Swindon will be rolled flat by Man City juggernaut

EFL League Two play-off chasers Swindon Town arguably landed the most high profile FA Cup third round tie of the 2021/2022 when Manchester City were drawn to visit the County Ground in Wiltshire for a televised Friday night clash. The hosts were relegated from the third tier last season and appointed Ben Garner in the summer after a lot of tumult, and the new head coach has overseen a very commendable first half of the campaign. He will be cognisant that Pep Guardiola will ring the changes without a dip in quality, and that they have nothing to lose by simply having a go. Read our preview here:

Herdy Gerdy McKirdy

Garner will be able to call upon almost his entire squad for the visit of the Premier League champions, with only centre back Mathieu Baudry a certainty to miss out. Fellow stopper Romoney Crichlow returned during their emphatic 5-2 victory over yo-yoing Northampton Town at the weekend, and will maintain his place on the right side of the defensive three. Elsewhere, Jack Payne will be the major threat from midfield, having already notched eight goals as a late runner into the opposition penalty area. His tally is only bettered by versatile forward Harry McKirdy; the 24 year old stole the show against the Cobblers, smashing in four to nearly double his tally, and now has nine from just 14 starts. He will do his utmost to be a tricky customer for City, being both adept at pressing from the front and being hard to pick up because of his wide range of positioning horizontally when his teammates regain possession.

Aké at the oche

Though top scorer Riyad Mahrez has departed for AFCON with Algeria, there are still an embarrassment of riches to choose an XI from. Zack Steffen ought to get the nod in goal as the designated cup 'keeper, whilst a very balanced looking back four could be ahead of him; doubtlessly, both Oleksandr Zinchenko and Kyle Walker will be given instructions to roam forward and cut inside, thus resembling two banks of the same number to force the opposition out wide in order to progress. Nathan Aké hasn't held down a regular starting berth in his Etihad career to date, but has been more prominent in the winter games thus far. He is a menace from set pieces, and moreover, his distribution with the ball makes him an ideal rotation option for Guardiola. Cole Palmer will hope for a role up top, but Phil Foden might operate in a withdrawn central position.

Triple tip

The runaway league leaders won't take the challenge of Swindon lightly, so expect to see a strong and familiar XI, with cameos from the bench by young prospects should the match go the way expected. There is certainly a chance for the Witlshire outfit to grab a goal though, and Casumo have odds of 2.75 for a City win with both teams scoring.

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