Manchester City host Swansea City on Saturday on the back of a wretched run that has seen them win just one game from their last six games in all competitions and the impending visit of Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich only three days later. City are already eight points behind runaway leaders Chelsea and they can’t afford to drop any more points at the weekend especially with a set of tricky fixtures in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Gary Monk’s Swansea meanwhile have recovered from the bad run in September and two wins along with a draw at Goodison Park in their last three games has lifted them up to 5th place, level on points with 4th placed West Ham United and just three points behind their opponents on Saturday. The Swans will be brimming with confidence after their come from behind 2-1 win over Arsenal in their last outing and will be looking to get a result away at City for the first time in 63 years!
Captain Vincent Kompany is a serious doubt after suffering a calf injury on national duty so Eliaquim Mangala who played the full 90 minutes for France on Tuesday against Sweden is expected to start alongside Martin Demichelis.
David Silva is back in light training though Saturday’s game will be too early for him with Edin Dzeko and Aleksandar Kolarov also sidelined with both of them not expected back for another couple of weeks.
Leon Britton made his comeback from a serious knee injury against Arsenal last time around and should feature against Manchester City.
Jonjo Shelvey is back from a one match suspension after getting sent off against Everton and should replace on loan Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Tom Carroll.
Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer have both returned to training after suffering groin strains but Ashley Richards, Rory Donnelly and Federico Fernandez will not travel to the Etihad.
Dwight Tiendalli and Jordi Amat are also close to returning to full fitness after playing a practice match against Cardiff XI along with Britton on Thursday.
Manchester City: 4-2-3-1: Hart; Zabaleta, Demichelis, Mangala, Clichy; Fernandinho, Fernando; Nasri, Toure, Milner; Aguero
Swansea: 4-2-3-1: Fabianski; Angel, Williams, Bartley, Taylor; Ki, Shelvey; Routledge, Sigurdsson, Montero; Bony
3 – Manchester City have beaten Swansea in their last three home games keeping a clean sheet in all of them and scoring 8 goals.
8 – Jefferson Montero has made the joint highest substitute appearance in the Premier League this season along with Newcastle United’s Ayoze Perez and Liverpool’s Rickie Lambert.
12 – Sergio Aguero has scored 12 goals from 9 Premier League starts this season.
16 – No player has scored more Premier League goals in 2014 than Wilfried Bony and Sergio Aguero.
18 – This is Swansea’s best ever start to a Premier League season with 18 points from their opening 11 games.
63 – Swansea have lost their last 8 games away at Manchester City since winning for the last time 63 years ago in 1951.
Last Five Meetings
Jan 2014 Swansea City 2 – 3 Manchester City Premier League
Dec 2013 Manchester City 3 – 0 Swansea City Premier League
May 2013 Swansea City 0 – 0 Manchester City Premier League
Oct 2012 Manchester City 1 – 0 Swansea City Premier League
Mar 2012 Swansea City 1 – 0 Manchester City Premier League
Manchester City: Sergio Aguero
The league’s top scorer made his Manchester City debut against Swansea in what was the Welsh club’s debut Premier League match. He announced his arrival with a brace in a 4-0 win and there hasn’t looked back since. With a scary shot accuracy of 68% so far in the league, he is fast becoming one of the most clinical strikers in the world. His 5.2 shots per game on an average means that he will be a handful to Ashley Williams and co. and odds on favourite to add to his tally of 12 goals so far, extending his lead as the top scorer in the process. With brilliant dribbling skills that have seen him complete 2.7 per game of the same so far, he will work the channels creating space for the bombarding Yaya Toure who will be given the license to roam and the duo will combine with the wide players to put the Swansea backline under wave after wave of pressure.
Swansea: Wilfried Bony
Bony hasn’t continued with his rich vein of form towards the end of last year and has although he has scored 4 goals this term; those goals came in three consecutive matches last month. His physicality and strength will be of paramount importance on Saturday against City’s defence, and he can prove to be a menace to the struggling Mangala who is expected to start at the heart of City’s defence.
He can prove to be a useful target man as well as a threat from set-pieces, because his side will be find it difficult to create many clear cut opportunities at the Etihad. H ability to hold up play when Swansea counter will be significant in determining whether they can come away from this difficult fixture with anything at all.
Manchester City have been on a poor run of late, but with the firepower of Sergio Aguero upfront, they should on principle be good value for a narrow win. Swansea however have been playing good football and are a very difficult team to beat. If they can exploit City’s defensive weaknesses, they can spring a couple of surprises of their own and make Manuel Pellegrini’s life in his second campaign worse.
On the betting front, Jonjo Shelvey is priced decently @ 2.61 on Tailorbet to be booked with his record of 5 yellow cards from just 9 appearances earning him a suspension early on in the season before he got sent off for two bookable offences at Goodison Park.