Saturday, 22 November 2014

#FlashbackFour – Man City v Swansea

Nathan Lewis gives us his rundown of the last four games against Man City

If you ask a Swansea fan to pick out some of their highlights from the last 10-12 years, you might find that a 4-0 loss sticks as one of the most memorable moments. Our first Premier League match, away at the Etihad, was both encouraging and heart-breaking. Sure, we lost 4-0 to a mightily impressive City side, but the Swans showed enough to indicate that we would have enough; that we would be alright. The following May we sprung a surprise at the Liberty, winning 1-0. Did our encouraging form continue into Michael Laudrup’s first season in charge? Let’s have a look:

27th October 2012 - Premier League
Man City 1-0 Swansea

A little pub quiz trivia to start this week’s Flashback: Which match holds the record for the longest match in Premier League history? That’s right, this one. 12 minutes were added onto this match due to the unfortunate injuries to Michel Vorm and Micah Richards, but it was not long enough for Swansea to score an equaliser which, given their general control of play, may have been deserved. It was undoubtedly a more impressive display from the Swans than their previous visit to the Etihad. -Laudrup’s men had the better of the game in general, looking the more likely to score for large spells. 

An impressive performance between the posts for Joe Hart, however, saw the Swans come away with only a creditable performance to write home about. Man City were always going to be tough opposition, and it took them 36 minutes for them to test Vorm in the Swansea goal, and another 25 to put an effort past him. Vorm unfortunately injured his groin in attempting to save Tevez’s swerving effort, with Tremmel replacing him for the last half an hour or so. All in all, another creditable performance against one of the top four, but unfortunately not anything in terms of points. Encouraging though, no doubt. 

4th May 2013 - Premier League
Swansea 0-0 Man City

What a journey it has been for Swansea City Football Club. 3rd May 2003, Swansea play Hull in a must-win match to save their league status. Almost exactly 10 years to the day and the Swans welcome an oil-rich, Champions League quality side to the Liberty Stadium. And what’s more, they keep a clean sheet, and earn a point. For once, it was Manchester City who were more wasteful with their efforts on goal, and an impressive Michel Vorm performance kept his side in it. Were it not for Vorm, or his captain in front of him Ashley Williams, Swansea would certainly have had more to worry about, but as it was Laudrup’s side were able to hold onto a vital point at home to the previous year’s champions.

1st December 2013 - Premier League
Man City 3-0 Swansea

I hate to sound like a broken record, but it is quite easy to pick up a pattern with these Flashbacks. Look at the second half of Michael Laudrup’s reign as Swansea manager and you see the following: Control of possession, a lack of a clinical edge and Alvaro Vazquez starting an alarming amount of matches. On this occasion, the Swans controlled the game, with 55 (FIFTY-FIVE)% possession AWAY at the Etihad. 

Impressive, certainly, but without the ability to put away your chances, all that possession is worth nothing, and that was shown by a Manchester City side that clinically dispatched their chances to score three goals. Without Michu and Bony the Swans looked toothless in this game, and with Jonjo and Jon De Guzman missing gilt-edged chances to get on the scoresheet another match, indeed  - another match in which the Swans more than matched a top side in terms of quality, went by where we were unable to convert chances to goals and points.

1st January 2014 - Premier League
Swansea 2-3 Man City

Before this New Year’s Day clash at the Liberty, Manchester City had failed to score in either of their two previous visits. It goes without saying that the record no longer stood when the final whistle came. The Manchester side took the lead from a corner, the ball bouncing out to Fernandinho, who smashed it back past Gerhard Tremmel. For the rest of the first half, it seemed as if Swansea were never going to equalise, with Bony twice firing past the post, and De Guzman placing a shot straight down Joe Hart’s throat. 

The equaliser eventually came, with Wilfried Bony planting a header into the corner of the goal from a lovely Rangel cross. The Swans consistently pinned Man City into their own half in the first 45 minutes, and certainly deserved their equaliser, but a revitalised City came fighting back in the second-half and eventually regained the lead with an impressive Yaya Toure shot. Gerhard Tremmel will wonder how Toure’s shot squeezed inside the post, but will remember the third goal less fondly, letting Kolarov’s powerful shot push through his hands and into the net. Bony popped up in stoppage time with another reminder of his talent, hammering the ball into the net from 25 yards, but it wasn’t enough to secure a point for the Swans.

Games Played: 4
Games Won: 0
Games Drawn: 1
Games Lost: 3
Goals Scored: 2
Goals Conceded: 7

On first viewing, the stats don’t look great for a Swans fan, with no victories in the last two years. But there is certainly some encouragement to be found from this look back at previous fixtures. We have been able to match top sides for long spells in our meetings with them, and this is no less evident in our matches with Man City. Given our improved defensive record this season, maybe, just maybe we can walk away from the Etihad with our heads held high, as well as a point or three.

My prediction: A bold 1-0 win.

Bold from Nathan! Agree? Disagree? What are your predictions?