After the bitterly disappointing Champions League loss to Ajax, attention returns immediately to domestic action. Swansea are the visitors to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, hoping to catch the Blues at the right time following Wednesday’s woeful display. However, for all the lack of fight and passion in that game, City generally bounce back superbly from a defeat, showing the type of character and togetherness needed in such situations.
The defeat in Amsterdam will have hurt the players and a reaction, one of spirit and self-belief, is expected. The Blues’ recent record at home against Swansea is excellent, having been victorious in the last six meetings, but the Swans inflicted a loss on City at the Liberty Stadium during the last campaign.
William Hill have some excellent odds for this match: Sergio Aguero to score the first goal and City to win 3-1 is hugely tempting at 36/1 whilst Vincent Kompany to score the only goal of the game is 116/1.
With regards to team selection, in an ideal world Roberto Mancini would like to freshen matters up, but a series of injuries have denied him that opportunity. Pablo Zabaleta, Maicon, Javi Garcia, Jack Rodwell and David Silva are all still sidelined with injury, whilst James Milner is suspended after his red card against West Brom, so the weary pair of Gareth Barry and Yaya Touré will operate from a central midfield role.
Behind them, Matija Nastasic is pushing to replace Joleon Lescott with Aleks Kolarov and Gael Clichy vying for a berth on the left of defence. In terms of strikers, it is anyone’s guess as to who the manager selects, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him revert back to the Argentinean duo of Carlos Tévez and Sergio Aguero. Scott Sinclair will hope to feature against his former club.
Here is the side Mancini could select:
Swansea started the season brightly, impressing with a slightly more direct approach, one which created more chances and seemed more purposeful than the keep-the-ball-at-all-costs approach under Brendan Rodgers. They suffered a mini-blip in form but then recovered to defeat Wigan last weekend. Miguel Michu arrived from Rayo Vallecano in the summer and has provided a more physical threat as well as showing glimpses of his technical ability but the loss of Joe Allen to Liverpool has affected their ability to control the tempo of the game, as they did so often last season.
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Referee: Martin Atkinson – Yet to officiate the Blues this season, but was in charge of five games during the last campaign, in which City won three, drew one and lost one. He sent Mario Balotelli off twice in those quintet of matches.
Prediction: MAN CITY 3 – 1 Swansea – I don’t expect City to be at their enthralling best but there should be enough of a reaction after the Ajax game, and quality, to reign supreme. Goals to be scored by Carlos Tévez, Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli and Michu.