Swans v Manchester City: The big talking points

13th December 2017
First team

Swansea City look to build on their weekend win over West Bromwich Albion when they face Manchester City tonight.

But they face a huge task as they take on Pep Guardiola’s star-studded team, who currently lead the Premier League by no fewer than 11 points.

Here are the key talking points heading into the game.

 

Bony burst

Wilfried Bony has two goals in as many games having netted only two in his previous 28 Premier League outings.

Until he followed that classy finish at Stoke with the thumping drive which gave the Swans victory over West Brom, Bony had not scored in consecutive league games since December 2014 – when he was in the last few weeks of his first stint at the Liberty.

Now Bony will attempt to make it three in a row against the club he left Wales for almost three years ago.

How keen is he to do well against his former club? Paul Clement rated his motivation level as “11 out of 10”.

City slickers

Manchester City are the top team in the Premier League right now, and they are already being mentioned as one of the best the division has ever seen.

Guardiola, one of the world’s leading coaches, has a squad littered with megamoney signings.

Perhaps it is not surprising, therefore, that City have dominated the top flight so far this season.

They have dropped just two points all season, in a 1-1 draw with Everton back in August, and will attempt to set a new Premier League record by chalking up a 15th successive win tonight.

Already there is talk of them matching Arsenal’s invincible season back in 2003-04.

No wonder, as Clement pointed out, the Swans will start as underdogs.

As you were

The Swans’ win over West Brom means they are up to 12 points after 16 league games this season, having won three, drawn three and lost 10 in the top flight so far.

That is exactly the same situation as the club were in at the same stage last season, although the Swans have conceded only 18 league goals compared to 31 this time 12 months ago.

Last term, the Swans then lost their next three games, meaning they were still on 12 points when they reached the halfway point in the campaign.

The challenge facing Clement’s men is to ensure the story is different this time around.

System switch?

Clement revealed in his pre-match press conference that he is mulling over whether to tweak his formation for the City test.

Does he stick with the same set-up which delivered a win at the weekend, or does he change to three at the back?

Federico Fernandez is back in contention, meaning Swans boss Clement has a good option to turn to if he decides that deploying three central defenders will be the best way to combat City’s various attacking threats.

Winner Wayne

Wayne Routledge started for only the second time in the Premier League this season as the Swans saw off West Brom.

For the experienced winger, the Baggies triumph was top-flight win No. 60 in 191 Swans appearances at this level.

No Swan has been involved in more successes, with Routledge moving ahead of Angel Rangel (59 wins) at the weekend.

Not a pretty record

The Swans were beaten 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium in their first ever Premier League game, and later encounters with City have not gone particularly well either.

However, there have been a couple of draws at the Liberty, in 2012-13 and 2015-16, while there was one unforgettable success.

Roberto Mancini’s City side were closing in on the title in the spring of 2012 – the year of Sergio Aguero’s last-gasp goal against QPR – but they could not find a way past Brendan Rodgers’s Swans.

Worse still, they ended up with nothing thanks to Luke Moore’s memorable late header.