After another disappointing Champions League performance from Manchester City, Roberto Mancini will be looking to pull his side back onto the domestic track with a home victory over Swansea City. The South Wales side will have bad memories of their previous trip to the Etihad Stadium, a 4-0 defeat in their first Premier League game last weekend, but Michael Laudrup’s side will take confidence from City’s poor showing in Amsterdam.
Premier League form has never been a problem for the champions and they are still unbeaten in their opening eight games. Last weekend’s late win at West Brom came from the boot of Edin Dzeko, who has six goals this season despite seeing his role reduced to super sub. City are now unbeaten in 33 league games at home too and Swansea know from previous experience that the Manchester side are imperious in front of their fans. However, worries have come defensively for City and criticisms of Mancini’s three-man defence have not only come from the media, but reportedly his own players.
City have conceded 24 goals in all competitions this season and have only one clean sheet, a 3-0 win over Sunderland in their last home fixture. Joe Hart will remain in goal for City, but Mancini is without right-back Pablo Zabaleta who is nursing a hamstring injury. David Silva has suffered the same problem and joins Javi Garcia and Maicon on the sidelines, as well as James Milner who is serving a one-game ban for his red card at the Hawthorns last Saturday.
Swansea were not expected to be back in the Premier League this season, but former boss Brendan Rodgers masterminded a brand of football that saw them beat City 1-0 at the Liberty Stadium, as well as take points from Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea at home. Away form has always been a problem and that has not changed under Michael Laudrup, with only one win away this season. That was the 5-0 thumping over QPR on the opening day, but Swansea will be looking for immediate improvement, especially as their next three away fixtures after City include Newcastle and Arsenal.
Laudrup has no new fitness concerns ahead of the trip to Manchester and could continue to deploy in-form Michu at centre-forward. The midfielder, signed from Rayo Vallecano in the summer, has six goals already this season. Left-back Neil Taylor has been ruled out until the end of the season, so young Welshman Ben Davies could continue his deputising role in the Swansea defence.
City will be desperate to rid the negative headlines following their defeat in Amsterdam and produce a great performance against Swansea. The South Welsh side will have other ideas and look to cause a major upset that would raise major concerns about Roberto Mancini’s side.
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