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Talking tactics: Federico Fernandez

Manchester City were crowned champions last weekend following their 3-1 win at Tottenham and Manchester United’s 1-0 loss to West Brom, and they’ll look to toast their success with victory over Swansea City at the Etihad Stadium.

The Swans will aim to put a dampener on the Citizens’ celebrations as they seek to pull away from relegation danger.

Indeed, on the back of their domestic triumph, Pep Guardiola’s side have nothing more to play for in their quest for silverware and it could prove that the champions take the foot off the gas, which would play into Swansea’s hands.

Manchester City haven’t been playing to the standards expected of them in recent weeks, even if they have been crowned champions.

They’ve lost four of their last seven competitive matches, and their last three at the Etihad Stadium.

Should complacency set in, then they may slip up once more with the Swans desperate to seize on any possible dip in form.

They’ll need to be cautious, however, as Manchester City can blow any team away on their day.

Nevertheless, the Swans have what it takes to upset the odds this afternoon.

Their chances of success are dependent on the performance of the experienced Federico Fernandez, who comes into this match on the back of his commendable showing in the 1-1 draw with Everton.

The Argentine centre-back gained a WhoScored.com rating of 7.99 last weekend, which was enough to secure a spot in the Premier League team of the week.

Swansea are a better team with Fernandez in defence and his proactive approach could be exactly what is required today.

The 29-year-old has developed a statistically calculated WhoScored.com style of play of ‘clears the ball out of defence often’.

His solid reading of the game allows Fernandez to be in the right place at the right time to relieve pressure on the Swansea defence.

Of Swansea players to have made five or more Premier League appearances this season, Fernandez is making more clearances per 90 (7.1) than any other.

Manchester City are expected to start the match on the front foot and they’ll attack Swansea from the outset, which means there will be hefty pressure on the visitors’ backline.

In Fernandez, though, Carlos Carvalhal is able to call upon a defender who boasts the necessary experience to curtail the offensive threat.

It’ll be tough to keep Gabriel Jesus in check, mind you. With Sergio Aguero sidelined until the end of the season following surgery, Jesus can be expected to spearhead Guardiola’s attack for the remaining matches of the season.

The Brazilian has been in fine form of late, having a direct hand in five goals in his last seven appearances, scoring four and assisting one.

For all of his talent, though, Jesus hasn’t been at his best this term and Fernandez, should he play to his full potential, has the defensive capability to deny the 21-year-old today.

There will be a party atmosphere at the Etihad, but Fernandez has the means to ensure the celebrations are a little muted.

 

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