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Opinion

3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Newcastle 0 Manchester City 2

4 months ago
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Sunday night ended Newcastle 0 Manchester City 2.

A goal in each half deciding this FA Cup quarter-final, guaranteeing there will be at least a 16 year gap between FA Cup semi-final appearances for NUFC.

However, in reality this was an embarrassing 90 minutes where Newcastle United barely got a kick and the scoreline flattered the home side.

Ahead of each match we ask one of our writers to come up with 3 positives and 3 negatives following the game.

This time it is Jack Lacey-Hatton:

POSITIVES

We actually played an FA Cup Quarter Final

Ok this may sound like clutching at straws but hear me out.

In recent years we have rarely got past round three of the famous old cup, let alone round four.

To actually have this fixture to look forward to was a bit of a novelty.

This is the first time we have faced Premier League opposition on this cup run of course but I have still enjoyed every minute of it.

The win at the Hawthorns in the last round was one of the highlights of the season. It gave our fans a chance to dream of Wembley again.

The best single thing Bruce has done since coming to the club is treating the FA Cup with seriousness and the respect it deserves.

I hope this is not a one-off and, regardless of whether the takeover happens, we continue to attack the cups going forward.

Danny Rose was excellent again

Since project restart got underway, Rose has been one of our best performers.

Given the tough task of having to deal with both an overlapping Kyle Walker and Riyad Mahrez cutting in from the right channel, he defended resolutely.

The highlight of his game was a brilliant last ditch clearance when Jesus seemed certain to make it 2-0 and kill the game.

Had Gayle not missed a sitter it would have gone down as a huge moment in the match, potentially turning the outcome.

Hopefully Rose continues the good form over the last few weeks of the season.

Who knows what would have happened if we had played it back in March

Manchester City may still have won if we had played this tie back on it’s original scheduled date but we will never know.

I certainly know that a cold, rainy Saturday night in March with a sell-out St James Park baying for blood would have increased our chances of causing an upset.

A sterile summer’s evening, with extra substitutions? This was the ideal setting for a motivated City to play their normal game. The small little factors that could given us an edge were suddenly taken away by fate.

Could you imagine the reaction from our fans if Lee Mason had awarded NUFC that penalty?

It is a positive because it shows that on our day we can give the top teams a difficult game, as we did with Liverpool and City last season.

Newcastle United often create their own downfall but the suspension of football due to covid-19 was out of our hands. The club just didn’t get the rub of the green on this occasion.

This game more than any we will play until the end of the season, could have done with a full crowd and football back to normal.

NEGATIVES

We let the occasion pass us by and wasted a chance to have a real crack at Manchester City

In the latter rounds of cup competition, the minimum you want is to say you left everything out on the pitch in your efforts.

I am not sure the Newcastle players could say this at 9 o’clock on Sunday evening. It was a poor performance for the vast majority of the game.

Some of the criticism of the approach was over the top but it is no excuse for some of the poor play on the ball, or botched clearances that littered our first-half performance.

Newcastle could have made the tie far closer than it felt. As bad a penalty as it was to give away, in truth City could have easily been two or three up by that stage.

This set-up has only worked against Pep Guardiola’s team in the past, when we have been ultra-effective with whatever limited possession we do have.

It felt like every time we managed to get near the halfway line a sloppy pass or mis-control of the ball would let us down.

Perhaps the whole performance could be summed up by a first-half free kick.

For once, Carroll actually got the benefit of the doubt from the official not that far from their penalty box. City played an aggressive offside trap, meaning all we required to create uncertainty was a light cross towards the penalty spot. Instead, Longstaff woefully hit it straight out for a goal kick.

Disappointing in every sense.

Bruce got his team selection wrong

This is personal opinion but the teamsheet at 5.30pm left me worried.

Shelvey and Ritchie were both outstanding in our previous positive results against Man City, so to not see either was disappointing, though both were believed to have injury knocks. Bruce can do nothing about that.

I still thought it was actually a strange decision to set up so defensively and still keep Saint-Maximin in the side.

He looked lost in the first-half. Having to be so deep and defensive constantly, whenever he got the ball he uncharacteristically gave it away.

Andy Carroll also started but as often said by Bruce, he needs easing in and can’t play 90 minutes straight off the bat. Clearly his fitness needs to monitored more closely than others.

This is why a case could be made for leaving these two on the bench until the 60th minute and then introducing them for that wildcard factor if the game was still close, when we became a little more adventurous in our play.

Joelinton and Lazaro/Yedlin could have done the groundwork in the first half when we barely had the ball anyway, having ASM out to just chase shadows seemed futile.

I would have agreed on starting the pair if we were going to have a more attack-minded approach from the off, but as every viewer of the game will know, that was not the case.

Both goals were avoidable

Yes, we were completely dominated for the vast majority of the match. Even so, it is a huge negative that both goals were bad ones to give away.

We had the luck with the chances City missed but failed to maximise it by giving away a stupid penalty in the first half.

What Schar was thinking I don’t know. The ball had sailed over both him and Jesus. No need for his hands to be on the opponent whatsoever.

I know every player makes mistakes but that was particularly unnecessary. It ruined the work we had already achieved in shutting them out.

The second goal was a result of getting carried away after Gayle had missed a sitter. Too many players were caught out high up the pitch as City played straight through us with ease, the very thing we had not allowed in the first half.

Raheem Sterling is a wonderful player and I don’t have to watch him every week to know he loves to cut inside from the left channel and shoot with his right foot.

Joelinton, who was pressuring him, failed to show him down the line and made life far too easy for the City forward.

To concede two goals that both could have been avoided against such a good team, makes this game even harder to take.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle  0 Manchester City 2  – Sunday 28 June 6.30pm

Goals:

Newcastle United:

Manchester City:

De Bruyne 37 pen, Sterling 68

(Half-time stats are in brackets)

Possession was Man City 76% (82%) Newcastle 24% (18%)

Total shots were Man City 20 (15) Newcastle 4 (2)

Shots on target were Man City 4 (3) Newcastle 1 (1)

Corners were Man City 8 (4) Newcastle 0 (0)

Referee: Lee Mason

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Manquillo, Schar, Fernandez, Lascelles, Rose (Lazaro 75), Hayden (Matty Longstaff 79), Sean Longstaff, Almiron (Joelinton 65), Carroll (Gayle 65), Saint-Maximin (Yedlin 74)

Unused Subs:

Dúbravka, Shelvey, Muto, Krafth

Crowd: 00,000

(Newcastle  0 Manchester City 2 – Match ratings and comments – Read HERE)

(Newcastle  0 Manchester City 2 – Match was lost with team selection v Villa not Dwight Gayle miss – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 0 Manchester City 2 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Sunday’s defeat – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 0 Manchester City 2 – Watch official match highlights HERE including both goals)

You can follow the author on Twitter @JackLaceySport

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