THIS IS ONLY THE START!

Glossop Advertiser - - Sport - Stu­art Brennan

NEXT sea­son started here for City as Pep Guardi­ola’s cham­pi­ons cel­e­brated their ti­tle tri­umph with a show of power and pur­pose.

Any­one hop­ing the Blues would ease off was sorely dis­ap­pointed as they sent out a daunt­ing mes­sage to the rest of the Pre­mier League.

All sea­son, ri­vals have been scru­ti­n­is­ing Guardi­ola’s bril­liant team for signs of weak­ness, and found few.

And af­ter win­ning the ti­tle last week with­out kick­ing a ball, skip­per Vin­cent Kom­pany made it plain he will ac­cept no letup from this team when Au­gust comes around.

That is why this game was so im­por­tant, as well as en­sur­ing the ti­tle cel­e­bra­tions could be­gin in earnest.

If City had taken their foot off the gas, with noth­ing to play for other than a few league records and their pride, it would have sent out the wrong mes­sage.

If they had trot­ted around with­out a care, it would have en­cour­aged ri­vals to be­lieve the ti­tle win would take the edge off City, just like in 2012 and 2014.

In­stead, the Blues came out as cham­pi­ons. They tore into the bedrag­gled Swans with the kind of swag­ger which has been on dis­play all sea­son.

In De­cem­ber, City did a sim­i­lar job on the Welsh club on their home turf, lead­ing then-man­ager Paul Cle­ment to de­scribe it as ‘hor­ri­ble’ to watch his play­ers be­ing un­able to do any­thing about the Blues’ com­plete dom­i­nance.

This was on the same level, as City chalked up a stag­ger­ing 86 per cent pos­ses­sion in the first half.

In­evitably, it was Kevin de Bruyne who pro­vided the open­ing with a per­cep­tive pass for Ra­heem Ster­ling.

He had dashed to the by-line, and turned to flip the ball for David Silva, who knocked it into the air and then volleyed home in one sweet, dev­as­tat­ing mo­ment.

Wave upon wave of Blue at­tacks broke on a Swans de­fence which was cling- ing to the wreck­age, but they could not keep them out.

Fabian Delph – mak­ing it plain that he is a con­tender to Ben­jamin Mendy for the left-back spot – com­bined neatly with Silva and then laid a cross per­fectly for Ster­ling to tap home.

City did go into cruise mode a lit­tle af­ter that, only to be wo­ken from it by an­other star­tling De Bruyne goal.

The Blues re­fused to al­low Swansea out of their half and when De Bruyne seized the ball 30 yards out, there was only one thought on his mind.

He hit the ball with in­cred­i­ble power and supreme accuracy, ar­row­ing it be­yond Lukasz Fabi- an­ski’s dive and into the top cor­ner.

Ster­ling earned a penalty by tum­bling over Fed­erico Fer­nan­dez’s chal­lenge, and when Gabriel Je­sus hit the post from the spot, Bernardo Silva grabbed a de­served fourth goal from the re­bound.

Pep Guardi­ola bowed to past and fu­ture by bring­ing Yaya Toure and Phil Fo­den on for bright cameos. And it was Toure’s supreme pass­ing which brought the fifth goal, his lofted pass find­ing Je­sus, who headed over Fabi­an­ski.

That was the 98th league goal of the sea­son, mean­ing they need six from the last four games to break that record.

City play­ers cel­e­brate af­ter Kevin De Bruyne scores the Blues’ third goal against Swansea

Kevin De Bruyne keeps con­trol of the ball un­der pres­sure from Swansea

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