Manuel Pellegrini’s first competitive match in charge of Manchester City seemed more like an exhibition match than a league fixture. Newcastle United just simply weren’t at the races and the new ticky-tacky football Pellegrini is hoping to bring to the Etihad has shown the nation just how good City look for the upcoming season; debutants Jesus Navas and Fernandinho looked comfortable although the Newcastle opposition failed to test them, and for Alan Pardew I fear another tough season ahead.
Manchester City’s play in the opening minutes was very reminiscent of that of Chelsea yesterday against Hull City; a somewhat new era, new attacking philosophy.
It only took the team in blue six minutes to find the net, with David Silva cooly heading his rebound effort over Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul. The Manchester City storm was difficult for Newcastle to withstand and City could have had three goals by 12 minutes. After two penalty claims were turned down by referee Andre Mariner, Newcastle slowly fought back bravely and after clever footwork by Hatem Ben Arfa, the Toon army had a goal disallowed for offside as Gouffran strayed a yard offside when the ball was played through.
However, Manchester city grabbed the deserved second goal their play was destined for as Sergio Aguero opened his account for the season with a well placed shot into the far left corner of the net. More and more chances came and went for Edin Dzeko who may wonder tonight how he didn’t score a goal in what was a very one sided first half and ultimately a one sided match.
The half ended with Newcastle local lad Steven Taylor getting needlessly sent off for a tussle with Sergio Aguero, condemning Newcastle to a nightmare opening half of the season.
The second half began as the first had ended; City on the front foot, and again Dzeko was denied by a smart save by Krul, no doubt Newcastle’s best player of the night, but only a minute later Yaya Toure made it three by unleashing a wonderful free kick into the top left corner. That was it. Game over and yet still forty plus minutes to play. From here on in it was going to be a long remainder of the match for the travelling team and fans.
Man City carried on pushing for more, and Gael Clichy came close to a fourth but his effort was blocked. The beautiful passing was consistent throughout the evening, and Newcastle failed to create any opportunity of sort in the second half. The only downside to the City performance was the injury picked up by instrumental leader Vincent Kompany, although Chelsea and Manchester United will hope it’s a long time on the sidelines for the City captain.
This however didn’t affect Manchester City and there football; Pablo Zabeleta’s through ball was dummied by Edin Dzeko and Samir Nasri ran onto the loose ball and calmly slotted the ball into the net for Manchester City’s fourth of the evening. With still no sign of Manchester City holding back like Chelsea yesterday; Edin Dzeko’s hunt for a goal went on and his header on 79 minutes went just over the crossbar, furthermore frustrating the Bosnian.
City fans welcomed another new signing Alvaro Negredo to the Etihad with ten minutes remaining; and the summer signing nearly had his name up in lights as he thought he had given City a fifth but he was judged offside wrongly by the linesman. Dzeko was humorously yet again denied by Krul late on, perhaps new boots for the Bosnian international as he hopes to break his goal scoring duck at Cardiff on Sunday.