Manchester City rewrote English football’s record books as a comfortable 3-1 victory at Swansea City sent them into the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Kyle Walker, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus were on target as Pep Guardiola’s team won a 15th game in a row in all competitions, with Swansea pulling one back late on through debutant Morgan Whittaker.
This triumph means Manchester City have set a new record for successive domestic wins by an English top-flight club, surpassing the previous best of 14 achieved by the Preston team of 1891-92 and the 1987-88 Arsenal side.
Having eased to their latest victory, Guardiola’s men remain in contention for a quadruple while Swansea, who are third in the Championship, are left to focus on their bid to join Manchester City in the Premier League next season.
This was an early taste of the size of the task they will face should they secure promotion in May – even if not every opponent will be as formidable as the current Premier League leaders.
Manchester City have not lost since November and never looked like getting beaten here, as they took charge from the outset and went ahead on the half hour as Walker’s cross missed everyone in a crowded penalty area and rolled into the net.
If the goal was a little soft, it was no more than the visitors deserved given their control.
A Swansea revival looked unlikely, and any slim home hopes were quickly extinguished in the second half.
First Sterling found time and space to roll a shot low into the bottom corner of the net, then Jesus turned and steered home from close range.
Swansea’s application was rewarded late on when Whittaker, who had only been on the pitch 12 minutes, finished smartly from Ryan Manning’s cross.
Guardiola’s side in the groove
The Manchester City juggernaut rolls on.
During their record-breaking run of victories, the men from Etihad Stadium have scored 40 goals and conceded just five.
Yet Guardiola’s team had made hard work of overcoming League Two Cheltenham Town in the previous round of the cup, and the Spaniard had warned before this tie that a stern examination awaited in south Wales.
He had not forgotten 2018-19, when Graham Potter’s Swansea side gave Manchester City a significant scare on this ground in the FA Cup quarter-finals, going 2-0 up only to lose a thrilling contest 3-2.
Guardiola acknowledged that Sergio Aguero’s late winner that day ought to have been disallowed – while his side were also awarded a dubious penalty – but there was nothing contentious about this success.
Manchester City went on to lift the FA Cup – as part of a domestic treble – after their last victory in Swansea, and are now just three wins away from claiming the trophy once more.
They are already through to the Carabao Cup final – they face Tottenham in April – and are five points clear at the top of the Premier League with a game in hand.
They also remain in the Champions League, with Borussia Monchengladbach to come in the last 16, so the prospect of an unprecedented quadruple lives on.
Manchester City will, though, need to overcome sterner tests than this if they are to achieve the extraordinary.
Swansea could not keep the ball as they like to and therefore found themselves defending for long spells, with Jesus seeing a shot parried and sending another wide early on.
Aymeric Laporte headed wide and Ferran Torres’ shot from a tight angle was well saved by Freddie Woodman.
Swansea were creaking, but would not have expected to be undone when Jesus and Torres failed to get connect with Walker’s low cross from the right.
But as he waited for a touch, Woodman was left wrongfooted as the ball evaded everyone and went in at the far post.
Swansea tried to respond before the break, with Jay Fulton and Marc Guehi heading wide either side of a sweet move which ended with Eric Garcia blocking Jamal Lowe’s shot.
Any chance of a revival disappeared soon after the restart, as Swansea were opened up and Rodrigo found Sterling on the left flank.
The England forward had an age in which to pick his spot and made no mistake, passing the ball beyond the helpless Woodman to claim a 12th goal of the season.
Three minutes later came the third goal, as Bernardo Silva found Jesus in the penalty area and he turned before guiding home from point-blank range.
Whittaker, a January signing from Derby County, was one of a raft of second-half Swansea substitutes.
The 20-year-old scored only his second goal in senior football with practically his first touch in a Swansea shirt, as he controlled Manning’s centre and rolled a shot into the bottom corner.
How to play
Rate players out of 10 throughout or after the game. The rater will close 30 minutes after the final whistle.
Rating range key = Give it up = Pure perfection
- 44CabangoBooked at 37mins
- 5GuehiSubstituted forBidwellat 66′minutes
- 23RobertsSubstituted forFreemanat 66′minutes
- 21DhandaBooked at 70minsSubstituted forHourihaneat 77′minutes
- 9LoweSubstituted forArriolaat 65′minutes
- 11MorrisSubstituted forWhittakerat 66′minutes
- 10A Ayew
- 20Bernardo SilvaSubstituted forFodenat 66′minutes
- 16RodriSubstituted forGomesat 72′minutes
- 8GündoganSubstituted forDoyleat 57′minutes
- 9Gabriel Jesus
- 7SterlingSubstituted forMahrezat 56′minutes
Match ends, Swansea City 1, Manchester City 3.
Second Half ends, Swansea City 1, Manchester City 3.
Offside, Manchester City. Benjamin Mendy tries a through ball, but Gabriel Jesus is caught offside.
Offside, Manchester City. Benjamin Mendy tries a through ball, but Ferran Torres is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Tommy Doyle (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Gabriel Jesus.
Claudio Gomes (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Paul Arriola (Swansea City).
Offside, Manchester City. Riyad Mahrez tries a through ball, but Benjamin Mendy is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Gabriel Jesus.
Phil Foden (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jay Fulton (Swansea City).
Goal! Swansea City 1, Manchester City 3. Morgan Whittaker (Swansea City) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ryan Manning with a cross.
Substitution, Swansea City. Conor Hourihane replaces Yan Dhanda.
Foul by Tommy Doyle (Manchester City).
Morgan Whittaker (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Joel Latibeaudiere (Swansea City).
Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Ben Cabango.
Attempt blocked. Phil Foden (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Tommy Doyle (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.