Manchester City v Swansea City: The big talking points

4th February 2017

Swansea City look to continue their Premier League revival when they go to Manchester City this weekend.
Few will give Paul Clement's men a chance of getting a result against Pep Guardiola's star-studded side, but then the same was true when the Swans went to Liverpool a fortnight ago.
Here we look at the big talking points as Clement's side look to pull off another shock result.  

Another slice of history for Clement?
Swans head coach Clement will long remember his new club's victory at Anfield because it was the first of his Liberty Stadium reign.
And the 3-2 success on Merseyside will always have a place in the Swans' history book because it was the first time they had ever won a league game on Liverpool's own patch. They had been trying - albeit intermittently - since 1955.
The Swans would also be breaking new ground should they triumph at the Etihad Stadium, where they have been beaten on each of their five previous visits.
The club did not have much joy at City's old Maine Road home either, although there was one Division Two success back in 1951.
But the Swans were unlucky not to get a point at the Etihad last season, when Kelechi Iheanacho scored that fortuitous late winner for the home side just moments after a Bafetimbi Gomis goal, so they should head north with some belief. 

Dead-ball threats
Any Swans fan will tell you that for a long time, their team have not been the most menacing when it comes to set-pieces.
But in recent months, all that seems to have changed. 
"We are strong at set-plays," Clement said after Alfie Mawson scored from a Gylfi Sigurdsson corner in midweek.
It is not the sort of line that many Swans bosses have come out with in recent years - but it makes a very refreshing change.
Certainly, Sigurdsson's free-kicks and corners are the sort which cause big problems for rival defences.
And with the likes of Mawson, Federico Fernandez, Leroy Fer and Fernando Llorente around, the Swans have players with the power and ability to get on the end of Sigurdsson's deliveries.   

What chance the treble?
Victory over Southampton means the Swans head for Manchester having chalked up back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time since the tail-end of last season.
Now the task, even against heavyweight opponents, is to try to make it three in a row, a feat the Swans have not achieved since the spring of 2015.
Whatever happens against City, the Swans have shown some encouraging signs in recent weeks.
Including the Alan Curtis-inspired success at Crystal Palace, there have been three wins in four league games since Clement was appointed.
That is as many victories as the Swans managed in the first 19 league games of the campaign.

Same again, Swans
The Swans did not make a single change to their starting XI against Southampton in midweek, which has not often been the case this season.
In a campaign where alterations have almost become the norm, Clement went for consistency - understandably given what happened at Liverpool - and was rewarded with another three points.
Could he go with the same team once again at the Etihad this weekend? It would not be a huge shock if he does, although Luciano Narsingh has put his hand up for a first Swans start after making an impact from the bench against the Saints.
Another new face, Jordan Ayew, will not be an option this weekend, for he is still away at the African Cup of Nations.

Priceless Gylfi
Having claimed that assist for the Mawson goal, Sigurdsson then scored for the seventh time in this Premier League campaign to secure victory over Southampton.
The Icelander has now been involved in 14 league goals - there have been seven assists to add to his own strikes - in 2016-17, which is the same as he managed throughout last season.
No wonder, then, that Clement was full of praise for Sigurdsson after the Saints win.
And no wonder the Swans were delighted to keep hold of their star attacking midfielder amid talk of rival interest during the January transfer window.

Blue moon or blue mood?
Former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola made things look easy during his first few weeks in English football, with his City side kicking off the campaign with no fewer than 10 successive wins.
But since a 3-3 draw at Celtic halted the run at the end of September, City's progress has not been so serene.
There is no doubt that Guardiola's team - who gave a reminder of their class by romping home at West Ham in midweek - will be formidable opponents as they bid to continue their push for the top four (at the very least).
But Manchester City fans are waiting to see whether this season will finish with the kind of flourish they saw back in August and September, or whether the inconsistency of the winter months will continue.