MANCHESTER CITY 1, SWANSEA 0
Records tumbled at the Etihad as City ground out a 1-0 win, their 34th straight unbeaten league game at the Etihad, courtesy of a Carlos Tevez goal. The game also had the longest ever added time in a Premier League game at 12 minutes and 38 seconds due to serious second half injuries sustained by Michel Vorm and Micah Richards, beating the previous record set last season in the Arsenal v Liverpool fixture at 12 minutes and 26 seconds.
“Micah has a problem in his knee but I don’t know what the situation is. He was tired because it was his third game in ten days.” reported City manager Roberto Mancini after the game.
“We have played every three days for two weeks with few changes because we have six players injured.” he continued.
“Now we have no game in midweek so it was important to take three points and recover a couple of players for the next game.”
Mancini also stressed the importance of a win after a difficult week in the Champions League.
“The first half performance was so-so because we were tired. We improved in the second half and had a lot of chances to score.
“It was important to win after a difficult defeat in the Champions League.
Mancini praised the efforts of his players against a well rested Swansea side, with Carlos Tevez picked out for his impressive work-rate during the game.
“We knew before the game that Swansea had a fantastic season last year and they were fresh today and played good football.” explained the Italian.
“Carlos played well today and also played well against West Brom. He deserved to score an important goal today.
After a comprehensive midweek defeat in Amsterdam City went back to basics, returning to the 4-2-3-1 formation that served them so well last season. A forgettable first half could have seen City fall behind shortly before half time when Ki Sung-Yeung put Michu through but Joe Hart raced off his line to charge down the Spaniard’s chance.
A second half reshuffle saw the introduction of Mario Balotelli for Aleksandar Kolarov and City began to put more coherent attacking moves together but they again had to rely on Joe Hart to make a cool double save from Michu and Ki Sung-Yeung before Tevez carved out the chance to put City into the lead in the 61st minute.
The Argentine had already tested Michel Vorm with some first half chances but this time he received a scruffy pass from Gael Clichy which he first had to dig out from under his feet before hitting a low pot shot from 30 yards out that dipped before beating Vorm inside the left post. The Dutchman injured himself while diving across to meet the ball and had to be stretchered off after a long treatment break. It was the first of two second half injuries that caused the additional time to be added to the game and Swansea manager Michael Laudrup later confirmed that the Dutchman would miss four to six weeks with a groin injury.
City were more coherent in their second half attacks with Balotelli getting into some good positions to set up half chances but the Italian’s injury time effort which dipped and grazed the bar ended up being their next best effort on goal.
Micah Richards suffered a serious injury to his right knee in the 79th minute while tracking back during a Swansea attack without a Swansea player near him. He had earlier gone down with what looked like cramp and had to be stretchered off with oxygen. The loss of another right back will make the must-win game with Ajax at home in 10 days look that bit more difficult with Richards joining City’s two other right backs Pablo Zabaleta and Maicon in the physio’s treatment room and Kolo Toure ineligible for the Champions League.
Despite the unconvincing performance, the win and only their second clean sheet of the season for City will give them some optimism for the forthcoming challenges ahead.