Preview: Swans v Manchester City

16th March 2019
First team

Swansea City will be looking to upset the odds and reach just their third-ever FA Cup semi-final when they face Premier League champions Manchester City this evening (5.20pm).

The Swans will start as firm underdogs against Pep Guardiola's star-studded side, and a home win would rank among the great giant-killing feats that grace the history of the famous knockout competition.

Some bookmakers have Swansea as long as 18-1 to emerge victorious in what - in racing terms - is a two-horse race, but few gave then-League One Wigan much chance of derailing the City juggernaut last term, and they ended up dashing talk of a possible quadruple.

It is a huge test for this young Swans squad, of that there is no question, and a quick glance at Manchester City's recent record would be enough to have even the most positive member of the Jack Army feeling some pangs of apprehension.

After all, Guardiola's team are on a 10-match winning run, scoring 30 goals during that time including seven against Schalke and six against Chelsea.

They have tasted defeat just once in their last 19 games in all competitions. They are in ominous form.

Swansea can take some comfort and confidence from their home form, they are unbeaten in their last seven games at the Liberty and a look back to the history books provides a reminder of how they can overcome the odds.

Indeed, there are similarities to a famous FA Cup triumph for the Swans.

It's 55 years since Swansea - then in the second tier - stunned top-flight Liverpool at Anfield in the last eight. The Reds were on their way to the league title at the time.

Whatever the outcome, it's a big opportunity for Potter and his players and one they will hope to embrace and show what they are capable of against the best side in the land.

Team news

Sadly for the Swans they look set to again be without top-scorer Oli McBurnie, who continues to recover from the latest bout of illness that has turned the second half of the campaign into a stop-start affair for the Scotland international.

There is also a doubt over the fitness of Kyle Naughton - who has picked up a groin problem - although Cameron Carter-Vickers is expected to shake off a knock picked up in the midweek defeat at West Brom.

Leroy Fer, Joe Rodon and Martin Olsson remain on the sidelines for the hosts.

City meanwhile, will be without John Stones, Vincent Kompany, Kevin De Bruyne and Fernandinho.

Pre-match views

Graham Potter: "We have a chance to get to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, which is exciting. 

"You have to go into the game thinking you can win, otherwise there is no point.

"You respect how good the opposition are and the odds are stacked against us. But it's a one-off game, you have to believe you can win."

Bersant Celina: “It will be a special moment for me to face my former club and I’m looking forward to catching up with my former team-mates.

“All the players were really good to me during my time there. They took me under their wing and gave me good advice that serves me well to this day.

“It will be a very interesting game but, like any other, I’ll go out there and do my best.”

Pep Guardiola: "We don't have too many options. It is a quarter-final - that is the most important thing by far, to reach the semis."

Remember the last time?

Swans fans will need no reminding of the threat posed by Manchester City's potent attacking weapons having seen the Citizens ease to a 4-0 triumph on their last trip to SA1.

That game, in December 2017, saw City unbeaten in the Premier League while the Swans were struggling at the wrong end of the table.

And the visitors, promoted by David Silva, put on a virtuoso display at the Liberty Stadium to ease to victory.

Silva and Kevin De Bruyne had City in control at the break, with the Spaniard adding his second and Sergio Aguero completing the scoring in the second half.

Prime numbers

 

2 - On the two previous occasions where Swansea reached the last four of the FA Cup they were in the second tier and eliminated top-flight clubs at the quarter-final stage.

12 - City have again been in prolific form in front of goal this season and, incredibly, they have scored more than three goals in a game on a dozen occasions in all competitions.