Swansea 0 Manchester City 4
Wednesday 13th December 2017 : Bryn Jones for
GYKO at the Liberty Stadium
First-half goals from David Silva and Kevin De
Bruyne put City 2-0 up at the break, Pep Guardiola’s side
monopolising the ball to such an extent that the only surprise was
that they were not further clear when referee Anthony Taylor blew
the half-time whistle.
The second period followed the same pattern and a second from the
impressive Silva ended the game as a contest, while Sergio Aguero’s
late fourth was the icing on the cake.
While City will have to face sterner tests than Swansea in the
second half of this season, the title is undoubtedly theirs to lose.
Guardiola made four changes to his side from the Manchester derby
win over United, with Danilo and Bernardo Silva included in the
Aguero came in for Gabriel Jesus in attack, while Paul Clement
replaced Wayne Routledge with Jordan Ayew for Swansea and stuck with
a 4-3-3 formation.
Following their victory at Old Trafford on Sunday, City’s players
had celebrated enthusiastically, leading to a controversial tunnel
bust-up the FA are still investigating. In South Wales, loud music
and the sound of Oasis could be heard from the away changing room
before kick-off and the size of the task facing the Swans was more
than obvious early on.
Free-scoring City went into this game with 48 league goals to their
name and their attacking threat was immediate as they dominated
Aguero smashed the ball into the side-netting and Lukasz Fabianski
produced a wonderful low save to keep out Fernandinho’s volley.
At the other end, Ayew forced Ederson into a routine save on a rare
Swansea breakaway, but City’s chances kept coming. Aguero and De
Bruyne could not find the target and then the former headed Bernardo
Silva’s whipped delivery over.
Against his former club, Swansea’s bright spark was Wilfried Bony,
the powerful Ivorian holding the ball up well and proving a constant
menace to Nicolas Otamendi in particular.
But, finally, the City goal arrived. Roque Mesa gave the ball away
and when Fabianski dallied as Bernardo Silva’s cross arrived in the
six-yard box, David Silva flicked the ball home.
Fabianski made amends almost immediately by denying Aguero from
making it 2-0 but it was not long before City’s advantage was
doubled. De Bruyne’s low free-kick from the left beat everyone to
settle in the back of the net.
As well as Manchester City played, Swansea would have been
disappointed to concede what were two soft goals and Clement
introduced Tammy Abraham for Tom Carroll at the break. It failed to
stop David Silva from missing an absolute sitter at the start of the
second half, while Aguero again worked Fabianski. But soon it was
Raheem Sterling escaped down the left far too easily and his pass
was controlled and clipped home by David Silva for his second of the
Guardiola withdrew Fernandinho with Saturday’s clash with Tottenham
in mind. Yaya Toure entered the fray, but with captain David Silva
running the show, you got the feeling City could have scored at
Ederson, off balance, then produced a superb stop to deny Mesa’s
long-range deflected effort, changing direction at the last moment
to keep the ball out.
But such was City’s utter control that Guardiola introduced
Ukrainian Oleksandr Zinchenko, 20, for a rare outing.
There was still time for De Bruyne and Sterling to have further
chances before Aguero finally grabbed his deserved goal five minutes
||SWANSEA (4-3-3): Fabianski ; Naughton, Van der Hoorn,
Mawson, Olsson5 ; Ki, Mesa, Carroll (Abraham 46); Ayew, Bony
(Fer 74), Dyer (Narsingh 65).
Subs not used : Mulder, Clucas, Fernandez, Rangel
MAN CITY (4-3-3): Ederson ; Danilo, Otamendi, Mangala, Delph
(Zinchenko 73); De Bruyne (Gundogan 77), Fernandinho (Toure
58), D Silva, Aguero, Sterling, B Silva.
Subs not used : Bravo, Walker, Sané, Touré
Referee: A Taylor (Cheshire).
Attendance : 20,870
Manchester United 1 Man City 2
Annual 3 Points at OT
Sunday 10th December 2017 : Richard Fellows
for GYKO at Old Trafford
For Manchester City, this was not just the day
they declared themselves the best team in town. It counts for more
than that, surely, when there is now an 11-point gap at the top of
the Premier League and the team in second place have
just learned the hard way why Pep Guardiola’s side are disappearing
into the distance.
Guardiola and his players certainly give the impression they are in
a hurry to finish this season’s title race. Their goal difference –
which is more, almost ludicrously, than any other team’s
goals-scored column – has the effect of another point and though it
still seems ridiculously early, with snow on the pavements and
advent calendars two-thirds unopened, who can possibly see a way
back now for Manchester United? Far more likely, the gap will just
continue to grow. It would be nice, for the sake of competition, if
there might yet be another twist – but that seems unrealistic in the
extreme. As far as the title goes, that surely is that.
Anything else would be extraordinary after City’s 14th successive
league win and a game was that was so one-sided there were
first-half statistics that showed José Mourinho’s men had seen just
22% of the ball. The more important detail came in the form of the
goals from David Silva and Nicolás Otamendi that won this derby,
with Marcus Rashford scoring for United in between, but when was the
last time, on their own ground, United had so little possession?
That alone must have been galling for their supporters.
The irony is that Mourinho’s players might still have rescued
themselves. United’s manager complained afterwards that Ander
Herrera should have had a penalty from Otamendi’s challenge, rather
than a yellow card for diving, and there was a remarkable moment
when Romelu Lukaku smashed a close-range shot into Ederson’s face
and the substitute Juan Mata also aimed straight at the goalkeeper
with the follow-up effort. Yet the days have passed since Sir Alex
Ferguson used to boast no other team scored more late goals. In fact
a lot has changed at Old Trafford judging by the narrative of this
game and the difference in approach between the two sides.
The crowd here might still like to sing about “football taught by
Matt Busby” but, as City’s players worked their elaborate passing
patterns, there was a different soundtrack. The first rendition of
“Park the bus, Man United” could be heard from the away end on the
15-minute mark. The next song, expletive removed, queried whether
the home team might be “scared”. Soon afterwards there were olés
from the away end. OK, possession statistics do not mean bonus
points but it was startling, nonetheless, to see how one team took
care of the ball and the other did not. By half-time, City had
played more than four times the number passes, 334 to 78, than the
home side. Overall, City had 65% of possession against a team who
had previously conceded only one league goal at home.
Guardiola finished the match with Silva operating as City’s most
advanced player. The league leaders lost their captain, Vincent
Kompany, to injury at half-time and had a spell with Fernandinho
experimenting as a centre-half. Sergio Agüero, one of the best
strikers of the Premier League era, was not required for a single
minute. And yet the away side still found a way to outplay, outpass
and outscore their opponents. Guardiola summed it up succinctly:
“Last season was the same. We won because we were better. We were
better in all departments.”
The only possible criticism, if we were nitpicking, was that Gabriel
Jesus gave Mourinho the opportunity to refer back to his pre-match
assertion that City’s players (not that his ever would, of course)
dive too often. Jesus, chosen ahead of Agüero, should also have been
booked for one of those tactical fouls that Mourinho had flagged up.
Ultimately, however, the truth is that City did not have to resort
to underhand tactics to signal their superiority.
They could certainly feel aggrieved that they were only drawing at
half-time. Silva’s goal had arrived in the 42nd minute but it was a
poor misjudgement from Fabian Delph that allowed Rashford his chance
to equalise. Delph was caught out when Otamendi was unable to meet
Marcos Rojo’s cross. Rashford was on the loose ball in a flash and
fired a diagonal shot past Ederson.
Two minutes into first-half stoppage-time, that goal set up a second
half in which United did at least seem to remember they were
supposed to be the home side. City had an experimental back four,
always slightly vulnerable to crosses from wide areas, but the same
could also be said of the home team and the problem, perhaps, when
so many attackers are asked to help out in defence, is that mistakes
In the 54th minute, Silva clipped a free-kick into the penalty area
and Lukaku swung out his boot to hook the ball away. The attempted
clearance ricocheted off his team-mate Chris Smalling and the ball
fell invitingly for Otamendi to volley past David de Gea from inside
the six-yard area for the winner.
||MAN UTD (4-2-3–1): De Gea; Valencia, Smalling,
Rojo (Lindelof 46), Young; Herrera (Mata 81), Matic ;
Rashford, Lingard (Ibrahimovic 75) Martial ; Lukaku.
Subs not used : Jones, Shaw, McTominay, Romero
MAN CITY (4-3-3): Ederson ; Walker, Kompany (Gundogan
46), Otamendi, Delph; De Bruyne, D Silva, Sterling, Jesus
(Mangala 58), Sane (B Silva 88).
Subs not used : Bravo, Agüero, da Silva, Zinchenko
Referee: M. Oliver (Northumberland
Attendance : 74,847
Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Man City 1
Eastern Block City
Wednesday 6th December 2017: Gary Stewart for
GYKO at the Metalist Stadium
Manchester City slumped to their first defeat of the
season with a 2-1 loss to Shakhtar Donetsk in their final Champions
League Group F game.
First-half goals from Brazilian pair Bernard and Ismaily stunned Pep
Guardiola’s side on a freezing night at the Metalist Stadium in
Kharkiv, with Sergio Aguero’s injury-time penalty too late to affect
The result mattered little for City, with top place in the group
already assured, but the tame end to their dazzling 20-game winning
streak was hardly the ideal preparation for this weekend’s
For Shakhtar the win prompted jubilant celebrations, with a place in
the last 16 now secured. Their supporters can now look forward to
seeing coach Paulo Fonseca fulfil a promise to wear a Zorro mask to
a press conference if they qualified.
Afterwards Guardiola told BT Sport: “Congratulations to Shakhtar.
They played a good game but we did too.”
It was with Sunday’s clash with Manchester United in mind that City
boss Pep Guardiola made seven changes. Among the players to come in
were 17-year-old Phil Foden, for a full debut, and 20-year-old
defender Tosin Adarabioyo.
Adarabioyo, who lined up on the right of a three-man back line with
Eliaquim Mangala and Fernandinho, endured a tough start on only his
second Champions League start.
Shakhtar’s motivation was obvious and in Brazilians Taison and
Bernard they boasted plenty of attacking drive.
Bernard created the first serious opportunity after breaking down
the right and evading a poor challenge from Adarabioyo. Fernandinho
spared City by blocking Facundo Ferreyra’s shot.
Ederson then saved from Marlos but there was no denying Bernard
after 26 minutes as he curled a brilliant shot over the City
goalkeeper from just inside the box.
City’s plight immediately got worse as they conceded a second just
six minutes later, again after being cut open all too easily.
Ederson, playing his usual sweeper-keeper role, paid the price for
coming out of his area as Ismaily nicked the ball past him after
latching onto a long ball from Taison. He calmly slotted home.
City began to show some positive signs as Leroy Sane made a good run
down the right and Foden played Gabriel Jesus in on goal but Andriy
Pyatov denied him a shooting chance. Ilkay Gundogan did connect with
a powerful shot but Ivan Ordets blocked.
But Shakhtar continued to make most of the running, with Fred going
close and Taison shooting narrowly over before and after the break.
City never looked like getting back into the game although Guardiola
sent on Aguero in the hope of livening up his side and Jesus did
clip the outside of the post before winning a last-gasp penalty.
Aguero stepped up to tuck home the spot-kick but time was almost up
and there could be no late fightback.
“We started really well,” said Guardiola. ”We fought, I’m so pleased
for Tosin (Adarabioyo), Brahim (Diaz) and Phil, how good they played
in the Champions League against a real good team like Shakhtar
Donetsk. We came here to win but we could not. I’m pleased with the
FC Shakhtar Donetsk: Pyatov Ordets Butko Rakitskiy
dos Santos de Azevedo 63’ Anício Caldeira Duarte Rodrigues
de Paula Santos Barcellos Freda Stepanenko Romero Bonfim
Kovalenko 82’ Ferreyra Khotcholava 89’
Unused subs Shevchenko, Ferreira, Petryak,
City: Ederson Adarabioyo Fernandinho Aguero 70’
Mangala Gündogan da Silva Touré Foden Veiga de Carvalho e
Silva Sané Diaz 61’ de Jesus
Unused subs Walker, Sterling, Duhaney, Bravo,
Referee : Benoît Bastien (FRA)
Attendance : 33154
Manchester City 2 West Ham 1
West Hammer Blow
Sunday 3rd December 2017 : GYKO at the Etihad
The match winner was different but the outcome
identical as David Silva’s 83rd minute goal maintained Manchester
City’s record-setting start to the Premier League campaign and
continued their habit for late heroics.
The win equalled the mark for most consecutive victories in a single
season in Premier League history after Nicolas Otamendi had
equalised a first ever league goal from Hammers defender Angelo
Silva struck in the 83rd minute with a brilliant finish, diving to
meet Kevin De Bruyne’s cross at full stretch and steer the ball in
from five yards, past the wrong-footed goalkeeper.
It represented a 20th consecutive win in all competitions for the
Blues, who have now not lost a league game since being beaten by
Chelsea last season, 242 days ago.
It also restored City’s lead over rivals United, whom they meet in
the Manchester derby at Old Trafford on Sunday, to eight points and
means that, in five league games this season, City have scored goals
inside the final eight minutes and picked up nine points in so
But they had needed an equaliser, on 57 minutes, to set up such a
finale as Raheem Sterling’s deft touch sent substitute Gabriel Jesus
darting to the right-hand by-line from where his low cross was
turned in from close range by central defender Otamendi.
West Ham, looking for their first win under new manager David Moyes,
looked surprisingly untroubled, in the first half at least, and
arguably created the better chances of the opening 45 minutes.
That was certainly underlined a minute before the interval when
Ogbonna headed his side into an unexpected lead that exposed some
poor play in City’s defence.
Aaron Cresswell exchanged a short corner with Manuel Lanzini and
crossed for the Italian who beat Otamendi to the ball and steered a
well-aimed header into the corner.
The Etihad was stunned but West Ham had enjoyed the better chances
of the first half, while surrendering possession to the hosts.
The best of three decent openings fell to Lanzini, in the 38th
minute, after a rare mistake by David Silva who gifted the ball to
the West Ham man in midfield.
The attack ended with City keeper Ederson turning his shot around
the post, somewhat unconvincingly, as the visitors coped with City’s
impressive arsenal of attacking talent.
City were curiously off the electrifying pace they have set so far
this season and the only moment that really troubled West Ham
reserve keeper Adrian - selected because City loanee Joe Hart was
unable to play in goal - came from Silva’s deflected 25th minute
shot which he did well to tip over his bar.
The visitors were limited to playing on the counter but, still,
Michael Antonio was close to converting at the far post from an
early Cresswell corner and Ederson was forced to make a save to cut
out an Arthur Masuaka cross with Antonio, again, threatening.
Guardiola had left Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho out of his
starting line-up, to avoid either collecting a yellow card which
would earn them a suspension and a ban for the upcoming Manchester
It had looked a potentially costly decision but, at the interval,
the City manager brought on Jesus and saw an immediate improvement.
A foul by Declan Rice on Fabian Delph presented Kevin De Bruyne with
a free-kick on the edge of the area and his superb curling striker
was parried away, equally impressively, by the diving Adrian on 55
Two minutes later, City were level and they could have been in front
on 61 minutes when Leroy Sane’s crisp shot drew another diving save
out of the West Ham keeper.
It was now one-way traffic with Sane’s dribbling run and shot
bringing yet another acrobatic parry out of Adrian before Sane and
De Bruyne both tried shots from the edge of the area.
Soon, Adrian was required to keep out a shot from Jesus with the
rebound falling invitingly to Sterling who, uncharacteristically,
miskicked from what looked a promising position.
Ederson was alert to deal with West Ham’s only attack of the half, a
fierce shot from Antonio and, after City’s winner, Diafra Sakho
missed a glorious chance to level.
||Man City (4-3-3): Emerson; Walker, Otamendi,
Mangala, Danilo (Jesus 46); D Silva, Delph, De Bruyne;
Sterling, Aguero ( Fernandinho 85), Sane (B Silva 90).
Subs (not used): Bravo, Kompany, Gundogan, Toure.
West Ham (5-4-1): Adrian; Zabaleta, Rice, Ogbonna,
Cresswell, Masuaka; Obiang, Kouyate (Sakho 42), Fernandes,
Lanzini (Arnautovic 68); Antonio (Ayew 88).
Subs (not used): Trott, Martinez, Quina, Johnson.
Referee: M Dean