Premier League: Swansea 0 Manchester City 0
By Football News
Manchester City strengthened their grip on second place in the Premier League with a hard-fought goalless draw against Swansea City.
The deposed champions were off the pace in a first half dominated by the hosts but chances were spurned at both ends as the two goalkeepers had an easy afternoon. The visitors improved after the break but lacked that creative spark and had to settle for a point.
Both Roberto Mancini and Michael Laudrup made changes to their starting line-ups, with Mateja Nastasic and James Milner starting in place of Joleon Lescott and Carlos Tevez for the visitors and the lively Nathan Dyer preferred to South Korean Ki Sung-Yong for Swansea.
With neither side having much to play for, there was a relaxed mood inside the Liberty Stadium and this showed in the opening exchanges as both sides attacked with freedom while remaining solid at the back. City had the best early chance after a Milner cross was deflected behind by Chico Flores.
The resulting corner was headed clear by the Swansea defence but only as far as Samir Nasri on edge of the penalty area. However, the Frenchman leant back as he struck his shot and the ball sailed over the crossbar.
After riding their luck with Nasri’s miss, Swansea burst into life with the impressive Dyer at the heart of everything positive from the home side. He created chances for Pablo Hernandez, Michu and Wayne Routledge inside 20 minutes but all three were wasteful with their finishing as Joe Hart was not called into action.
City then had a stroke of luck as Nastasic was fortunate not to concede a penalty for a rash challenge on Michu. Again Dyer was involved for the hosts as he floated a pass onto the chest of the striker, but as he waited for the ball to come down, he was felled by a wild challenge from the Serbia international that went unpunished by referee Mike Jones.
As the half came to a close some excellent defending from Swansea prevented Sergio Aguero from opening the scoring. The Argentine saw his first chance blocked well by Williams and, from the rebound, Michel Vorm made a point blank save.
After a poor first half, Yaya Toure was replaced by Edin Dzeko at the break. The Bosnian helped the visitors gain more of a stranglehold on the game as they immediately threatened through David Silva and Aguero, but Vorm was not tested in the Swansea goal.
Plenty of attractive football followed but neither goalkeeper was forced into a save as a midfield battle ensued. Dyer was again the main Swansea threat but the resolute Manchester City defence kept him at bay and Jonathan De Guzman wasted the best opening as he fired a late free kick over the bar.
Silva missed a fantastic chance in the closing minutes to win the game for the visitors but he blasted Dzeko’s pull back wide of goal from the edge of the penalty area.