MANCHESTER (Sporting Alert) Controversial striker Mario Balotelli starts on the bench for Manchester City in today’s English FA Cup clash with Watford at Etihad Stadium.

Balotelli, who has been out of the City team for both disciplinary reason and illness, recently had a training ground bust-up with manager Roberto Mancini, but the boss has played down the incident.

Manchester City named a very strong starting XI side for the third round tie, with Edin Dzeko, Carlos Tevez and David Silva all in the team from the start.

Captain Vicent Kompany and Joleon Lescott starts at center back, while midfielders Gareth Barry and Javi Garcia also return to the Manchester City starting team for the contest.

Manchester City are heavy odds to win the clash at 1/7, with Watford way out there at 14/1. Mancini says he will play strong teams throughout the tournament and keep his squad fresh as he seeks to lift this crown again this season.

Manchester City XI: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Garcia, Barry, Milner, Silva, Tevez, Dzeko

Watford XI: Bond; Doyley, Ekstrand, Nosworthy; Cassetti, Chalobah, Eustace, Pudil; Forestieri, Deeney, Vydra


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