Premier League - Man City start 2014 with victory at Swansea

Premier League, Liberty Stadium – Swansea (Bony 45+2, 90+1) Manchester City (Fernandinho 14 Toure 58 Kolarov 66)

Manchester City kicked off the calendar year with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Swansea in driving rain at the Liberty Stadium to keep the pressure on Arsenal at the top of the Premier League.

Fernandinho lashed through a crowded penalty area to edge the visitors ahead after Swansea had failed to clear a corner as City started brightly.

The hosts grew into the half and equalised in stoppage time when Wilfried Bony headed Angel Rangel’s cross into the bottom corner, although replays suggested the Ivorian striker was offside.

But Yaya Toure restored City’s lead shortly after the restart when his shot hit the unfortunate Ashley Williams to take it past Gerhard Tremmel before Aleksandar Kolarov ran from inside his own half and fired home his side’s third.

Bony’s late speculative effort threatened an unlikely comeback but City saw out the final minutes to start 2014 with a victory.

The win moves City two points clear at the top of the Premier League ahead, although Arsenal can leapfrog back above them with victory over Cardiff at the Emirates.

KEY MOMENTS

14’ – GOAL: Swansea 0-1 Manchester City: The corner is cleared to the edge of the area where Fernandinho lurks. Bam. The Brazilian lashes through a crowded box and into the net. City lead!

25’ – CHANCE: De Guzman charges through the centre. His effort lacks the required accuracy or power, which allows Hart to flop down and seize the ball.

45+2’ – GOAL: Swansea 1-1 Manchester City: Angel Rangel clips a ball into the mixer which Bony nods past Hart and into the bottom corner. More than a hint of offside, but it had been coming. We're level at the Liberty!

51’ – CHANCE: Both Tremmel and Chico fail to take charge of a bouncing ball which allows Negredo to nip in. The striker flicks it over the Swansea defender's head but can only fire his shot straight at Tremmel. Big chance.

58’ – GOAL: Swansea 1-2 Manchester City. Zabaleta bundles his way through the penalty area before the ball bobbles into the path of Toure. The midfielder looks up, fancies a pop at goal, and hits a low shot which deflects off Williams and into the far corner.

66’ – GOAL: Swansea 1-3 Manchester City. Kolarov steals the ball off Routledge and sets off on a mazy run, albeit at pedestrian pace, down the left flank. He skips past a couple of lazy challenges and has a crack which somehow flies past Tremmel. Woeful defending.

90+1’ – GOAL: Swansea 2-3 Manchester City. Bony has a crack from distance which zips across the wet turf and into the bottom corner. Surely not...

KEY STATS

Wilfried Bony scored his 5th goal for Swansea this season, joining OWN GOAL as top scorer for Swansea in the 2013/14. (Infostrada)

Yaya Toure scored and reached 10 leagues goals in a season for the first time in 13 seasons of league football. (Infostrada)

Man City win away on New Year's Day in top flight for first time in 28 years since a 1-0 win at Aston Villa in 1986. (Infostrada)

Fernandinho is the 2nd Brazilian to score a Premier League goal on 1 January after Emerson Thome (Sunderland) in 2002 (year in which Brazil won World Cup). (Infostrada)

TALKING POINT

Are Manchester City’s away problems behind them? City’s last four away trips have seen them harvest 10 points from a possible 12 to suggest their early travel sickness may be behind them. They were far from their fluent best against Swansea, but if they can continue to find three or more goals away from home then not many sides are going to be able to compete.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City): Scored a terrific goal, albeit aided by shoddy defending and questionable keeping, and was a constant threat on the left flank.

PLAYER RATINGS

Swansea: Tremmel 5, Rangel 6, Chico 6, Williams 6, Davies 6, Canas 5, de Guzman 6, Shelvey 6, Hernandez 6, Routledge 6, Bony 7… Subs: Pozuelo 6, Lamah 6.

Manchester City: Hart 6, Zabaleta 7, Kompany 6, Nastasic 6, Kolarov 7, Navas 7, Fernandinho 7, Yaya Toure 6, Nasri 6, Negredo 6, Dzeko 6… Subs: Garcia 6, Rodwell 6, Milner 6.

THE MATCH IN A TWEET