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Manchester City extended their unbeaten run in the Barclays Premier League to nine matches thanks to a 3-2 victory over Swansea City.
Goals from Fernandinho, Yaya Toure and Aleksandar Kolarov secured the three points for Manuel Pellegrini's side to earn them their first win at the Liberty Stadium, where Wilfried Bony's two goals for Swansea proved in vain as the visitors recorded another impressive victory.
The win took Man City back to the top of the table ahead of Arsenal's clash with Cardiff later in the day, and sees them start 2014 on 57 goals, the most scored at this stage of a season in Barclays Premier League history.
The Swans remain in mid-table but will be nervously looking over their shoulder at the bottom three.
Their manager Michael Laudrup was able to recall Angel Rangel and Wayne Routledge to his starting line-up, while the visitors made five changes to the side that beat Crystal Palace, and the hosts created the first chance as Bony collected a pass from Jonathan de Guzman on the edge of the penalty area, only for his low shot to clip the post on its way wide.
And the visitors made the Ivorian pay for that miss almost immediately, as they opened the scoring in the 14th minute through Fernandinho. Swansea failed to clear a right-wing corner and the loose ball dropped to the Brazil international, who fired through a crowd and into the back of the net.
Laudrup's charges went close to an equaliser in the 25th minute when a flowing move involving Bony and substitute Roland Lamah – on for the injured Pablo Hernandez – released De Guzman in behind the Manchester City defence, but the Dutch midfielder could not get the ball out of his feet and his scuffed attempt was easily held by Joe Hart.
Both sides had chances to get the game's second goal before the break but it was Bony who produced a leveller for the hosts.The forward got ahead of Pablo Zabaleta in the 44th minute to meet De Guzman’s cross and head past Hart.
Pellegrini's side restored their lead in the 58th minute thanks to Toure's 10th league goal of the season. The midfielder created room for himself room inside the penalty area before his shot wrong-footed Gerhard Tremmel thanks to a deflection off Ashley Williams.
Kolarov then added the third goal eight minutes later with a great solo effort on the break. The Serbia international won the ball from Routledge inside his own half and ran unopposed to the Swansea penalty area, where he cut onto his right foot and fired a shot which fizzed straight through Tremmel with the help of another slight deflection.
As Swansea continued to show endeavour, Bony missed a chance to reduce the deficit in the 72nd minute – but he did net his second with a long-range strike in the second minute of added time as the hosts gained some reward.
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup: "I think the first half [we were] excellent, we came back and had more chances than Man City and then they got the second goal via a deflection off Ashley [Williams].
"Of course, conceding three goals to a top team like City it's difficult to win. I think the third goal really hurt us because we tried to come back, we had a chance and then they scored the third one.
"It looked quite soft to me, we missed the ball there and we could have done much more for that goal in different parts of the pitch. So it was really uphill after that. We got a second goal but it was too late."
Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini: "It was a very good result because Swansea are a strong team here at home and also away. I think the way we won today is very important for us.
"We had a very good first half, but the team at the start of the second half continued trying to score the second goal.
"We scored the second and the third and it was a pity they got the last goal because 3-2 was not the difference between the two teams, whilst repeating that we were playing against a very good team."
|11 Jan 2014||v Man Utd (A)|
|19 Jan 2014||v Spurs (H)|
|28 Jan 2014||v Fulham (H)|
|01 Feb 2014||v West Ham (A)|
|08 Feb 2014||v Cardiff (H)|
|12 Feb 2014||v Stoke (A)|