Premier League: Manchester City open new year with victory away at Swansea
Last Updated: 01/01/14 4:52pm
Manchester City opened 2014 by maintaining their Premier League title push with a 3-2 victory away at Swansea City.
Fernandinho netted the first goal of the new year at the Liberty Stadium, Wilfried Bony replied on two occasions for the hosts, but Yaya Toure and Aleksandar Kolarov wrapped up the points for Manuel Pellegrini's side.
Best of the match
- Man of the match: Yaya Toure. Netted a fine goal and kept City driving forward with neat touches and great vision.
- Goal of the match: Wilfried Bony's late effort counted for little in the grand scheme of things, but he left Joe Hart flapping at thin air with a skidding drive from a long way out.
- Moment of the match: Ashley Williams did his best to block a shot from Toure, but helped the ball into the net and the game swung in City's favour.
- Talking point: Have Swansea got enough to steer clear of trouble? Are City now the side to beat in the title race?
City, who endured their struggles on the road in 2013, got off to the perfect start on a wet and windy afternoon in South Wales, with Jonathan de Guzman inadvertently deflecting a corner into the path of Fernandinho to drill home on 14 minutes.
Swansea grew into the game though - with only their finishing letting them down - and they hauled themselves level in first-half stoppage-time when De Guzman whipped over a cross for Bony to plant a powerful header into the bottom corner - leaving Joe Hart rooted to the spot.
They were, however, unable to keep the back door bolted in the second period and, after the Swans had failed to clear their lines, Toure spun inside the box just before the hour mark to drive past Gerhard Tremmel via the aid of Ashley Williams' studs.
On 66 minutes, City made the game safe as Kolarov was allowed to travel a long way with the ball, cut inside onto his less favoured right foot and drill through Tremmel - with another deflection doing the German goalkeeper few favours.
They were made to sweat a little in the closing stages as Bony lashed in his second of the game from distance, but there was to be no late twist in the tale.
It did not take long for Pellegrini's side to threaten the home goal as Edin Dzeko, Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas combined, with the Bosnian firing wide from the edge of box.
Bony smashed a fierce effort just wide at the other end during a lively opening before Swansea suffered the misfortune of losing Pablo Hernandez to injury in just the eighth minute.
The winger, so often hindered by injuries since joining from Valencia, went down clutching his left hamstring and was in tears as he left the field to be replaced by Roland Lamah.
Matters got worse for Swansea when they fell behind in the 14th minute.
Samir Nasri's corner struck De Guzman, and Fernandinho made no mistake in hammering the loose ball beyond Tremmel.
Swansea responded well to going behind, with Jonjo Shelvey firing wide and De Guzman failing to beat Hart after a lovely flowing counter involving Lamah and Bony.
The hosts continued to press and referee Phil Dowd waved away penalty claims against Vincent Kompany when a Williams shot struck the Belgian's arm.
The Swans were given two scares when Negredo and Dzeko failed to capitalise on sloppy play in the home defence, and the failure to take those chances came back to haunt City as Bony, enjoying one of his best days in a Swansea shirt, gave Hart no chance with a header from De Guzman's pinpoint cross.
Flores and Tremmel almost undid all Swansea's good work six minutes into the second half. The pair hesitated dealing with Nasri's lofted pass and Negredo nipped in, only to shoot straight at the keeper.
There was no such reprieve for the hosts in the 58th minute when they failed to clear a Nasri cross and Toure pounced to fire past Tremmel with the aid of a deflection off Williams.
Eight minutes later the clinching goal arrived. Kolarov robbed Wayne Routledge just inside the City half and drove forward unchallenged before cutting inside on to his right foot to beat Tremmel, who ought to have done better.
The excellent Bony worked Hart at the other end before the keeper got a stroke of luck after he came for, and got nowhere near, a De Guzman corner which Williams could only prod wide of an empty net.
Bony pulled one back in stoppage time with a superb low drive, but it was not enough for Swansea.
Barclays Premier League
Wed 1st Jan
Swansea2 - 3Man City
Arsenal2 - 0Cardiff
C Palace1 - 1Norwich
Fulham2 - 1West Ham
Liverpool2 - 0Hull City
Southampton0 - 3Chelsea
Stoke1 - 1Everton
Sunderland0 - 1A Villa
West Brom1 - 0Newcastle
Man Utd1 - 2Tottenham
Barclays Premier League
|8||West Ham United||2||3|
|12||West Bromwich Albion||2||2|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||2||0|
Swansea v Man City
Yaya Toure claims Manchester City's victory at Swansea offered another indication of their desire to taste title glory.
Michael Laudrup admits Swansea City left themselves with too much to do during a 3-2 home defeat to Manchester City.
Manuel Pellegrini believes Manchester City were better than the 3-2 final scoreline at Swansea City suggests.