Man City thrash Swansea as they chase Premier League records
MANCHESTER, England -- Three quick thoughts from Man City's 5-0 rout of Swansea City at the Etihad.
1. Man City don't let up vs. the Swans
Manchester City may have the Premier League crown in the bag with five matches remaining but there was no sign of any let-up as they tore into Swansea City with another stylish victory. Manager Pep Guardiola was on the edge of his technical area from the opening minutes, gesticulating towards his players where to move and how to move the ball quicker against a defensive Swansea City side desperately hoping to snatch a point.
There are records to be broken -- most notably those for most points, most wins and most goals -- and the City boss wants to secure them all. It's an opportunity to put an early marker down for next season and Guardiola says setting records will keep the momentum going after winning the title so early. In similar situations at previous clubs Barcelona and Bayern Munich, seasons petered out, particularly with no Champions League to keep minds focused.
After ripping Swansea apart 5-0, they now have 90 points (five off the record with four games left), 29 wins (needing just one more to equal the record) and 98 goals (five off the record). Not that the club weren't ready to enjoy securing their third Premier League title in six years. A banner declaring "Welcome to the home of the Premier League Champions" was unveiled before kick-off and Swansea generously offered a guard of honour as the players entered the pitch.
It was party time in the stands and once again, City soon delivered the champagne football. They raced into a two-goal lead inside 16 minutes with two more examples of delicious, free-flowing play. Kevin De Bruyne's delightful curving pass picked out Raheem Sterling's clever run and his pull back was ruthlessly dispatched by David Silva. The second came when Fabian Delph exchanged a neat one-two with Silva before firing in a low cross that was confidently finished by Sterling for his 23rd goal of a remarkable season.
De Bruyne smashed in a stunning 25-yard strike nine minutes into the second half -- his fifth outside the box this season, more than any other player in the league. Swansea's day got worse when Federico Fernandez injured himself when he clumsily bringing down Sterling in the box. Gabriel Jesus's spot-kick was touched onto the post by goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski but Bernardo Silva was quickest to react to tap in the rebound.
There was more good news before the final whistle when France international fullback Benjamin Mendy made his first appearance in 211 days after recovering from a cruciate knee ligament injury. There was also time for another goal with Yaya Toure rolling back the years with a sumptuous pass to pick out Jesus for a header, moments before a good-natured pitch invasion at full time.
2. David Silva shines amid sparking team performance
Silva's opening goal saw him become the sixth City player into double figures for the season after Sergio Aguero (30), Sterling (23), Jesus (15), Sane (13) and De Bruyne (12). The Spain midfielder is often seen as possibly the best player of the modern City era, which began when Sheikh Mansour took over the club. But since the arrival of Guardiola two years ago, his quality has risen to yet another level.
Silva has now won three Premier League titles since he joined the club but this is the one that will live him longest in the memory -- and not just for the club's remarkable form.
"My third league but this one is the most special. Thanks to everyone for supporting me in this tough year!" he tweeted after the title was confirmed, along with a picture cuddling his baby boy. Mateo was born premature and Silva shuttled back and forward to Spain to be with his family as well as contributing to a remarkable season that saw him earn a PFA Player of the Year award nomination.
He was at his exquisite best again against Swansea. City's first showed Silva's improvement close to goal with a clever finish. His touch was perfect for the one-two that led to the second goal, too, and he delivered an inch-perfect pass that led to Sterling being brought down for the fourth.
At 32, this summer's World Cup could be Silva's final tournament with Spain, but his national team have a brilliant player in the form of his life.
3. Swansea stuffed
Swansea aren't out of the relegation mix just yet but they should have had the bonus of being able to relax after results went their way earlier in the day.
The first team arrived just as the second half of the two games involving Stoke City and West Ham kicked off. Rather than becoming embroiled in the drama of what was happening elsewhere, Swans boss Carlos Carvelhal stationed himself in the centre circle until close to half-time, chatting confidently with his coaching staff.
By full-time, Stoke had picked up a point in a game they will have considered a must-win. The Swans remained four points clear of the danger zone, though this day wouldn't get much better. With a final three matches away to Bournemouth and at home with Southampton and Stoke, the game at the Etihad Stadium was something of a freebie.
But Carvalhal's optimistic 3-5-2 formation was quickly turned into a 5-4-1 as the Swans tried in vain to cope with the wave of attacks that constantly came their way. They went close with one header from Alfie Mawson that went narrowly over the bar but realistically, their Premier League fate will be sealed in the three games that follow rather than by Sunday's heavy defeat.
Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.