By 90Min
December 12, 2017

Swansea's win over West Brom finally gave the Liberty Stadium a huge sigh of relief. The draw against Bournemouth a few weeks beforehand was a frustrating one - but had shown a marked improvement. If the player's hadn't capitulated for those vital five minutes against Stoke, the Swans may well have come away from that with a win. But the rewards were finally reaped against West Brom when Wilfried Bony thundered that ball into the back of the net on 81 minutes.

It gave the club some breathing room, lifted them from the foot of the table - and has perhaps given a glimpse of hope to an otherwise broken fan base. And now Wednesday night sees the unstoppable force of Manchester City arrive - and Swansea are hardly an immovable object.

But there's reason to be optimistic. Only slightly, but it's there - and something worth keeping in the back of your mind when you're trudging down to the Liberty in the freezing cold after work on Wednesday.

There are quite a few points to be made here that, on their own, mean little. But accumulated together could result in the biggest shock that the Premier League has seen this season.

Firstly, City will have only had two days of rest/preparation ahead of their long trip to South Wales. With fatigue set in, Pep Guardiola will surely have to rest some of his key players (although, granted they will replaced more than adequately). The Citizens play a high intensity game, and it may well be that they begin to tire in the latter stages of the match - especially on the back of a highly demanding fixture against Manchester United.

Something else to consider is the mindset of the players. Now, this isn't to question the professionalism of the City team - they wouldn't be where they are now without focus and commitment. But heading into this game, they're seeing a side 19th in the league, who have won three matches this season, and have quite frankly, been very poor. They'll be expecting to roll Swansea over with ease - and the entirety of the media expects the same. If anything, that's added pressure, they're expected to put four or five goals past Fabianski. An easy game has been known to lead to complacency, and that should sit in the minds of the Swansea team.

Combined with that, is the grit that Clement has instilled into this team. For the first time in years, Swansea are defensively strong. Their record in that regard is paralleled to the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal (if only the goal scoring was the same). Clement has proven that ability against Arsenal, as well as Tottenham and Chelsea. Swansea can defend, and City have struggled against the lesser teams in recent weeks - needing late goals against West Ham, Huddersfield and Southampton.

Tie that in with their possible wilting towards the end of the match - they could fail to find that final goal. Who knows? Maybe the team can hit them on the counter and grab a late winner against Pep's side? What an achievement that would be, and Bony does love to score against former teams.

The performance of the players will largely depend on the behaviour of the home crowd - that's been apparent all season long. When the crowd are up for it, the players are up for it. The Liberty needs to get behind the squad if anything is to come from this game, otherwise everyone with anything to do with the club will have a torrid night.

Michael Steele/GettyImages

No one is expecting Swansea to get anything from this game. And one thing in the club's favour on Wednesday night is that everyone in the relegation battle has a difficult match on their hands during this week.

That, however, does mean that if Swansea were to get anything from this 'free swing', it will likely have an effect on the table - not to mention the incredible amount of morale boost that it will hand the squad ahead of two winnable games against Everton and then Crystal Palace.

All that really matters is that the club gives a good account of itself ahead of a game against quite possibly the strongest team in Premier League history. It doesn't hurt to have that little inkling of hope, though, does it?

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