THIS IS ONLY THE START!
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