Last chance for City's fringemen to impress Guardiola, says Gary Lim
Man City's flops have one final chance to impress incoming manager Guardiola
SWANSEA v MAN CITY
(Tonight, 10pm, Singtel TV Ch 104 & StarHub TV Ch 229)
Champions League qualification hangs in the balance.
Manchester City find themselves wading ankle-deep in the slime.
Avoid defeat by Swansea tonight, and they will make it to Europe's premier club competition for the fifth time in a row.
Lose, and they will deliver their own fate right into the hands of bitter city rivals Manchester United.
But, for many Man City players, what is at stake is more than three points, pride and Champions League qualification.
Their future at the club will depend on their performances tonight.
Pep Guardiola is about to take over the sceptre of the Middle-eastern-owned empire from Manuel Pellegrini who is long resigned to his fate.
The Spaniard will be watching like a hawk. He's on the look-out for shirkers.
The 45-year-old former Barcelona and Bayern Munich handler would have already been advised on the amount of weeding he needs to do in his new back garden.
Tonight is his last chance to confirm or repudiate whatever opinions he has formed of the team.
City's underwhelming campaign provides ample evidence that the squad are badly in need of a shake-up. There's deadwood all over the place.
Sergio Aguero, Joe Hart, Kevin de Bruyne, and perhaps Vincent Kompany and David Silva, are likely to remain untouched.
This core group looks too solid to be messed around with. But they are the minority.
The bulk of the Citizens face a fight to stay at the Etihad.
Yaya Toure, the midfield supremo who these days blow more cold than hot, has a huge task on his hands.
The 33-year-old left Barcelona for City six years ago, after falling behind Sergio Busquets in the pecking order.
He said Guardiola, then Barcelona's coach, didn't speak to him for a year, which triggered his exit.
If bad blood indeed exists between the two, then the Ivorian has little chance of playing under Guardiola again.
Winger Jesus Navas, so fast, so deceptive and yet so frustratingly inconsistent and ineffective, must somehow convince the new boss that he can still deliver at the age of 30.
Nicolas Otamendi arrived as La Liga's finest defender but still can't live up to his £33.45m ($66m) price tag.
Premiership sensation Raheem Sterling's mojo is fast evaporating.
He hasn't displayed the form that convinced City to fork out £49m last year to prise him from Liverpool.
The 21-year-old is no longer an automatic starter in Pellegrini's side.
Depending on what Guardiola has in mind specifically, Brazilian midfield pair Fernando and Fernandinho may yet survive the cull given their fine form, but they, like most others, can't be sure.
Frenchmen Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy are decent players, but they are hardly of the same calibre as Dani Alves, Philipp Lahm and Eric Abidal - the loyal servants who had served Guardiola ably over the years.
The housekeeping list doesn't stop there.
Samir Nasir, Pablo Zabaleta, Aleksandar Kolarov, Eliaquim Mangala, Fabian Delph and Wilfried Bony look surplus to requirements, too.
The battle at Liberty Stadium promises to be intriguing, and personal at the same time.
The Citizens have to fight for their future.
Others whose places are not safe
- Bacary Sagna
- Gael Clichy
- Samir Nasir
- Pablo Zabaleta
- Aleksandar Kolarov
- Eliaquim Mangala
- Fabian Delph
- Wilfried Bony
Champions League and Europa League: The equation
Leicester, Tottenham and Arsenal are in. Man City, on 65 points and a far superior goal difference (+30), need just a draw with Swansea. Man United must beat Bournemouth and hope City lose.
Fifth and sixth positions guarantee Europa League football. The seventh-placed team may also sneak in, depending on the FA Cup final between United and Crystal Palace next Saturday.
- Arsenal v Aston Villa
- Chelsea v Leicester
- Everton v Norwich
- Newcastle v Tottenham
- Southampton v Crystal Palace
- Stoke v West Ham
- Swansea v Man City
- Watford v Sunderland
- West Brom v Liverpool
Pellegrini not sore about leavings
Manuel Pellegrini says there is no bitterness as he prepares to hand over the reins at Manchester City to Pep Guardiola.
Pellegrini will take charge of City for the final time tonight as they travel to Swansea for their last Premier League game of the season.
The match itself has plenty riding on it, as City look for at least a draw to secure Champions League football, and it also marks the end of another chapter in the club's development.
Pellegrini won two trophies in 2014 after repairing the damage from Roberto Mancini's volatile albeit successful reign, and added a League Cup victory this season.
But, after an underwhelming title challenge and with the much-coveted Guardiola available, the time has come for the club to move on again and 62-year-old Pellegrini has accepted he must make way.
"I don't feel any bitterness," said the Chilean. "I enjoyed the complete experience, the three years. It is a very good job because it is not only a team but also a club who want to grow every year.
"I think it is one of the best clubs to manage and every manager that arrives here will be very happy."
Pellegrini's last task is to make sure they finish in the top four.
After Manchester United's loss at West Ham on Tuesday, fourth-placed City go into the game with a two-point advantage. With a vastly superior goal difference over United, a draw is all they need.
Pellegrini said: "It is so important (for it) to just depend on what we can do. So we need to play well and focus on the game. We don't need to know the other scores."- PA Sport.