Saturday, March 16 – 5:20p.m Local time – The Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales
Manchester City’s plan to secure a second successive English Premier League title goes on hold this weekend as FA Cup duty awaits.
The champions are scheduled to travel to the Liberty Stadium on Saturday afternoon for an FA Cup Quarterfinal tie with Championship side Swansea City.
Pep Guardiola’s charges recorded the biggest win of the last-16 of the UEFA Champions League when they trounced Bundesliga outfit Schalke O4 7-0 at the Etihad; the Tuesday night victory adding up to an astounding 10-2 aggregate win following their marginal 3-2 triumph during the first leg in Germany.
The tie was still relatively open, and many didn’t rule out Schalke away from home given the shocking nature of comebacks exhibited in the knockout phase of the Champions League this season. Things were panning out quite nicely for Domenico Tedesco’s side who hadn’t conceded a goal during the opening half hour, although they strained to break down City’s firm defensive line.
Sergio Aguero opened City’s account of the night when he unflinchingly scored a Panenka from the penalty spot after Bernardo Silva was taken to the ground by defender Jeffrey Bruma in the 32nd minute. The Argentine then doubled the advantage for the hosts three minutes later with a breathtaking right-footed finish from 18 yards to set up a breathable 5-2 aggregate lead.
It was all one-way traffic from then on.
The assertive victory secured Pep Guardiola’s side a vital place in last eight of the Champions League alongside three other English teams in Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Manchester United. The remaining teams also in the quarterfinals include Ajax Amsterdam, F.C Porto, Juventus and Barcelona.
Swansea City suffered their second defeat in less than a week after being thrashed 3-0 by West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday night in the Championship. The Baggies scored through Chris Brunt, Mason Holgate and Jay Rodriguez.
The defeat, which was Swansea’s fourth in five games, saw Graham Potter’s side slip to fourteenth on the Championship log; further postponing their hopes of returning to Premier League football given the very competitive nature of the English second tier.
Sergio Aguero odds and bet specials
|Best Bet||Odds||Bet Now|
|Aguero to score anytime||-166.67 at William Hill||Place Bet|
|Aguero to be the first City player to score||+270 at William Hill||Place Bet|
With a staggering 999 minutes under his belt since January 20, Sergio Aguero has unequivocally proven to be the most indispensable member of Pep Guardiola’s quadruple chasing squad.
The Manchester City striker scored a brace during their annihilation of German opposition in the last-16 of the Champions League, taking his overall tally for the season to 27 goals.
Despite being 30-years old, Aguero has reduced Gabriel Jesus to a mere spectator from the dugout. Aguero has a rare ability to find the back of the net and it will not be surprising to see his name on the scorer’s sheet this weekend.
This one looks to be pretty clear cut on paper.
Manchester City is one of the strongest teams in the world right now and the sheer spending power alone is something Swansea cannot compete with.
In fact, guys that see almost no action week-to-week for the Sky Blues would be easily the Swans’ best players. There’s also a determination this campaign to record as many trophies as humanly possible, which means the FA Cup is right in Man City’s cross hairs.
Given the sheer strength and current form of Pep Guardiola’s side, Swansea City simply doesn’t stand a chance in the FA Cup this weekend.
Prediction: Man City to Win First Half/Man City to Win Second Half – -105.26 on William Hill
Swansea City vs. Manchester City recent results
Man City 5-0 Swansea City (April 24, 2018)
David Silva 12’
Raheem Sterling 16’
Kevin De Bruyne 54’
Bernardo Silva 64’
Swansea City 0-4 Man City (December 13, 2017)
David Silva 27’, 52’
Kevin De Bruyne 34’
Sergio Aguero 85’
Man City 2-1 Swansea City (February 5, 2017)
Gabriel 11’, 90+2’
Gylfi Sigurdsson 81’
Swansea City 1-3 Man City (September 24, 2016)
Fernando Llorente 13’
Sergio Aguero 9’, 65’ (P)
Raheem Sterling 77’
Swansea City 1-1 Man City (May 15, 2016)
Andre Ayew 45+1’
Kelechi Iheanacho 5’
4:00pm local time on Sunday, August 30, 2015 at Liberty Stadium
TV coverage: Sky Sports (UK), NBC Sports (US), Fox Sports (Australia)
Swansea City – $3.40 at www.CrownBet.com
WDL record: 1-2-0
Draw – $3.30 at Bet365
Manchester United – $2.25 at Sportsbet.com
WDL record: 2-1-0
Last five EPL meetings:
Swansea 2-1 Man United
Man United 1-2 Swansea
Man United 2-0 Swansea
Swansea 1-4 Man United
Man United 2-1 Swansea
SWANSEA City have two very big reasons to feel confident ahead of Sunday’s late-afternoon clash with Manchester United at the Liberty.
The Welsh club did the double over the Red Devils last season, winning 2-1 both home and away en route to their highest-ever finish in the English Premier League (eighth).
Garry Monk’s men have started strongly this term, too, backing up their well-fought draw at Chelsea in round one with a comfortable win over Newcastle United the following week.
They were clearly the better side against Sunderland last Saturday, too, but some agonising near-misses and a few standout saves from Black Cats ‘keeper Costel Pantilimon saw the relegation favourites snatch a 1-1 draw.
Swans fans will be delighted with the early form of French striker Bafetimbi Gomis, who now has three goals in as many games and is beginning to look a very handy replacement for the departed Wilfried Bony.
Andre Ayew has linked up beautifully with Gomis and company since his summer move from Marseille, providing two goals of his own while adding bucket loads of quality in and around the final third.
The Ghanaian seems to have struck up a telepathic understanding with Jefferson Montero – although it remains to be seen how long that will last, as Bayern Munich are reportedly very keen on the livewire Ecuadorian winger.
Throw in the enigmatic brilliance of midfield playmakers Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jonjo Shelvey, and Man United have plenty to think about as they look to keep their own unbeaten record intact.
Louis van Gaal’s side has started with three consecutive clean sheets, but a grand tally of two goals – only one of which was scored by a United player – leaves much to be desired from a forward line that cost more than Swansea’s entire starting XI.
The much-hyped Memphis Depay has yet to open his Premier League account after his big-money move from PSV Eindhoven, while Wayne Rooney hasn’t found anything like his best form since returning to his preferred striking role.
Or at least that was the case until Wednesday evening, when Rooney ended his scoring drought with a hat-trick against Club Brugge as Man United booked their passage to the Champions League group stages.
Nevertheless, last weekend’s goalless draw at home to Newcastle United suggests there is a certain something lacking at the business end of the pitch – be it firepower, or composure, or sheer weight of chances.
Van Gaal may well have found a solution to those issues in midweek, as Ander Herrera put in a very lively shift in his first runout of the season.
Just where the Spanish schemer fits into the United midfield on a long-term basis remains to be seen, however, now that Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin have joined the club.
And while getting on the scoresheet has to be a priority this weekend, the Old Trafford club must also be wary of a muscular, in-form Swansea attack.
Daley Blind and Chris Smalling have been solid at the heart of a defence decimated by injury, but they will be sorely tested by the aerial threat of Gomis and Ayew in particular.
Match betting predictions
Swansea to win or draw – $1.70 at www.Bet365.com
Correct score 2-1 Swansea – $13 at Bet365
Both teams to score – $1.85 at Crownbet.com
Man United are the favourites, and rightly so, but there’s plenty to be said for throwing some money behind Swansea here.
For one, they downed United twice last season – indeed, they’ve won three of their last four encounters with the Devils in all competitions.
For another, they have Montero (for now), whose quick feet, raw pace and pinpoint crossing will cause Matteo Darmian and company all kinds of problems.
If you’re not sold on Swansea to win outright ($3.40 at CrownBet), $1.70 odds on the double chance over at Bet365 is very good value compared to the rest of the field.
Definitely look at the Premier League goal markets, too, as only once in 13 meetings have these two sides played out a scoreless draw – and that was way back in 1982.
Swansea first goalscorer betting
Bafetimbi Gomis – $8 at CrownBet
Gomis’ calm, clinical finish for the opener against Sunderland last weekend spoke of a striker in seriously good form. Can the big Frenchman make it four goals from four?
Andre Ayew – $10 at CrownBet
Ayew has hit the ground running since moving to south Wales this summer. His late runs are a constant threat, so United will have to keep a very close eye on their back post if they’re to keep him at bay.
Man United first goalscorer odds
Wayne Rooney – $6.50 at William Hill
Having banged in a treble during the week, surely Rooney can’t be far off breaking his Premier League duck? He’s a streaky kind of player, so this could be the start of a very prolific run for the Scouse striker.
Memphis Depay – $7.50 at Bet365
The Dutch import has dazzled in patches without making a direct impact on the scoresheet, but that has to change sooner or later. He netted 28 goals for PSV last season, so it’s not like he doesn’t know where the sticks are.
Ki Sung-yueng, who has missed the last two matches with a hamstring problem, could return to the lineup on Saturday after starring in Swansea’s 3-0 League Cup over York City during the week.
Also in line for a call-up to the matchday squad is young midfielder Matt Grimes, who found the net against the Minstermen in his first competitive outing for the season.
Otherwise, there should be few changes for a Swans outfit which really should have demolished Sunderland last weekend.
Possible Swansea XI: Fabianski; Naughton, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor; Cork, Shelvey; Ayew, Sigurdsson, Montero; Gomis.
Van Gaal jumbled a few things around for the midweek European fixture, but there’s no certainty that any of those changes will stick for the trip to Wales.
Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger are odds-on to reclaim their starting spots, which means Michael Carrick will probably return to the pine.
Herrera could drop into the number 10 role behind Rooney, but that would mean having to bench either Mata or Januzaj – the latter of whom has started the season very brightly.
Possible Man United XI: Romero; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Shaw; Schweinsteiger, Schneiderlin; Mata, Januzaj, Memphis; Rooney.