Swansea vs Manchester City 12:45
Swansea drew 1-1 with Aston Villa last time out in a game in which they should perhaps have took more from after dominating for long periods. After falling behind early in the game, the Swans eventually struck through Roland Lamah to take a point back to South Wales.
Although often not highlighted in the same way as some of his teammates, Jonathan de Guzman is nonetheless enjoying yet another fine season. The Swans midifielder is the highest ranked player on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for passes completed in the opponent’s half from teams outside the top four, with 565 currently to his name.
Despite the 1-1 scoreline, Pablo Hernandez certainly cannot be accused of not going all out to try and win the game for his side. He completed more attacking contributions (shots on goal, dribbles, crosses, assists) than any other player in the league during the last round of fixtures with 10.
Such is the style of Swansea’s play, you can expect every one of their players on the pitch to be both confident with the ball and eager to move it further up the pitch. Defender Angel Rangel has epitomised this philosophy so far this season, shown by the fact that he is the second highest ranked defender in the league, behind Tottenham’s Kyle Walker, for passes completed in the opponent’s half with 378 to his name.
Manchester City maintained their superb home form this week with a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at the Etihad. Whilst the scoreline may have been more reserved that would have been expected by many at the outset, Edin Dzeko’s second half strike secured the win for Manuel Pellegrini’s side to keep up the heat at the top of the table.
Despite their relatively poor form on the road this term, as well as the inconsistency of Joe Hart and the loss of Vincent Kompany to injury, collectively speaking the Manchester City defense has done a good job of protecting their goal. Even if you combine Hart and Costel Pantilimon’s respective saves, this would still only give you a total of 48, placing them joint 8th in the league for lowest total saves. Should they find a way of closing out games on the road, City could well be on their way to another title this year.
It says something about the sheer domination that City have had over the majority of their opponents this season that, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, out of the top 20 players in the league for passes completed in the opponents half, four of them wear the sky blue (Toure, Nasri, Silva and Fernandinho), the highest number from any one team. Toure continues to set the benchmark in this regard and is now the only player in the league to have surpassed the 700-mark, his total sitting at a quite incredible 715.
Both Toure and his midfield colleague Fernandinho have been rampant at times this season, with a combination of their exceptional technique as well as teams being too eager to stand off them contributing to their success. Swansea must attempt to shut down their space and not allow them to get up a head of steam, with both players have completed over 20 dribbles this season (21 and 20 respectively) to complement their superb general passing totals.