Man City’s FA Cup masterclass against Swansea reinforces realistic trophy target

Manchester City are looking ominous and it’s hard to see where they could be stopped in pursuit of a second domestic Treble in three years.

Victory in baltic South Wales was never going to eclipse the grandeur of scoring four goals against their biggest Premier League title rivals at Anfield 72 hours earlier, but extending their 15-game winning streak in such style was impressive. 

Swansea, buoyed in a Championship promotion push by progressive manager Steve Cooper, represented City’s toughest opponents so far in the FA Cup.

But Pep Guardiola’s side are impregnable right now and this fifth-round assignment, without several of their most influential players, was managed with enviable ease.

Guardiola, despite a multitude of injuries, was afforded the luxury of seven changes before Saturday’s test against Tottenham in the league.

Ruben Dias, the transformative Portuguese defender who has not missed a game since his arrival in September, was among those rested while the indispensable midfield axis of Ilkay Gundogan, Rodri and Bernardo Silva remained.

Phil Foden, the 20-year-old who has become totemic in Kevin de Bruyne’s absence, was also not required.

Returning Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres went close as the sense of inevitably set in early. 

The Championship’s best defence was breached by a more unlikely source as Kyle Walker’s cross somehow evaded everyone, including in-form goalkeeper Freddie Woodman. 

City’s 74% possession told most of the story in the first-half as Swansea midfielder Jay Fulton threatened before the break.

And the contest was effectively over just three minutes into the second-half as Raheem Sterling and Jesus added the ruthless edge to an utterly dominant display. 

There was a level of fortuity to City’s first but the second and third were underpinned by quality. 

Sterling was expertly picked out by Rodri and Jesus’ exquisite turn and finish was of a man with a point to prove. 

If the first-half was a lesson in maintaining ultimate control, the second was a merciless masterclass.

The chasm was best highlighted when Riyad Mahrez replaced Sterling as Swansea were given a reminder of the relentless excellence they will compete against if they achieve their Premier League ambition.

City weren’t without blemish and Rodri’s wince as he walked down the tunnel will be of concern. 

Guardiola’s men are less effective without their Spanish metronome and Morgan Whittaker’s precise consolation was what spirited Swansea deserved.

City, meanwhile, are in the hat for Thursday’s last eight draw for the third straight year and only Spurs stand in the way of a fourth Carabao Cup win in a row in April.

The Blues were belittled for the insignificance of their solitary League Cup triumph last season, but Guardiola’s side are well set for more weighty silverware come May.

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