It was celebration time at the Etihad as ailing Swansea City came to town yesterday. With a full house of over 54,300 in tow, Guardiola’s Champions delivered a masterclass of exceptional team football to destroy the Welshmen and direct themselves towards all manner of additional records.
With a predictable starting eleven, Walker and the suspended Fernandinho apart, City was at their most sumptuous. Ederson was guarding the sticks behind Danilo, Kompany, Laporte, and Delph. Gundogan was once again standing in for the Brazilian absentee with De Bruyne and Silva in behind Sterling, de Jesus, and Bernardo. It was a formidable line-up for a “dead rubber” but try telling Manchester City that these end of season matches don’t count.
Count they very much do because Guardiola is counting on his troops to deliver the final records of the season regarding hopefully exceeding 100 points and scoring 100 league goals. They are not far away.
The tally counter commenced after only 12 minutes when a sweeping City move initiated by the maestro that is Kevin de Bruyne. His fast-paced ball in from the left was touched on by Sterling to David Silva, whose finish was exquisite from an awkward angle.
It seemed almost seconds, although it was nearly five minutes, later when David Silva sent Delph away down the left. He kept his cross low and accurate, and Sterling wrapped it up and into the net. Has he now scored 23 goals this season?
It was 2-0 at the break and, in fairness, it could have been six as City were guilty, once again, of profligacy as almost everyone in sky blue might have had a chance as they clocked up a record 542 passes in the first half.
As the second half began, City was once again relentlessly hammering on the Swansea door. Given a chance to but not accepting an opportunity to clear the ball ran to Danilo who spotted de Bruyne and slipped into his path.
What followed caused an accentuated intake of breath as KDB fired an Exocet 25-yard shot into the back of the Swansea net. Speaking to a fan in the hospitality areas after the match, he said he was right behind that shot, and it moved in three directions!
De Bruyne went on to discover he had been pipped to the PFA Player of the Year by the Scouse scoring machine, Mo Salah – this goal would have left its mark on those who were uncertain, but voted for the goalscorer rather than the industrious midfielder who, somehow got himself prepared for what has been a gruelling campaign.
De Jesus, starting up front ran hard and tried hard, but the chances that fell his way went unconverted and when Fernandez chopped down Sterling in the box, up stepped the Brazilian to get his goal finally. That was until Fabianski had other ideas and clawed the ball on to the post. The intelligent Bernardo Silva had followed the shot in and coolly converted the rebound.
City was apparently running away with it, but even at 4-0, their desire for goals didn’t erode. De Jesus had missed with a header which he steered straight at Fabianski when it looked easier to score. His frustration was finally washed away with two minutes left when replacement Yaya Toure spotted his run a lofted the ball over the top with the precision of the old Tiger Woods and onto de Jesus’ head. This time, with a more difficult attempt, it was time to phone home as de Jesus beat the Swans netminder with an awkward looking header.
At the final whistle, despite the significant efforts of the stewards to protect the footballers, thousands of so-called fans raced and pushed past the stewards and on to the field. While in his post-match statement Guardiola said it was “beautiful,” does nobody understand the dangers of this?
With smoke canisters in evidence and the crowd closing in on their heroes, it is the perfect backdrop for someone with alternative motives to injure one of the players. I sincerely hope that the same individuals do not ruin the presentation ceremony that is destined to take place after the Huddersfield match on May 6.
So, another large fine is on the cards for City as a result of this. The annoying thing is that these people do not appear to care and that is disappointing.
The end of season roadshow heads to the London Stadium next weekend, hopefully, to blow away a few bubbles and add to the tally. It looks as though Arsenal put the final nail in Juggling Joe’s World Cup coffin and let’s hope City give the Irons a hammering with Adrian between the sticks next week.
As far as this match goes, although KDB was given as man-of-the-match can we not forget how brilliant Bernardo Silva was? Not only was he wide awake to get his goal, but his work all afternoon was of the highest standard.
Article, courtesy of Pedmachine.