draw at Rochdale where he actually pulled off a number of good saves before Aaron Wilbraham equalised late on for the League One side to force a replay at St James' Park.
Since Darlow has come into the side this season, he can't be faulted as there have been no errors from the former Nottingham Forest man. However all of these games have been against lower league opposition and to make the transition from that into this quarter-final tie against Pep Guardiola's side could be a tricky one for Bruce's number two to adapt to having received limited game time in recent years since Dubravka's arrival from Sparta Prague.
Dubravka has come to the rescue on several occasions since his move in 2018 with his debut arguably being one of the best goalkeeping performances in recent times in the top flight of English football. Is this now the time to make a change between the goalposts?
When called upon in the past Darlow has proven to be a trustworthy goalkeeper, with one notable appearance coming against his former side Forest when Newcastle were in the Championship under Rafa Benitez. In this match at the City Ground Darlow saved two penalties but unfortunately the nine men of Newcastle would eventually go down 2-1 after a controversial refereeing performance from Steve Martin who was subsequently given League Two matches for a few weeks after this shambolic display on Sky Sports' Friday Night Football.
Darlow does also have an error in him and this has cost the Magpies in the past. An example would be in the 2-2 draw with Norwich City at Carrow Road also in that Championship campaign where he messed up with a clearance and gifted the Canaries a goal. These are errors that would certainly be punished against the likes of Manchester City and their attacking quality.
It does need to be noted that Darlow isn't alone in terms of making errors in pressure moments and Newcastle's number one has let himself down on a few occasions since moving to England.
Dubravka is undoubtedly the number one shot-stopper at St James' Park and he would no doubt have a part to play if Newcastle were to defeat City in this FA Cup tie. In the previously mentioned draw earlier in the season Dubravka made an incredible save in the dying moments to deny Raheem Sterling from snatching a last-minute triumph for the Sky Blues.
The big games have often been where Dubravka has really thrived in a Newcastle shirt and his debut against Manchester United in 2018 is a classic example of that as he helped Benitez's men to a season changing 1-0 victory over the Red Devils.
Like Darlow, there is an error in the Slovakian shot-stopper with an example being when he let Heung-Min Son score a late winner for Tottenham Hotspur in the 2018/19 campaign. Had this error not have occurred the Magpies would have taken at least a point after an impressive showing that certainly surprised Spurs.
Despite this, there is no denying that Dubravka has the quality required to potentially play a part in a huge cup upset in an empty St James' Park where the Geordie faithful can do little to help the side.