It’s match time at the Etihaad Stadium as Manchester City take on Swansea City in their Premier League campaign opener, on Monday, August 15, 2011.
The game is likely to be a baptism by fire for Swansea who will be up against one of the strongest teams in this year’s Premiership. With new summer signings in the form of Sergio Aguero and Gael Clichy, Mancini’s wards are considered strong title contenders, while Swansea have been promoted to the Premiership, for the time ever.
While Manchester City have the best quality money can buy, their real would be to play as a cohesive unit, going by their showing against Manchester United in the Community Shield curtain raiser to the season, where they contrived to blow a lead of 2-0, over Sir Alex Ferguson’s men.
That said, Mancini’s wards will want a big win to announce their title bid. ahead of the long season ahead.
Carlos Tevez’s value to the team will be underlined by his absence when the Argentine striker leaves, and that could happen sooner rather than later. If Manchester City displayed any weakness last season, it was a defensive midfield that did not gel with the quality attack, and Tevez’s skill and stamina were crucial to ensuring that the midfielders and forwards combined to good effect.
Aguero has been acquired with an eye on replacing the wantaway Tevez, but it is not clear as to how effectively whether he can fill Tevez’s boots adequately, especially as he would have to deal with the likes of bad boy Balotelli in the forward line.
While nobody in his right time would give Swansea the ghost of a chance in Mondays game with Manchester City, they have displayed attacking flair in the lower leagues and in Wayne Routledge they have signed a quality midfielder, ahead of their Premiership campaign. Swansea might end up surprising us all, much as Blackpool did last season.
Ahead of the match, Swansea have an injury worry in skipper Garry Monk whose foot injury is likely to keep him out of Monday’s game, and he might have to wait till Swansea’s home game against Wigan to get going in this year’s Premiership.
Keeper Vorm signed from FC Utrecht is likely to be chosen ahead of Jose Moreira, also a new signing.
Manchester City’s probable eleven: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Yaya Toure, De Jong, Barry, Balotelli, Aguero, Silva
Swansea’s probable eleven: Vorm, Rangel, Tate, Williams, Taylor, Routledge, Britton, Sinclair, Dobie, Lita, Graham
Referee: Mike Dean