One has a departing manager, the other’s is sweating it out. One is led by a seasoned veteran on a six-match scoring streak, the other is fronted by an electric 18-year-old. One is home, the other is away. One will play in the Champions League next season, the other will not.
They may not be playing each other, but the two Manchester clubs are still – in a way – head to head.
The battle for fourth is one of the only remaining contests across the Premier League table still in dispute heading into the final day of the season. Manchester City has a two-point advantage, but should they slip up against Swansea City, Manchester United could snatch the final Champions League spot away from the club Pep Guardiola will be guiding next season.
Swansea City vs. Manchester City
Manchester City has the advantage. Two points to the good and a far superior goal differential (+30 vs. +12), all Manuel Pellegrini has to do to hand Pep Guardiola the keys to the Champions League would be to hold Swansea City to a draw. All one has to do to prove how hard that may be is point to the reverse fixture.
Swansea City scored the equalizer in the first minute of added time, only for young Kelechi Iheanacho to snatch it back in the 90+2′ for all three points. Now, with the game at the Liberty Stadium, Manchester City must again conjur something up against a team that’s taken down Liverpool and West Ham in succession, and who would like nothing more than to justify the new contract for manager Francesco Guidolin.
As expected, Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Pablo Zabaleta will all miss out for Manchester City. The good news? Swansea plans to rest its players headed to the Euros, which includes playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson along with Ashley Williams, Neil Taylor, and goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
Manchester United vs. AFC Bournemouth
Manchester United is two points back. It won’t make a difference should Manchester City not fall flat, but if they slip, Louis Van Gaal could have a last gasp at saving his job. Manchester United is without Matteo Darmian, Adnan Januzaj, and Bastian Schweinsteiger due to injury, along with the suspended Marouane Fellaini.
While Manchester City gets to face a rotated squad, so may Manchester United. Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said he may switch things up at the end of the season with safety assured, despite the fact a win could send the club as high as 12th.