Thursday, 25 October 2012

Swansea City vs Man City: Out for blood

There is no doubt that this weekend Man City - an already brutal opponent - will be considerably riled up when they take on Swansea City, after crashing out of the Champions League on Wednesday.

Swansea - as well all love to recall - beat Man City 1-0 last season. However the eventual Champions did beat the Swans emphatically in the first game - one we like to remember less.

Add the recoil from the Champions League loss and the 1-0 defeat at the Liberty Stadium to the stories of Roberto Mancini wanting revenge after Laudrup's Barcelona beat the Sampdoria side captained by the Italian in the 1992 European Cup final, and Man City have 'out for blood' written all over them.

Yes, this week things will be very tough at the roaring Etihad Stadium, where the home fans will demand a victory.

Looking at the team and we are pretty lucky with no real injury worries apart from Neil Taylor. Michael Laudrup has tinkered with the team in recent games and - though he's a shrewd manager - I still don't think he is actually sure of his best starting eleven. And I guess he's not the only one...

I'm not sure what set up he will go for, but one certainty is Michel Vorm in goals. An easy one, that. We should also see the recently clumsy Ashley Williams, with his refreshed contract, alongside Chico Flores in the centre of defence, and Angel Rangel and Ben Davies outside them.

As we make our way down the team sheet, things become less certain. The combination in the middle will probably be Leon Britton, Michu and Ki Sung Yueng - who has kindly asked the travelling Jacks to make lots of noise - though Jonathan de Guzman is equally likely to start instead of any one of those. On the wings, little Nathan Dyer, Wayne Routledge and new-boy Pablo Hernandez have all made use of themselves recently and have all had time on and off the bench - either of those three could start.

Luke Moore scored the winner last year against Man City and - though I've never been his biggest fan - he hasn't looked bad recently. However it's quite unlikely he will start upfront. We will probably see Danny Graham start again, although Michu looked dangerous last week. Either way, the striker will have a tough time against a world-class goalkeeper and a pretty solid defence.
For the opposition, we are likely to see the appearance of ex-Swan, Scott Sinclair. This will be strange and I'm not sure of the reception he will get with the away support. It's pretty likely he will feature, as some of the bigger Man City players played mid-week against Ajax. I don't think he deserves boos or applause. You make up your own mind.

As usual, my knowledge of the opposition is just what I read on other websites and - ultimately - made up. So, instead of cut-and-pasting some drivel, I asked Ric Turner, a writer from Man City fan site Blue Moon, to share his thoughts with us. Take it away Ric!

It's probably a bad time for Swansea to visit The Etihad as City have started to rediscover their form after a relatively sluggish start to the season, taking nine points from the last three games.

The midweek game in Amsterdam may take its toll, but Mancini is likely to rotate the squad which could mean rare starts for the likes of Sinclair and Nastasic.

Last season Swansea gave a good account of themselves on the opening day of the season, and the 4-0 scoreline flattered City somewhat.

Under Laudrup you've made a fairly promising start to this campaign, and he's made some astute signings in Michu and Hernandez, but I think City will have too much for you at home. Our record at Eastlands is exceptional, and we haven't lost a league game at home for almost two years.

Likely team: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy, Barry, Garcia, Yaya Toure, Sinclair, Tevez, Balotelli

Prediction: Swansea play fairly open football, which could be to their detriment against a side as strong as City. 2-0 to City.

Swansea to win the game is around 12/1. As you may guess, I'm not particularly optimistic. However, we know the ball is round and anything could happen - we saw it last year - so I have put a few pound on Swansea grabbing the shock win again... just in case.

The less optimistic, but more realistic bet - and my prediction for the game - is 3-1 to Man City (at about 9/1). Ric's prediction of 2-0 to Man City is around 6/1. Both worth a pound in my eyes.


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