Swansea City are back in the top flight for the first time in 19 years. The Swans have made steady progress by achieving three promotions since 2005 and in 2009 under Roberto Martinez they looked like they were destined to at least reach the Championship play-offs but fell away in the final stretch. When Martinez decided to take his chance at Wigan Athletic, former Portugal international Paulo Sousa stepped in but failed to improve the clubs fortunes. Brendan Rodgers was appointed last season and steered them to play-off victory at Wembley. On Monday night, Swansea face a Manchester City side fresh from lifting its first trophy for 36 years. This couldn’t be a sterner test for the south Wales new-boys who many are tipping to be holding up the Premier League pile come next May.
City have strengthened their squad in several key positions with manager, Roberto Mancini, declaring his intention to sign “two or three” more players before the transfer window closes on August 31. Having overhauled Arsenal to grab that all-important third place spot City have brought in the experienced left back, Gael Clichy from the Gunners, young Montenegro defender, Stefan Savic, and in the acquisition of Sergio Aguero the club have shown that they can attract World class talent. With the likes of Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko all competing for places, up front City will cause nightmares for defences up and down the country, and undoubtedly in Europe as well.
City may start with Dzeko up front with new boy Sergio Aguero probably on bench whilst Tevez has not been included in the match squad. It is also entirely possible that Samir Nasri will be a Manchester City player by the time the whistle is blown at the Etihad Stadium on Monday evening; providing competition and cover for the Spanish ‘genio’ they call David Silva. Swansea will be without their captain Garry Monk, who is suffering with a foot problem. Rodgers raided his old club Watford to bring £3.5 million hitman Danny Graham to the Liberty Stadium. Monday night may see other new recruits, Dutch goalkeeper Michel Vorm, Leroy Lita, Wayne Routledge and Steven Caulker make their club debuts.
Manchester City will look to put their disappointment in the Community Shield behind them as they seek to get off to an effective start in a season where many involved with the club are expecting a very serious title challenge.
Manchester City: (possible line-up) Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, De Jong, Y. Toure, Silva, Barry, Dzeko