Soccer tips: Swindon Town vs Manchester City: Citizens to rock the Robins' nest in FA Cup tie

The side 73rd in the English league pyramid host the Premier League champions on Friday night, but don't expect a giantkilling in Swindon.

The third round of the FA Cup kicks off on Friday night as League Two side Swindon Town host Premier League leaders Manchester City.

The hosts beat Crewe Alexandra and Walsall on their way to the third round, where they face the daunting task of going head to head with the Premier League champions.

It's City's first match in the competition since losing to Chelsea in last year's semi-final, and with a fixture against the same opposition on the horizon this week, Pep Guardiola will rotate his side on Friday night.


When, where and how to follow

When: Friday, January 7, 20.00 GMT

Where: County Ground, Swindon

Follow live updates and in-play odds via our match centre

Best bets for Swindon Town vs Manchester City

Over 4.5 goals - 11/8

Manchester City to win and BTTS - 15/8

Cole Palmer to score anytime - 6/4

Most Premier League vs League Two clashes have a whiff of a giantkilling but there's rarely any danger of a shock when Manchester City are involved.

Since Pep Guardiola took charge, he's instilled a ruthlessness in his squad which has seen them dispatch lesser teams by huge margins.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola reacts during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester.

On that basis, it's understandable to see Manchester City enter as huge 1/18 favourites, while a Swindon upset is valued at 22/1.

With Chelsea their next league opponents, we can expect to see Guardiola field some of his younger players to gain invaluable experience.

That'll inspire slight confidence in the ranks of Ben Garner's side, but they'll still be preparing to have their backs against the wall for 90 minutes.

There's no doubt it'll be one-way traffic on Friday night, and a clinical City can expect to rack up plenty of goals.

Even City's weakened squad is expected to include stars in need of game time such as Jack Grealish, Fernandinho and Ilkay Gundogan, and that's more than enough quality to blow Swindon away.

With that said, there's good value to be found in the goals market, with over 4.5 total match goals bringing in a healthy 6/4.

It's landed in nine City games already this season, including the only time they've faced lower-league opposition - their 6-1 drubbing of Wycombe.

A dangerous duo means goals for both sides

Swindon Town celebrate Harry McKirdy's fourth goal of the game

While a Manchester City win seems inevitable, Swindon won't go down without a fight, and they certainly have the tools to damage a rotated City defence.

Harry McKirdy and Tyreece Simpson have formed a formidable strike partnership, and have netted 17 goals between them in League Two this season.

They head into Friday's clash in great form, with McKirdy having just netted four goals against Northampton Town in a 5-2 win and Simpson scoring the other.

Youthful, tenacious and full of pace, they're a handful for any backline, especially an inexperienced City defence.

The issue will be Swindon's ability to get the ball to them. Surpassing City's press is no easy task, but with the pairing only needing one or two chances, I'm backing the hosts to at least score once on Friday.

It doesn't have to go hand-in-hand with a Swindon win - just tipping Manchester City to win and both teams to score brings in an enticing 15/8 thanks to the latest Planet Boost.

City's record in the cup last season leans towards Swindon scoring too, with two of their games against lower-league opposition last season ending 3-1 - against Swansea and Cheltenham.

Goalscorer bets for Swindon Town vs Manchester City

Cole Palmer celebrates scoring Manchester City's fourth against Club Brugge

It's difficult to pick a Manchester City goalscorer without fully knowing how much Guardiola intends to rotate his side, but one common trend when he does look towards his young stars is the presence of Cole Palmer up front.

He started for City in their League Cup fixture against West Ham, and also came off the bench in the Champions League after they'd secured their passage to the knockouts.

Palmer is clearly a player Guardiola favours, and he's looked bright in flurries during his limited playing time.

I expect him to see plenty of action on Friday night, and he'll be wanting to impress against lower opposition. At 8/5, he gets the nod as an anytime goalscorer.

As for Swindon, it's hard to look past Simpson. The 19-year-old Ipswich Town loanee scored on the weekend against Northampton and is valued at 31/10 to score anytime.

Not only has he shone in League Two this season with eight goals, but Simpson has also scored in Swindon's previous two FA Cup matches this season. I'm backing him to make it a treble this Friday.

READ MORE: FA Cup tips: 14-time winners Arsenal look a big price, while 200/1 shots Millwall could go deep

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