MANCHESTER CITY 3, SWANSEA CITY 0
City had to work hard for their 3-0 victory, with an early goal by Alvaro Negredo, and a second half brace by Samir Nasri finally finishing off a spirited Swansea side and sending the Blues up to third in the Barclays Premier League with a total of 29 goals in just seven home league games.
Far from being the latest of a series of whipping boys at the Etihad, Swansea worked hard to counter City despite being without several important players in Michu, record signing Wilfried Bony and Angel Rangel plus Michel Vorm in goal. Their plan to starve City of possession worked very well until they tired in the second half and City took control thanks in no small part to City midfielder Samir Nasri. The Frenchman was already playing well before David Silva’s injury but in his absence has added a cutting edge and impressive workrate to his game under City manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Pellegrini praised the Frenchman: “Samir was a big player even before he came to City.
“He played very well today especially in the second half.
“He’s playing free and happy, and he feels a more important player. The way the team plays is very comfortable for him.
“He is again playing the way he knows he can play.”
The Chilean was also delighted by City’s defending against Swansea and declared that an improvement in their away form could see them top the league by the end of the year.
“It’s not easy to play against Swansea. They have a lot of possession of the ball.
“We played too quickly after we scored the first goal, they started counter attacking but we defended very well. I just remember one clear chance for them.
“We must win both the games away this week to have a chance of being top of the league by the end of December.”
City made only one change from the side that thrashed Spurs 6-0 last week at the Etihad, with Joleon Lescott replacing injured Matija Nastastic, but once again it was the forwards that hogged the limelight at home as City made it 29 goals scored in 7 league games at home.
Of all the strike pairings in the English Premier League, Alvaro Negredo and Sergio Aguero seem to have struck up a very enduring understanding. Exchanging passes after 30 seconds, Negredo returned the ball to Aguero who forced a save from Gerhard Tremmel.
Tremmel was in action in the sixth minute when Negredo received a square pass from Jesus Navas and tested the German ‘keeper with a hammering shot.
The big Spaniard got on the scoresheet in the eighth minute after being brought down by Jose Canas 20 yards from goal on the right. The angle was not ideal for a right footer like Yaya Toure so left-footed Negredo dusted himself down and calmly swept the ball over the wall and past Tremmel who didn’t move. The Spaniard, firmly a crowd favourite, celebrated with cries of “Feed the Beast and he will score!” ringing out around the Etihad.
Any suggestions of another impending thrashing in store for the Welsh visitors were put on hold, however, as Swansea responded with a spell of possession football culminating with two chances for Jonjo Shelvey who forced two saves from Costel Pantilimon, again selected in goal ahead of Joe Hart. The Romanian ‘keeper was furious with his defenders for not closing down the space but Shelvey created a third chance in the first half when he slipped the ball to Alvaro Vazquez who pulled his shot harmlessly across the face of goal from the right side of the box.
Frustrated City tried to create space and the chances eventually arrived with a stab at goal by Aguero which was tipped around his post by Tremmel followed by a header from the resulting corner which was headed against the bar by Martin Demichelis in the 31st minute. The flying ball was away before Aguero or Lescott could get to it.
Swansea should have gone in at the break level when Shelvey found Jonathan De Guzman who slipped his marker Demichelis, leaving him on his backside, but inexplicably blazed his effort over the bar.
The warning shots had been sounded, and the visitors could have been 3-1 up at half time but City played with a purpose in the second half and Aguero was booked for handball soon after the break while attempting to convert a Navas cross.
In the 53rd minute, Aguero received a long ball from midfield by Toure and left his marker in the dust behind him but Tremmel came off his line and forced the Argentine wide with the resulting shot hitting the side netting.
Negredo’s header from a Fernandinho flick-on after a corner also went wide as City’s second half dominance began to show.
City finally extended their lead in the 58th minute when Toure slipped the ball to Nasri who was marauding in off the left flank. The Frenchman was in sizzling form and rounded Ashley Williams before beating Tremmel with his strike to make it 2-0.
Pablo Zabaleta could have extended the lead in the 67th minute when presented with a laid-off chance by Aguero but ballooned his chance. Aguero was similarly luckless after Navas’ overhead kick was flicked on by Fernandinho shortly afterwards.
A quickly taken free kick by Milner from left back after Fernandinho was fouled found Aguero and he whistled the shot past the far post in the 73rd minute.
Nasri made the points safe in the 77th minute when he ran onto a perfectly paced Zabaleta cut-back and didn’t break his stride as he rolled his shot past Tremmel.
Substitute Aleksandar Kolarov shot just over after Fenandinho’s surge from midfield and crossfield pass to him.
Finally, Nasri missed out on a deserved hat trick after Edin Dzeko unselfishly laid off the ball to him with four minutes to go but the Frenchman’s effort was always drifting wide.