Manchester City fans may be pinching themselves at the flood of goals at the Etihad this season, but it is bittersweet for the club's longest-serving player.
City host Swansea today seeking a seventh straight home win in this Premier League campaign – the last two alone, against Norwich and Tottenham, yielded a combined 13 goals – but Micah Richards has played in none of them.
Since returning from a knee injury that sidelined him for much of last season, Richards has made only two League appearances under manager Manuel Pellegrini and the academy graduate admits that, with his contract expiring in summer 2015, he is considering his future. "I've already spoken to City and they're happy to extend my deal, but I've said I just want to see how many games I play this season," he said. "It's a decision that I'll make from January through to the summer and see where we're at."
His last international cap, in February 2012, is a fast-receding memory – "it's not something I think about" – but he is not alone as an England player struggling for game time at City. Joleon Lescott argued this week that he had not had a "fair opportunity" under Pellegrini, who has also dropped goalkeeper Joe Hart. "The manager's come in and it's a big thing dropping Joe Hart," said Richards. "It shows he doesn't care about the name on the back of your shirt, so in a way it's a good thing. It's also hard because you want to get in your stride, get your sharpness, but every player will tell you they're at their best when playing every week."
If the English influence is on the wane – not one of City's 41 goals in 10 home matches this season has been scored by an Englishman – the club's Latin contingent are flying, not least Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo, who have 27 goals between them. Spain winger Jesus Navas puts the goal rush down to several factors: "We have a lot of speed up front, a lot of threat, a lot of players who can beat a man. We play free-flowing football with plenty of players involved in the build-up."
Now comes the visit of Swansea, another team with a strong Iberian influence. "They have a lot of Spanish players there and it'll be a special game," said Navas who, with Negredo, faced Swansea's Jose Canas and Alejandro Pozuelo – then of Real Betis – in last season's Seville derbies, winning 5-1 at home. On current form, who'd bet against a repeat today?
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