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The dream continues
Manchester City kept the goal of a quadruple triumph alive with a comfortable 3-1 win over Swansea in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
It was a much more convincing performance for City then the last time both teams met in this competition in 2019. On that day an offside goal gave the Sky Blues the win.
Tonight a first-half goal from Kyle Walker and a pair of quick second-half strikes from Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus propelled City to the last eight of this competition.
A match hyped as a defensive showcase became a game of keep away.
At the end of 90 minutes, City had 74% possession over the second-tier side.
The Swans did well in the first half-hour to keep City in check as Freddie Woodman stopped Jesus in the second minute of play.
Jesus came close 13 minutes later off an excellent feed from Benjamin Mendy but missed the target.
All that possession paid off as City took the lead in the 30th minute.
A stroke of good fortune came their way as Ferran Torres failed to connect to the Kyle Walker cross but did enough to throw off the timing of Woodman who couldn’t react in time.
The Swans had a quick response two minutes later, a lovely cross from Connor Roberts was met well by Jay Fulton, but the midfielder’s header sailed over the bar.
City was in control from that point on.
In the second half, Guardiola’s side quickly ended any hope Swansea had of coming back.
Two minutes in and City were two goals in front. Rodri won the ball in the middle of the pitch and found Raheem Sterling. The Swans inexplicably left the striker in acres of space, and he made them pay with all the time in the world to place his shot into the bottom corner.
Three minutes later, City had a third. A nice header by Bernardo Silva fell into the path of Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian did well to brush off his marker with a nice swivel and turn before hammering it home.
Swansea did find a consolation marker in the 77th minute, which more than anything gave them a small sense of pride. Substitute Morgan Whittaker did well to collect the Ryan Manning cross as his half-volley found the bottom-right corner.
In the end, it was far too little and far too late.
Man of the Match
He’s not been the flashiest, but Rodri had a significant impact on tonight’s victory.
The Spaniard got assists on the first two goals and won many balls in the middle of the park.
His hard work and power on the ball made a real difference for his side.
It’s a shame he couldn’t finish the match as he limped off from a nasty challenge in the 72nd minute.
Guardiola will hope he’s not seriously hurt as he’s quietly becoming an integral part of City’s midfield.
Manchester City is now the new standard in terms of consistency in English football.
They’ve won 15 straight games in all competitions which is the longest winning streak for a top-flight side in England.
It’s incredible when you think about how they began the season.
With just eight points and in 12th place in late October things couldn’t have been any worse.
The Sky Blues are living proof that when you are down, things can only go up from there and since then they certainly have.
In their record-setting win streak, City has 40 goals, conceded five and kept ten clean sheets.
Their form around Halloween may have been spooky, but it’s scary how good they’ve become since then.
As if his managing record couldn’t get any better Pep Guardiola set another milestone on Wednesday.
The City boss now has 200 wins as club manager since taking over in 2016. It took him 268 total matches to reach that mark. During his tenure with the club, City’s scored 659 goals and lost a mere 37 matches in all competitions. They’re averaging 2.46 goals a game under the Spaniard.
When you achieve what Pep Guardiola has as a manager, you wonder how you can stay motivated. The man’s already won virtually every major club trophy there is but he’s hungry for more.
After the match, Guardiola said his team did well to neutralize an aggressive Swansea side.
“I had a feeling that when Swansea go up front, they create a dangerous situation. They defend so aggressively, but we controlled the game, we had a good-build up, and we created a lot of chances, but unfortunately, in the final third, we could not convert. But we are in the quarter-finals, so it’s the next step.”
City moves on to the last eight of this competition and will find out tomorrow who they”ll face in the next round.
The FA Cup quarter-finals take place the weekend of March 20.
Their next match meanwhile is Saturday in the Premier League when they host Tottenham from the Etihad at 5:30 pm. (JSL).