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Guardiola secures 10th Man City win

Sergio Aguero

Sergio Aguero has now scored 11 goals in all competitions for Manchester City this season in only six appearances

Premier League leaders Manchester City maintained their perfect start under Pep Guardiola with victory at Swansea.

Sergio Aguero fired the visitors in front before Fernando Llorente scored his first Swans goal with an emphatic half-volley four minutes later.

Aguero netted his second goal with a penalty after Mike van der Hoorn elbowed Kevin de Bruyne, who later limped off with a hamstring injury.

Raheem Sterling added a classy third after a quick counter-attack.

Guardiola’s men had looked a little below par with the score 1-1 at half-time, but an authoritative display after the break underlined their title credentials.

The Spaniard becomes only the second manager to win his first six Premier League matches after Carlo Ancelotti, who did so as he led Chelsea to the title in 2009-10.

Swansea’s defeat, meanwhile, leaves them hovering above the relegation zone by one point – albeit after an improved performance which may have eased the pressure on beleaguered head coach Francesco Guidolin.

Man City avoid a first hiccup

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Raheem Sterling has scored four times in his past four Premier League games

Manchester City had already beaten Swansea in the EFL Cup on Wednesday to make it nine wins from their first nine games under Guardiola, but this was a far more important fixture for both sides.

While the midweek cup match was a battle between two shadow sides, the likes of De Bruyne and Sterling were restored for this game – and, most significantly, so too was Aguero.

Having served a three-match ban for elbowing West Ham’s Winston Reid, the Argentina forward struck after just nine minutes, swivelling inside the penalty area and finishing powerfully through the legs of Lukasz Fabianski.

Manchester City poured forward with typical pace and fluidity but they struggled to create many clear chances, one of which was uncharacteristically dragged wide by the recently irrepressible De Bruyne.

However, Guardiola’s side addressed those issues with a ruthless second-half performance.

After Aguero cheekily wrong-footed Fabianski from the spot, Sterling finished a sweeping breakaway with a flourish, flummoxing Kyle Naughton with a step-over before rolling the ball past Fabianski.

Guidolin’s reprieve?

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The average positions show three Manchester City players were, on average, further forward than their Swansea colleagues. Despite playing at home, Swansea opted to defend deep with Jordi Amat (2) and Mike van der Hoorn (5) positioned just outside their own penalty area to avoid Sterling and Aguero running in behind them. However, as Swansea pushed forward late on, they left themselves exposed and Sterling took advantage for the third goal

Whereas Manchester City breezed into this fixture with the confidence of serious title contenders, their opponents were vulnerable.

Swansea’s tally of four points was their lowest after five matches of a Premier League season, casting grave doubts over the future of head coach Guidolin.

His precarious position means the Swans have already considered potential successors, such as Ryan Giggs, but the hosts’ spirited display suggested the players were battling to save Guidolin’s job.

They frustrated their visitors with an energetic first-half display, capped by Llorente’s firmly struck first goal for the club, and Guidolin and the home fans felt aggrieved when referee Neil Swarbrick awarded a penalty after judging Van der Hoorn – otherwise solid on his Premier League debut – had elbowed De Bruyne.

However, the reality of Swansea’s situation bit in the second half as Manchester City’s ruthless showing inflicted a fourth defeat from six Premier League games for Guidolin’s men, leaving them staring at another relegation battle.

Man of the match – Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

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Aguero, back after a domestic three-game ban, has scored 28 goals in his past 27 Premier League appearances

David Silva’s influence grew in the second half but it was Aguero who made the most incisive contributions, scoring two important goals to ensure City avoided dropping points for what would have been the first time this season.

What they said

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Guidolin ‘proud’ of players despite loss

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said: “We played very good, but we missed a lot of final passes and that happened a lot of times in the first half.

“You have to win the ball, use the ball and use the counter-attack. It is the first time we have been 1-1 at half-time and we spoke of how we had to be like a team and in the second half we played really well.

“Sergio is quality. His first step, second step in the box is so good and that is why he is one of the best strikers in the world but I want to help him improve his game.”

On De Bruyne, Guardiola added: “I think he is injured, that’s why we have to have a big squad as everyone will help us.

“It’s a pity – he is important for us. How he reacted, it looks like it was a muscular injury, but I’m not a doctor.”

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Guidolin ‘proud’ of players despite loss

Swansea City manager Francesco Guidolin said: “We played a very good game and for one hour we were at the same level as Manchester City and they are the best team in the UK.

“In front of us we have a good future. I know my job and after four, five or six defeats it it not easy but I am confident as we have played a good game today.”

On the penalty decision that saw his side fall 2-1 behind, Guidolin added: “I’m not a judge. If the referee says this I have to accept it. For me it is not a penalty but that’s not important, the important thing is my team played a good game.”

The stats you need to know

  • Manchester City are the only side to have scored the first goal in every one of their six Premier League games this season.
  • Fernando Llorente scored his first Premier League goal for Swansea City in his sixth appearance in the competition for them.
  • This was only Llorente’s second goal in 17 league appearances in 2016 (11 appearances for Sevilla and six appearance for Swansea).
  • Raheem Sterling has scored four goals and assisted five more in eight competitive appearances for Manchester City this season.
  • Pep Guardiola has won his first six games as a Premier League manager, equalling the record set by Carlo Ancelotti in 2009-10.
  • Manchester City have won their first 10 games in all competitions this season – the only previous top-flight side to have more from the start of a season are Tottenham Hotspur (first 11 games in all comps) in 1960-61.

What’s next?

Swansea take on Liverpool at home on Saturday, 1 October in the Premier League (12:30 BST). Manchester City, meanwhile, have a Champions League tie to look forward to as they visit Scottish champions Celtic on Wednesday (19:45).

Live Text

Match ends, Swansea City 1, Manchester City 3.

Second Half ends, Swansea City 1, Manchester City 3.

Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Kyle Naughton (Swansea City).

Foul by Fernando (Manchester City).

Fernando Llorente (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Jesús Navas (Manchester City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Sergio Agüero.

Attempt missed. Modou Barrow (Swansea City) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Ki Sung-yueng.

John Stones (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Fernando Llorente (Swansea City).

Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City).

Borja Bastón (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. David Silva (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

David Silva (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Leroy Fer (Swansea City).

Attempt missed. Borja Bastón (Swansea City) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Kyle Naughton with a cross.

Substitution, Manchester City. Jesús Navas replaces Kevin De Bruyne because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) because of an injury.

Substitution, Swansea City. Borja Bastón replaces Leon Britton.

Foul by Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City).

Modou Barrow (Swansea City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution, Manchester City. Pablo Zabaleta replaces Bacary Sagna.

Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.

Goal! Swansea City 1, Manchester City 3. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne following a fast break.

Corner, Swansea City. Conceded by Kevin De Bruyne.

Attempt missed. Fernandinho (Manchester City) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by David Silva with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Lukasz Fabianski.

Attempt saved. David Silva (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Sergio Agüero.

Substitution, Swansea City. Ki Sung-yueng replaces Jack Cork.

Substitution, Swansea City. Modou Barrow replaces Wayne Routledge.

Attempt missed. Fernandinho (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Aleksandar Kolarov.

Substitution, Manchester City. Fernando replaces Ilkay Gündogan.

Attempt saved. Leroy Fer (Swansea City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Wayne Routledge with a cross.

Corner, Swansea City. Conceded by Bacary Sagna.

Goal! Swansea City 1, Manchester City 2. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the high centre of the goal.

Mike van der Hoorn (Swansea City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Penalty Manchester City. Kevin De Bruyne draws a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty conceded by Mike van der Hoorn (Swansea City) after a foul in the penalty area.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37393700