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Opinion

Rolando Aarons and Sean Longstaff help point the way to how Newcastle could beat Manchester City

4 weeks ago
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Michael Owen scored the only goal of the game when Manchester City lost at St James Park on 24 September 2005.

In the fifteen years since that match, the two clubs have faced each other 27 times.

Newcastle United have won two of them.

Also in these past 15 years the two clubs picked up new owners.

However, that is another story and one I don’t want to go into right now.

Instead, I want to talk about how Newcastle could beat Manchester City tonight.

I’m not saying that they will win BUT I think there is a way NUFC could taste victory for a third time in 28 meetings.

One thing is for sure, if Steve Bruce repeats his formation and tactics from 10 days ago against Man City, we will lose for sure.

Sitting as deep as humanly possible with zero attacking plan and waiting for the opposition to score, will just hand the three points to Guardiola’s team.

We need to look back to when Newcastle won 2-0 in the League Cup at Man City in 2014.

Alan Pardew picked a team to surrender the game (as was the norm under him in the cups) and then when to everybody’s astonishment they won, it was quite amazing to hear him claiming that actually he’d made his selection because he thought it gave NUFC their best chance of winning!

The win was built around young players pressing high up the pitch from the first whistle, with Mehdi Abeid, Adam Armstrong and Rolando Aaron leading the way (Obertan, Colback and Haidara also started!).

Aarons gave Newcastle a sixth minute lead and the team never looked back.

They kept pressing and whilst Manchester City had chances, so did Newcastle, substitute Moussa Sissoko scoring the second late on to top off the win.

Man City didn’t play a weakened team, in their front six they had the likes of Dzeko, Silva, Toure and Fernandinho, but just as they are now, they were weakest in defence.

Manchester City have already lost nine of 33 Premier League games this season, they are not unbeatable. However, you do have to apply pressure to their defence, as Southampton successfully did at the weekend and as the likes of Norwich did when beating them earlier in the season.

Not a case of all out attack but get some fit and quick mainly younger players, playing relatively high up the pitch, see if Newcastle can create chances and score first.

What is there to lose?

I am thinking players like Lazaro, Matty Longstaff, Yedlin, Gayle, maybe even Muto might be worth a try, remember away at Man Utd in that 3-2 game? Back them up with players such as Bentaleb and Ritchie with good engines who can also apply pressure.

I also saw Craig Hope of The Mail reporting: ‘Looks like a couple of NUFC academy graduates will be on the bench tonight. Tom Allan and Jack Young added to the squad yesterday. Be good to see them get some game-time over next couple of weeks.’

Why not aim to get them on the pitch at some time and run their hearts out?

When Rolando Aarons set up that win at Manchester City in 2014, he was 18 and making only his second start for NUFC.

Matty Longstaff was only 19 and making his first ever PL start when being the match winner against Man Utd, still only 19 and making his fourth PL start when giving NUFC the lead at Old Trafford as well.

When Newcastle won that other time against Manchester City, in January 2019, Sean Longstaff was making only his third PL start, was superb on the night and won the match winning penalty when pressing high up the pitch.

The last thing Pep Guardiola will be expecting is for Steve Bruce to send out a younger team to press high up the pitch and pressure his weak defence.

Lets have a go.

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