Newcastle United tactics responsible for mission impossible at Manchester City
I was unable to get to the match against Manchester City so had to make do with TV, thought all week that we were going to get stuffed off whatever side Pellegrini put out against us (I’m the usually positive one, as well!).
The quality in depth of the Man City squad is frightening, on paper at least. When Aarons scored I thought ‘this wasn’t supposed to happen!’ and worried almost immediately that Citeh would punish and humiliate us from then on.
That didn’t happen though. We allowed them possession and played a fluid 4-1-4-1 formation that actually worked. The back four were fairly solid through most of the game, holding a good line and not allowing much space behind. Dummett was booked when he stepped out of the line and fouled, but he and Coloccini played well together.
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Yes, there were lapses in concentration at times, yes we rode our luck a couple of times, but we reduced them to four shots on target during the whole match. Abeid sat in between the two lines and stepped ahead when he needed to, stifling their midfield, as did Colback and Raylor.
To think that this was Ryan Taylor’s first game for more than two years is almost unbelievable. He was superb, chasing all over, getting his foot in to create the first goal and saving on the line with the bravest of dives. He epitomized the whole team.
Armstrong running around up front to try and defend from the front line, with Aarons and Obertan on each wing, tracking back when needed, posing a threat when able, turned out to be the plan that worked.
Riviere took over from where Armstrong left off, Ameobi looked dangerous, whilst working hard when he came on, and Sissoko looked immense when he arrived on the pitch, scoring a cracking goal to round off a great, powerful display.
We should have had a penalty when Obertan, who also had a great game, was brought down in the box, but atrocious Attwell waved it away. Elliot made a couple of great saves but wasn’t overly troubled. Pellegrini ungraciously gave Newcastle no credit for the win, maybe thinking back to Pardew’s unkind comments about him a while back.
The best thing for me was seeing numerous photos of the fans at the end, celebrating a famous win, our first ever at the Etihad Stadium and our progression into the Quarter Finals of the League Cup. I know it’s called the Stash Two Cup, or something like that, but they don’t pay me for advertising and I prefer the old League Cup anyway! Who cares? They can call it what they like, we all deserve a bit of glory.
At the end of the day their £296.1m team (all 14 players used) were outfought, outwitted and outgunned by our £23.3m (not including undisclosed fees for Elliot, Sissoko and Obertan) – I hope these stats are correct, but it’s late now and my tablets are kicking in, so please forgive me if I’ve got my maths a bit wrong. You get the idea though!
Once again, I have to say, I was astounded by the heart and guile shown by our lads tonight. Pardew deserves credit for the team he put out, the way he had them playing, the formation and lines of defence, midfield, not allowing City to get behind or between them, along with the pace we had when attacking.
The substitutions worked like a dream and the whole night was a joy to behold. The only things left hanging tonight were the wrinkles on Pellegrini’s miserable face!
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