MANCHESTER CITY 4 vs SWANSEA CITY
AS FAR as debuts go, Sergio Aguero’s will take some beating. A goal eight minutes after coming on, an assist to make victory safe three minutes later, and by the final whistle Manchester City’s £38m summer signing had crowned an electrifying 31-minute cameo with a thunderbolt second strike. Suddenly City may not be too troubled by the prospect of losing the talismanic Carlos Tevez.
It was not all about Aguero. Livewire midfielder David Silva was also outstanding and netted the third goal, while the previously lumbering target man Edin Dzeko showed quick feet to open the scoring. But it was the former Atletico Madrid forward who shone brightest and demolished Premier League newcomers Swansea’s hitherto gutsy bid for a first top-flight point, personified by the brilliant goalkeeping of Michel Vorm.
If City were looking to make a statement that they should be considered serious challengers to champions and neighbours Manchester United, and their perennial rivals Chelsea, then this was emphatic. After initially struggling to overwhelm impressive Swansea, they ultimately bulldozed them with the ease expected of a top-three side – and the introduction of Aguero, at the expense of holding midfielder Nigel de Jong, was the turning point.
City manager Roberto Mancini threw on the 23-year-old two minutes after Dzeko had tapped home Vorm’s parry of an Adam Johnson shot. Aguero promptly doubled the lead and demonstrated his poaching qualities by arriving late at the far post to slide in a low Micha Richards cross. He teed up Silva to bury the third with a combination of skill and athleticism, lobbing Vorm and hooking back into the goalmouth. Then in stoppage time the 5ft 7in striker showed his lesser-known prowess from distance by spanking home a glorious effort from 30 yards.
Aguero, signed this month amid uncertainty over the future of last season’s one-man win generator Tevez, already looks a more than adequate replacement for his fellow Argentina star. What he may concede to Tevez in brute force he makes up for in finesse. But if Tevez fails to secure the move he apparently craves and lines up alongside Aguero – or in a trio with the revitalised Dzeko or mercurial Mario Balotelli – then God help the opposition.