After their excellent result in midweek, can the Citizens kick on with a Premier League win over managerless Swansea – or will inconsistency creep in again?
With all things considered, there probably isn’t a better time for Manchester City to face Swansea.
Going into the Christmas period, with fixtures coming thick and fast, the Swans travel to Eastlands in the hope that they can snatch a positive result at the Ethiad.
Important fixture for both sides
It certainly will not be easy for them, and there are plenty of weaknesses within the side that can be exploited by City’s counter-attacking brilliance, which makes you wonder why Manuel Pellegrini‘s men aren’t dominating what has been, an unpredictable season to say the least this term.
Garry Monk’s sacking yesterday just highlights, yet again, the cut-throat nature of football – which after all, is a business nowadays. Yes, the Swans have only won one in eleven League games, and have struggled for form.
Contrasting form – does it mean anything though?
But even still, why should the first thought be to blame the manager? This has been the case for a number of weeks now, and in many games, they’ve been unlucky not to grab a good result out of them – most notably, narrow losses to Stoke, Norwich and Liverpool.
City meanwhile, are a side rejuvenated after their Champions League triumph in midweek. They made history by topping their group for the first time – and did so in enthralling style with a 4-2 home victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach on Tuesday.
They’ll be encouraged by that result, knowing they need to maintain consistency if they are to have any chance of sustaining a proper challenge for the Premier League title.
Six first-team players are currently sidelined for the hosts, but Sergio Agüero (ankle) is expected to return to the fray in some vein or another ahead of kick-off on Saturday afternoon.
He has missed three games in all competitions since limping off during their 3-1 win over Southampton at the end of November having landed awkwardly in an aerial challenge in the box. Reassuring supporters the injury was not too serious, he was not risked for the games against Hull (Cup) or the defeat to Stoke last weekend.
So, he could make a timely return this time around. Fernando (hamstring) hobbled off with ten minutes to play during their 2-0 defeat at the Britannia, and is not expected to feature for at least another seven to ten days – which is a similar time frame to that of defensive duo Vincent Kompany (calf) and Pablo Zabaleta (knee).
Martin Demichelis (knee) could return to the substitutes’ bench, whilst Samir Nasri (hamstring) is the only long-term absentee.
As for the visitors, they only have two injuries to contend with. Fullback Franck Tabanou (hip) is expected to return to training next week, whilst Portuguese forward Éder is a doubt with an ankle issue – and has had to be patient with the amount of match time he has played recently.
They will undoubtedly be the underdogs ahead of kick-off, but they’ll embrace the tag and look to inflict City’s third League defeat in their last four games.
Ultimately, they’ve got nothing to lose. Managerless, under scrutiny and struggling for form, they’ll hope to give their travelling supporters something to celebrate on the way home. City are a very strong side, but often lack the consistency – both domestically, and in Europe – to justify themselves as a European powerhouse.
Traditionally over the past few seasons, Swansea have always been a feared side for the bigger sides. Mainly because they enjoy spells of possession, love counter-attacking football, and can score at any moment.
But as well as that, they pass the ball across the pitch excellently. They’ve got plenty of key players – Jonjo Shelvey, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jefferson Montero especially – that can cause upsets.
It will not be an easy ride for City, you feel.