City soar as Swan’s hopes dive – MAN CITY 3 SWANSEA 0

How many more teams will find themselves shot down by Manchester City in what is rapidly becoming the Etihad execution chamber?

The fate of any opponents who stray into the air space and consequent crosshairs of the sharp-shooting Mancunians is virtually guaranteed – they’re dead ducks.

First came a murder of magpies, followed by an opera of canaries and now a squadron of swans, all mercilessly culled and dispatched for a cumulative score line of 14-0, as majestic Manchester City soar to new heights.

Samir salute - Nasri produced a Man of the Match performance

Samir salute – Nasri produced a Man of the Match performance

Similar to the ‘Monica’ of one of City’s most famous fans Noel Gallagher, the team are the Premier League’s rapidly ascending ‘high flying birds’, spreading their wings and preying on those unable to adequately defend themselves.

Michael Laudrup’s elegant Swansea side succumbed to their almost inevitable Etihad fate, as City peppered the visitor’s goal with 22 attempts of which three struck home, to preserve the host’s impeccable 100% record on their own turf.

Win number seven, with 29 goals scored and a paltry two conceded, owed much to the renaissance of Samir Nasri. He bagged a brace at the climax of two fast, free flowing forays as the Sky Blues tore at the flesh of the wounded Welsh side.

Nasri is virtually unrecognisable from the infuriatingly inconsistent, stuttering playmaker who receded into his shell under the tutelage of Roberto Mancini.

The fiery Italian ex-City boss was quoted as saying he wanted to punch the French playmaker in the face during last season’s disappointing campaign, such were his frustrations at the underperforming midfield maestro.

Shocker - Sergio drew a blank but was an essential element in City's 3-0 win

Shocker – Sergio drew a blank but was an essential element in City’s 3-0 win

Under Manuel Pellegrini’s somewhat different approach to ‘man management’ Nasri has blossomed, never more so than in the absence David Silva, the man usually credited with having the guile and creativity to make City thrive.

With new confidence instilled and responsibility assumed, the once sulky and petulant player has emerged as a potent attacking force all smiles and a model of joie de vivre.

Whereas he’d twice hit the bar in the last two games, Nasri hit the net instead, in what eventually turned into a routine City home victory, after a first half where Swansea more than held their own.

Costel Pantilimon was twice called upon to make impressive saves from long range strikes from Jonjo Shelvey. The Romanian stopper quite rightly berated his colleagues for dropping off and allowing the ex- Liverpool midfielder the time to find his range.

Count on Costel - City's Romanian keeper produced two super saves

Count on Costel – City’s Romanian keeper produced two super saves

A returning Vincent Kompany will hopefully bring urgency and an improved work ethic to a sometimes lackadaisical defence.

Alvaro Negredo put City on course for the win with a stunning 25-yard free kick which had Swans keeper Tremmel masquerading as a mannequin, such was his lifeless form as the ball whizzed into the corner of his net.

Familiar chants of ‘Beast, Beast, Beast’ reverberated around the Stadium as the home fans lauded their new Spanish hit man, now with 12 goals to his name in 10 starts and nine substitute appearances.

Beast of a goal - Negredo's sumptuous shot leaves Swan's keeper Tremmel rooted

Beast of a goal – Negredo’s sumptuous shot leaves Swan’s keeper Tremmel rooted

Both of Nasri’s goals came from City’s fluidity of movement. The first saw Yaya Toure rampaging – as only he can – through Swansea’s midfield, before dinking a delicate pass into Nasri’s path in the 18 yard box.

He side stepped one tackle and buried the ball past Tremmel just before the hour mark. City’s third was even better. Surrounded by Swansea players, substitute James Milner produced the perfect pass as Pablo Zabaleta powered down the right flank.

With the afterburners at full throttle, Zaba was behind the massed bank of Swans defenders before pulling the ball back into Nasri’s stride pattern, so he could side-foot home from 15 yards out.

Nonetheless, Swansea gave a good account of themselves and could have been more potent but for the missing striker force of Michu and Bony.

Conversely, City could have doubled their tally with Demichelis heading against the bar, Zaba shooting inches over and Nasri, going for his hat-trick, steering a beautiful arcing effort a fraction the wrong side of Tremmel’s post.

Magnifique - Nasri is excelling in his third season with City

Magnifique – Nasri is excelling in his third season with City

City, missing vital vertebrae from the spine of the team either by the manager’s choice or injury, still showed themselves to be a team on the rise, the coming force in this season’s scramble for the PL title.

They did so in spite of referee Mark Clattenburg’s best attempts to sabotage a City win. This unctuous, wig-wearing official always contrives to short change City. Aguero was booked for a handball offence – a Swansea player wasn’t when he did likewise.

Aguero was blatantly bodychecked in the run up to a Swansea breakway that could have resulted in an equaliser, had Jonathan De Guzman not fired into row z when through on goal.

Clattenburg had just waved play on in is his inimitable theatrical style of vain posturing.

Back to people who really matter on the pitch…the players and the eventual restoration of Joe Hart to the team, as well as the return from injury of Kompany, Matija Nastasic and David Silva, should only make a good thing even better.

City are threatening to hit a vein of form that could leave other title contenders struggling to keep up.

Hitting the heights - Negredo has netted a dozen goals in his first 19 appearances for City

Hitting the heights – Negredo has netted a dozen goals in his first 19 appearances for City

December offers the perfect acid test as the fixtures fly in, thick and fast, with a further 18 PL points up for grabs, plus progression in the Capital One Cup and consolidation of a Champions League knockout stage berth.

Pellegrini’s immediate target is to have City at least within three points of present PL leaders, Arsenal, if the Gunners are still top on New Year’s Day.

Catching and eventually overhauling Arsene Wenger’s side, will be all the easier if City can win their crunch match-up when the North Londoners come to the Etihad on 14th December.

Before that come two tough away trips to WBA and Southampton. Picking up wins on their travels is seemingly, the only element preventing City running away with the PL.

Perfect harmony - Yaya and Nasri linked superby for City's second score

Perfect harmony – Yaya and Nasri linked superbly for City’s second score

Of course it’s a huge element, but if they can take seven from nine points at the Hawthorns, St Mary’s and Craven Cottage, City can welcome in the New Year with both confidence and momentum.

The proverbial duck shoot at the Etihad can continue unabated and City will be as far away from being Christmas turkeys as one can possibly imagine. Keep on stuffing the opposition and a tasty sponsorship deal with Paxo could soon be on the commercial activities menu!


By David Walker

#READ BUT NEVER RED @djwskyblu



  1. December 2, 2013  9:20 am by Abdul Wahid Reply

    That was great game yesterday. Nasri was magnificent and hopefully David Silva will be back

    • December 2, 2013  12:51 pm by David Walker Reply

      If Nasri can maintain his level of play and David Silva picks up where he left off when he returns, City will be a real handful for any team both at home and away, in England and Europe.

  2. December 2, 2013  9:22 am by Chris Williams Reply

    MP has definitely getting more out of Nasri than Mancini, not sure if that say's more about Nasri's attitude than Anything else to be honest. But whatever it's great to finally see the player we signed from Aresnal.

    Great win yesterday we showed great grit and determination. For long periods especially in the first half we were chasing shadows, but when the extra class was needed in the final third of the pitch we were the only ones with the quality. Unfortunately we will not be up against such an abject forward line every week and MP has to work on our defence as if we'd of been up against a more potent rival it could've been different.

    • December 2, 2013  11:20 am by David Walker Reply

      It's a real puzzler why our defence is so susceptible to conceding goals when it is essentially the same personnel. It's obvious some are not of the requisite quality and, wherever possible we should seek to address in Jan or the summer.

  3. December 2, 2013  9:26 am by Fifthcolumnblue Reply

    On first half performance, I really did fear for our record at the Etihad. Swansea have long been a team that seems to have had City figured out - press hard and high up the pitch, disrupt our passing game and then keep the ball well when in possession. They were certainly one of the better sides I've seen at the Etihad this season, and if they had a fit striker, the scores at HT could have been somewhat different.

    But there was simply no living with City on that second half performance, and IMO only 3 goals for the home side was slightly flattering to the Swans.

    VK, DS and MN (With SJ hopefully) all very nearly ready to step back in, but with Nasri on this form, only the two defenders look like certainties to walk straight back into the team.

    Genuinely thought Aguero was nailed on for player of the season already, but the Beast and Le Petite Prince look like they have other ideas about that! Long may it continue.

    • December 2, 2013  12:33 pm by David Walker Reply

      Let's hope the dilemma as to who should be player of the year continues due to top quality performances throughout the team and the accumulation of silverware. I'd still have Sergio out in front but there's plenty of competition.

  4. December 2, 2013  9:26 am by Eileen Fullen Reply

    Joyful reading(pardon the pun) let's hope we have a partridge in a pear tree on the 14 th day of Xmas. I feel the away form will materialise and we should push forward to rich rewards in the New Year. A good team effort yesterday and as you said Nasri is reborn.

    • December 2, 2013  12:36 pm by David Walker Reply

      It could get complicated around Easter if Nasri is reborn and Jesus is resurrected. Not meant to be blasphemous just a joke!

  5. December 2, 2013  9:56 am by Mole Rocks Reply

    Another fluid and professional performance from City at home, as we have come to expect.

    Now it really is time for the team to concentrate and do this away.

    MP has mentioned the team were still adapting to his footballing philosophy, perhaps it has finally been absorbed?

    January's transfer window approaches, seems likely City will be dipping their toes in to the market for a central defender, hopefully to take the pressure off Kompany to keep everything on track single handedly.

    So come on Blues, onwards and upwards to the premiership summit!

    • December 2, 2013  12:37 pm by David Walker Reply

      Totally agree Carl - I think the best is yet to come.

  6. December 2, 2013  10:16 am by Alan Baxter Reply

    Sami Nasri from merde to magnifique, long may it continue.
    Defensive lapses aside, City were once again very easy on the eye. Positive results against WBA & Southampton should set the scene for a "six pointer" V Arsenal and (fingers crossed) a push to the summit for the New Year. Kompany, Silva, Jovetic all coming back to fitness can only help during the fixture pile up approaching in late December so once again...bring it on......

    • December 2, 2013  12:39 pm by David Walker Reply

      Absolutely and we can take further heart from the possibility of maybe one or two acquisitions in January to consolidate and drive on for major trophies.

  7. December 2, 2013  11:41 am by carol Reply

    great read Davy, thank you

    • December 2, 2013  12:40 pm by David Walker Reply

      My pleasure - thanks for continuing to read and comment.

  8. December 2, 2013  12:30 pm by carole Reply

    I don't think our sluggishness in the first half was down SIMPLY to Swansea playing well. We are more than capable of keeping possession and usually dominate both home and away.
    I think we happily conceded possession because we were already ahead and knew we only had to step it up a gear to take control,of the game whenever we needed to. That is exactly what we did in the second half.

    Pelligrini's style is relentless, high octane quick passing attacking football from start to finish. He has said, more than once, that he doesn't want the team to sit back and take the foot off the gas even if we are 3 or 4 goals to the good.

    But this is a physical impossibility when the team is playing 3 times in a week. They simply don't have the energy levels to maintain this attacking style for a full 90 minutes....hence we see a game of 2 halves. Had we not gone 1-0 up so early in the match, we would probably have seen more dynamism in the first 45 minutes rather than the 2nd.
    Some of these players are having to play every match and they will become increasingly fatigued over the Christmas/New Year period. At some point in a match, they have to conserve their energy and they are experienced enough to realise when to do it. MP simply can't expect 90 minutes of high energy EVERY time they play. NOR CAN WE!

    That's MY theory anyway haha!

    • December 2, 2013  12:42 pm by David Walker Reply

      Sounds liike good old fashioned logic to me Moonbeam.

  9. December 2, 2013  12:36 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    Ultimately, another satisfying win at home. Nasri excellent, and, as pointed out, the injuries are slowly starting to clear up. If we can chip away Arsenal's current advantage, all the better. Two big away games coming up.

    • December 2, 2013  12:41 pm by David Walker Reply

      Yes, vital that we start posting points on the board on our travels. If we don't it could all unravel.

  10. December 2, 2013  1:01 pm by ant walton Reply

    Just something to ponder, is it also a coincedence we have looked a touch better at the back with only playing Nasri ? Does playing both him and Silva make us a little lightweight in front of our back 4 ? I see this descision to who plays as big as who he picks to play alongside V.K. Silva is the main man but take nothing away from Nasri, he has been and still is on excellent form !!
    trust our MP

    • December 2, 2013  3:15 pm by David Walker Reply

      I think that's the trade off with MP - score more but concede more as well. It works so long as we're scoring one more than the other lot!

  11. December 2, 2013  6:35 pm by Susan Richardson Reply

    I wanted to punch Nasri as well we knew he was capable of more and boy is he back! You are gonna run out of superlatives at this rate.

    • December 2, 2013  6:57 pm by David Walker Reply

      When he went AWOL in the defensive wall for RVP's free kick in 2012 I could have throttled him let alone punched him in the fizzog. It speaks volumes of him that he can now command standing ovations at the Etihad.

  12. December 2, 2013  8:51 pm by DOUGLAS HENSHAW Reply

    Great read Dave. Nasri looks like a man reborn playing really well.We really are looking the real deal we just need to sort the away form out & then look out prem.

  13. December 2, 2013  9:35 pm by David Walker Reply

    Absolutely - start winning away - especially after I bought tickets to WBA, Southampton and Bayern Munich!

  14. December 2, 2013  10:45 pm by pete lynch Reply

    thank you David, your analysis and wit is now all part of my city experience. I thought Swansea were excellent in the first half, they pass and move so well however I had no doubt we had too much for them. With a fully fit squad and possibly a centre half and LB in the window, surely ours to lose.

    • December 3, 2013  7:22 am by David Walker Reply

      Let's hope we can control our own destiny & win a 2nd title in 3 years - whoever dreamed we'd ever be contemplating such a thing?

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