Edin for a hat-trick?
Ben Coley previews Wednesday's FA Cup third-round replay between Manchester City and Blackburn.
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I must confess that when I looked at our schedule and saw that I had been charged with the task of previewing Manchester City versus Blackburn, I let out an audible sigh.
Not because I'm lazy - honest - but because I feel like this is a little bit of a no-win situation. Unless, of course, I tip a winner. What I'm saying is that the world thinks City will run riot so the value is typically found in opposing that view; the trouble is, City then go and run riot and I'm rightly labelled an idiot for predicting anything other.
You may recall that in the first encounter things actually went the other way. I suggested backing City to win by one and felt quite clever when they were ahead after 50 minutes in a game of few chances. Then Blackburn scored and I still felt quite clever, confident that City would find another. Then City had a man sent off and settled for a replay.
I am tempted to play a similar set of cards here. We all remember Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester United and, latterly, West Ham getting thumped here. But in amongst that City were more than happy to edge past a dogged Crystal Palace side by a solitary goal and, as Blackburn will be right up for this, a repeat scenario is not impossible.
But the overwhelming feeling is that an early City goal could spell serious trouble for the Championship side who conceded three at Carlisle in the first round of the League Cup earlier in the season.
You can have 4/5 with Sky Bet about a City win by three or more - that's very fair if you're prepared to risk a scenario in which you're yelling at City to stop passing sideways as they coast to a 2-0 win.
I'm not, so while similar concerns apply I'm going to have a sporting bet on Edin Dzeko scoring a hat-trick at 14/1.
In all honesty, I was keen to put up Alvaro Negredo who already has two home hat-tricks for City and scored two in his final season with Sevilla, again at home, but the return of Sergio Aguero is key here.
In my mind, Aguero being involved in some capacity - which seems certain - should mean Dzeko gets 90 minutes. This theory is substantiated by the fact that it was he and not Negredo who was withdrawn before the hour mark at Newcastle.
Dzeko has also been the go-to man for cup competitions so I feel he'll either start with Aguero, who will have an hour before making way for Negredo, or vice versa. If I'm right - and it's a big 'if' - then 14s about a Dzeko hat-trick is very fair.
With John Guidetti close to a loan switch to Stoke and Stevan Jovetic reportedly still struggling with a muscle problem, I don't see as Pellegrini can do anything other give one of his star trio a full game and surely it's Dzeko.
You can of course wait until team news, a liberty I do not have, but prices will almost certainly alter drastically once that is in. The very fact that Dzeko is just 6/1 for a hat-trick in places suggests 14s could be value and I'm prepared to take a small risk.
- This game is live in the UK on ITV.