SWANSEA (Sporting Alert) — Manchester City will be looking to put pressure on Arsenal with a victory over Swansea City in the early Premier League kick-off on New Year’s Day.
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The Citizens are scheduled to kick-off two hours before the current league leaders and victory at The Liberty Stadium will see Manuel Pellegrini’s side going back to the top of EPL standings by two points. A draw would see them see them going back on top on goal-difference.
In team news ahead of the clash, Manchester City will be without midfield playmaker David Silva, who is suspended for the game after picking up his fifth booking of the season in the last outing.
Forward Sergio Aguero (calf) remains out as well as fellow striker Stevan Jovetic and defenders Martin Demichelis and Micah Richards, who are all still to recover from hamstring injuries.
Joe Hart received further treatment on his left eye, following the injury suffered against Crystal Palace on Saturday, which saw him getting five stitches, but Pellegrini expects the England No. 1 to be just fine to face Swansea.
Swansea City Manager Michael Laudrup also has injury problems, with the likes of attacker Michu, winger Nathan Dyer and goalkeeper Michel Vorm all ruled out.
Winger Pablo Hernandez, who is in line for a starting place on Wednesday, is bracing for a tough challenge to start the new year.
“It’s going to be a difficult game,” Hernandez said. “One month ago we played them and we lost (3-0 at the Etihad Stadium), but we played a good game.
“They are a great team, with big players, but at home we can beat anyone in the Premier League.”
Laudrup is also expecting a tough battle against a Manchester City side which has scored 11 goals in their last four matches and he warned his players that they cannot afford to slip-up on the chances they get in front of goal.
“It’s a tough test,” he said on www.swanseacity.net. “In their last eight games, they have won seven and drawn at Southampton.
“We played them a month ago and played very well in the first-half. We didn’t take our chances, and in the end they beat us 3-0 because they have so much quality. For some – even some of the bigger teams – it has been even worse.
“They play good football. In the transition phase, when you have the ball and they get it, in three seconds, they can be up the other end.
“We saw that in the first game – suddenly they break on the counter, and in three seconds, it’s four against four or three against three in your half.
“With players that fast, like Navas, like Aguero – I know hes not playing tomorrow – and Nasri, you have to be very careful.
“But then, if you defend too deep, they have a lot of creative players as well. They have a lot of depth in their squad, so even if someone is not there, like Aguero, they can bring in Dzeko, who can score.
Swansea (from): Amat, Taylor, Flores, Williams, Britton, Shelvey, Bony, Hernandez, Cornell, Lamah, Routledge, Tiendalli, De Guzman, Rangel, Canas, Pozuelo, Tremmel, Vazquez, Richards, Davies, Zabret.
Manchester City (from): Hart, Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Nastasic, Boyata, Kolarov, Clichy, Nasri, Milner, Navas, Toure, Fernandinho, Garcia, Rodwell, Dzeko, Negredo, Guidetti.