Friday night under the floodlights, the magic of the FA Cup is here as the Premier League leaders travel down to Swindon for the third Round of the FA Cup.
Swindon Town went ahead on new years day and put in a stellar five-star performance against a Northampton Town side who had not played for three weeks due to a Covid19 outbreak in the squad. Which preceded to have their next three games to be called off prior to the game on Saturday afternoon. None the less it was an excellent performance from Ben Garner side, he was right the game on Wednesday against Stevenage blown the cobwebs away as Swindon had their previous two games called off due to outbreaks of Covid19 in the squad.
2-1 just after the half time break you were thinking uh oh not again, not another disappointing performance. But Swindon blew Northampton away with four quick second half goals including four in one match for the maverick Harry McKirdy. This was his first home goals of the season and he got four on the first day of 2022.
Harry McKirdy will get the plaudits for his haul of four goals on Saturday, but I wanted to give an honourable mention to Jordan Lyden. It was good to have him back in the starting XI. Thank god he has not been rushed back in after his injury record in the previous couple of seasons. It was good to have the tough tackling Aussie back in the midfield.
Ben Garner confirmed that Jack Payne will be out of the game on Friday due to a knee injury picked up before Swindon equaliser on Saturday. Jonny Williams is also a doubt as up until yesterday he did not train.
Predicted Swindon line up 3-5-1-1
Ward, Odimayo, Conroy, Critchlow, Kesler-Hayden, Reed, Lyden, Gladwin, Iandolo, McKirdy, Simpson.
Manchester City are the visitors to the Energy Check County Ground on Friday evening. The Premier League leaders have been in imperious form in recent weeks and are ten points clear of second place Chelsea in the league standings.
This is the first meeting between the two clubs in twenty years. The twenty-year anniversary was on the 05th January. So, 5th January 2002, Swindon travelled to Maine Road to take on Manchester City in the third round of the FA Cup and lost 2-0. Ex Swindon Town midfielder Kevin Horlock was one of the scorers that day with Costa Rican striker Paolo Wanchope scoring the opener. The last time these two sides met at the County Ground was on April fools’ day 2000. In Nationwide League Division one, yes Manchester City before the takeover were playing in the second tier of English football. Manchester City won that day 2-0 thanks to goals from Shaun Goater and Mark Kennedy.
Back to current day Manchester City, Pep Guardiola side are unbeaten in eleven Premier league matches having won all of them. The last defeat in the league was against Crystal Palace at home on the 30th October. Since then, Manchester City under Pep have been outstanding winning eleven out of the next eleven league games. Including a 6-3 home win over Leicester City, a 7-0 home win over Leeds United. Recently a dramatic 2-1 late win over Arsenal on new years day.
But the preparation for Friday night game has been blown into chaos for Manchester City has today (Thursday), it was confirmed there was a Covid19 outbreak in the squad. Seven players and fourteen members of staff have also tested positive for Covid. Pep Guardiola and his assistant manager have tested positive and will miss the game tomorrow evening.
By Scot Munroe