Two recent winners of the EFL Cup are scheduled to clash in the 3rd round of the competition as Swansea City host Manchester City at the Liberty Stadium today. The match will be a dress rehearsal for the Premier League match between the two sides in three days’ time at the same venue. Manchester City have been resplendent so far winning 8 consecutive matches and are favourites to make it 9 in a row. The match will be an opportunity for Pep Guardiola to give a chance to the players who have failed to break into the near perfect first eleven till now.
Manchester City have won seven of their last 10 League Cup matches against fellow Premier League opponents (D1 L2). The draw was against Liverpool in last season’s final, which City won on penalties. Swansea have lost only one of their five meetings with fellow Premier League sides in the League Cup, 1-2 vs Liverpool in October 2014 (W3 D1)
The above stats illustrate that the match will be hard to call given the respective team’s success in the competition.
Francesco Guidolin is expected to make a number of changes with the foremost being handing a maiden start to club record signing Borja Baston. Neil Taylor is likely to earn a recall while Britton will also feature. Nathan Dyer is a long-term absentee.
Similarly, Pep Guardiola is likely to ring the changes as he has taken along 5 academy graduates along with him with a couple of them favourites for a start. Leroy Sane might get his debut start while Vincent Kompany is in line for a return. Sergio Aguero is suspended with Kelechi Iheanacho continuing in his place.
Fabianski; Angel Rangel, Amat, Federico Fernandez, Neil Taylor; Britton, Fer, Sigurdsson; Barrow, Borja Baston, Routledge
Caballero; Maffeo, Kompany, Adarabioyo, Clichy; Garcia, Fernando, Gundogan; Sane, Iheanacho, Navas
Swansea’s club-record signing is expected to be handed a start and he will have a massive role to play this season. It will be interesting to see the amount of impact he will have this season and while a match against a team like Manchester City will not be a fair yardstick to judge him, the fans will nonetheless be excited to see their costliest player in action.
The exciting German youngster is in line for his first start and it although he has shown glimpses of his pace in the 3 substitute appearances thus far, he will need the minutes under his belt to gradually develop his overall game. With a relatively young attack expected to be selected, the amount of responsibility shouldered by him will interest the manager.
With changes expected from both sides, it will be difficult to predict the way the teams will fare. Manchester City are likely to field a new-look backline and the manner the players who will come in, hold up to the intense high-pressing tactics will be noteworthy. But the overall quality of the squad might see the Sky Blues overcome the Swans.
SWANSEA CITY- 7/1
MANCHESTER CITY- 9/20