Manchester City vs Swindon LIVE Football Score 7 Jan 2022
Manchester City’s quest for FA Cup glory begins with a trip to League Two outfit Swindon Town in the third round on Friday evening.
While the Premier League champions will enter the tournament in the third round, Swindon have already seen off Crewe Alexandra and Walsall to make it this far.
Swindon had failed to reach the third round of the FA Cup for 10 successive seasons before making it this far this time around, with a comfortable 3-0 win over Crewe Alexandra in round one preceding a 2-1 triumph at Walsall back in December.
Not since the 1991-92 season have the League Two side managed to make it as far as the fifth round, but any hopes of them keeping their cup run going as far as round four will be slim to none when they take to the field on Friday.
Form was not on their side at the end of 2021, as Ben Garner’s side went winless in four League Two games before the New Year, but they kicked off 2022 in barnstorming fashion by seeing off Northampton Town 5-2 at County Ground.
Star striker Harry McKirdy was unplayable on the day as he scored four of his side’s five goals – with fellow number nine Tyreece Simpson also getting in on the act – but Swindon have lost each of their last three FA Cup games at home and are facing an uphill battle to avoid making it four here.
The Premier League and EFL Cup are Pep Guardiola’s bread and butter at this point, but taking Man City all the way in the FA Cup has not been a cakewalk for the Catalan coach, who has won the trophy on just one occasion since arriving at the Etihad Stadium.
Two semi-final exits to Arsenal and Chelsea followed their resounding triumph over Watford in the final of the 2018-19 edition, but not since the 2011-12 season have City bowed out at this stage – with that 3-2 defeat coming at the hands of arch-rivals Manchester United.
There may be scope for Man City to dream about FA Cup glory given that they are riding off into the sunset in the Premier League, with Rodri’s last-gasp winner and Riyad Mahrez’s penalty helping them see off a much-improved Arsenal outfit 2-1 on New Year’s Day.
The Citizens will undoubtedly use this opportunity to hand some of their fringe and youth players a chance to impress, but they are on an 11-game winning streak domestically and will have no intention of becoming another victim of an FA Cup giant killing.
Man City and Swindon’s most recent meeting came 20 years ago in the third round of the 2001-02 FA Cup – with Kevin Keegan’s side winning 2-0 on that occasion for their fourth consecutive victory over the League Two outfit in all tournaments.
Swindon goalkeeper Joe Wollacott has earned a call-up to the Ghana squad for the Africa Cup of Nations and will not be available here, so Lewis Ward could get the nod in between the sticks.
The hosts will be without French centre-back Mathieu Baudry due to a hip tendon injury, while Jack Payne will also miss out after being withdrawn early in the Northampton contest.
Crystal Palace centre-back Jake O’Brien has arrived on loan to bolster Garner’s defence, and Wales international Jonathan Williams is rated touch-and-go for the game.
Man City also have one AFCON representative in the form of Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez, who would have most likely been rested here anyway alongside John Stones, who is still doubtful with a knock.
Phil Foden and Oleksandr Zinchenko remain doubts due to COVID-19, so Nathan Ake could earn another start at left-back as CJ Egan-Riley and Luke Mbete vie for opportunities in the heart of defence.
Zack Steffen and Fernandinho will also expect to come into the first XI for this encounter, while in the final third, Cole Palmer, James McAtee and Kayky could all earn some valuable minutes.
The Citizens have also confirmed that Guardiola will be absent after contracting coronavirus, as well as seven unnamed players who have been forced into self-isolation.
Swindon Town possible starting lineup:
Ward; Kesler, Odimayo, Hunt, Iandolo; Gilbert, Williams, Reed, Lyden; McKirdy, Simpson
Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Steffen; Walker, Mbete, Egan-Riley, Ake; Gundogan, Fernandinho, McAtee; Kayky, Palmer, Grealish