FA Premier League
Sunday 1 December 2013, 16.10 KO
City: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Lescott, Clichy, Navas (Kolarov 76), Fernandinho, Yaya Toure (c), Nasri, Negredo (Milner 63), Aguero (Dzeko 79)
Unused: Hart, Richards, Garcia, Rodwell
Goals: Negredo (8), Nasri (58, 77)
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Man of the Match: Samir Nasri
Having seen rivals drop points earlier in the day, it was vital for City to take all three points and take full advantage. And it was a good start for the hosts, who had the lead after just eight minutes. Negredo was felled on the right, but he was up to bend the free kick into the bottom corner, leaving Tremmel standing.
But, having earned the lead, the Blues soon found themselves on the back foot. The away side were pressing high and keeping a quick tempo, not allowing the hosts time on the ball – forcing them to give it away.
Shelvy forced Pantilimon into a good save at his near post, as he belted it towards the top corner from the edge of the box. The Romanian got across to force it behind, before punching the resulting corner to safety.
The same combination covered the next chance: Shelvy shot from range, as the Swans broke away, but Pantilimon was equal to it, getting down low to his right to flick the effort around the post. The away side were starting to work their way back into the game.
The chances kept coming for the visitors. Next up was Vasquez, who escaped the pressure from Lescott to get a shot away and Pantilimon was able to watch it wide. City were riding their luck and, on another day, would have found themselves pegged back.
Finally, City responded. Quick feet from Nasri allowed Clichy to nip in on the inside, where he slid the ball through to Aguero. The striker had bent his run and tried to prod it towards goal, but it was knocked behind by Tremmel.
From the resulting flag kick, Nasri found the run of Demichelis, who won a flicked header. It beat Tremmel, but not the crossbar, as it came crashing back into play from the frame of the goal. Negredo couldn’t react quickly enough to divert it into the net.
On the stroke of half time, the visitors missed their biggest chance of an equaliser: de Guzman was onside and clean through on goal, but he skied his shot, as Pantilimon closed him down. It was a let off for the hosts, who had been somewhat under-par in the first period.
However, a totally different City side came out for the second half. There were no changes from the manager, but the riot act must have been read (at least partially), as it was the hosts on the front foot, despite the same pressing and tempo from the visitors.
Aguero picked up the game’s only yellow card for trying to palm the ball into the net past Tremmel (when it seemed easier just to head it), before he was close to doubling the Blues’ lead with his feet. He took the ball in his stride on the edge of the box and rounded the goalkeeper, but the angle was too tight for him to force it over the line.
And the hosts then taught the visitors a lesson in taking your chances – having had the better of the first half, the Swans were pegged back again after a wonderful ball from Toure found Nasri in the area. The Frenchman took a touch to control and gave Tremmel the eyes, sending him one way and the ball nestling into the corner of the net the other.
With 66 minutes played, it had become all City. Zabaleta shot over after a poor clearance from Tremmel was worked to him on the edge of the box, before Aguero couldn’t get high enough to flick Fernandinho’s dink across goal into the net.
It was inevitable that the third goal was coming and, once again, it was through City’s man of the match Nasri. A superb ball from Milner on the right allowed Zabaleta to get in behind the Swansea back line. There, he looked up and saw the Frenchman arriving on the penalty spot – he picked him out and Nasri slotted it into the corner.
With five minutes left, Nasri almost had himself a match ball. Dzeko slipped the pass through to him on the left and then pulled right to drag the defender away. The midfielder cut inside and curled a shot across Tremmel’s goal, but it bounced just wide of the post.
The Blues kept up their 100% home league record for this season and it was another impressive display, having been on the back foot for the opening half.