Manchester City are set to lock horns with Swansea in the FA Cup quarter finals on Saturday as the Pep Guardiola’s team travel to the Liberty Stadium in hope of continuing their rampant form across all competitions.
Looking to secure a spot in a Wembley semi-final, the fixture is not expected to be a cakewalk for Manchester City as Swansea are undefeated in their previous seven fixtures at home with five wins and two draws to their name. However, the Blues will be extremely confident about the outcome of the match given their own form at the moment.
Manchester City are coming off a terrific 7-0 victory over FC Schalke (10-2 agg.) in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 clash at the Etihad Stadium. Not onyl that, but the Blues have scored a staggering 25 goals in their previous eight games across all competitions including the 6-0 mauling of Chelsea in the Premier League last month.
The last time Manchester City and Swansea faced each other, it was complete dominance by the Cityzens as they thrashed the Swans 5-0 in last season’s Premier League campaign at the Etihad Stadium. Even earlier, when they had visited Liberty Stadium for their away fixture in Premier League, it was again Pep Guardiola’s side who came aqay victorious in whay was a 4-0 mauling.
But that was last season and Swansea will be hurt following a disappointing Championship campaign, where they currently lie 15th in the league table. The Graham Potter-managed outfit will want to make a statement and right now there could be no bigger team in English football to do so than against Manchester City. Swansea have made quite a name for themselves by scoring last-gasp goals at the Liberty Stadium. The Swans’ last three of their four home games have witnessed them score goals beyond the 89th minute. City cannot afford to be complacent..
In terms of City’s team, injuries and fatigue have started to take a toll on the players and many of the first team players are either injured or not completely fit to take the field yet.
Everyone knows Pep doesn’t like to play a soft playing XI in any of the competitions, with the matches against Burton and Newport County serving as prime examples. With Kevin De Bruyne, Vincent Kompany, John Stones, Benjamin Mendy, Fernandinho and Claudio Bravo all out on the sidelines, there can be no let up in standards if City want to make it to Wembley.
Meanwhile for Swansea, all eyes will be on a former Blue – Bersant Celina. The former City youth player has had mixed fortunes at the Liberty Stadium, his most recent highlight coming in the form of a spectacularly fluffed penalty against West Bromich Albion. The Kosovan remains a threat though as one of Swansea’s most dangerous players.
The Swans will however be weakened by the absences of Joe Rodon, Leroy Fer and Martin Olsson, whilst Oli McBurnie and Kyle Naughton are doubts.
City Xtra Predicted XI
For Manchester City, Ederson is more or less likely to start at goal. Given City’s injury crisis, Nicolas Otamendi will start alongside Aymeric Laporte at centre-back, though Eric Garcia has travelled with the squad and could feature. Danilo and Fabian Delph will take up the right-back and left-back slots in the XI. The Brazilan enjoyed a flawless game while playing at centre-back against Schalke, whereas Delph came back from his injury and played out the last 20 minutes in the 7-0 thrashing of the German club. His fitness particularly could be vital in resting City’s unlikely hero Oleksandr Zinchenko.
In midfield, expect Ilkay Gündogan to continue his phenomenal run of form while the young Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva are likely to get the nod to complete the midfield trio. Foden became the youngest English goal-scorer in Champions League after his swift finish in the 78th-minute against Schalke and is now ready to bag a start in the encounter against Swansea.
Leroy Sané, Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez will form the City’s attacking trio to complete the team, with Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero expected to be given rest due to the hectic schedule. Sané displayed his class in the match against his former club Schalke while Jesus also bagged a late-goal to complete the rout against the German club. Mahrez has looked bright in his last couple of games, with Swansea giving him ample opportunity to continue his good run of form.
City Bench: Aro Muric, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Kyle Walker, Raheem Sterling, Eric Garcia, David Silva and Sergio Agüero.
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