Just the usual please – Newcastle Utd 0 Man City 2

It was emotional, it was clinical and ultimately it was routine as the Champions of England gave a despairing Newcastle United what they give them every season without fail…absolutely nothing.

The Toon Army must hate the sight of Manchester City. The Magpies’ definition of ‘typical City’ is a team that takes maximum points game after game after game and remains undefeated in 17 consecutive Barcodes versus Blue Mancs encounters.

Sheer Class - Silva & Aguero celebrate the opening day win. Courtesy@MCFC

Sheer Class – Silva & Aguero celebrate the opening day win. Courtesy@MCFC

Manuel Pellegrini’s men were top of the class with a 10 out of 10 performance having won home and away for the past five seasons, plus a 2-0 League Cup win thrown in for good measure.

You have to go back nine years to a solitary Michael Owen goal under the stewardship of Graeme Souness for Newcastle’s last win over City.

It took an early contender for Goal of the Season to break the deadlock and an Argentine ‘two-step’ in the dying seconds to seal the win.

For all of Newcastle’s litany of disasters against City, there was a strange air of optimism on Tyneside going into the game.

Emotional - City and The Toon observed a minute's silence for tragic Geordies John Alder and Liam Sweeney. Courtesy@MCFC

Emotional – City and The Toon observed a minute’s silence for tragic Geordies John Alder and Liam Sweeney. Courtesy@MCFC

The upbeat feel was countered by the overwhelming sadness as the 50,000 crowd, dignitaries and players, paid their respects to tragic Toon fans John Alder and Liam Sweeney, killed when Malaysian Airways flight MH17 was blasted out of the sky over the Ukraine last month.

Floral tributes were laid in the centre circle and, to a man, woman and child, a minute’s silence was observed impeccably.

Similarly, applause rang out around St James’s in the 17th minute, as both home and away fans remembered the two Geordies who died following the team they loved. 

Respect - City's travelling fans showed their support for the Geordie nation and the loss of John Alder and Liam Sweeney.

Respect – City’s travelling fans showed their support for the Geordie nation and the loss of John Alder and Liam Sweeney.

Newcastle, whether galvanised by the tide of emotion, were putting up a spirited showing against their perennial tormentors.

New signings Janmaat, Colback, Cabella and Riviere had yet to experience the pain that City annually inflicted on their employers and were playing with zeal and purpose.

The French Connection of Cabella and Riviere showed signs they will delight the Toon Army in the months that lie ahead…just not on this match day.

City were never properly extended – they didn’t need to be – despite Newcastle’s best endeavours, when they took the lead after an exquisite three-man move.

Supplier - Yaya's brilliant vision and 50 yard pass set up City's opening goal. Courtesy@MCFC

Supplier – Yaya’s brilliant vision and 40 yard pass set up City’s opening goal. Courtesy@MCFC

Yaya sprayed a 40-yard pass over the Toon’s backline to Man-of-the-Match Edin Dzeko. The striker produced a measured back heel into the path of David Silva and the magical Spanish wizard calmly placed the ball past Krul.

Definitely a thing of beauty, the goal came against the run of play, albeit Joe Hart didn’t have to make a single direct save, as Newcastle failed to put any of their dozen shots or headers on target.

Conversely, it was City’s finishing ability that saw Pellegrini’s side top the table on Sunday night. Whereas Silva’s fourth consecutive away goal put them on the road to victory, it was Sergio Aguero’s opportunism, class and athleticism that stopped Pardew’s braves.

Edin down, but not out - Dzeko was Man of the Match after a great display. Courtesy@MCFC

Edin down, but not out – Dzeko was Man of the Match after a great display. Courtesy@MCFC

Introduced as an 83rd minute substitute for the magnificent Man of the Match, Edin Dzeko, Sergio latched onto Fernandinho’s through ball, outpaced Coloccini and fired a left foot shot which Krul could only parry.

The grounded Aguero was back up on his feet in a nano second to caress the ball home with his right foot from the corner of the 6-yard box.

Reality had once again come home to roost as City’s monopoly over the Magpies goes on, while Aguero’s run of 16 goals and six assists in his last 24 appearances looks ever more impressive.

Argentine 'two-step' - Sergio sealed the win in the dying seconds. Courtesy@MCFC

Argentine ‘two-step’ – Sergio sealed the win in the dying seconds. Courtesy@MCFC

City maintained the tradition of a defending Premier League Champion never having lost their opening fixture of the following season, without having to get out of third gear.

Despite signs of some ring rust there were plenty of plusses from this win, as if three away points was not reward enough.

Pellegrini’s decision to go with Gael Clichy at right back, in order to give Zabaleta and Sagna extra time to achieve full fitness levels, was vindicated with the Frenchman putting in a gutsy and highly effective shift.

Vindicated - Clichy performed well playing out of position at right back. Courtesy@MCFC

Vindicated – Clichy performed well playing out of position at right back. Courtesy@MCFC

Fernando – the only one of City’s six summer signings making his full debut – looked comfortable in the hurly burly pace of the Premier League. It’s premature to talk about jigsaws and final pieces, but the powerful Brazilian looks capable of adding real resolve in the ball winning department and shutting down opponents.

He deflected Toon substitute Ayoze Perez’s late goal bound effort which would have levelled the score and altered the whole complexion of the match.

Dzeko, on the cusp of becoming the latest City star to sign a new five year deal, was superb leading the line and his ability to hold the ball up was very prominent.

Opening time - Silva opened City's 2014/15 Premier League goals account. Courtesy@MCFC

Opening time – Silva opened City’s 2014/15 Premier League goals account. Courtesy@MCFC

The Bosnian hitman – under the guardianship of City’s resident Engineer – is virtually unrecognisable from the dispirited and forlorn figure that slouched around the pitch in Roberto Mancini’s reign.

Man management is yet another massive tick in the box for Pellegrini, this most charming of City leaders.

Stevan Jovetic was a hub of energy and trickery throughout his 73 minutes on the pitch and, provided he steers clear of injuries, he can be big factor in City’s quest to retain their title and create waves in the Champions League.

Stepping up - Stevan Jovetic has a key role in helping City retain the title. Courtesy@MCFC

Stepping up – Stevan Jovetic has a key role in helping City retain the title. Courtesy@MCFC

City watchers were perhaps surprised by who wasn’t on the subs bench rather than who was. There was no Lampard or Nastasic. The veteran ex-Chelsea man will definitely figure in the first half of the season, but regrettably it seems inevitable that Nasty is heading out of the Etihad on a permanent basis.

Pellegrini also confirmed that Micah Richards (who declined a contract renewal offer) Scott Sinclair and John Guidetti will be allowed to leave, if the club receive suitable offers before 11pm on September 1.

A quick aside on referee Martin Atkinson, a professional who always gives of his best to ensure City don’t win. City committed 11 fouls and ‘earned’ five bookings – a strike rate of almost 50%. Newcastle committed eight fouls and had one player booked. While accepting that some fouls are worse than others, Atkinson was way way too keen to caution the men in blue.

Atkinson’s, shall we say ‘inconsistent’ approach was further underlined by his prolific use of his vanishing spray when City were defending free kicks. The spray was conspicuous by its absence for most of the time when Newcastle lined up to defend…funny that!

It’s not sour grapes when you criticise a referee when your team has won, so let’s watch with interest Mr Atkinson’s unbiased performances when he officiates other City games this season.

Banishing the away day blues - Pellegrini had to wait until mid-October for his first PL away win last season. Courtesy@MCFC

Banishing the away day blues – Pellegrini had to wait until mid-October for his first PL away win last season. Courtesy@MCFC

In the end it was one for Geordie sorrow and two for Mancunian joy, as City were off to a flyer in their title defence. The Magpies had been downed and now it’s time for the Liver bird to have its wings clipped on Bank Holiday Monday.



By David Walker


www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu



  1. August 18, 2014  1:29 pm by Alan Baxter Reply

    I was a little concerned after the display at Wembley, but, we certainly hit the ground running yesterday. Good display full of positive intent.
    Good to have you back by the way.

    • August 18, 2014  2:03 pm by David Walker Reply

      Yes, plenty of encouraging signs yesterday and still with top quality players to come back into the side. Vital that momentum be maintained and Liverpool beaten on Monday night. Thanks for the welcome, despite half-a-dozen offerings since last May ;-)

  2. August 18, 2014  1:35 pm by Pete Lynch Reply

    Class performance and classy reading David. I thought we were superbly professional with Kolorov a player reborn!

    • August 18, 2014  2:03 pm by David Walker Reply

      It bodes well doesn't it - three out of four titles has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

  3. August 18, 2014  3:04 pm by Richard Cooper Reply

    Here we go again with the right start to the new season

    A very professional performance which while not hitting the free - flowing heights was competant (a word used more than once in the press today) and it was a game we never looked like losing

    A few comments :-

    Edin : After "wandering lonely as a cloud" at Wembley he was the Top Man and the execution of his backheel to Silva highlights the difference between City and a lot of other teams - Flair
    Kolorov : As mentioned by others - He is a player reborn (Zero to Hero) and for a big guy he certainly has a turn of speed
    Jovetic : Loads of energy and talent but at times his exuberence (some might say greed) let him down where a simple pass would have been more effective
    Fernando : From the lofty heights of the Upper Circle at St James's, we did not I think, appreciate his input and it wasn't until we saw his contribution on MOTD2, when his game was analysed by no other than "super expert pundit" Phil Neville that I appreciated his input. Athletic, strong with more than a touch of the De Jong. Can see a few yellow cards coming his way !
    Don't have a problem with Phil's studio punditry but he should be aware of some neutrality and not refer to ManU as "WE" !

    A few scary moments early in the second half and I did think coming home that a more clinical team in front of goal could have punished us but as they say "you can only beat what is in front of you"

    Agree with you about the referee. In a game that was played in a good spirit our bookings did seem a bit OTT especially when Edin was manhandled to the floor St Helens style. No card just a free kick.

    The tribute was very well observed by City fans and indeed by the whole ground showing that there a more important things in life than a game of football

    • August 18, 2014  3:08 pm by David Walker Reply

      Succinct and spot on RC - you should write this blog and I'll comment on your prose ;-)
      Thanks fella #MCFCBLUEBROS

  4. August 18, 2014  3:39 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    A good win, and always pleasing to start the new season with a clean sheet and three points.
    On reflection, I thought the only City player who was unlucky to be booked was Kompany, although it wasn't a physical game.

    • August 18, 2014  3:50 pm by David Walker Reply

      Fair observation on City's 5 bookings but the % of fouls to yellows seemed disproportionate between the 2 teams. It seemed any mistimed tackle attracted a booking for City but not so for The Toon

      I've always mistrusted Martin Atkinson.

  5. August 18, 2014  5:10 pm by GeorgeInIsrael Reply

    After the sporadic postings of the summer, it's good to get back to a regular diet of preview and match report.
    I listened to the 1st half on Radio Manchester while at work and the 2nd half on BBC World Service driving home. I have to say that Radio Manchester was by far the better commentary, although Neil Lennon on the BBC was a reasonable pundit. From the radio commentaries, it sounded as though we were never really pushed. If we get through our "easy" start to the season relatively unscathed and then start to crank up the gears, we should be able to mount a very good defence of the title.
    I don't know what MP's targets are for the season, but I would like to see us go one stage further in the CL and win at least one domestic trophy.

    • August 18, 2014  6:23 pm by David Walker Reply

      Cheers George always great to hear from you. MP has stated that he wants to retain the PL (no surprise there) and he quipped something about winning a trophy with handles that looked like big ears. That would do just nicely. Yes, we have a tough schedule and United an easy one according to the experts. How entertaining would it be if we prospered and LVG floundered when we are supposed to have fixtures at the opposite end of the PL spectrum?

  6. August 18, 2014  5:27 pm by Dave Medley Reply

    Very pleasing City performance and result, especially as so many key players haven't had a proper pre-season preparation. Clichy, Silva, Fernando and Dzeko impressed me in particular.

    • August 18, 2014  6:24 pm by David Walker Reply

      Absolutely - the quartet named were outstanding.

  7. August 18, 2014  6:22 pm by DOUGLAS HENSHAW Reply

    Great read great performance great result. Couldn't of wished for a better start & what about Edin what classy footwork from the big guy. Onwards & hopefully upwards.

    • August 19, 2014  6:15 am by David Walker Reply

      Edin, perhaps more than any other City player, along with Nasri, has benefitted from Pellegrini's presence and his man management skills when contrasted with Mancini. Let's hope Dzeko can rise to even dizzier heights and consistently produce displays such as Sunday's to match his already impressive goals-to-games stats.

  8. August 18, 2014  6:45 pm by Phil Taylor Reply

    Always a good read, but no way was Edin my motm. David Silva was the man by a big distance. A great start to the season, bring em on.

    • August 18, 2014  8:34 pm by David Walker Reply

      MOTM can be a subjective issue but it was nice that we had enough players on form for the debate to take place. As ever thanks for reading and commenting - merci.

  9. August 18, 2014  7:09 pm by Dave Medley Reply

    So now Pellegrini has confirmed Richards, Nastasic, Guidetti and Sinclair will probably leave, we'll have a senior squad of 23 players, 17 of them not Home-Grown. With only 16 non-Home-Grown allowed in the Champions' League, does that mean Negredo's injury makes him the one not registered for the European competition?! If so, what happens after Christmas if we make it through the group stages and he's fit again?

    • August 18, 2014  8:38 pm by David Walker Reply

      I think your take on the player quotas is right and with The Beast injured until probably October it makes Pellegrini's decision much easier. I'm sure MP will happily take the headache of CL knockout selection at this stage, as it means we'll be through. There's obviously a January transfer window and Lampard will be heading for NYC so the squad could be shaped by potential, and as yet, unknown new signings.

      • August 19, 2014  8:18 am by Dave Medley Reply

        We've obviously got a powerful squad now, with the much-vaunted two stars for every position. Chasing perfection: Boyata as fourth centre back is the worst of the 23. We'll sell Nastasic and have loaned out Rekik and Denayer, but they're all better than him. Beyond that, I still think we rely on Toure's goals and drives forward immensely. If he gets injured (or has attitude issues) we'll have a problem getting those central midfield goals. Lampard could fill in until Christmas (though I suspect his legs have gone a bit and, like Gerrard, he's adapting into a "sitter" rather than a goalscoring driver. I'd like to see us get someone like Shelvey and groom him to cover for/eventually replace Yaya. Long term, I'd like a pacey Home grown wide player in the squad. Andros Townsend for instance. We're never happy, are we?!

        • August 19, 2014  9:30 am by David Walker Reply

          Undoubtedly we need more players who fit the homegrown criteria. Paul Pogba is seen by many as a long term successor to Yaya and he would qualify as HG because of his time on the dark side before going to Juventus. Fabregas would have been a good acquistion at £27m and would also have qualified as HG, but MP would have had a challenge on his hands keeping him happy with Silva and maybe Nasri ahead of him.

          Big season for Navas this year to see if he is the pace man or whether or not we need an upgrade.

          • August 19, 2014  5:56 pm by Dave Medley

            A big problem with Pogba is he's supposed to be something of a "big time Charlie" and we don't want another Baloteli character upsetting a happy ship. That said, I read that Sagna was one of the three French players who urged Deschamps not to take Nasri to the World Cup. Hard to know what's true in the press....

  10. August 18, 2014  8:50 pm by Carl Horse Reply

    I've always been Dzeko's biggest fan. It may take him a few extra chances to convert but he can score left foot, right foot, head. He scores important goals and for what many classed as third choice striker in my opinion was as important as Yaya in us winning the title last season.

    He was superb yesterday and is it me or has he gained a yard of pace this season????

    • August 19, 2014  6:11 am by David Walker Reply

      Edin looked razor sharp and his ability to hold the ball up seemed vastly improved. He was, as you say, crucial to our title winning run in last season and his goals to games/minutes on the pitch ratio is amongst the finest in the Premier League. He is much maligned - I plead guilty to not always being his biggest fan - but he does undoubtedly score goals, often match winning goals. MP seems to be getting the very best out of him and long may it continue. If you'd have said 12 months ago that he'd be signing a new long term deal at City not many would have believed you, but credit where it's due. Let's hope the best is yet to come!

  11. August 18, 2014  10:31 pm by Philip Entwistle Reply

    Nice read Dave, as your replies are saying, we won at a canter, never really stretched to go through the gears. Our MP has an embarrassment of riches at his diposal with even a 'second XI' capable of qualifying for europe. It all bodes well but he can't make the mistakes of early last season in underestimating our opposition, especially away from home.
    All the press and pundits are saying we probably have the best squad and looking at who weren't in the starting line up you have to agree. We have 2 obsolutely first class players in every position, something that will unfold throughout the season when we can rotate our squad with impunity, keeping it fresh and hungry for further success in 'every' competition.
    Keep the Blogs coming Dave, I've missed them, see you on Monday - safe journey.

    • August 19, 2014  4:41 am by David Walker Reply

      Definitely a stronger squad than last season & strengthened within the financial constraints of FFP. The so-called expert pundits keep saying Chelsea has the best starting XI but how many of Mourinho's mob would you swap for a City player?

      I can think of 2 possibly 3 maximum. City to make history in 2015 & retain the PL.

      See you Monday night - CTWD!

  12. August 19, 2014  3:11 am by manc Reply

    Any ideas why sky and Motd are showing the premier league cup dressed up in red white and black ribbons in their graphics . They're not even the sponsors colors.

    • August 19, 2014  4:44 am by David Walker Reply

      Wishful thinking on behalf of Scudamore & Eamonn Holmes etc? Who knows, but it's irrelevant as they'll still be sky blue & white come the end of May 2015. Good observation!

  13. August 19, 2014  1:16 pm by Toby Teasdale Reply

    Good workout nothing more

    It will be different against Brenda's boys; they do know how to score!

    Aguero's cameo proved his sharpness. Fernando is a big unit, who would be at home in Sale Shark's back row.

    On the negative side, we seemed poor (as always) defending set plays.

    No injuries (accept for Dzeko wrapped in a plastic freezer bag).

    We are building a substantial war chest, with so many players leaving, I wonder what or who it's for? Perhaps Lampard's replacement in the New Year?

    • August 19, 2014  1:38 pm by David Walker Reply

      Interesting call on the war chest. I wonder if circumstances will dictate we have to buy homegrown to meet CL, or indeed, PL criteria?

    • August 20, 2014  6:49 pm by Fabled Mabel Reply

      Thanks for the book. Good job I did A level Ecomonics

      • August 20, 2014  11:10 pm by David Walker Reply

        Would you care to enlighten?

        • August 21, 2014  3:57 pm by Fabled Mabel Reply

          Sorry I was a reply to TT above who sent me a book called The Numbers Game, having previously sent me one called 'Soccernomics applying statistics theory, not always accurately, to football. A good read nonetheless.

          I have just also read 'Own Goal - How Greed and Egotism Ruined Football'. Written in 2000, it is remarkably prophetic in places and way out in others. It is interesting to see how the 'big money' for wages and transfers has gone up in 15 years.

          • August 21, 2014  8:01 pm by David Walker

            Well next time would you care to share it with the rest of the class...otherwise Fabled Mabel could be disabled! Not a threat, just a mild whimsy ;-)

  14. August 20, 2014  4:35 pm by Fabled Mabel Reply

    Having a second bash at joining a decent site due to illness - absolutely sick of the pig swill served up in the Daily Telegraph for the eager consumption of the plastic United supporters who write, comment and moderate the whole caboodle without human intervention.

    A wave and apologies to my porcine mate Toby above and to any other ex DT refugees on here.

    Now the delays on Nelson Mangala have been explained, I look forward to the forthcoming season with a quiet anticipation and satisfaction.

    • August 20, 2014  11:12 pm by David Walker Reply

      Yes the season holds great promise - not overly keen on the DT then?

      • August 21, 2014  4:11 pm by Fabled Mabel Reply

        Read the DT for 30/40 years but having seen a decline in the standards, particularly online, from Messrs Ogden, White and the bloke who wrote Ferguson book into a glorified United website I am being weaned away.

        As TT will tell you the worst thing (apart from Mark Odgen) is the United trolls who post from somewhere in the world at 3am UK time, saying that all City fans come from Stockport, and that England is a dump before insisting they come from Manchester, or more usually some post code picked off Google Maps.

        On the good side a City fan recently posted that he just needed two more squares for fill house on his Rags Bollox Bingo Card - 'Stockport' and 'United earned their money fairly''. Of course none of the rags got the joke.

        • August 21, 2014  8:06 pm by David Walker Reply

          Ogden is absolutely beyond the pale but maybe, just maybe, sustained City success will force the masses of the malicious media to fall into line because their readers will see them for what they are - small minded, tribal City haters.

          We don't need them to feign impartiality - we just need to keep on winning and not read their 'product'.

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