Swansea City v Manchester City - Premier League

Swansea 2-3 Manchester City: Goals galore keeps City rolling (video)

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Manchester City won back-to-back games away from home for the first time this season, as they downed a spirited Swansea side 3-2 at the Liberty Stadium to celebrate 2014’s arrival in style.

City took the lead through Fernandinho in the first half but on the stroke of the interval Wilfried Bony equalized for the Swans with a great header. After the break Manuel Pellegrini’s men flexed their attack-minded muscles superbly as Yaya Toure and Aleksandar Kolarov both scored in quick succession to make it 3-1, before Bony’s late strike made the match look closer than it was.

With the victory City momentarily went top of the league, as they have 44 points from their 20 games so far. As for Swansea, they remain in 11th and sit just five points above the relegation zone.

It was an even start at a rainy Liberty Stadium, as the visitors had the first effort at goal when Alvaro Negredo fed Edin Dzeko who swept his shot just wide of Swansea’s goal.

But the home side started well and an effort from Bony flew just wide of Joe Hart’s right-hand post after five minutes, as the lone striker got an early sight of goal. Soon after a setback hit the home side as Pablo Hernandez was forced off with a hamstring injury, he was replaced by Belgian international Roland Lamah after just 10 minutes.

Moments later Fernandinho opened the scoring as Samir Nasri’s corner was cleared only to the edge of the box, where City’s Brazilian midfielder was waiting to smash home a low drive to put his side 1-0 up. City threatened to double their lead on several occasions during the first half, as Jesus Navas and Nasri on both wings created plenty of problems for Swansea’s defense.

To their credit the Swans kept going as Jonjo Shelvey and Julian de Guzman both went close midway through the first half following patient build up play from the home side. But City always looked more dangerous as Dzeko’s effort on the half hour mark was deflected just wide by Chico Flores. At the other end Bony once again came close, as he struck almost a carbon copy of his first effort which flew just wide of Hart’s post.

But he wasn’t to be denied, as Ivorian striker Bony scored for the first time in seven games right on the interval, heading home from De Guzman’s delicious cross from the right to make it 1-1 at the break. Despite City looking comfortable for most of the match, it was Swansea who were in the ascendancy at the break.

Early on in the second half Negredo caused havoc in the box but the Spanish striker couldn’t finish after a defensive mix up at the back nearly put Swansea behind once again. Soon City raced away, with Toure bursting into the box after 55 minutes and hitting a shot that deflected off Ashely Williams and into the net to put City 2-1 ahead.

Less than 10 minutes later it was 3-1 as the Citizens’ fine goal-scoring record continued into 2014. Left back Kolarov picked up the ball on the left flank and drive down the line, before cutting inside and smashing home an effort with his right foot for his first PL goal in over a year.

City were rampant after that but Swansea looked dangerous on the odd occasion as Bony stung the palms of Hart with the Swans looking to pull a goal back and make it interesting. However that goal didn’t arrive until the 91st minute, when Bony grabbed his second of the match with a sensational drive from outside box to pull Swansea within one goal of City.

However, it proved to be too little, too late.

LINEUPS

Swansea City: Tremmel, Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies, Canas, de Guzman, Shelvey (Pozuelo, 81), Hernandez (Lamah 10), Routledge, Bony

Goals: Bony (45 &90)

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Kolarov, Navas (Rodwell, 90), Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Nasri (Milner, 70), Negredo (Garcia, 60), Dzeko

Goals: Fernandinho (14), Toure (58), Kolarov (66)

Wenger slams criticism of Arsenal’s players ahead of fan protests

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Arsene Wenger is not a happy man.

I know, I know, tell us something we don’t know.

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However, the 66-year-old Gunners boss has taken exception to widespread criticism of his players ahead of fan protests against him which are planned for this Saturday’s game against Norwich (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) at the Emirates Stadium.

Speaking to the media on Friday, Wenger stood up for his players who are having their commitment questioned.

“I tell you, this team has character and attitude. Some people who question them, I know them well – they have less character than this team has. I saw them play, and even know them very closely, and they should not question the character of these players,” Wenger said. “There are some groups of people that try to manipulate our fans, but I believe apart from a personal agenda and a big ego there’s not a lot behind [the criticism].”

Okay then…

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With empty seats galore at the Emirates last Thursday during the 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion, Wenger had been dealing with growing fan unrest throughout this season.

Although Wenger urged fans of Arsenal to support the players on Saturday against Norwich he did admit he shares their frustration about limping out of the title race this season, of all seasons.

“I can understand the frustration,” Wenger said. “No one is more frustrated than me, but our disappointment has not to go too far. When a club cannot enjoy anything any more, it is in trouble, and we have to not forget that in football you go down very quickly and you come up very slowly.”

Arsenal looked certain to be making a title charge in February after they beat Leicester City late on but since that huge victory they’ve won just three of their last nine Premier League games, plus lost in the FA Cup to Watford and were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League by Barcelona at the Round of 16.

After two decades of Wenger in charge and no PL title in 12 years, Arsenal’s fans want more. They want trophies and success.

They also want answers from Wenger and as the protests on Saturday will show, the vast majority also want a new manager.

Goteborg apologizes over crowd trouble at abandoned match

GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN - OCTOBER 31:  IFK Goteborg receives the silver medal after the match between IFK Goteborg and Kalmar FF at Gamla Ullevi on October 31, 2015 in Gothenburg, Sweden.  (Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images)
Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images
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GOTEBORG, Sweden (AP) Swedish club IFK Goteborg has apologized for crowd trouble that resulted in a league match against Malmo being abandoned after a firework landed next to a visiting player warming up on the sidelines and he responded angrily.

Wednesday’s game was interrupted in the 77th minute, with the score at 0-0, when a firecracker tossed from the crowd exploded next to midfielder Tobias Sana, a former Goteborg player. Jolted by the loud bang, Sana reacted by throwing a corner flag into the stands.

[ WATCH: Sana throws corner flag into Goteborg fans ]

Match officials decided to abandon the match, saying a linesman who was also near the firework when it exploded was shocked by the incident.

Sana, who said he had a headache and ear pain following the incident, apologized for his actions.

“Now that I’ve gotten over the shock, I feel it was the stupidest decision of my life,” Sana said Thursday in statement. “There are many young people who look up to me so I really want to apologize.”

Malmo said that Sana wouldn’t face any sanctions from the club.

In a move suggesting the firework was thrown by home fans, Goteborg posted an apology on its website directed at Malmo, match officials and the spectators. The club could face sanctions from the Swedish football association’s disciplinary committee.

There was another security incident on a chaotic evening in Goteborg. After the match was suspended, a Norwegian hockey player ran onto the field, reportedly as part of a bet with teammates at recently crowned Swedish champion Frolunda.

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Newspaper Aftonbladet said Mats Rosseli Olsen, who played for Norway at the Sochi Olympics, was charged with a public order offense and could face fines.

Frolunda director Christian Lechtaler told Swedish news agency TT that Olsen’s behavior would have “consequences” but didn’t elaborate.

“Mats is very regretful and doesn’t feel good at all about this,” Lechtaler said.

Swedish football has been marred by crowd problems for years, including fans throwing objects at players and match officials and brawling with each other before or after games. Two years ago, a Djurgarden fan was killed after being attacked by hooligans ahead of an away match against Helsingborg.

Flores on future at Watford: “I need to feel happy”

during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Watford at the Boleyn Ground, April 20, 2016, London, England
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On the surface, it sounds crazy: Why trade a manager who led a first-year Premier League club to relatively quick safety in England’s top flight and a FA Cup semifinal?

But Watford is not any club when it comes to their views on managers, having parted ways with Slavisa Jokanovic after the Serbian manager led them to promotion. Oh, and when hired Jokanovic was the Hornets fourth coach in five weeks.

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So current manager Quique Sanchez Flores isn’t safe despite the Hornets’ 12th place status. That probably has a lot to do with Watford’s four points since the start of March, a tough schedule run that included Leicester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and West Ham.

So, could he be gone this summer? Flores has a break clause after this season, and Watford may not have a choice even if they want to keep the Spaniard around.

From Sky Sports:

Asked if he wanted to stay, Flores said: “This is not the question for me now.

“I know the kind of people I want to work with. That’s the only thing I can say. In the last four or five years I work from my feelings. I work around people I feel completely protected with.

“These are my feelings. When we finish the season I will check what the conditions are but I need to feel happy.”

Who needs who the most? Flores’ season has been impressive even with the late struggles, but Watford’s managerial merry-go-round happened before the club advanced into the Premier League and they’ve survived despite making a change in the summer. Still, we’d do our best to keep Flores at Vicarage Road.

Ex-soccer star Weah to run again for president of Liberia

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - NOVEMBER 25: Liberia soccer legend George Weah speaks during the 2010 FIFA World Cup Preliminary Draw at the ICC convention centre on November 25, 2007 in Durban, South Africa.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
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MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) Former world footballer of the year George Weah says he will make a second bid to become president of Liberia.

The ex-AC Milan striker announced on Thursday he will stand as a candidate in elections next year, when current president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s second and final term ends.

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Weah, who formed the Congress for Democratic Change party, lost to Sirleaf in the 2005 election.

Declaring his intention to stand again, Weah told supporters he sympathized with the plight of many poor Liberians. He said “there were times I didn’t have school fees. I continued to strive with the hope that one day life will get better.”

Weah was the world footballer of the year in 1995. He is a senator in his West African homeland.