Swansea held Manchester City to a goalless draw in an uninspiring Premier League affair at the Liberty Stadium.
An even and mildly entertaining first half was followed by a pedestrian second, in which City controlled the game territorially without threatening the deep-defending hosts until a frantic closing spell that saw Edin Dzeko and David Silva spurn great chances.
Both sides had decent penalty calls ignored by referee Mike Jones, Swansea’s in the first half and City’s in the second, but neither side deserved anything from a match that had a strong air of the dead rubber about it.
The result means second-placed City are on 72 points, all-but confirming an automatic Champions League slot, while Swansea move up to eighth after West Brom’s defeat to Wigan.
Swansea were slow out of the blocks as it looked increasingly like they were well on their summer holidays after over-achieving all targets ahead of schedule.
As a result City had some early chances as Chico prevented Samir Nasri converting from close range, while Gareth Barry found his finish blocked by Ashley Williams after a lovely team move.
The hosts snapped out of their malaise though, stepping up the pace of their attacks and going close as Pablo Hernandez missed a couple of half-chances, while an unmarked Michu mis-hit his volley wide and Wayne Routledge fired straight at Joe Hart from a good spot.
Michael Laudrup’s side also had two penalty appeals rejected, both of which involved Matija Nastasic. The first was probably correctly waved away, the Serbian defender unwittingly handling as the ball spun into his midriff, but the second was a refereeing error as the City defender clearly took out Michu with both an arm and a leg.
City needed to stem the Swansea tide and they did so by stepping up their own attacking play – by half-time Swansea were very much pegged back into their own half as Williams and then Michel Vorm both made brilliant blocks to prevent Silva opening the scoring.
The second half started in a similar vein, with Dzeko – brought on for the ineffectual Yaya Toure – giving City a more muscular front-line.
They were dominating possession but Swansea held firm as Vorm was largely protected from danger. There was a penalty appeal though, as Chico appeared to trip Dzeko, but again nothing was given.
Dzeko’s ability to hold the ball up was actually allowing City to exercise more control over the midfield. But, for all the possession, it was all rather predictable.
Indeed, there were no major opportunities of note for either side, as Aguero looked particularly fatigued, his replacement by Carlos Tevez coming far too late with 12 minutes left.
After 83 minutes, Dzeko was responsible for an atrocious miss, putting wide from close range after Pablo Zabaleta did brilliantly to pick him out from the right.
Seconds later Silva got in on the act, blasting high and wide after Dzeko set him up with the goal at his mercy, and it looked like City would not be able to snatch one of their late winners.
They almost got one too, Dzeko rising highest to head Nasri’s cross down to goal, but Vorm was equal to it as Swansea gained a creditable point.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Ashley Williams (Swansea) – Had a terrible game against Chelsea last week, leading to speculation that he was already looking to next season, but was excellent as he made a series of vital blocks.
SWANSEA: Vorm 7, Rangel 6, Chico 7, Williams 8, Davies 7, Britton 6, De Guzman 6, Routledge 6, Dyer 7, Hernandez 6, Michu 5. Subs: Moore 6, Agustien 6, Tiendalli NA.
MAN CITY: Hart 6, Zabaleta 7, Kompany 7, Nastasic 6, Clichy 6, Yaya Toure 5, Barry 6, Nasri 7, Silva 6, Milner 6, Aguero 5. Subs: Rodwell NA, Tevez NA, Dzeko 5.