Manchester City have copped a lot of flack thanks to their 3-1 embarrassment against Ajax on Wednesday, but they got back on their first thanks to a narrow win against Swansea City, thanks in large part from a moment of magic from Carlos Tevez.
The hosts began the brighter in possession, but they were rather muted. That's not a huge shock in light of the spanking they were given in midweek, but the passing was nowhere near as tight as we'd expect even during an off-key display from the defending champions, and it was actually Swansea who had the better of the chances in the first half.
The closest either side came to breaking the deadlock before the break was via Michu -- Joe Hart was forced into a good save from a one on one situation as half time loomed, and minutes earlier Vincent Kompany did very well to clear a Pablo Hernandez cross that looked destined for a tap-in from the Premier League's joint-top scorer.
Manchester City needed a spark, and they apparently got one during the interval because they came out all guns blazing in the second half. Mario Balotelli came on for Aleksandar Kolarov as the hosts committed to attacking, and sure enough they managed to earn the opening goal when Carlos Tevez picked up a pass from Gael Clichy, took two touches to control, and blasted into Michel Vorm's bottom corner from a full 25 yards out.
Swansea hadn't just conceded a goal -- they'd also lost their keeper. Vorm had attempted to block that Tevez effort with a despairing and utterly, utterly futile dive and he's paid the price with what looked suspiciously like a torn groin. The 29-year-old was in no state to continue, and Gerhard Trammel had to be summoned off the bench to replace him.
But if not for poor finishing moments before the Tevez goal, it would have been the visitors who'd taken the lead. Michu's movement had been giving Manchester City's centre back pairing problems all evening, and he managed to lose both from a Pablo cross, holding his run before popping up with a free header. Which he directed straight at Hart.
And even though they were down, the Swans were definitely not out. Jonathan de Duzman gave Hart a scare with a long-range curler following a bizarre defensive error from Samir Nasri. Micah Richards managed to hurt himself shortly thereafter, going down in the penalty box and requiring oxygen as he was stretchered off the pitch with a suspected cruciate ligament problem. Kolo Toure replaced the defender as the visitors looked to wipe out their deficit.
The Richards injury combined with the earlier treatment required by Vorm resulted in twelve long minutes of stoppage time. Roberto Mancini was worried enough about the threat Swansea offered to withdraw Sergio Aguero for another defender in Joleon Lescott, but ultimately the champions were able to see it out with minimum fuss, wrapping up the three points without ever really looking at their best.