Manchester City: Scoreless Draw at Swansea Flatters Listless, Punchless Citizens

Phil Keidel@@PhilKeidelContributor IIMay 4, 2013

"Stop me, oh oh oh stop me, stop me if you think that you've heard this one before."
"Stop me, oh oh oh stop me, stop me if you think that you've heard this one before."Scott Heavey/Getty Images

"Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains."

No greater an authority on the uncertainty of sport than when Ebby Calvin "Nuke" Laloosh unleashed that wisdom in Bull Durham.

Well, to borrow from that sentiment, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes, as with Manchester City's abject non-effort against Swansea City, you draw despite yourself.

The result (a point, another clean sheet) will gild City's defensive statistics and put them one small step closer to locking down second place in the Premier League table. 

But Manchester City was poor in all phases of the game.

You know the play is desolate when the club's propaganda arm has this to say at the half:

Thing is, in that tweet, much truth was told. Calling City's effort a "dud" is an affront to duds.

City's notoriously stingy defense, still the best in the Premiership in terms of fewest goals allowed, was largely untroubled. And yet City was terribly fortunate not to see a penalty given to Swansea City for a clumsy challenge by Matija Nastasic against Michu.

In the midfield, David Silva and Samir Nasri were certainly lively, but James Milner was a fraction of a beat off the pace all day, and Yaya Toure was so nondescript that he was substituted at the break for Edin Dzeko.

Which leads us to a quick discussion of City's return on investment from their millions and millions of pounds' worth of strike force.

Sergio Aguero ran and ran some more, but somehow, he never got a shot off on target or otherwise. By the time Carlos Tevez came on for Aguero in the 79th minute, it was pretty much too late for either of them to make a difference.

Not so, though, for City's leading goal scorer in Dzeko.

Given 45 minutes and some added time to produce a goal, Dzeko instead spurned multiple chances. 

None worse, per City's Twitter feed, than the one Dzeko flubbed in the 82nd minute:

It may finally be time to say that, in spite of his position as City's leading scorer, Dzeko is an ordinary player on a team loaded with extraordinary talent.

After that, City closed the blinds, locked the shop door and took their usually useful point on the road back to the changing room.

Mind-boggling stuff from City, an expensively assembled side that far too many times this season turned in this sort of careless, half-speed and tepid exhibition of football against a demonstrably inferior side.

Then again, maybe this result was actually the best and fairest indicator of what the 2012-2013 Manchester City side is: a team that has greatness in it but only deigns to produce it when the mood strikes.

Which, sadly, is too infrequent to make the Sky Blues anything but a good, not great team.

Back to the club's Twitter feed for the last words on this match:

It must be said—that tweet could very easily be massaged into a eulogy for City's subpar defense of its Premier League title.

City had many chances to take three points in winnable matches against lesser teams at home and away all season.

And too many times, City meekly took one point and slipped blithely on to the next match as their title ebbed away like a receding tide.

Against Swansea, the Citizens reminded everyone that sometimes, even on beautifully sunny days, Manchester City can still find the torpor, the clouds and the gloom.