The big story surrounding City prior to kick-off was the COVID-19 outbreak within the club which left Pep Guardiola at home, along with 14 backroom staff members and seven first-team players.
In place of Guardiola was assistant coach Rodolfo Borrell, who drafted a complete starting XI, along with a bench full of academy players who would see some valuable minutes with the first team.
Manchester City’s offense cut through Swindown’s defence several times, landing nine shots on goal with Bernardo Silva (14’), Gabriel Jesus (28’), Ilkay Gündoğan (59’), and Cole Palmer (82’) finding the back of the net.
Palmer was the catalyst in the offense for the Blues, utilizing his ability to find and create open spaces to send shot after shot towards Swindon keeper Lewis Ward.
Palmer’s efforts would finally pay off when in the final ten minutes. Amidst a surge of energy within County Ground, Palmer banged a goal in off the goal post which would put the Blues ahead 4-1.
It wasn’t only Palmer’s persistence that helped him shine, as his vision on the pitch would help give the Blues the lead in the fourteenth minute. The youngster broke through Swindon’s defence and slithered a pass-through to a running Silva.
Although the Robins were eliminated from the FA Cup, they proved to be a challenge for the Blues at times.
Following a fumbled pass from Joao Cancelo, Harry McKirdy broke through City’s defence resulting in Swindon’s first goal. This goal not only revitalized the squad on the pitch as well as County Ground, which would become louder and louder in the following minutes until Palmer closed the door.
Manchester City’s next match will be a Premier League clash, as they travel west to face-off against second-place Chelsea. The match is set to start at 12:30 GMT/7:50 EST on Saturday, Jan. 15.
The draw for the fourth round of the FA Cup will take place on Sunday, Jan. 9 at 16:50 GMT/11:50 EST.