Having managed to avoid each other in the competition’s opening rounds, four of the EPL’s leading clubs will come together in the last 16 of the FA Cup on the weekend of February 15-16.
Chelsea’s trip to the Etihad Stadium will follow hot on the heels of their away game at City a week on Monday, but the London club’s manager Jose Mourinho took the draw in his stride.
“No problem. If you want to be the best, you have to play against the best,” he told ITV after his side’s 1-0 success at home to Stoke City in the fourth round on Sunday.
“So it’s good for us – good experience, good game, big game, good.”
Mourinho would’ve taken some confidence from Sunday’s game, despite the close scoreline.
Oscar scored a brilliant free kick which helped Chelsea draw a line beneath Juan Mata’s departure.
The Brazilian had dislodged Mata from his position as Chelsea’s main playmaker, prompting the Spaniard to join Manchester United, and the quality of his goal demonstrated why manager Jose Mourinho rates him so highly.
The Blues failed to add to Oscar’s first-half effort despite hitting the woodwork twice, although it was a largely comfortable victory, with Stoke rarely threatening to score an equaliser and force a replay.
Mourinho opted to rest a number of senior players including John Terry and Petr Cech, but his decision to include Samuel Eto’o in his starting line-up raised eyebrows.
The forward scored a hat-trick in the 3-1 victory over Manchester United seven days previously, but the manager had been expected to rest Eto’o and hand Demba Ba a rare start.
However, Eto’o wasted little time justifying Mourinho’s decision, quickly impressing himself on the Stoke back-line and drawing the foul that allowed Oscar to break the deadlock in spectacular style.
Chelsea and City are considered the biggest challengers to current league leaders Arsenal, but Mourinho suggested that Manuel Pellegrini’s side would approach the tie as favourites.
“One team is an ended product, the other team is a team that needs to improve and has a long way to go,” he said.
Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-0 when the sides last met in November and the teams are due to face off again at Anfield in the league a week before their encounter in the cup at the Emirates Stadium.
There were two other all-Premier League ties in the draw, with League Cup finalists Sunderland drawn to face Southampton and Everton manager Roberto Martinez handed a tie against his former club Swansea City.
Holders Wigan Athletic, meanwhile, will visit Cardiff City after eliminating Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Draw for the fifth round of the English FA Cup, made at Wembley Stadium on Sunday (ties to be played the weekend of February 15-16):
Manchester City v Chelsea
Sheffield United or Fulham v Nottingham Forest or Preston North End
Arsenal v Liverpool
Brighton and Hove Albion v Hull City
Cardiff City v Wigan Athletic
Sheffield Wednesday v Charlton Athletic
Sunderland v Southampton
Everton v Swansea City