Sunday, 1 December 2013

Manchester City 3 - 0 Swansea City: Thoughts and Ratings

By Jack Mumford

The bare statistics make this look like a stroll in the park for City but at times it certainly wasn’t that way. The elegant continental class of Samir Nasri was what really separated these two teams yesterday. Where Swansea spurned the chances they created through sheer weight of possession, City took a more direct style of passing, finished off brilliantly by Nasri and Negredo.

This cutting edge is what separates the mid-table outfits in the Premier League from the pace setters. A pace setter is certainly a way to describe the form of Nasri at the moment who just keeps taking his game to new levels. Nasri has frustrated many City fans since his move from Arsenal but the French midfielder is currently oozing confidence and City are reaping the rewards. 

 Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

Nasri is the one player you can certainly say has benefitted from the change of manager over the summer. It is also plausible to say the Frenchman seems to up his level when Silva isn’t on the pitch, a strange anomaly but one that will be interesting to see the development of when Silva makes his inevitable return.

He glides past players with ease, shrugs any defender off and picks out another City player almost every time. His two finishes in this match also proved to City fans he can be the truly complete attacking midfielder. He found himself in possession of the ball in the box, remained unnaturally calm and put the ball out of Tremmel’s reach.

Negredo’s free kick that started the scoring surprised many in the ground, most of us not knowing free kicks were part of his armoury. He and Agüero continued their telepathic partnership without ever really having too many chances between them but always offering themselves for passes that would break Swansea’s lines of defence.

Fernandinho is one player that deserves a mention as the glue that allows Nasri, Agüero and Yaya to go around the pitch with a swagger unmatched by many in the Premier League. 

The ethos seems very much to be on defending as a team and as high up the pitch as possible. This often worked very well today with all players committed to their roles and most of them knowing they had the individual beating of their opposite number.

However, as City pushed so high today and with only two recognised central midfielders, Swansea often managed to break free of this pressure and this left a break on at the City defenders. Yaya Touré is a fantastic footballer but he is not a player that can be expected to press smaller players into a corner.

City also went through a period of giving the ball away very cheaply in the first half. Swansea pressed our defence like the top teams will do and we weren’t always composed enough to find solutions to get ourselves out.

I understand it may seem overly picky after beating a very good side 3-0 but these two little signs worry me for when we play against one of the true best of Europe in the next round of the Champions League. 

Swansea are a good side but didn’t have the cutting edge to complete their two major chances; De Guzman at the end of the first half and Hernandez on the hour mark. If we allow Messi, Ronaldo or Ibrahimović this amount of the ball then this could spell trouble for City.

First though, two Premier League away games await City with the challenge of shaking off their recent away struggles to truly strike fear into the rest of the country.

Player ratings

PANTILIMON: Forced into a few diving saves in the first half that were all comfortably dealt with. Another clean sheet will do his confidence wonders.

TSBV rating: 7/10

ZABALETA: Attacked with his usual drive and determination and rarely put a foot wrong while defending. His run made City’s 3rd goal.

TSBV rating: 7/10

DEMICHELIS: Looked to be City’s weak link in defence as he was turned a few times, most notably by De Guzman for Swansea’s best chance of the match.

TSBV rating: 6/10

LESCOTT: Looked calm and assured and had to assist his partner Demichelis on a few occasions when he was in difficulty.

TSBV rating: 7/10

CLICHY: Got forward regularly and put in several dangerous crosses. His defensive shakiness from a month ago is just a fading memory now.

TSBV rating: 7/10

NAVAS: Not his most influential game going forward but always enthusiastic and always asking for the ball. Tracks back particularly well and his understanding with Zabaleta seems to grow all the time.

TSBV rating: 7/10

FERNANDINHO: Exactly the performance we have come to expect from the Brazilian. Strong, disciplined and composed making him the perfect team player for the expansive players surrounding him.

TSBV rating: 7/10

YAYA TOURE: Another team that looked to be able to pass the ball around him in the first half but he always seems to dominate the second half. His run and perfectly executed slide pass to Nasri for the second goal was the touch of class necessary.

TSBV rating: 7/10

NASRI: Was the true difference between the sides. Showed several moments of class and composure to keep the ball and turn it into great chances for his team. Two fantastically taken goals to kill the game off.

TSBV rating: 9/10

AGUERO: A rare game without a goal but certainly not a reason for fans to worry about a loss of form. Always works superbly and links with his teammates, seemed happy for others to share his limelight.

TSBV rating: 7/10

NEGREDO: His almost surprisingly superb free kick set the ball rolling for City. Hardly had another chance on goal but it didn’t matter because he yet again showed all the attributes that are making him a fans’ favourite. 

TSBV rating: 8/10


Consistent and hard working as ever but didn’t have much opportunity to get forward. Never lets his teammates down.

TSBV rating: 6/10


KOLAROV: Plenty of shots, none of them on target but he slotted into the midfield well to see the game out.

TSBV rating: 6/10

DZEKO: Little time to make an impact but at least showed more hunger than he did on Wednesday. 

TSBV rating: 6/10

Note: All pictures above from MCFC Official Facebook page

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(c) The Sky Blue View 2013

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