Manchester City 3-0 Swansea: Incisive City attack slices up Swansea defense (video)

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Tried to push forward they did, but the visitors were powerless to stop a Manchester City attack led by Samir Nasri’s double to give the home side a 3-0 win at the Etihad.

Swansea’s Jonathan De Guzman missed a sitter to pull level at 1-1 at the end of the first half, and City were in the clear from there.

Manchester City asked the early questions, with Swansea struggling to get out of their own half within the first five minutes.

They broke through early, as Jose Canas brought down Alvaro Negredo in the 8th minute, and the Spanish winger came through with the ensuing free kick.

Manchester City posted up men at the end of the Swansea wall to box the players in, and Negredo bent the ball around the pinned down wall and past a rooted Gerhard Tremmel for a 1-0 lead.

With Swansea opening the game up soon after, 4-time Joe Hart understudy Costel Pantilimon was forced into an impressive diving save by Jonjo Shelvey in the 14th minute.

Shelvey was bright in the Swansea attack, and he made a run in the 23rd minute through the City midfield and cut out Alvaro Vasquez with space between the defense, but the Spaniard dragged his shot wide.  Unfortunately, chances were few and far between for the Swans who were without both Michu and Wilfried Bony due to injury.

Negredo and Samir Nasri cut through the Swansea defense again in the 29th minute and Negredo’s shot was palmed out by Gerhard Tremmel.  The ensuing corner was a good one, and Martin Demichelis’s header clattered the crossbar before being cleared.

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A double from Samir Nasri (right), one assisted by Yaya Toure (left), sank the Swans.

Demichelis got away with a bit of a shirt tug on Pozuelo in his own penalty box a few minutes later, which sprung Aguero on the other end to have a go but a fantastic tackle by Jose Canas stopped Aguero on the other end in his tracks.

Just on the stroke of halftime Swansea had a beautiful chance to equalize as Jonathan De Guzman beat Demichelis one-on-one with a nutmeg, sending the defender embarassingly to the turf. It sent De Guzman through on goal, but with Jolean Lescott and Costel Pantilimon bearing down on the midfielder he panicked and blasted well over, a shocking miss.

Samir Nasri, filling in brilliantly in David Silva’s absence, put City up 2-0 after the break and on the home side went.  Yaya Toure, ever present in that midfield, won the ball and ran easily through to the box, where he cut back for Nasri.  The Frenchman reached out with his foot, stuck the ball at his feet, weaved through and shot past Tremmel.

City were clearly the better side the entire second half, and after they searched for a third, Nasri finally had it in the 77th minute. Pablo Zabaleta latched onto the ball on the right of the box on the overlap, and he cut back for a wide open Nasri bang in the middle of the box for a powerful close-range finish.

Nasri came inches from his hat-trick when he got a pass from Dzeko on a break in the dying minutes, cut back to his right foot and fired for the top corner but it went just wide.

With Chelsea also winning, the victory sends Manchester City up to third place and takes advantage of Liverpool’s loss earlier today.  Swansea remain in 12th, with an attractive brand of soccer this season but fewer points to show for it than many would have expected.

City now have scored 29 goals at home and conceded only two, and are the only club in the Premier League with a perfect home record.

GOALS:

Manchester City – Negredo 8′; Nasri 58′, 77′

LINEUPS:

Manchester City – Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Lescott, Demichelis, Clichy; Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Navas (Kolarov, 76′), Nasri; Negredo (Milner, 63′), Aguero (Dzeko, 79′).

Swansea City – Tremmel; Tiendalli, Chico Flores, Williams, Davies; Canas (Routledge, 62′), de Guzman, Shelvey, Pozuelo (Dyer, 67′), Hernandez; Vazquez.

Report: Man United to target Rose, other full backs this summer

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Jose Mourinho has identified perhaps the most underrated position on the pitch as a place he needs to upgrade his squad this summer.

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According to a report from The Guardian, the Manchester United manager is looking to sign Tottenham wing back Danny Rose and potentially another full back in the summer transfer window. With Luke Shaw likely to leave the club, Mourinho is left with incumbents left back Ashley Young and right back Antonio Valencia, both on the wrong side of 30-years old and both converted wingers playing out-of-position.

Mourinho last December decried crosstown rivals Man City for spending more than $140 million to sign wing backs Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker last summer. Though Mendy missed most of the season with a torn ACL, Walker and fellow outside back Danilo helped give Man City’s attack another dimension out wide, as the wing backs in the 3-4-3 or Man City’s 4-1-4-1 with Fernandinho dropping back into the centerback pairing become ever more important.

Rose has had a contentious last 18-months or so at Tottenham and could be looking to leave this summer. But it will likely take a bid north of $75 million, around what it cost Man City to sign Walker last summer, to buy Rose out of his Tottenham contract.

Matteo Darmian meanwhile, another potential outside back for Man United, could also be departing the club this summer, as Man United looks to replenish its side.

Errors down, penalty kicks up after introduction of VAR in Italy

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The implementation of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in Italy has been controversial, but according to a look at the statistics, it has for the most part done its job to fix clear and obvious errors.

Italian sports paper Gazzetta Dello Sport compiled all the times VAR has been used through 346 matches, 330 in Serie A and 16 in the Coppa Italia. There were 1,736 checks (916 goals, 464 penalties and 356 red cards) with 105 corrections and just 17 errors where the referee and assistant made the wrong decision. Eight of those errors did affect the result, which is an issue that will surely be addressed by the Italian officiating organization.

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But overall, Gazzetta found that in the VAR era, referee errors only amounted to 0.98 percent during a match, as opposed to 6.03 percent in the past. In addition, fouls are down 8.8 percent, red cards are down 6.4 percent, and yellow cards are down 14.7 percent. On the flip side, penalty kicks are called 4.3 more percent of the time.

The Premier League voted recently not to add VAR to its league matches next season, while top leagues in Germany, Italy and in Major League Soccer and the United Soccer League continue to use it.

Report: New Arsenal manager will have small budget to re-shape squad

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Whoever takes the helm as Arsenal’s next manager will have to do some math gymnastics this summer to stretch every penny available.

According to a report from The Telegraph, Arsenal is giving Arsene Wenger‘s successor a little less than $70 million to work with in this summer’s transfer market, citing back-to-back transfer windows with club-record signings (Alexandre Lacazette last summer and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January) and three raises given to players. Arsenal paid around $78 million alone to sign Aubameyang and around $65 million for Lacazette.

[READ: UCL Preview: Liverpool vs. Roma]

That means whoever comes in next to lead Arsenal will likely have to sell one or two players this summer to raise additional money for world-class signings.

For the last decade, Arsenal has been crying out for a new pair of centerbacks and a holding midfielder in the mould of Patrick Vieira. In addition, with Petr Cech getting older, the prospect of needing a new goalkeeper is also on the horizon.

Luckily for Arsenal, they seem to be just fine up front. From Aubameyang and Lacazette to Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey, the club has the talent to challenge for a title next season in that department.

A dozen different names have been bandied about as to who will be Arsenal’s next manager, with out-of-contract and former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique reportedly on the shortlist. Vieira, former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta, Germany National Team coach Joachim Low, Juventus boss Max Allegri and Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsman have all also been linked with the job.

Tunisian player who collapsed in Spain regains consciousness

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MADRID (AP) Spanish third-division club Toledo says a Tunisian player who collapsed from heart failure during practice 10 days ago has regained consciousness.

The club says doctors removed sedative medication and Lassad Nouioui was responding well to treatment on Monday.

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They will consider removing the 32-year-old Nouioui from the intensive care unit if his condition keeps improving. Nouioui has played for a number of clubs during his 14-year professional career, notably a four-year stay at Deportivo La Coruna and a one-year spell with Celtic.

Nouioui collapsed on April 14.

The game against Real Madrid B the following day was postponed because of the problem with Nouioui.