Manchester City could be forced to play three games in six days should their FA Cup fifth round tie with Aston Villa end in a draw.
The Football Association are desperate for all four quarter-finals to take place as scheduled on the weekend of March 12/13 in order to avoid the competition descending into a logistical nightmare ahead of the showpiece semi-finals at Wembley the following month.
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Unfortunately for them, one of the two fifth round ties already delayed due to previous replays involves City, who have drawn both FA Cup ties so far and only got through the fourth round yesterday thanks to their 5-0 replay win over Notts County.
That victory booked a meeting with Aston Villa on Wednesday, March 2, the midweek that had been reserved for fifth round replays.
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So, should the Villa clash end all square, the decider has been earmarked for Monday, March 7, 48 hours after a Premier League encounter with Wigan at Eastlands that is crucial to the Blues' hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League.
Villa are in action at Bolton the same day and are also facing the prospect of two games in three days.
However, what makes City's situation worse is that they are also likely to be facing a Europa League trip to the Ukraine that same week.
Having returned from Greece with a goalless draw last week, Roberto Mancini's men are heavy favourites to reach the last 16 by beating Aris on home soil on Thursday.
That would, barring a staggering turn of events, set up a meeting with Dynamo Kiev, who hammered Besiktas 4-1 in the first leg of their tie in Turkey on Thursday.
And if the Blues are still standing after that 4,500km round trip, they would then be facing an FA Cup quarter-final against either Everton or Reading at Eastlands.
The schedule is bound to raise an eyebrow from Blues manager Roberto Mancini, who frequently expresses his incredulity at the packed programme English clubs have to encounter, as well as focus his mind on avoiding a second game with Villa in City's quest to win their first trophy in 35 years.
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Source: Daily Mail
Source: Daily Mail