This is truly a battle for the ages. No, not Manchester City vs. Swansea City -- that'll barely be a skirmish for the weekend. But Michael Laudrup's Danish radiance versus the sleek Italian locks and pimped-out styles of Roberto Mancini? There's something to occupy one's Saturday. Look for Laudrup to unseat his preening opposition with sheer cool to come away the title of prettiest manager* in the Premier League.
Which is probably all that Swansea will end up earning. They had a hot start to the season, yes, but they've scuffled mightily of late (they're the only team to cough up a win against Aston Villa, for example), and a trip to the Etihad Stadium is absolutely nobody's idea of a fun time. Granted, this Manchester City team isn't firing on all cylinders and they were unexpectedly spanked in midweek by Ajax, but they're still the defending champions, and Swansea are still Swansea.
In other words, expect a strong match from Mancini's side. Manchester City are at home, so they'll presumably dominate possession, leaving the visitors without the greatest tool in their arsenal. They've also got more top strikers in their locker than the rest of the Premier League combined, and players who can feed said strikers the ball. The only way Swansea get a result here is if something weird happens, and Laudrup knows it:
It's an exciting week for us. We play both the Premier League champions and the European champions, as well as facing Liverpool at Anfield (in the Capital One Cup). There is a lot for us to win and nothing to lose but we always have to take one game at a time and not get too carried away.
Of course, sometimes weird things do happen and if they happen on Saturday we'll build a nice narrative out of the whole thing, but I think we can pretty confidently say that most times that this fixture is played, Manchester City amble away with three points. That's how it works.
Manchester City injuries and suspensions
Swansea City injuries and suspensions
David Silva is out. Is that bad for the hosts? Yes. Will it matter? Not likely. It's probably time to sacrifice Costel Pantilimon to the hamstring gods though.
Date/Time: 5:30 p.m. local, 12:30 p.m. ET.
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England.
TV info: Fox Soccer Channel (USA), ESPN UK (UK).