Sunday, February 5, 2017 8:52 pm
Gabriel Jesus scored twice, including an injury-time winner, as Manchester City moved up to third place in the Premier League after overcoming a battling Swansea City 2-1 at Etihad Stadium.
Jesus had an immediate impact in front of his home crowd, using his natural pace to dart forward and put his side in front with a tap past Lukasz Fabianski.
The hosts dominated the first half, but the visitors had the better of the second half.
They took advantage of Manchester City’s lack of intensity as Gylfi Sigurdsson picked up Luciano Narsingh’s cross and steered the ball beyond a diving Willy Caballero.
However, the goal spurred the home side on.
They picked up the pace again and Jesus was on hand to slide home a winner after his header was parried by Fabianski.
Pep Guardiola has made 80 changes to his starting line-up this season, 15 more than any other Premier League manager.
It proved to be more than necessary now, after he opted to keep Jesus up front in place of Sergio Aguero.
For all Swansea’s recent improvement, they could not match City’s pace in the first half.
The hosts swamped Swansea’s defence and created space, passing with a fluency that has not always been evident this season.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Jesus, City’s £27 million Brazilian signing, showed little sign of fatigue as he made his third appearance in seven days.
He was on the move from the opening minutes of the game, his first shot flying over the bar, and his quick movement allowed him to tap the ball beyond Fabianski.
Guardiola side’s challenge now is to maintain that level of intensity, because when it dipped, City looked vulnerable in defence and their slick passing was lost as Swansea pressed forward.
It showed why they have not kept a clean sheet at home in the Premier League since their 1-0 win over Watford in December.
The frenetic final few minutes, which saw the hosts finally react after going a goal behind, forced them to up the pace back to their original level.
But those dips in concentration are a worrying sign for Guardiola.(NAN)