Swansea City versus Manchester City in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday 4 May 2013 - Manchester City FC

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  • 04 May 2013 16:54
  • Posted by @markbooth_mcfc

City were unable to rubber stamp a second place finish after playing out a dismal goalless draw at Swansea.

There were premature sobs of dejection in the away end on City’s only other visit to the Liberty Stadium in March 2012 but tears of boredom were more likely this time after a drab encounter in South Wales.

A monotonous match was only punctuated by a couple of penalty appeals and half-chances for both sides in a game between teams who looked like they have very little to lose - or gain for that matter.

Edin Dzeko spurned City’s best chance with a botched volley in the final minutes.

With all of the epitaphs for City’s unsuccessful title defence scribed, printed and passed over the fish and chip shop counter, attention has shifted towards next week’s FA Cup final against Wigan.

goal mouth

Competition for Wembley starting berths and the opportunity to all but cement second and an automatic Champions League group stage place provided all the motivation Roberto Mancini’s men required going into this meeting against fellow former Lazio man, Michael Laudrup.

There was no question of rotation in the the manager's thoughts, with a strong line-up named that showed two changes from the team that saw off West Ham at the Etihad Stadium last Saturday.

Fit-again James Milner came in to lend his vim to the midfield in place of Carlos Tevez, while Matija Nastasic returned to partner Vincent Kompany at the heart of defence.

As for the hosts, a table charting the form of Capital One Cup winners in the final straight of the Premier League season would make for interesting reading, given previous victors' propensities to spend the remaining weeks of the campaign in a contented haze, daydreaming on golden sands and lapping waves.

Despite the home side being well clear of the drop thanks to Laudrup’s impressive first season in charge; their form has tailed off in recent weeks and they went into this game without a win in six.

City, by contrast, boasted the Premier League’s best record over the last eight matches and went into this one knowing that a win would guarantee Champions League football at the Etihad Stadium next season.

milner

City got as far as the 34th minute without fashioning anything to unduly worry Michel Vorm in the Swansea goal, but when the chance did come, Samir Nasri should probably have given his side the lead.

Gareth Barry floated a long, drifting pass over and in behind the Swansea defence and Nasri met it on the volley but the Frenchman couldn’t get any power on his shot and Vorm made a simple save.

Mancini’s men haven’t been fortunate on many occasions in the Premier League this season but they had cause to be grateful on 37 minutes when Nastasic appeared to pole-axe Michu in the penalty area but referee Mike Jones waved away the protests.

David Silva almost made the most of this good fortune on the stroke of half-time after an intricate, flowing move from the Blues presented him with the opportunity to open the scoring but superb defensive work from, first Ashley Williams, then Vorm, denied the twinkle-toed Spaniard when a goal looked likely.

October’s meeting between these two at the Etihad Stadium broke a record for longest Premier League game at a whopping 102 minutes, but at times the first-half felt longer than that, with both teams barely breaking into a jog.

Mancini swapped Yaya Toure for Dzeko at half-time, prompting a tactical switch which saw Sergio Aguero drop in behind the Bosnian at the tip of attack.

david

If that was a move to spark life into the away side, it didn’t work and, if anything, the second half was played in an even more lethargic spirit.

City had a penalty shout 15 minutes into the second-half when Dzeko tumbled over the outstretched leg of Chico Flores just inside the box but it would have been a harsh award given Swansea’s grievances over the earlier incident with Nastasic.

With City still searching for their first-ever goal at the Liberty Stadium, Tevez was introduced with a little over 10 minutes to play but even the Blues’ top-scorer in all competitions couldn’t inspire the FA Cup finalists to a match-winning goal.

As if to sum up the impotence in front of goal from both teams, Dzeko fluffed City’s best chance of the afternoon with seven minutes to play, side-footing a volley wide from six-yards out and Silva blazed wide a minute later when he really should have scored.

On a more positive note, another clean sheet leaves Joe Hart one shut-out away from equaling his record of 17 from last season and on course to claim a third-successive Golden Gloves award.

There will be no DVD released of this one.

Match details

Saturday 04 May 2013, 3:00PM

Liberty Stadium Att:20,242
Barclays Premier League

Referee:
Mike Jones

Teams

Swansea City:

Vorm, Rangel, Chico, Williams (c), Davies, Britton, de Guzman, Routledge (Aguestien 63mins), Dyer (Tiendalli 86mins), Hernandez, Michu (Moore 68mins)

Unused subs:
Tremmel, Monk, Taylor, Shechter

Manchester City:

Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Nastasic, Clichy, Yaya Toure (Dzeko 45mins), Barry, Nasri, Silva (Rodwell 86mins), Milner, Aguero (Tevez 78mins)

Unused subs:
Pantilimon, Kolo Toure, Kolarov, Garcia

All times are taken from a live feed and are approximate at time of publishing.

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