Manchester City 2 Swansea 1: Gabriel Jesus has wasted no time in guaranteeing himself a place in Manchester City folklore, his injury-time winner the second of two goals on his full home debut but the young Brazilian’s stunning impact on English football could not disguise the same old problems for Pep Guardiola.
City had been on the verge of throwing away two home points, having dominated the first half only to gift an equaliser to Icelandic international Gylfi Sigurdsson nine minutes from time.
Fortunately, for those City supporters whose anxiety and impatience was palpable by that stage, Jesus was on hand halfway through the four minutes of added time to leap and head David Silva’s cross goalwards. Lukasz Fabianski managed to block the initial effort but the teenager had the presence to recover and tap the ball into an open goal.
What a relief for Guardiola who was staring at a sixth home game without victory in what has been a season of underachievement — in the league, at least — to date.
But with Jesus in this sort of form, City look a far more dynamic proposition than they did before his €30m arrival from Palmeiras.
And herein lies another problem for the City manager who again left legendary striker Sergio Aguero on the bench — how he manages what is looking increasingly likely to be the departure of the Argentinian striker from a club where he is such a talismanic figure.
“His reaction was perfect, don’t worry about that,” said Guardiola when asked how Aguero had taken his axing. “Of course he wants to play and it mustn’t be easy. I understand that.
“Sergio remains one of the most important players in our squad and with what we have to do in the next period, he will be so, so important. He’s going to play a lot of games.”
Ageuro added fuel to the speculation after the game, by admitting his future is out of his hands.
“I will work hard for the remaining three months and then we’ll see if the club wants me,” said Aguero. “I want to stay.
“Yeah, I am fine, it is normal. Sometimes this happens. When you’re on the bench you have to wait for your opportunity. I have three months to do my best and try to help the team and we’ll see what happens with my future. Afterwards we’ll see what the club wants to do with me.”
Guardiola admitted his surprise at Jesus’s incredible impact, who got his first after 11 minutes following good work by David SIlva.
“When he came here after he finished the season (in Brazil) and won the championship with Palmeiras, we spoke.
“The last two or three years he never had a break because Brazil played a lot of games. I said take your time, come back when you feel you’re ready. But he’s 19. Brazilian guys are physically strong and he only needed a few training sessions to be ready.”
City’s first-half dominance was utter but in the 80th minute, with their nerves increasingly obvious, they gifted Sigurdsson a deserved equaliser.
Sigurdsson capitalised on some poor defending by the home team, collecting a short pass from Luciano Narsingh, switching the ball to his left foot and scoring with a brilliant low drive from just outside the area.
Ultimately, Paul Clement’s side was undone by Jesus’s second goal although he had a major complaint about the free-kick that led up to it.
“My opinion was it wasn’t a foul,” said Clement. “(Luciano) Narsingh tried to evade the challenge of (Aleksandar) Kolarov and the linesman gave the decision.
“Then the restart was 10 metres deeper than where the free-kick was, in a more central position and the ball was rolling.
“Those were things the ref was picking up on all game.”
MAN CITY (4-1-4-1):
Cabellero 6; Fernandinho 7, Stones 6, Kolarov 6, Clichy 6; Toure 7; Sterling 6 (Aguero 83, 6), De Bruyne 7 (Zabaleta 78, 6), Silva 8 (Fernando 90), Sane 7; Jesus 9. Subs (not used) Bravo, Company, Fernando, Aguero, Navas, Delph.
Fabianski 7; Naughton 7, Fernandez 7, Mawson 8, Olsson 6; Fer 6, Cork 6, Carroll 5 (Dyer 74, 6); Routledge 5 (Narsingh 65, 6), Llorente 6 (Borja 83, 6), Sigurdsson 9. Subs (not used) Nordfeldt, Amat, Britton, Kingsley.
M Dean 5
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