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Preview: Swansea City vs. Manchester City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final clash between Swansea City and Manchester City.

Manchester City travel to Swansea City in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup this weekend, aiming to maintain their charge for an unprecedented quadruple.

The Citizens have already added one trophy to the cabinet and, with the finish line in sight, are the bookies' favourites to win the three other competitions they remain in.


Swansea City

Ollie McBurnie celebrates scoring for Swansea City on January 29, 2019© Reuters

Football supporters can be a fickle bunch at the best of times, best epitomised in the last round of this competition when Swansea fans booed their players off at half time and then cheered them come full time.

The Swans trailed fellow second-tier side Brentford 1-0 at the interval this time last month, and they could arguably have been further behind, but the 11,000 in attendance were treated to a vastly-improved display in the second 45 minutes.

Daniel James was at the heart of everything good for Swansea that day, ripping Brentford's defenders to shreds with his pace and earning his side what in the end was a deserved 4-1 victory.

That was a rare bright day for the Welsh outfit, however, as they have lost three of their four matches since then in the Championship, ending any faint hopes they had of challenging for a playoff spot.

Graham Potter's side have lost five matches in a row on their travels, most recently going down 3-0 to automatic promotion challengers West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday evening - a game that will be best remembered for Bersant Celina's comical penalty at 1-0 down.

Had that penalty been converted, and not scuffed, City may well have taken something from the match. As it is, the 2-0 home win over Bolton Wanderers on March 2 is the only time they have avoided defeat in their last five league games, leaving them 15th in the table.

In fact, Swansea may well be just as close to the relegation zone as they are to the playoffs come the end of the weekend, as a number of sides below them are in league action.

Saturday's visit of the English champions is very much a welcome distraction for Potter's men, then, as they look to reach the FA Cup semi-finals for just a third time in their history, having previously done so in 1925-26 and 1963-64.

After flexing their muscles against Aston Villa, Gillingham and Brentford in the previous rounds, now comes a different type of challenge entirely against arguably the best side anywhere on the planet.

Recent form in FA Cup: WWW
Recent form (all competitions): LWLWLL


Manchester City

Manchester City celebrate a goal from Raheem Sterling against Watford in the Premier League on March 9, 2019.© Reuters

In 2019 alone, Man City have already racked up scorelines of 7-0 (vs. Rotherham United), 9-0 (vs. Burton Albion), 5-0 (vs. Burnley), 6-0 (vs. Chelsea) and 7-0 (vs. Schalke 04). The most worrying part for Swansea is that only two of those matches came against sides outside of the top division of their respective countries.

The Citizens showed once again in midweek just why so many are starting to compare them to the greatest club sides of all time when putting seven past Schalke with no response. Winning the Premier League title with a century of points last season was mightily impressive, but Pep Guardiola now has other targets in sight.

Holding off Liverpool, now one point behind the champions in the tightest battle for top spot in years, will make this year's success just as impressive as last year's when City run away with it. Adding one of the Champions League or FA Cup to their collection, having already lifted the EFL Cup, really would make this the greatest campaign in their history.

Guardiola has repeatedly warned his players to take it one game at a time and not look too far down the line. The trip to South Wales on Saturday provides City with their last test in a gruelling run that has seen them play 21 matches in four competitions since Christmas.

Incredibly, the Citizens have won 18 of their last 19 games, losing only to Newcastle United in that run, and their goals for column is surely enough to send shivers down Swansea spines.

City have scored at least four goals in each of their three FA Cup games this season – the last team to so in four in a row, incidentally, were also Man City, during the 1925-26 season. Seven goals were put past Rotherham, five past Burnley and then four past Newport County in the last round.

Newport were the side to give the five-time FA Cup winners their toughest test yet in the competition, keeping them out in the opening 45 minutes before ultimately fading away in the second half. Swansea could do a lot worse than look at their fellow Welsh club's display at Rodney Parade four weeks ago.

By virtue of their victory in Newport last month, Man City could now become just the second team to win two away FA Cup matches in Wales in a single season, joining Norwich City - who beat Rhyl and Newport in the 1950-51 campaign - in doing so.

Recent form in FA Cup: WWW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWWW


Team News

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne sits injured on March 2, 2019© Reuters

With this being Man City's final match before the two-week international break, and having come unstuck away at lower-league opposition in Wigan Athletic last term, Guardiola will not want to rotate too heavily at the Liberty Stadium.

Kevin De Bruyne and Fernandinho remain the Citizens' two big-name absentees, though both should be back in time for the trip to Fulham at the end of the month.

Back-up goalkeeper Claudio Bravo is also out, but Fabian Delph is back involved and in line for his first start since January.

Guardiola has favoured the Nicolas Otamendi-John Stones partnership in this competition, though Vincent Kompany could return after being left out entirely against Schalke.

Gabriel Jesus has been involved in 10 goals in six domestic cup starts this season for Man City (seven goals, three assists), and he has scored three goals in two previous appearances against Swansea.

The home side may have to make do without Oliver McBurnie, meanwhile, as the striker did not recover from injury in time to face West Brom in midweek.

James, the star man against Brentford, is therefore in contention to start through the middle, as he did at The Hawthorns when used alongside Nathan Dyer, Celina and Wayne Routledge.

Celina will not be allowed to play any part this weekend, however, as per the terms of his loan agreement from parent club Man City, so George Byers - also on target in the last round - could take over in that position, with Jay Fulton alongside him.

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Danilo, Kompany, Otamendi, Delph; Foden, Gundogan, D.Silva; Mahrez, Jesus, Sane

Swansea City possible starting lineup:
Nordfeldt; Roberts, Van der Hoorn, Carter-Vickers, Naughton; Fulton, Grimes, Byers; Dyer, James, Routledge


Head To Head

This will be the first ever FA Cup meeting between Swansea and Man City. However, the Swans are winless in 13 previous matches in all competitions, losing all but two of those.

The sides most recently faced off in last season's Premier League, with the Citizens claiming a 4-0 win at the Liberty Stadium in December 2017 and following that up with a 5-0 triumph on home soil four months later.

Swansea have been eliminated in six of their last seven FA Cup ties against Premier League opponents, winning the other in January 2014 away at Man United.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Swansea City 0-4 Manchester City

Man City have progressed from three of their last four FA Cup quarter-finals (2010-11, 2012-13 and 2016-17), with their only defeat in that time coming against Championship opposition in 2013-14, when they lost 2-1 to Wigan. Guardiola's men are on an incredible run of form and it seems unthinkable that their winning run will come to an end against second-tier opposition.


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Who will win Saturday's FA Cup tie between Swansea City and Manchester City?

Swansea City
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Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden celebrates scoring against Schalke 04 on March 12, 2019
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How Man City could line up against Swansea
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool31237170185276
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
4Arsenal30186663392460
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
6Chelsea30176750331757
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
8Watford30127114244-243
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
10Leicester CityLeicester31125144043-341
11Everton31117134342140
12Bournemouth31115154356-1338
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
14Crystal Palace3096153641-533
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2996143242-1033
16Southampton3079143450-1630
17Burnley3186173559-2430
18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
19Fulham3145222970-4117
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914

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