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.

source: Getty Images
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.

Roma-Chelsea reports could see Dzeko, Batshuayi… and Sturridge on the move

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Here’s a wild rumor out of Italy, as Gianluca Di Marzio has UEFA Champions League Round of 16 sides Chelsea and Roma working out a big transfer.

[ MORE: PST chats with Dzeko in July ]

Again, before we lay it out, we know that both clubs would not be able to use Cup-tied players in the UCL and that gives the rumor its unrealistic bent.

Chelsea reportedly is willing to send $62 million and striker Michy Batshuayi on loan to Roma in exchange for Edin Dzeko and Emerson Palmeiri. Reports say Roma is holding out for another $20 million, potentially add-ons.

Dzeko isn’t producing at his otherworldly rate of last season, but is far and away i Lupi’s leading scorer and bagged a brace against Chelsea in the UCL. And Batshuayi scored in Chelsea’s first two matches of the tournament.

There is something to the rumor, at least in terms of Emerson. The London Evening Standard quotes the player’s agent as saying talks are ongoing and the move is a “dream” one for Emerson, who is behind Aleksandar Kolarov on the left back depth chart since returning from injury.

Roma would need a UCL-eligible center forward, as Czech youngster Patrik Schick has been unable to find his scoring boots since a summer move from Sampdoria. Football Italia says, sensationally, that Roma would use some of the money to pry Daniel Sturridge from Liverpool.

Maybe the Emerson move goes through, but the striker swap feels like a headscratcher for Dzeko and Chelsea.

Pardew the latest to scratch head at transfer fees

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West Bromwich Albion manager Alan Pardew is the latest to find himself baffled at the prices on the transfer market.

To be fair to the Englishman, 56, it doesn’t sound like he’s raving in ‘old man yelling at the sky’ fashion. Rather he thinks the numbers are hard for fans to gauge and perhaps it’s causing a disconnect.

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And for him, at least, it’s a challenge to sort out whether the prices he’s being quoted are reasonable relative to the market. That makes sense, considering that as Newcastle boss in 2012 he sold Fraser Forster to Celtic for about $3 million and PSG bought Yohan Cabaye — then 28 — from him for $26 million.

Both fees would be a little different right now, we think (from the BBC).

“It’s difficult with the prices now to gauge what’s good value,” Pardew said. “We live in a hyper-inflated world because of the TV money received by the football clubs. Therefore, transfers and wages are going way out of kilter with real life. I think we’re all losing the plot with the figures. It’s just becoming, ‘Oh okay,’ and not even reacting to things any more.”

Now, to play devil’s advocate, if Pardew is actually just old man yelling at the sky, he’d better get out of the manager’s box. The fees aren’t changing for top clubs, which is why Jonny Evans is at risk from a Man City bid but not Newcastle United or Crystal Palace. And the TV money he talks about is going to allow clubs like WBA to hold onto players by offering better wages if they choose that route.

But it’s a fair sentiment regarding how to gauge these numbers. While it’s usually a bit laughable when fans and writers estimate whether clubs have paid too much or sold for too little, managers and administrators risk looking foolish if they agree too low or too high a fee relative to other teams.

Stanford’s Andi Sullivan is the No. 1 pick in NWSL draft

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The Washington Spirit have selected midfielder Andi Sullivan out of Stanford with the first pick in the National Women’s Soccer League draft on Thursday.

Stanford won the NCAA College Cup championship last season. Sullivan scored in the 3-2 Cardinal victory over UCLA. She also won the Mac Hermann Trophy for the nation’s best soccer player.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines — Week 24  ]

Sullivan has made seven appearances with the U.S. national team and has been called into January training camp as the team begins to prepare for World Cup qualifying in the fall.

The Spirit also had the third overall pick, which they used to select midfielder Rebecca Quinn out of Duke.

The Boston Breakers took forward Savannah McCaskill out of South Carolina with the No. 2 overall pick.

The day also featured a number of high-profile trades, including a deal between the Reign and the Royals that sent midfielder Diana Matheson to Utah in exchange for veteran defender Yael Averbuch.

Stoke City adds versatile Greek left-sided man on loan

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New Stoke City boss Paul Lambert is tasked with shoring up a defense which has been bottom half in goals allowed for several seasons, and has made his first move.

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Kostas Stafylidis is a 24-year-old left-sided player with 22 Greek caps to his name, but he’s fallen out of favor at Bundesliga side Augsburg and managed just 31 minutes this season.

He’ll head on loan to the Potteries, where he’ll attempt to aid the leakiest side in the Premier League. Stoke’s 50 goals allowed are eight more than its closest competitor (Watford).

Stafylidis has played left back and left mid for club and country, though he had his most league success last season at left back. He scored four goals and was rated Augsburg’s best field player by WhoScored and its top player overall by Squawka.

And he wants to be there (from StokeCityfc.com):

“As soon as I heard I told my agent directly that I wanted this move,” he added. “I left it to him then, he spoke to the Club more, and then to the trainer and we all wanted to make this move happen. It is good for me, it is good for the Club to bring me here for five months and I am very happy about that.”