Report - Manchester City 1-1 Swansea City
The Etihad Stadium
27th October 2012
The Premier League title holders Manchester City were made to work for their 1-0 home win against Swansea City, as a wonder strike from Carlos Tevez in the second half was the all-important difference between the two sides.
Laudrup's unchanged side competed very well in the first half, enjoyed good spells of possession and scared the home fans when Michu had some promising one on one situations. He did find the net but it was ruled out for offside.
After being booed off the pitch at the break, the home side had an extra impetus in their play, and when Tevez wasn't closed down on the hour mark, he fired a 20-yard shot past Vorm and tight into the bottom corner.
Vorm was at full stretch and in the process he suffered a groin injury that'll keep him out for 4-6 weeks.
Swansea's trip to face the Etihad Stadium is the start of probably their most difficult spell of the entire season, as after the title holders this weekend, they'll soon face League leaders Chelsea and Liverpool in November. In December they'll also come up against other big sides including Arsenal, Spurs and Manchester United.
Manager Michael Laudrup was upbeat about his side's chances before the game, and that evidently got through to the players as they proved to be difficult opponents for Mancini's side in the first half. While the Italian blamed their poor opening 45 minutes - in which they showed little interest and effort - to tiredness - that didn't seem to affect them in the second half - when they came out raring to go as Aguera looked to break the deadlock within 20 seconds of the restart.
Much has been said about Swansea's vulnerable defence this season - compared to last year in which it looked a far more solid and reliable unit thanks to the teenage quality of Spurs loanee Steven Caulker. However, they displayed a message to their critics with a confident performance as Chico and Williams very much limited the hosts - in search of their second consecutive title - to very few chances.
It was the Swans that looked most likely to change the scoreline before half time, as Michu hoped to take advantage of some poor defending. Vincent Kompany was particularly picked out for criticism on Match of the Day as he came forward from defence, out of position, allowing the likes of Ki and de Guzman to put Michu through on goal. The first saw England international Joe Hart race out from his area to make an excellent save, and the second was ruled out as the Spaniard strayed at least a yard offside.
Michu had another half-chance when Hernandez, chosen to start on the right wing against over Dyer, delivered an excellent curling cross, but Michu felt the force of Micah Richards who came across to head the ball clear. The Spaniard looked to be knocked unconscious but fortunately he was quickly back on his feet to continue playing.
Manchester City were booed off the pitch at the half time whistle, as the home fans showed that they weren't impressed and demanded a big improvement in the second.
What with the boos, and one or two lucky escapes in front of their own goal, it was inevitable that the hosts would come out and step it up a good few gears. Balotelli came on to boost their strike force and he was almost made an instant impact. He rounded Vorm, but the Italian went too far wide towards the by-line, and while Vorm was able to chase him, his cross back inside the box was cleared by the Swans defence.
After 15 minutes, it took Manchester City a touch of world class to take what is fair to say an undeserved lead. Carlos Tevez found space and was given time to receive the ball, and set up an unstoppable shot tight in the corner of the net. Vorm was forced to dive at full stretch in an attempt to keep it out but in doing so he suffered a groin injury that'll keep him for the next 2 months, meaning he'll miss the big games as previously mentioned.
Swansea City still had further chances to get an equaliser as despite Man City's extra impetus compared to the first half, Laudrup's side still had the freedom to play their passing football and progress into the attacking third of the pitch.
The match became the longest ever in the Premier League history as following Michu and Vorm's required treatment, Micah Richards then suffered a knee problem meaning there were a further 12 minutes to play.
The Swans kept going in search for an equaliser - which would made it a fair scoreline at 1-1, but Manchester City did what good champions do, take their chances, and win when not playing particularly well. Swansea on the other hand, produced one of their best performances since the start of the season, and they can take plenty of confidence and positives from the game despite taking no points.