Swansea City vs. Manchester City: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
On Saturday, Manchester City looked like a team that knew its title hopes were already dashed and its top-four place was secure, while Swansea City looked like a team that was ninth on the table for a reason.
Despite a fairly lax effort by City and a lot of promising chances for Swansea, the game would end in a scoreless draw.
Swansea would have the game's first excellent chance, as Pablo Hernandez found himself in shooting range after a clever centering feed. But the midfielder's effort was poor, and his shot sailed well over the bar.
Minutes later, the normally clinical Michu missed his own clean look at goal, a rare occurrence this campaign.
Swansea continued to be the aggressors. Nathan Dyer found himself on acres of space on the right side, with two of his teammates streaming forward. But his pass to Wayne Routledge in the center of the box was slightly behind the midfielder, and Routledge could only offer a weak shot on goal that was easily saved by Joe Hart.
Minutes later, Hernandez was played into the clear down the left side of the box, but his first touch was poor and his effort careened wide of the net.
Finally, Manchester City put together a legitimate scoring chance in the 35th minute, as Gareth Barry's speculative pass over the top of the Swansea defense found Samir Nasri's boot. But the Frenchmen was unable to get much power behind the effort, and it was easily saved by Michel Vorm.
The first controversy in the match came in the 39th minute, as Michu was absolutely mugged in the box by Matija Nastasic but no penalty was given.
City poured on the pressure in the 42nd minute. David Silva would have two chances on goal during a scramble in the Swansea box, but his first effort was blocked by defender Ashley Williams and the second by the lunging leg of Vorm.
For the most part, however, Swansea controlled the half in a rather lackadaisical performance over the first 45 minutes by City that has plagued the team in recent contests. Perhaps unjustly for Swansea, the half would end scoreless.
Though City dominated possession early in the second half, Swansea had the first solid chance in the 61st minute. The team streamed forward on the counter-attack and Dyer found Hernandez on the left edge of the box, but Hernandez's curling effort was pushed high and wide to the right.
While neither team would offer much of an attacking presence in the second half, Edin Dzeko would squander an absolute sitter in the 83rd minute. Pablo Zabaleta would get free down the right side and chip in a cross that appeared to be deflected but ended on Dzeko's boot in front of the goal. Needing only to tap the ball home, he somehow pushed his shot wide.
Minutes later, the otherwise bright Silva would miss his own open shot on goal after Dzeko found him in space following a wonderful run and pass.
Dzeko would again get an opportunity at goal in stoppage time—he added a lot of energy upon being substituted into the game—but he couldn't get enough power on his header to beat Vorm.
That would be the last chance in a game that was more exciting than the score would indicate, yet disappointing for both sides. Frankly, City's effort was questionable, especially in the first half, while Swansea will be disappointed they didn't get three points that were clearly there for the taking.
City will next face West Brom on Tuesday, while Swansea faces off against Wigan on the same day.
David Silva, Manchester City: A-
He was the one City player who was consistently creative and positive throughout the match. While his teammates seemed to be sleep-walking through this contest, Silva continued to be the one player pushing the attack forward, putting himself in threatening positions and finding his teammates in space. He was the lone bright spot in a drab performance.
Ashley Williams, Swansea City: A
How many times did he stifle a City attack? How many shots did he block? His positioning was pristine, he offered a physical presence on Swansea's back line and was a major factor in preserving the clean sheet. If he wasn't Man of the Match, he certainly deserves to be in the running.
Edin Dzeko, Manchester City: B
Perhaps he should have started. While he couldn't finish to save his life, Dzeko added a lot of energy to a listless City side and was at the center of the team's scoring chances in the second half. His finishing can be infuriating at times, but his work rate cannot be called into question.
Pablo Hernandez, Swansea City: B+
On a day when Michu wasn't a huge factor and missed a truly golden opportunity at goal, Hernandez was the most dangerous Swansea attacker throughout this match. Like Dzeko, he couldn't finish an opportunity to save his life, but he kept putting himself in dangerous positions for the full 90 minutes and set several up as well. Overall, a solid effort that begged for a bit of class inside the box.
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