The FourFourTwo Preview: Swansea vs Man City
Another ‘performance’ without the points for Swansea.
Swans boss Michael Laudrup has cut a rather frustrated figure of late, continually seeing his charges perform well but not pick up the amount of points their displays, in his opinion, warranted.
- Aston Villa 1-1 Swansea (Prem)
- Chelsea 1-0 Swansea (Prem)
- Swansea 1-2 Everton (Prem)
- Norwich 1-1 Swansea (Prem)
- St Gallen 1-0 Swansea (EL)
MAN CITY FORM
- Man City 1-0 Palace (Prem)
- Man City 2-1 Liverpool (Prem)
- Fulham 2-4 Man City (Prem)
- Leicester 1-3 Man City (LC)
- Man City 6-3 Arsenal (Prem)
The Welsh side have now gone six matches without a win since dispatching Newcastle 3-0 on December 4, recording three draws and three defeats.
Laudrup was left feeling hard done by after a late home defeat to Everton, before taking the positives out of a narrow loss at Chelsea and rueing missed opportunities after a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa.
Nevertheless, the former Getafe and Real Mallorca manager is satisfied with a first half of a campaign that sees them sitting 11th in the table having had to adjust to life in the Europa League.
"I thought we could [reach the] turn on 23 points, so we are a couple short of where I expected to be," said the Dane. "But I think we can do better in the second half of the season and we can end up more or less where we did last year. I said before the season that our target is to consolidate the club as a mid-table team. If we can do that this season, which has been so complicated with all the European games as well, it would be, for me, a big success."
Swansea lost the reverse fixture 3-0 on December 1, and got off lightly considering Manchester City’s previous four home games saw them score four, five, six and seven, before whacking six past Arsenal in their next Etihad outing after the Swans.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men are starting to move smoothly though the gears after their stuttering start to the season, and have now won 10 of their last 11 games in all competitions to move within a point of table-toppers Arsenal.
The Blues may have maintained their perfect home record in the Premier League over the festive period with wins over Liverpool and Crystal Palace, but neither witnessed the goal-fests that fans have been accustomed to so far in 2013/14.
City benefited from the rub of the green to see off the Merseysiders on Boxing Day, before being given a surprisingly stern examination by Palace, who might have upset the odds had it not been for Joe Hart.
“It was good for him to have a rest, he needed it," Pellegrini said of the England custodian. "And now he's playing at his normal levels. I don't think he has less confidence, he always knew what we think about him. He always works hard and he was always confident he would return to his position."
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho still feels City are favourites to land their second Premier League title in three seasons, but Vincent Kompany is taking nothing for granted, insisting the league "is as tough as it’s ever been".
But with the Blues in such imperious form, even with Sergio Aguero still sidelined, little can stop them at present, despite the fact they’ve won just once in their last seven visits to Swansea; 2-0 in April 1984.
The Swans remain without Michel Vorm and Garry Monk (both knee), and Nathan Dyer and Michu (both ankle); none of whom are expected back until February.
City have three hamstrung defenders in the form of Micah Richards, Matija Nastasic and Martin Demichelis. Aguero's not back until the end of the month and David Silva serves a one-match ban.
Players to watch: De Guzman, Canas (Swansea)
The two standout performers in the Swans’ stalemate at Villa Park, both central midfielders will need to be equally effective if the home side are to stop City.
Villarreal loanee De Guzman and former Real Betis man Canas both completed more than 100 passes against Villa, more than 30 higher than the third-best player.
While De Guzman helped set up 4 goalscoring chances for team-mates further forward, Canas proved a rock in defensive midfield, making a game-high 13 ball recoveries to keep Swansea on the ball during a game in which they enjoyed 73% of the possession and created 17 efforts on goal to their opponents’ 7.
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
- City 3-0 Swans (Prem, Dec 13)
- Swans 0-0 City (Prem, May 13)
- City 1-0 Swans (Prem, Oct 12)
- Swans 1-0 City (Prem, Mar 12)
- City 4-0 Swans (Prem, Aug 11)
Pellegrini leads Laudrup 5-1 in the overall head-to-head, with December’s win at the Etihad adding to two victories as Villarreal boss over Laudrup’s Getafe in 2007/08.
More recently, the pair crossed swords three times as managers of Malaga and Mallorca; the Dane’s only success a 2-0 victory for the islanders in November 2010.
TIPS & TRENDS
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Facts and figures
- Swansea conceded 15 shots on target in their first ever Premier League game (against Man City in August 2011), a game they lost 4-0.
- The Citizens have kept 5 clean sheets in their last 6 league meetings with Swansea.
- Swansea have not had both teams scoring in their last 5 matches against Man City.
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Laudrup left taking the positives from another narrow defeat. 0-1.