No Premier League team will have enjoyed their trip to Wales this season thanks to the form of Swansea City who have taken on all comers with their brand of exciting passing football. Reputations and league position could for very little in these parts as Abi Davies tells us after the visit of Manchester City yesterday.
Having been defeated just 3 times in the league this season prior to Sunday’s fixture, Manchester City should have felt confident that they could retain their place at the top of the division by taking 3 points from a side they beat 4-0 on the opening weekend of the campaign.
However Swansea’s character, determination and growth in maturity was prevalent at The Liberty as the Welsh side played with an air of confidence and belief that meant they were not remotely overawed by their big spending opponents.
In a game where the pressure was firmly off Swansea and solely on their high flying counterparts, Brendan Rodgers side were presented with the games first chance when they were awarded a penalty after Joe Hart brought down Wayne Routledge, following a great move from the home side.
Scott Sinclair stepped up to take, however didn’t approach the penalty with his usual confidence or conviction, seemingly not showing the leagues best keeper sufficient respect, Sinclair’s spot kick had neither precision nor power making the save easy for Hart.
Mario Balotelli’s body language and attitude throughout the game was abysmal, seemingly disinterested for the best part, the Italian spent more time looking for a free kick than he did trying to ignite an attack using his talent and ability.
Brendan Rodgers side had the visitors rattled for the best part of the opening 45, pressing them deep in their own half, frustrating them and not allowing them time on the ball. Swansea’s performance consisted of far more pride, passion and commitment than their opponents. They appeared more hungry and determined to succeed than Manchester City players.
With 37 minutes played, Man City’s strength in depth was made evident when Gareth Barry was replaced by Sergio Aguero in an attempt to spark a turn around in fortune. Mancini feeling the need to make a change so early on in the game, a large testament to the way Swansea had played in the opening half.
Swansea rode their luck just before half time as they were forced into defending 5 consecutive City corner’s which they did successfully, ensuring the scores remained level at the interval. Swansea enjoyed 60% of the first half possession, for large spells of which it was difficult to distinguish which of the two sides was pushing for a title win.
Swansea were almost caught sleeping shortly after the restart when Balotelli picked out Aguero inside the area, however the Argentine failed to capitalise on a great opportunity as his effort fired wide.
Moments later Danny Graham created a great chance for the home side, however his dangerous delivery into the box was intercepted by Toure, denying Joe Allen a simple tap in. From the resulting corner, Man City broke with pace, and although the attack amounted to nothing it sent a warning out to the home side.
In a half of vast contrast to the first, it seemed that if the deadlock was going to be broken it would be the visitors who would be gaining the advantage, as Swansea started to play alarmingly deep, inviting Man City pressure with a goal seemingly inevitable.
Swansea were looking more like the away side, as, for a small period they were boxed into their own half.
However after surviving an onslaught of pressure from the visitors, Swansea were able to regroup when Michel Vorm collected a Richards effort, he halted play for a few seconds in order for Swansea to compose themselves. This, I feel showed great maturity from the Dutch keeper.
With little under 10 minutes left on the clock, Micah Richards forced a great save from Michel Vorm before Swansea City silenced the visitors with what proved to be the only goal of the game, when Wayne Routledge’ inch perfect delivery into the box picked out the unmarked second half substitute Luke Moore, who’s powerful header was enough to beat Joe Hart and seal all three points for the home side.
Micah Richards thought he had rescued a point for the visitors with two minutes remaining, however his header was ruled offside as Swansea held on to record a momentous victory, and become just the 4th side to take 3 points from Mancini’s side this season.
Defeat for the Manchester side sees them fall behind rivals United for the first time since October, whilst Swansea propel into 11th with a trip to Fulham next up for the Welsh side.
As ever, Ashley Williams proved crucial in the Swans back line, making numerous timely interceptions in order to keep City’s attack force at bay.
Having had limited game time since joining Swansea, with Brendan Rodgers favouring Sinclair and Dyer out wide, Wayne Routledge relished his opportunity in the starting XI on Sunday, moving the ball around quickly and effectively, drawing numerous fouls out of City’s defenders with his great footwork, as well as winning a lot of balls on the right wing, I feel he is doing a great job at staking his claim for a permanent place in the side.