Flaccid Manchester City Avoid Worst Possible FA Cup Result: Another Replay

Phil KeidelContributor IIJanuary 25, 2014

Any time Aguero is on the pitch, things have a tendency to work out for City.
Any time Aguero is on the pitch, things have a tendency to work out for City.Jon Super/Associated Press

Manchester City entered their fourth-round FA Cup tie with Watford as a 1-to-10 favorite to win at the Etihad.

To put that in perspective, City were 1-to-7 favorites on Paddy Power over Queens Park Rangers on that fateful day in May 2012. In retrospect, that information feels more like an omen than a neutral indicator of probability.

Because just as they did against QPR the day they won the Premier League, City took their hosting duties for an overmatched Watford side too seriously and gave the Hornets the run of the place.

And just like the QPR match, there were City trailing 2-1 at home late in the second half, wondering where it all went wrong.

You're not going to believe this, but it was Sergio Aguero (again) who saved City's collective hind end.

Aguero's third goal barely mattered, as the Citizens had the result safely in hand when the Argentine completed his hat-trick in the closing extra time.

His first and second goals, though, pulled City out of an abyss that no Sky Blues fan anticipated before the match began. Funnily enough, Aguero's second goal raised the possibility of the absolute worst possible result for City in this match.

That being a draw, and another replay.

"Wait," you're saying, "surely, a loss to Watford would have been worse than a draw and another chance to win, right?"

Not really, no.

City already futzed and foozled about in the third round of the FA Cup against Blackburn Rovers, drawing at Ewood Park and needing a replay to earn a date with Watford. City boss Manuel Pellegrini was forced to admit that another match added to the schedule was sub-optimal.

"We have to play another match and have the squad to do it but we will continue making the rotation, that is better for the squad," Pellegrini told Andy Hampson of the Independent.

Allow a bit of translation: Yeah, this additional match was just about the last thing we needed, thanks.

So there were City today, given a gilt-edged draw against a club that is currently six spots behind Blackburn Rovers in the Championship table, trying their best to end up at Vicarage Road for yet another fatigue-inducing add-on to their already packed schedule.

Fortunately for City, Watford keeper Jonathan Bond has apparently been studying a lot of David de Gea Capital One Cup footage:

When Aleksandar Kolarov's wishful prayer was answered by Bond, City's ticket to the fifth round was punched. More to the point, their tickets to Watford were cancelled.

Which, ultimately, was the best thing to come out of Manchester City's 4-2 victory over Watford.