Manchester City 5 Newcastle 0 – The three big points that I’m taking from the match
Manchester City 5 Newcastle 0 – Sunday 8 May 4.30pm
Given that Spurs held Liverpool in a tight contest on Saturday night, our game against city almost turned from title deciders to title confirmers, City being pretty much in the clear if they won at home.
Going into the game I was expecting a draw at best from us, as we don’t have the best record at the Etihad (putting it mildly), weighed up against the fact that traditionally City don’t perform at their best following a tough European knockout clash.
The team news was pretty much as expected, as City could pretty much rotate their entire starting XI and look a great team. We looked pretty strong, with Longstaff coming in to presumably offer more athleticism than Shelvey, Wood returning to offer a much needed focal point up top. Great to see Wilson and Trippier back on the bench – but a bit of a worry seeing Lascelles start in the back four…
As soon as the game kicked off, it was as expected, with City on the front foot and resolute defending from NUFC from the start. First chance eight minutes in, with a great cross headed straight at Ederson by Wood, followed minutes later by a City chance, with Laporte blazing miles over after getting free from a corner.
Pretty even game until the 19th minute, after a long ball was nodded across goal by Cancelo to be forced home by Sterling. Hearts in mouths for City on the 25th minute after the ball pinged off Bruno from a corner and forced in by Wood, the Brazilian Geordie was offside though.
Almost a second for City on the half hour mark but a great touch from Krafth stopped Jesus getting a shot off after Lascelles completely missed De Bruyne’s through ball. Another pinballing corner just before the 40 minute mark, forced home by Laporte after Dubravka failed to control a long shot. Might have some argument that Dubravka had a hand on the ball but not too strong a shout in my opinion.
That was pretty much it for the first half, relatively even in terms of game play, but some world class distribution from De Bruyne proving the difference.
The second half saw much the same tempo, with City having the majority of possession and Newcastle defending resolutely and looking to break on the counter. ASM again our most creative player, skinning half the City team and firing narrowly wide just before the hour mark.
How different things could have been, as not two minutes later, De Bruyne again puts in a great corner right onto the head of Rodri for a third.
Continuing in the same vein as the game went on, with a fabulous save from Dubravka denying Zinchenko. A lift for NUFC fans everywhere to see Wilson and Trippier come on with 20 minutes to go, hopefully building up their fitness for next season.
Bit of nonsense in the box shortly after, as Rodri repeatedly runs into Dan Burn to get him booked, not sure what he can do when a player runs straight at him and falls down, but here we are. Good pressure continuing by NUFC, forcing a turnover and last ditch defending by Fernandinho to stop a breakaway goal from Wilson. City being forced to play ugly keep ball in the last portion of the match, De Bruyne cynically hacking down ASM as he tried to break away again.
Callum Wilson almost getting the dream return, forcing a good save out of Ederson, with ASM following up by blasting over the bar with less than ten minutes to go.
Another good few chances spurned again after Wilson and Bruno couldn’t get shots away in the City box, then City, break away, get an overload, and score a fourth, then a fifth in quick succession. Game over.
Here are my three key points that I am taking from the game.
World class players make the difference
If De Bruyne wasn’t on the pitch, it would have been a very different game.
Easy to say, but he really did make the difference for City, either assisting or assisting the assist (you know what I mean) for City’s goals.
It’s clear to see that at least the top two teams are currently completely unassailable when it comes to player and overall squad quality, maybe we’ll be there too in a few years?
No longer overwhelmed
Under a still unnamed previous manager, this would have been a game we would have surrendered from minute one.
Despite the scoreline, we always looked in the game, always looked disciplined, and were simply beaten by a world class team.
With the return of Wilson in the second half, you’d fancy that if he wasn’t carrying a few months of rust he could have got a brace today!
Team play = Best way
For all of his critics, seeing ASM defending on the edge of his own box and putting in the hard yards shows the togetherness now instilled in this squad.
These last few games are more of a bonus for us.
Howe can view who he’s keeping and who to get rid of in the summer, a bit more squad depth and some more quality additions and I think we could be a real contender for the European places.
Conference League…it’s still Europe so sign me up!
Stats from BBC Sport:
Manchester City 5 Newcastle 0 – Sunday 8 May 4.30pm
Sterling 19, 90+3, Laporte 38, Rodri 61, Foden 90
(Half-time stats in brackets)
Possession was Man City 71% (68%) Newcastle 29% (32%)
Total shots were Man City 21 (10) Newcastle 7 (2)
Shots on target were Man City 9 (5) Newcastle 3 (1)
Corners were Man City 8 (4) Newcastle 2 (1)
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Attendance: 53,336 (Newcastle 3,000)
Dubravka, Krafth (Trippier 68), Lascelles, Burn, Targett, Guimaraes, Longstaff, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin, Almiron (Murphy 80), Wood (Wilson 68)
Darlow, Dummett, Schar, Ritchie, Manquillo, Gayle
(3 Positives and 3 Negatives taken from Manchester City 5 Newcastle 0 – Read HERE)
(Manchester City 5 Newcastle 0 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)
(Manchester City 5 Newcastle 0 – Instant NUFC fan / writer reaction to Sunday’s defeat – Read HERE)
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