Preview: Manchester City v Swansea City
Roberto Mancini’s side begin another hugely anticipated campaign against Swansea. There’s always an element of the unknown when playing a newly promoted side and their eagerness to impress could make this a trickier encounter than many anticipate.
With Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez still deemed short of match fitness, the attack is likely to resmeble that seen last week with Edin Dzeko supported by Balotelli, Yaya and Silva. Unless his form improves Adam Johnson is only likely to start when City are playing two games a week.
Balotelli missed training on Saturday due to yet more problems with his knee, but is expected to be fit. While most worry about Mario’s head, it’s the persistent knee problems that offer a greater threat to his footballing career. It’s to be hoped he’s fit for more games this season than last.
The dilemma’s for Mancini are whether to go for Milner over Barry, and Clichy over Kolarov. Milner has tended to start in the pre-season games, yet Barry has always been a first choice for Mancini. It’s to be hoped the younger Milner can fully establish himself this season, playing centrally and displaying the form he showed in his last season with Villa.
Many predicted Kolarov would be edged out of first choice left-back this season, yet he started in the Community Shield. Maybe Mancini is easing Clichy in.
Perhaps the greatest anticipation tonight is reserved for Aguero’s predicted debut. The Argentine has long been acknowledged as a great talent and is joining the Premier League at the perfect age.
In terms of physique, style and positional play, he is the closest to a replacement for Tevez we could have purchased. Yet Carlos is still with us! No doubt Kia Joorabchian is doing all he can to take him away, but if a deal cannot be done, then the prospect of both Tevez and Aguero is truly mouthwatering.
It will be interesting to see if Tevez is on the bench tonight. An appearance is unlikely, though would make for an interesting gesture by Mancini.
Swansea have been known for playing good football since Roberto Martinez cut his managerial teeth there. Brendan Rogers continues the tradition and City could have spells without the ball. Mancini isn’t averse to that, so long as we have a lead to defend.
However, dominating Swansea rather than giving them encouragement ought to be the aim. An early goal is always welcome in calming the nerves, and it’s to be hoped Dzeko can get on the scoresheet to give his confidence a boost.
So far it’s been a good opening weekend for City with Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea all dropping points. A win tonight will make for an excellent start, and carry on the buoyancy from the end of last season.
Blue Days line-up (4-2-3-1):
Richards – Kompany – Lescott – Clichy
de Jong – Milner
Silva – Y Toure – Balotelli
Prediction: 3-0 to City.