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.

#TrustOurMP

 

By David Walker

 

www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

 

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