Blues' opening game of season becomes a one-man show as Argentine debutant lights up Etihad Stadium with a brilliant display from the bench which leaves Swans stunned.
Edin Dzeko and David Silva were also amongst the goals as Manchester City showed dominance for the full 90 minutes and in truth, could have won by a much greater margin.
Swansea were thrown in at the deep end as they travelled to east Manchester but the signs of a team which will surprise a few were clearly there.
The Swans made an encouraging start to life in the elite of English football with spells of sustained possession and a confidence which belied their unwanted whipping boy status. The first ten minutes saw Swansea having the lion’s share of the play and their fans relished the positive start they made.
Whether Manchester City were lulling Swansea with a crafty ploy or just shaking off the dust was difficult to tell early on, but with a corner from the right after 23 minutes, Mancini’s boys showed their stuff as a one-two between David Silva and Nigel de Jong resulted in the Spaniard smashing the ball to the far post drawing a fabulous save from Swans ‘keeper Michel Vorm.
Silva wasn’t finished testing the Dutchman, and with help from Adam Johnson, he opened his body to flick a left-footed shot high into the goal only for the crossbar to maintain the parity.
The Blues’ dominance continued as both Edin Dzeko and Gareth Barry had half chances to open the scoring, but stout defending from Swansea was enough to keep the Mancunians at bay.
The openings kept coming for Mancini’s side; a rumbling run from Yaya Toure produced a shot which was pushed wide by Vorm, and from the subsequent corner, Silva again failed to hit the bullseye. It must be noted that against a stronger, more experienced Premier League outfit, Manchester City could have been made to pay for such profligacy.
Dzeko would be kicking himself again with the half drawing to a close as he sped in from the left, a little jink lost Steven Caulker, but a weak shot and more top work from Vorm denied him again.
The final act of the first period saw the crossbar once again save Swansea, this time from a Gareth Barry shot.
It was more of the same after the interval, Manchester City continued to bombard the Swansea backline and Dzeko again was left frustrated after a run was quelled by the referee’s assistant’s flag. With frustration building the need for the debut of Sergio Aguero grow with every passing minute.
The waves of attack were relentless, David Silva had a penalty shout turned down, and worse was to come for the Blues as a display of alertness from Nathan Dyer launched a counter attack which surprised most. Scott Dobbie was the recipient of this offensive but his long-range effort never really challenged Joe Hart in the Manchester City goal.
Shortly after, the dam burst for Swansea. Silva was pivotal again. His immaculate skill opened acres of greenery for him to harvest. With such space and time to work with, Silva spotted his options and elected to send the ball wide right to Adam Johnson, who’s cross-cum-shot was spilled by Vorm directly in front of Dzeko who tapped home to lift the cap of frustration from the Etihad Stadium.
With Manchester City in the lead, Mancini introduced Sergio Aguero to his adoring public and the Blues’ fans raised the roof to welcome their record signing. The Argentine almost had the perfect start. His first touch of the ball was to hammer it goalwards bringing Vorm into another excellent save.
It didn’t take long for Aguero to have another bite of the cherry. An overlapping run on the right from Micah Richards drew the Swansea defence to him which allowed Aguero to slot home from the far post. Perfect start.
Better was to come as Aguero chased a seemingly dead ball to flick overhead and allow the other protagonist of the evening, Silva to stroke home a quick-fire third to leave Rodgers’ side stunned. When Mancini signed the striker from Atletico Madrid, this was what he was after.
As most of the fans were making for the exits, Aguero made yet another statement of intent. A seemingly danger free passage of play resulted in the Argentine shocking everyone, with a thunderbolt from 35 yards that left the ground in awe of the talent in front of them.
The game showed a number of themes for both sides. Manchester City will be a serious title challenger and will no doubt, inflict such a performance on many more sides this term. Swansea on the other hand showed plenty in the first period and will cause some of the bigger names problems throughout the coming season.