Manchester City are on the prowl.
The Citizens have taken 22 of a possible 24 points in their last eight matches, including four straight wins, and now find themselves just one point behind Arsenal on the Premier League table. In Manuel Pellegrini's first year at the helm, City put themselves in an excellent position through the first half of the season to make a title push.
On the other hand, Swansea City have been a bit disappointing.
The club has taken less points this season (21) than City have in their past eight games, and while they are in 11th place, they are just five points clear of the relegation zone. The underachieving has been headlined by Michu, who has just two Premier League goals in 14 appearances after scoring 18 a season ago.
Let's break down this New Year's Day clash.
When: Wednesday, January 1, at 7:45 a.m. ET (12:45 p.m. GMT)
Where: Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales
Watch: NBC Sports Network; NBC Sports Live Extra; Sky Sports 1 (U.K.); Sky Go (U.K.)
Odds: Manchester City (53.4 percent), Swansea City (24.3 percent) and draw (22.3 percent), according to Bloomberg Sports
Swansea's task against City will only be tougher without Michu, Michel Vorm and Nathan Dyer, while Manchester City won't have David Silva (suspension) and Sergio Aguero, Martin Demichelis, Stevan Jovetic and Micah Richards (injuries), according to John Roder of BBC Sport.
When these teams last met, City won 3-0, a fairly subdued performance for the home side, considering their 38 goals scored and just six conceded in 10 matches at the Etihad Stadium this year. But City's struggles on the road—they've scored just 11 of a possible 30 points on the road—are well-documented, and could rear their ugly head once again in Swansea.
On the other hand, Swansea's home-field advantage hasn't been much of an advantage at all, as they've won just two of 10 home games this season. City will also take hope in the fact that Swansea are winless in their last five Premier League matches, with three draws, or that the Swans have given up 25 league goals.
A return to form of Joe Hart has also been quite the positive for City, to the point that Pellegrini—who already has relegated Hart to the bench for a spell this season, mind you—called him "the best goalkeeper in England" after a strong, shutout performance against Crystal Palace.
Of course, Palace aren't Chelsea or Arsenal, but nonetheless, having Hart once again on top of his game is just another reason why the Citizens are such a terrifying foe to face.
City are too hot—and Swansea too lackluster—to predict anything less than a triumph for the Citizens. Outside of Chelsea this is the league's deepest team, and even without Silva or Aguero, they are incredibly formidable.
Swansea will hold plenty of possession and make things interesting for a bit, but they simply lack the cutting edge on the attack to make this a shootout.
Manchester City wins, 3-1.
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