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Swansea City v Manchester City – 1st January 2014

Swansea City v Manchester City – 1st January 2014

swansea v man city

Manchester City are showing improved away form and looking like title contenders as they kept up the pressure on Premier League leaders Arsenal.

This after a stylish victory over Swansea City in a gripping first top-flight game of 2014 with Fernandinho’s shot putting the visitors 1-0 up……but Wilfried Bony headed a deserved leveller in first-half injury time.

City upped the tempo after the break, Yaya Toure’s deflected shot restoring the lead and Aleksandar Kolarov’s superb goal seemingly sealing the win.

Bony’s late long-range shot ensured a nervy finale but the visitors held on.

The stoppage-time effort from the outstanding Bony left Swansea hardly any time to salvage a point and deny City back-to-back Premier League away wins under Manuel Pellegrini for the first time.

But the Welsh side, who have still only managed two home league wins all season, will be buoyed by the quality and level of performance in a pulsating and open encounter played in the teeming rain at the Liberty Stadium.

City woe in Wales

Man City had failed to score in both their previous two visits to the Liberty Stadium and were beaten by Cardiff City when they visited south Wales earlier this season

The visitors’ reward for a clinical second-half display was a temporary place at the summit of the Premier League table, but that position did last for more than a couple of hours asSwansea’s fierce rivals Cardiff City failed to deny Arsenal victory.

A pulsating first half ended with Swansea well on top and threatening to over-run their hosts, but it was the visitors who showed first.

The return of the ever-imposing figure of Toure, along with the away side’s front pairing of Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko, threatened to overpower the hosts in the early stages.

City’s strikeforce occupied the Swansea defence and provided a fine platform for Samir Nasri and Jesus Navas to attack out wide.

Nasri combined with Negredo to tee up Dzeko, whose first-time shot went just wide, and there were ominous signs of City’s quality and ruthlessness in the final third.

But despite falling behind to Fernandinho’s brilliant, controlled low shot following a half-cleared corner, and losing Pablo Hernandez to injury, Swansea refused to buckle against their free-scoring, in-form opponents.

They continued to play in all areas of the pitch and, with Bony providing a dependable outlet, Swansea pinned City back in their half for much of the first period.

Bony twice sent fierce shots narrowly wide of Joe Hart’s right-hand post, and in between those efforts, Jonathan de Guzman’s low strike was saved by the away keeper after a sweeping move.

City’s quality meant they still threatened on the break, particularly through Navas, who tormented Ben Davies throughout with his searing pace and some sublime trickery.

However, Swansea’s persistence and willingness to try to out-pass City was rewarded when Bony rose to head home home a typically classy cross from Angel Rangel, whose return after injury was a key factor in Swansea’s fine attacking display.

City looked to have a strong case for offside against the striker but the goal stood and few could argue Swansea deserved to be level at the break.

Swansea still looked dangerous on the resumption but the away side started to up the tempo.

A mistake by Chico Flores almost gifted Negredo a goal and City’s greater threat and increased control saw them go ahead when Toure bustled his way into the box and scored with a cross-shot that took a telling deflection off Ashley Williams.

Swansea responded again and went close on a couple of occasions, notably when Williams was unlucky to see a well-struck volley hit Rangel and bounce away to safety.

But as the Welsh side began to take greater risks, they looked increasingly exposed at the back.

Kolarov took full advantage, racing from inside his own half, ignoring Toure’s run and cutting inside to smash a right-foot shot past Gerhard Tremmel.

Bony could have pulled a goal back with a powerful 20-yard shot and Hart was lucky to get away with a dreadful flap at a corner.

Bony did then strike in injury time for the second time in the game, firing past Hart from outside the box, but the hosts had no time to find an equaliser.

For a gallery of images from Saturday’s Premier League games go to the BBC Sport Facebook page.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini

“It’s a very good result. Swansea are a good team at home. Winning the way we won is very important for us. We played very well.

“We made a very good first half. We got control of the ball. Their goal was offside in the first half and they grew with that goal. But at the beginning of the second half we tried to score the second.

“I talked with the players that we must not allow them to continue growing after the goal they got.

“The second half was close until we scored the second goal and from that moment we had more possession and more confidence.”

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