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Premier League Preview: Swansea City v. Manchester City

Dec 31, 2013, 1:30 PM EDT

Britain Soccer Premier League AP
  • Swansea took only 39 points from 37 Premier League games in 2013. They won 55 from 39 games in 2012.
  • Man City have scored 29 second half goals in the Premier League this season; a league-high.
  • Swansea City have scored only four goals in their last five Premier League games.

Just one point from the top of the table means Manchester City has it all to play for when they travel to Swansea City on New Year’s Day (7:45am ET on NBCSN and Live Extra).

The Citizens enter the match on a fantastic run of form, having won four straight (6-3 over Arsenal, 4-2 over Fulham, 2-1 over Liverpool and 1-0 over Crystal Palace) since their 1-1 draw with Southampton on December 7th.

That takes City’s unbeaten streak to eight in the league, meaning that poor away form that plagued their early season is well in the rearview. Manuel Pellegrini’s men will be confident heading into the match although they’ll need to be careful as Swansea City has been a tough nut to crack in the past. Having played twice at the Liberty Stadium since the Swans promotion to the Premier League, City have yet to win or score a goal (drawing 0-0 and losing 1-0).

It will be an uphill battle for Swansea, however, who have yet to win in their last five league matches, securing only three points along the way. With star striker Michu sidelined after undergoing ankle surgery, the Swans have only scored twice in their last three matches meaning the pressure is on players like Wilfried Bony and Alvaro Vazquez to step up.

Making things even more difficult for Michael Laudrup‘s side is the loss of Michel Vorm, who recently underwent knee surgery. Gerhard Tremmel has deputized in his place, to little acclaim.

On the other side of the ball, Pellegrini may give a rest to Joe Hart, Pellegrini, who suffered an eye injury in their victory over Palace, while Martin Demichelis (hamstring), Sergio Aguero (calf) and Micah Richards (hamstring) have all been ruled out.

What They’re Saying

Swansea winger Pablo Hernandez: “It’s going to be a difficult game. 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.”

City manager Manuel Pellegrini: “Swansea is a team that are playing very well at home and away and we will need to be strong in every sense, defending and attacking, if we want to win the three points. I think every team in the Premier League can cause problems to our team and to all the other teams – it’s so close this Premier League.”

Prediction

City’s troubled past at the Liberty is a mere aberration. Expect them to cruise here.

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