MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 15: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City celebrates after scoring the second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Swansea City at Etihad Stadium on August 15, 2011 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
City kicked off the season with a bang at Eastlands, demolishing Swansea 4-0. There was definitely a buzz around the season as the fans were very eager to watch the Blues. In last season's home opener, City dispatched Liverpool 3-0, and a repeat performance seemed to be on the books with newcomers Swansea.
City came out with Hart, Clichy, Lescott, Kompany, Richards, Barry, de Jong, Yaya, Silva, Johnson, and Dzeko, in the usual 4-5-1. City started possessive but a bit sloppy. A few first touches were bad, some passes here and there missed their targets. It wasn't that Swansea was pressuring City well into making mistakes, it was City doing it to themselves. Slowly but surely, the play improved and City were threatening for many goals by the end of the first half. David Silva hit the bar after a nice run and pass from AJ, and both Toure and Dzeko had some decent efforts, one of which Dzeko should have buried but the Swansea keeper was in top form all night long and prevented Dzeko from a cracking opener. With seconds before the half Barry also hit the bar on a shot from the top of the 18, with groans heard all around Eastlands as the ball just somehow would not go in. 0-0 at halftime.
The second half saw a continuation of the end of the first half. City still attacking, and Swansea didn't get the ball anywhere near City's 18 yard box for quite some time. Eventually City's pressing paid off, with Dzeko converting easily on a rebound off a shot from Johnson. It has to be said that Dzeko was excellent today, his positioning was great and he was keeping himself involved in each attack, paying off with his goal. Finally, Mancini made the move City fans have been dreaming of for a month now, bringing on Aguero for de Jong. He received a roaring applause and soon made that £38 mil tag look like a bargain. He instantly was involved in the run of the play, nearly scoring on his first touch in a sky blue shirt with a spinning left shot that was saved by Vorm. It didn't take him long to grab his first, however, as he made a smart run to tap home a Micah Richards cross on the back post. The feeling was immense. But it was only just getting started. Just a few minutes later, Dzeko chipped a ball into Aguero's path into the box, and after a bounce, he was in on goal with Vorm coming out to meet him. He deftly chipped the ball over Vorm, but wide of the post, yet still had the speed to hunt the ball down just before it crossed the line to make a blind volley pass backwards to Silva, who easily finished into the Vorm-less net. It was a sparkling play all around from City, starting with Dzeko and ending with Silva. But still, Aguero was not done. Mancini brought on Savic to make his debut for AJ, and then Milner for Silva later on. City were now in cruise control, killing the game off. With just minutes to play, Aguero struck again. Receiving the ball from 30 yards out, he took a touch, and with no defenders approaching him, unleashed a thunderbolt straight to the corner of the net. Vorm dove, but in vain. It was the icing on the cake, finishing a sparkling debut for the Argentine, and only makes City fans wonder what else he has in store for the season.
Aguero aside, most of the team played well. Yaya was the usual force in the middle, Barry and de Jong playing subtly well behind him. The defense was rock solid and Swansea only managed a few shots on target, which Joe Hart made to look like easy saves. From a team aspect, City started a bit slow, something that Mancini will have to work on either in training or with his lineup. Swansea held the majority of the possession, which doesn't happen often to City, but they didn't make much forward use of it. The one individual criticism that might be mentioned is that Johnson could have been involved in the play more which would have helped City's attack in the first half, but otherwise he played well. Dzeko had his best game in a City shirt, and Savic was solid in his short cameo.
The win puts City tied atop the table with Bolton, and though it is just the first game of the season, every point matters if City are going to make a strong title challenge especially with Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool all dropping points. City's next match happens to be away to Bolton on Sunday. Should be another fun affair in an early top of the table clash.
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