Abi Davies made the long journey north for Swansea City’s Premier League debut. Despite the scoreline they can be proud of their team’s performance.
Less than 3 months since completing their rise from the brink of obliteration to the top flight of English football, Swansea City headed to Manchester to make their Premier League bow at The Etihad Stadium.
The Welsh side were without club captain Gary Monk, who sat out the game due to his foot injury. Whilst left back Neil Taylor also missed the fixture through suspension, following his dismissal in the first leg of their play off semi final against Nottingham Forest.
Brendan Rodgers handed full league débuts to summer signings Danny Graham, Steven Caulker and Dutch international keeper Michel Vorm.
Despite playing a pivotal role in Swansea’s promotion winning campaign, Joe Allen had to settle for a place on the bench as Kemy Agustien made his first start for Swansea since their FA Cup defeat on January 29th with the 24 year old Dutch man offering a larger physical presence in the middle of the park.
Swansea got the game under way and appeared to settle into Premier League life quickly as they played their way into the game with some great link up play and one touch football, Brendan Rodgers side did not seem overawed by the occasion as they started to frustrate the hosts.
Having taken The championship by storm last season, it was inevitable Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer would face a mammoth challenge to replicate the success they enjoyed, and this showed on a number of occasions as they were not given the freedom to command the wings as they had in The Championship. But what will be important over the forthcoming months is that they, as well as the rest of Swansea’s attack learn to capitalise on every chance they get as they will be few and far between in this league.
Making his Swansea City début at The Etihad stadium, Michel Vorm was one of Swansea’s many positives to take from their first experience in the Premier League. With 23 minutes gone, the Dutch international made a fine save to deny David Silva’s curling effort which seemed destined for the top corner. Shortly after, Vorm was forced into making another good save to keep out Yaya Toure’s long range effort.
Swansea were looking good on the ball, however were unable to test Joe Hart in the City goal.
Mancini’s side continued to search for the opener, with David Silva next to try his luck, only for the Spaniards effort to be denied by the cross bar.
With little over 5 minutes of the first half remaining, Yaya Toure almost caught Swansea on the counter attack as he unleashed a great shot following a surging run forward, however Vorm again dealt with the situation, helping the ball out. From the resulting corner David Silva’s effort fired high over the cross bar.
Further first half chances came for the home side through Toure and Dzeko before Gareth Barry provided the final chance of the first half, as his great effort rattled the woodwork.
Despite Swansea slightly edging the game in terms of possession, they found it hard to create many chances as their movements were breaking down in the final third, with Dobbie finding it hard to influence the game as he so often does, with his first touch and passing uncharacteristically letting him down on a number of occasions.
As the sides emerged for the second half there was still no sign of Man City’s record signing Sergio Aguero as both sides were unchanged.
Having not seen much of the ball in the first 45, Danny Graham’s work ethic was much improved from the outset of the second half however The Swans still couldn’t find a way to break through City’s colossal back four.
Scott Sinclair demonstrated his blistering pace as he made a surging run down the wing, only for his cross into the box to be easily collected by Joe Hart.
Seven minutes after the restart, Stephen Dobbie forced England international Hart into a great save with a long range strike. However with just under an hour gone, it was City who broke the deadlock. After Silva found Johnson in acres of space out wide, his shot was parried away by Vorm only for the ball to find Dzeko who made no mistakes from 8 yards out.
Mancini then introduced Sergio Aguero, who received a great reception from the home fans, whilst shortly after Rodgers made a double substitution which saw the introduction of Joe Allen and Wayne Routledge in place of Leon Britton and Stephen Dobbie.
Aguero made the perfect start to his City career, taking just 9 minutes to get on the score sheet, doubling the home sides advantage after connecting with a cross into the box from Micah Richards, the Argentinian found the back of the net with a simple tap in.
City made it 3-0 three minutes later. After scoring the home sides second, Sergio Aguero turned provider as he dinked the ball over Vorm, just managing to keep the ball in play before pulling it back for Silva who powered the ball home.
The Swans still kept their composure, and didn’t drop their heads as they continued to try and find an opening.
However Swansea were not rewarded for their efforts as Manchester City capped off a superb second half display by further extending their lead in the first minute of injury time. Having been involved in the build up play, débutante Aguero received the ball outside the area and with a sweetly struck shot, left Michel Vorm with no chance of keeping the ball out, as the Argentine rounded off his Premier League and City début with a second goal.
Mancini’s side evidently increased the intensity levels in the second half applying an onslaught of pressure on the visitors, however Brendan Rodgers side can take many positives from the game after a great début performance in The Premiership.
Leon Britton was, for me Swansea’s stand out outfield player against Manchester City, coming up against a whole host of physical players, the diminutive midfielder made countless perfectly times challenges, intercepting a lot of City’s build up play.
Despite manager Roberto Mancini’s claims prior to kick off that new City signing Sergio Aguero was tired after his performances in the Copa America, he showed no signs of this as his second half performance stole the show, as the striker scored a brace as well as providing a great assist.
Defeat means The Swans have now lost their their last six opening day fixtures, however the Welsh side can take many positives forward into Saturday’s game against Wigan.