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First Team News

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Talking Points: It comes down to this…

Wilfred Bony

Wilfred Bony

There are 90 minutes of the 2015/16 season remaining…

Will City be playing in the Champions League or the Europa League in 2016/17? @markbooth_mcfc looks at what’s at stake on the final day and where our game at the Liberty Stadium may be won or lost…

A simple equation…

Thanks to West Ham’s win over Manchester United in midweek, City know that a draw will be enough to seal UEFA Champions League qualification for a sixth-successive season.

When it comes to attracting top-class players in the summer, having access to the continent’s premier club competition it’s a vital bargaining chip in such a competitive market, so it’s imperative that the Blues ensure that they’re at Europe’s top table once again in August.

It’s worth just keep an eye on Arsenal’s game, too.

Although they face an Aston Villa side whose relegation to the Championship was confirmed long ago, a Gunners defeat, plus a City win in Wales, would see us climb above Arsenal into third, meaning we’d go straight into the Champions League group stages, dodging a potentially awkward play-off.

It seems unlikely but stranger things can happened this season…

Farewell, Manuel…

This will be Manuel Pellegrini’s final game in charge of City after three years at the helm.

In the Chilean’s three seasons, his team have won more trophies, scored more goals and had the best goal difference of any side in England.

It’s easy to forget that City haven’t been in that top tier of English football for all that long and Pellegrini has undoubtedly cemented the Blues’ status as a genuine force on these shores, and beyond…

Before he joined the club, Manuel was seen as a Champions League specialist following impressive runs with Malaga and Villarreal and he’s helped City to make great strides on the continental stage too, leading us out of the group stages, winning a group, winning a knockout game and reaching the semi-finals for the first time in the Club's history.

Although City were unable to mount a title challenge until the end of the season, we were still alive in four competitions for longer than anyone else and won a major trophy.

Most impressively of all, Pellegrini has the best win percentage of any City manager in the post-war era (63%).

In-form Swans…

City seem to have an unhappy knack of playing teams at the wrong time this season.

Whether it was the trip to Newcastle right after Rafa Benitez’s appointment or the game at Villa Park immediately following Remi Garde’s installation as manager, it’s not an excuse but it’s certainly at least recurring trend.

When it comes to home form, there’s no team in the country who can boast better form than Swansea City and, thanks to this impressive run they know that if they win on Sunday, they could move above Stoke and finish in the top half.

Francesco Guidolin’s side have won their last four at the Liberty Stadium and, although there’s only a cosmetic incentive when it comes to league position, they will want to round off the season on a high and the lack of pressure could provide some psychological edge if City aren’t at the races.

Understrength…

Swansea may be in red-hot form but they will be without a number of their key protagonists at the weekend.

It may not please Louis Van Gaal to hear it, but Swansea first-team regulars Lukas Fabianski, Ashley Williams, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Neil Taylor will all be rested to ensure that they’re injury-free for Euro 2016.

Final days…

City’s record on the final day away from home in the Premier League is not all that impressive.

We’ve won only one of our six final day away games, drawing two and losing three.

That said, we’ve won six and lost none of our last seven meetings with the Swans, so let’s hope that’s the more relevant stat come Sunday afternoon.

First Team News

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Wilfried Bony leaps to head the ball

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