As the fourth official’s board went up three minutes after Edin Dzeko had put Manchester City in front against Swansea at the Etihad Stadium, Mancini showed his hand. Last season he may have been content with a one goal lead and, with half an hour left, seen the game through by bringing on a defensive minded player. Tonight however, that was not the case. In a somewhat bold move for the often-claimed cautious Mancini he introduced new signing Sergio Aguero for his Manchester City debut, replacing the injured Nigel De Jong. An inspired substitution it was as the Blues finally managed to take control of the game and send a brave but naive Swansea side back to Wales with a harsh welcome to the Premier League.
Swansea City passed the ball well and looked reasonably assured in possession, but they were toothless up front and never really threatened City’s defence. The pace of both Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer was nullified by two impressive performances from the Blues’ fullbacks Micah Richards and Gael Clichy. Gareth Barry’s return in place of James Milner was justified as he was solid once again.
The stars of the game however, were David Silva, Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero. Silva, deservedly named man of the match, was at the heart of everything and is always available to receive a pass. His movement and skill was sensational at times and he was unlucky to only have one goal to his name. If there was one criticism of Silva last season it was that he needed to score more goals and judging on tonight’s performance, he may well score more this campaign. A confident Edin Dzeko will score goals in the Premier League; his ability has not always been evident since his £27 million move from Wolfsburg in January, but as the game went on he looked more and more like the man to lead City’s attack this season alongside Sergio Aguero.
As the City faithful departed the Etihad Stadium in the typical Manchester rain, it must have dawned upon them that they have a real gem in Sergio Aguero. In half an hour he did more than Mario Balotelli has done the whole time he has been at the club. It was a fantastic start for Aguero who scored two and grabbed an outrageous assist as he hooked the ball back towards the incoming David Silva when it appeared to be heading out of play for a goal kick. If that brought gasps of disbelief from the fans, his strike in the closing minutes of the game mesmerised those left in the stadium. A simply stunning 35 yard strike into the far corner of goal left tens of thousands of supporters in total awe. Carlos Tévez who? It seems the City fans have a new Argentinian to adore.
Hart: 6 – Had very little to do and comfortable when called upon
Richards: 7 – Dealt with the threat of the quick Scott Sinclair effectively. A good, solid performance from the fullback.
Kompany: 6 – Captain Kompany was never seriously tested, dealt with what he had to effectively.
Lescott: 6 – Like his central defensive partner Kompany, Lescott was never really threatened.
Clichy: 7 – His pace will be an asset to City this season down the left flank. A solid performance and kept Dyer quiet.
De Jong: 6 – Forced off after 60 minutes with an injury, solid up until then.
Toure: 6 – Started slowly but showed his class from half an hour onwards with a couple of dangerous runs.
Barry: 7 – His presence was missed in midfield last week and deservedly recalled to the side. Was good with possession but still has a tendency to give away needless free kicks.
Johnson: 5 – Rewarded with a start after a good pre-season but he never really got going. Struggled to make his mark on the game and this was against Swansea. Still seems to be an impact player.
Silva: 10 – A remarkable performance from the Spanish wizard. At the heart of everything and deserved both his goal and man of the match award.
Dzeko: 9 – An impressive performance from Dzeko, confidence grew as the game progressed and took his goal well. Linked up well with Silva and Aguero and was strong on the ball.
Aguero (for De Jong 60mins): 9 – It’s very rare to score someone a 9/10 based on half an hour, but he was outstanding. Two goals and an assist and was a constant threat. City have a star.
Savic (for Johnson 75mins): Not enough time to mark.
Milner (for Silva 82mins): Not enough time to mark.
Unused Substitutes: Taylor, Zabaleta, Balotelli, Kolarov