ContentiousRefereeDecisions icon corner Created with Sketch. whistle Created with Sketch. whistle Created with Sketch. whistle Created with Sketch. off the post Created with Sketch. wide Created with Sketch. RedCard save Created with Sketch. whistle Created with Sketch. Sub YellowCard arrow-left-circle-blue icon arrow-left-circle icon arrow-right-blue icon arrow-right-circle-blue icon arrow-right-circle icon arrow-right-small icon arrow-right icon arrow-squiggle-left-down icon arrow-squiggle-left-up icon arrow-squiggle-right-down icon arrow-squiggle-right-up icon attack icon celebration Created with Sketch. chevron-down-thin icon chevron-down icon chevron-up icon cross-grey icon cross icon time / extra / half / full Created with Sketch. facebook-white icon facebook icon time / extra / half / full Created with Sketch. goal Created with Sketch. google-white icon time / extra / half / full Created with Sketch. instagram linkedIn-white icon linkedIn icon mag-glass icon mcfc_crest_new icon mcfc_crest_new_outline icon mcfc_logo_new icon mcfc_logo_new_white icon mcfc_logo_text_new icon minus icon motto icon off side Created with Sketch. overhead kick Created with Sketch. overlay_close icon own goal Created with Sketch. save Created with Sketch. pinterest-white icon pinterest icon play-video icon play icon plus-thin icon plus icon quote icon share icon shield icon sliding tackle Created with Sketch. strike Created with Sketch. table icon nervous Created with Sketch. running with the ball Created with Sketch. timer twitter-white icon twitter icon user icon volley Created with Sketch. whatsapp-white icon whistle Created with Sketch.

Swindon Town vs Manchester City at The County Ground

The County Ground Referee : Darren England
7th January 2022 8:00 PM (GMT)
  • 1 Swindon Town

    • ‘78' Harry McKirdy
  • 4 Manchester City

    • ‘14' Bernardo Silva
    • ‘28' Gabriel Jesus
    • ‘59' Ilkay Gündogan
    • ‘82' Cole Palmer


Commentary By John Edwards


Signing off

Right, that’s all from me this evening.

City faced plenty of disruption before this one, but even without a host of first team players and Pep Guardiola, we delivered a professional display to ease to victory over Swindon. 

And it was another great night for the Academy, with James McAtee, Luke Mbete, Romeo Lavia and Kayky all getting minutes, whilst Cole Palmer was the star of the show as he enhanced his reputation with another impressive display.

There was plenty to enjoy and you’ll be able to watch the best of the action here on from midday tomorrow when our match highlights are released.

Up next is a big game in the Premier League, as second placed Chelsea visit the Etihad Stadium and we’ll have full coverage as usual in our Matchday Centre.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Blues!


Proud night for Swindon

Swindon dared to dream of springing a cup upset but it wasn't to be as City's quality proved too much. 

Nonetheless, it was a proud night Robins' boss Ben Garner: 

"I am very proud. They are one of the top three teams in world football. Our defensive shape was excellent, bit disappointed with some mistakes on the ball in the first half and it cost us unfortunately but we dug in. It has been a great cup run, great night for the supporters but now we turn to league football."


Rodolfo Borrell on Cole Palmer

"Great quality. Everyone has been able to see it. He is a great player, still developing quite a lot but there is a lot of talent there. Hopefully very soon he can play more games with us like Phil Foden a couple of years ago.

"They are completely different players. Phil Foden has had more opportunities and he is establishing. Cole has the talent and ingredients to become... but let's see. It is in hands."


Rodolfo Borrell's assessment

"We started really well, on the front foot. There were moments maybe towards the end of the first half we were not as good as usual and allowed some counter attacks but overall it was a good game against good opponents. 

 "We were in touch [with Guardiola] at half time. There was not a massive change because everything was as planned as before.

"He has great confidence in all of us. Not just me but all the backroom staff. We planned all of this together. He has huge confidence in us and we are grateful. Everything was as planned and it has been a great experience for me and for all of us."


Cole Palmer on Pep Guardiola

"Hopefully he enjoyed it. I've just got to keep working hard. Got to keep going and try and get more minutes and help the team out." 

Plenty for the boss to admire about the youngster's performance tonight.


Cole Palmer reaction

It's another memorable evening for young Cole Palmer, who netted his third goal for the Club in fine fashion.

Here's what he had to say following his Man of the Match performance.

"I enjoyed it out there. Rodolfo told me to stay wide, that's what I tried to do and luckily it paid off. 

"There's always that bit of pressure coming up and being young, but you've just got to go out there and enjoy it.

"I thought we started well. It was a tough place to come, we knew that, so we're delighted."


Full-time: Swindon 1-4 City

Job done and we're in the 🎩 for the fourth round!

In the absence of Pep Guardiola, City delivered a professional performance to record a comfortable victory over the Robins, with goals from Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Ilkay Gundogan and Cole Palmer. 

The hosts pulled one back through Harry McKirdy, but despite a spirited display, the Premier League leaders had too much for them.


Off the bar!

Rodrigo rattles the crossbar from 20-yards!

The Spaniard gets everything behind it after Kayky's progress is halted inside the area and it looks destined for the back of the net but for Ward sticking out a hand to divert it onto the bar.

A great strike and a great save. 


Palmer's deserved goal

George Kelsey at the County Ground:

"Cole Palmer, take a bow. A goal fitting the winger's hugely impressive performance. In typical Palmer fashion he opens up a small pocket of space on his left foot and curls a delightful effort right into the top corner of the Swindon net. Unstoppable from the youngster, who is given a well-earned rest in place of debutant Kayky."


City subs

That goal sparks three more changes from Rodolfo Borrell.

First, Romeo Lavia comes on for Ilkay Gundogan and then Nathan Ake and Cole Palmer are replaced by Luke Mbete and Kayky, who comes on for his debut.

A proud moment for the Brazilian!


GOAL! Swindon 1-4 City (Palmer)

Oh my, what a hit that is!

Cole Palmer restores City's three goal advantage if sensational style, opening his body up and firing towards the top corner off his favoured left foot.

Ward gets a hand to it, but it's got too much pace on it and cannons off the bar and the post before crossing the line.

He deserves that.


Tails up

That goal has galvanised the hosts.

Crichlow heads over from the free kick and the last few minutes have certainly given the home crowd some belief.


Goal. Swindon 1-3 (McKirdy)

It didn't feel like it was coming, but Swindon get the moment they would have craved before kick-off.

City lose the ball in midfield, Williams latches onto it and times his pass to perfection as McKirdy arrives on the right to angle a drive inside Steffen’s near post. 

That's got the home crowd in fine voice!



Ward denies Gundogan again, saving with his feet as the German digs out a shot from an acute angle after being played in by a good ball from Palmer. 


Academy combination

James McAtee gets his first sight at goal, as the twisting and turning Cole Palmer spots him on the edge of the area and cuts it back.

McAtee takes it first time and tries to whip it into the far corner, but gets too much on it and it sails over the bar.



Gundogan forces Ward into a smart save down to his left with a curling effort from just inside the area. 

A good effort from the German, but the keeper was equal to it. 

Credit to Lewis Ward

George Kelsey at the County Ground:

"There's been no let-up in our intensity at the start of the second half, as we continue to zip the ball around with typical brilliance. Gabriel Jesus is unlucky not to add a fourth from the spot but you have to give credit to the Swindon stopper Lewis Ward for an excellent save. That's got the home crowd in high spirits despite the score-line."


City sub

A first change of the night for City as James McAtee comes on for Kevin De Bruyne. 

The Academy graduate will be thrilled to get more minutes under his belt. Let's see what he can do!


Penalty appeal

It's Swindon's turn to appeal for a penalty, but Darren England waves away their protests after Simpson drives between Dias and Rodrigo before falling to the floor.

The striker seemed convinced, but the referee wasn't.


Good defending

Swindon send the free-kick into the box and it drops for Conroy on the right who tries to guide it back across goal for McKirdy, but Ake is there to head the ball behind for a corner.


Yellow card - Rodrigo

The Spaniard goes in the referee's notebook and he can have no complaints after a two-handed push on Kesler-Hayden. 

It's in a decent position for Swindon.


Penalty saved!

Gabriel Jesus takes responsibility for the spot kick.

He stutters his run up and goes low and to the goalkeeper's right, but h doesn't get it far enough in the corner and Ward gets down well to save it. 


GOAL! Swindon 0-3 City (Gundogan)


Gundogan steps up and curls a wonderful free-kick round the wall and into the bottom right corner.



Kevin De Bruyne is down and looks in some pain after colliding with Iandolo. 

He looks as if he'll be OK to continue after taking a knock to the head and the free-kick is in a promising position for City.

20-yards out, to the right of the goal...



Conroy makes another vital intervention as Cancelo races inside off the left flank, but the Robins' skipper comes sliding in before the full-back can get a shot away.



Cole Palmer continues to look dangerous, cutting inside again and getting a shot off from 20-yards, which is helped on by a deflection and very nearly drops the right side of the post.



Joao Cancelo is summoned by referee Darren England for protesting too much after conceding a foul against McKirdy.

The City full-back was not impressed with the official's decision, but the resulting free-kick comes to nothing as Steffen gathers comfortably.



We pick up where we left off, with City on the front foot.

De Bruyne overlaps down the right and sends over a cross, which eventually falls for Gundogan, but Conroy gets across to clear the danger.


Changes afoot?

There is a group of young players on the City bench who will be itching to get on this evening and Shaun Wright-Phillips thinks they might get their wish.

"I think they will come on regardless of the scoreline. It’s been a very professional performance. They’ve done exactly what we expected, the DNA is in there. It could have been 4-0 really. I feel we’ll see a few subs around the 65th minute."


Thank you

It's a sell out at the County Ground, where 14,753 are in attendance, 

2,180 of those are in the away end. Brilliant support as usual from the travelling Blues! 


Paul Dickov: It could be more

"It could be three or four really. They’re trying to play out of the back and it’s clearly not working. I give them credit for trying to do it, but they have a big centre forward out there and it might suit them better going longer."



What a hit! 

Cancelo goes tantalisingly close with a fizzing drive past the post from 25-yards.

It is inches away from flying in the top corner after City go short with a corner and work the ball out to him on the edge of the area. 


Crowded out

The noise rises inside the County Ground as McKirdy picks the ball up inside the City half, but the forward is all on his own 40-yards from goal with five opponents for company. 

There's nothing on so he gets his head down and tries to fashion a shooting opportunity but Ake intervenes before he can get his shot away. 



Kyle Walker makes a crucial intervention at the far post following a well-worked move from the hosts. 

Gladwin sends the ball out to Lyden on the right, who tries to pick out Simpson at the far post, but Walker gets in front of his man and thumps the ball away from danger. 



Swindon have struggled to contain Bernardo in the opening half hour and they nearly pay the price for his exceptional movement again as he races onto a Cancelo pass and calls Ward into action with a low effort from a tight angle.

He'd gone too early this time, though, as the assistant referee raises his flag for offside.



It's City's turn to nearly get caught out at the back as Steffen plays the ball straight to McKirdy.

Sensing an opportunity, the forward attempts to lob the American, but he doesn't get enough on it and it sails comfortably into the goalkeeper's arms.

A bit of a let off for us there.



It's been a bright start from Palmer, who creates another shooting opportunity with a lovely but of skill, only to see his effort blocked by a retreating defender.


GOAL! Swindon 0-2 City (Jesus)

Gabriel Jesus doubles our lead but Swindon will be kicking themselves!

They go short from a goal kick again, with the ball fed into Reed on the edge of the area, but his touch is heavy and City pounce.

Jesus wins it back, plays a one-two with De Bruyne and fires a clinical finish past Ward from eight-yards.

Deadly. Swindon boss Ben Garner looks frustrated!



Swindon have been committed to playing out from the back and it's paid off to wonderful effect as they move it back to goalkeeper Ward and play through City's forward line to start an attack, which ends with Lyden winning a free-kick from Cancelo deep on the right.

Reed swings in an inviting ball, but we head it clear and the hosts are forced to restart with Ward. 


Lacking power

It's one way traffic here and Kevin De Bruyne might feel he should have added to City's tally just then.

Bernardo squares to him inside the area and he has plenty of time and space to pick his spot, but he doesn't make the best connection and his left footed effort is saved comfortably by Ward in the Swindon goal.

Joy down the flanks

George Kelsey at the County Ground: 

"Great work down the right from Cole Palmer, who puts it on a plate for Bernardo Silva. A rousing rendition of 'we're not really here' comes from the away end in celebration. Rodolfo Borrell's men are particularly finding some joy down the flanks so far and we'll be keen to try and exploit that again."



Bernardo's got his goal, but he's got his head in his hands after another chance goes begging.

Dias sends a long ball forward, which skips off Odimayo's head into the path of the midfielder, who can't quite keep his half-volley down. 


GOAL! Swindon 0-1 City (Bernardo)

It had been coming!

Bernardo taps home from two yards to open the scoring, but it's all about Palmer's trickery in the build-up.

The youngster drops his shoulder and drives past Iandolo before rolling an inviting ball across the face of goal to give the Portuguese the simplest of finishes.



City work the ball from right to left, with Cancelo receiving the ball in plenty of space 25-yards from goal.

He check inside and drives at goal from the edge of the area, but his low effort flashes wide of the post.

All City so far.



Great defending Lyden as he makes a crucial block from a De Bruyne effort after the hosts had got into trouble trying to play out from a goal kick. 

City quickly regained position, with Gundogan and Bernardo combining before the Belgian took aim from 18-yards.



A loud 'ahhhhhh' rings out around the County Ground as the hosts have their first meaningful spell in the City half. 

Iandolo swings it over from the left, with Lyden racing in at the far post to meet it but Cancelo uses his body well to prevent the Swindon man from getting his head on the end of it.



An early goal would quiet a vociferous home crowd and City are giving it a good go in the opening exchanges.

Cancelo motors down the left away from Kesler-Hayden and plays a low pass to the unmarked Bernardo, but the Portuguese sends his first time effort over the bar. 

A great chance for the midfielder.


Early opportunity

City are on the front foot immediately, with Cole Palmer working the ball onto his left foot inside the area.

He unleashes a curling effort but it's deflected over the bar and the resulting corner comes to nothing.


Nearly time!

We're moments away from kick-off at an atmospheric County Ground. 

Here's a reminder of how the two teams line up:

CITY: Steffen, Walker, Dias, Ake, Cancelo, Rodrigo, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Palmer, Bernardo, Jesus.

SWINDON: Ward, Odimayo, Iandolo, Conroy, Gladwin, Lyden, Simpson, McKirdy, Kesler-Hayden, Hunt, Reed 



How are you feeling ahead of this one?

There's confidence amongst our Matchday Live panel. Here are their predictions:

Wright-Phillips: "I’m going for a 5-0. I want a Steffen clean sheet."

Dickov: "I’m going to go 4-0. I was going to say five but Shaun stole my thunder! "


Rodolfo Borrell: We take all competitions seriously

Here's are Pep Guardiola's assistant coach's pre-match thoughts. 

“The mentality was always going to be to play the game. We are here with a strong squad because we are taking all competitions very seriously and the FA Cup is a very important competition for us.

"Any game in the FA Cup is a very tough, especially when you play away. The atmosphere is going to be unbelievable and we expect a very tough game. There is a difference in quality, but it is very close in these kind of games. We have to be ready and up for the challenge."

Borrell also confirmed that Pep Guardiola will be in contact with his staff throughout the game.


The stage is set

George Kelsey at the County Ground:

"The ground is filling up nicely, with our travelling support over to the left of the press box, behind the goal which Zack Steffen is currently warming up in and preparations are ramping up here with kick-off just under 20 minutes away. 

"City's first XI are taking part in some shooting drills with Rodrigo whipping an effort right into the top corner just now. 

"Elsewhere, our youthful subs bench are testing the touch with a rondo. An already pretty exciting atmosphere has just been enhanced by Swindon's PA announcer chanting 'Red Army' over the County Ground tannoy - which has got the home crowd rocking!

"It's chilly, but there's nothing quite like an FA Cup game under the lights is there?"


Michael Brown: City should be comfortable

"It’s a great back four. It’s also a great opportunity for Cole Palmer to continue his journey. You do feel that with this 11, it should be quite comfortable for them. Not having Guardiola’s voice will feel a little bit different. Hopefully it’s a great cup night here!"

You can hear more from Brown on tonight's matchday commentary, available right here in the Matchday Centre throughout the game.


Matchday Live panel react to no Pep

Both of tonight's guests are confident Pep's absence won't knock our players off their stride.

Wright-Phillips: I personally, with other teams, would say it would affect them. But with City and the way Pep has them drilled, I don’t think it will affect them at all. I think they will go out there and play the way they always play. He has made it a habit of playing a certain way.

Dickov: It’s a senior team, full of internationals. The players that are out there tonight, I can’t see it being a problem at all. The team is full of experience and quality.


Last time we met ⏪

 It’s almost 20 years to the day since our last meeting with Swindon Town.

The Robins visited Maine Road for another FA Cup third round tie on Saturday 5 January 2002, when City won 2-0 thanks to goals from former Swindon man Kevin Horlock and Paulo Wanchope. 


Stat pack

🔹 This is our first meeting with Swindon since an FA Cup third round tie in January 2002, which we won 2-0 thanks to goals from Paulo Wanchope and Kevin Horlock.

🔹 We have won 10 of our last 11 meetings with the Robins in all competitions (L1).

🔹 City have progressed from our last seven FA Cup ties against sides from the fourth tier or lower, last losing against Blackpool in January 1984.

🔹 Bernardo Silva has been directly involved in nine goals in his last 10 starts in the FA Cup, scoring five and assisting four. The Portuguese has been on the winning side in 13 of his 14 appearances in the competition in total, losing only against League One Wigan in February 2018.


Dickov: Palmer a 'super talent'

Cole Palmer makes his 13th appearance this evening. The 19-year-old has impressed when called upon this season - netting his first senior goal against Wycombe Wanderers in September - and Paul Dickov believes we've got a special player on our hands.

"He’s a super talent. Everyone’s delighted to see him playing. He has so much natural ability - he plays between the lines and takes the ball in tight spaces. It’s fantastic to see him out there tonight.  I think we all expected more changes. In fairness to Swindon, you want to be playing against the top players."


Wright-Phillips: Fantastic night for the Academy

City have named a strong starting XI, perhaps stronger than some may have expected, given the COVID-19 outbreak that was confirmed yesterday. 

That said, there is plenty of youth on the bench and former Academy graduate Shaun Wright-Phillips is hoping they get an opportunity this evening.

"I definitely was [expecting more changes]. I’m excited to see so many kids from the academy on the bench. It’s fantastic and I’m hoping they get on early in the second half.


Team news

City make four changes to the side that started against Arsenal last Saturday.

Zack Steffen, Kyle Walker, Ilkay Gundogan and Cole Palmer come into the XI in place of Ederson, Aymeric Laporte, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez, who is away with Algeria at the African Cup of Nations.

As expected, the substitutes bench includes several Academy players. CJ Egan-Riley, Luke Mbete, James McAtee and Romeo Lavia have all played for the first team, whilst Ciaran Slicker and Kayky have both been involved in matchday squads, but it is a first senior involvement for Oscar Bobb.

XI: Zack Steffen, Walker, Dias, Ake, Cancelo, Rodrigo, Gundogan (C), De Bruyne, Bernardo, Palmer, Jesus.

SUBS: Carson, Slicker, Laporte, Kayky, Bobb, Egan-Riley, Mbete, McAtee, Lavia.


Matchday Live ☝️

Our pre-match show will be starting in a few minutes time.

Enjoy your build-up with Paul Dickov, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Natalie Pike. 


Absent Guardiola will be 'connected'

Pep Guardiola will be watching on from home this evening as he self-isolates following his positive test for Coronavirus, but Rodolfo Borrell says he will remain 'connected to the team.

“Obviously, the manager is going to be connected but we've already discussed about the tactics and everything that we have to try to be doing during the game.

“During the game it might change but I have been working with him (Pep) for seven years now and we think very alike.

“Again, I’ll take my decisions, but the manager is going to be connected and like any other time it’ll be between all of us.

 “This is not about one thing and the guy at front, now it’s me but we’re all connected with Pep and Juanma all the time.

“We make decisions together, the guy is Pep and now it has to be me at the front but it’s the work of many people.”


Opposition view

It’s a big night for Swindon Town.

There’s no escaping the fact that City are heavy favourites, but the Robins will be hoping to add this fixture to the list of famous FA Cup upsets.

Manager Ben Garner is under no illusions to the size of the task ahead of his team, but is looking forward to the challenge. 

"They've got wonderful strengths, a fantastic team both with and without the ball, so we know it is going to be a huge challenge but we've prepared the same way we always do ahead of every game.

"Obviously, tactically it is a lot different to what we usually face but it is a game that we want to go and win. We've prepared well and we're really looking forward to it.”


Early team news

Tonight’s teams will be released in about 30 minutes time.

Rodolfo Borrell, who will lead the team in Pep Guardiola’s absence, did not reveal which seven players tested positive for COVID-19 at his pre-match press conference, so it remains to be seen who will be available for City.

Riyad Mahrez is definitely absent as he is away with Algeria at the African Cup of Nations and we do know the matchday squad is going to include a number of players from the Club’s Academy. 

“To fill in the whole squad and travel with at least five, six subs, we had to bring in some players from the second team,” Borrell explained.

“But also the outbreak involves players from the second team so the situation is not that easy.

“It will be a mixture of both (senior and EDS), and we will obviously go for the win and try to get the best out of the game.”


Get involved!

With Pep Guardiola absent, as well as seven first team players, there’s plenty to ponder ahead of this game.

How are you feeling? Who would you select? What’s your score prediction?

Let us know your thoughts using #ManCity on Twitter and, don’t forget, you can ask a question to our Matchday Live panel by messaging +447537186538 on WhatsApp. 


Matchday Live

Paul Dickov and Shaun Wright-Phillips are in the Matchday Live hot seat this evening.

The two City legends join presenter Natalie Pike in the studio at the Etihad Stadium, where they will be providing the usual mix of City-centric entertainment and analysis. 

The show gets under way at 18:55 (UK) with an hour of pre-match build-up and our panel will reconvene at both half-time and full-time to share their thoughts on the action at the County Ground.

We’ve also got you covered during the game, as Alistair Mann and Michael Brown are providing audio commentary, which you can listen to right here in the Matchday Centre. 

Both Matchday Live and match commentary can be accessed at the top of this page. ☝️


Swindon Town v City

Good evening!

And welcome to the Matchday Centre for Manchester City’s FA Cup third round tie against Swindon Town.

City arrive at the County Ground without Pep Guardiola and seven first team players following a COVID-19 outbreak at the Club, but nonetheless will be hoping to maintain our fine run of form against the League Two Robins. 

The game kicks-off at 20:00 (UK) and you are in the right place to follow all the action, as I’ll be providing live updates throughout the build-up, match action and post-match reaction.

Stay tuned to enjoy the magic of the Cup!