The early afternoon kick off for Man City represented one of their most important matches of the season so far.
Having lost the Manchester derby in dramatic circumstances last Sunday, a win against a struggling Newcastle was a necessity in order to hang onto the coat tails of leaders Manchester United.
Newcastle started the game brightly and should have taken the lead but for a good save by Joe Hart in the opening minutes. As the first half developed, so too did Man City’s irrepressible attack.
They carved the Newcastle defence apart at will and their opener was a mixture of shoddy defending and brilliant passing. On the turn, Yaya Toure played a perfect pass through the porous Magpie backline into Samir Nasri’s pass.
Instead of shooting, the Frenchman squared the ball to Sergio Aguero who passed the ball into an open goal.
From that moment it seemed a forgone conclusion that City would win this very comfortably. Newcastle simply couldn’t handle City’s rapid and fluid attacking play, and Aguero and Nasri missed great opportunities to extend their side’s league.
For all their domination, however, Newcastle still posed a counter attacking threat. They should have clawed one goal back from a series of testing set pieces that forced Hart into making a couple of strong saves. The second City goal from a Javi Garcia header all but ended the contest.
There are several issues regarding Newcastle’s poor season so far; the debilitating partake in the Europa League; Injuries; a weight of expectation to reproduce last year’s form and a loss of form to several key players, chief among them Papiss Cisse and Cheik Tiote.
A fair few of these factors were on show at St James’ Park on Saturday. Cisse in particular was wasteful today, and seems to be suffering from a lack of confidence.
His strike partner, Demba Ba, is in great form meanwhile and his eleventh league goal this year threatened to undo all of City’s brilliant first half work.
Alas, Yaya Toure secured all three points for the away side with little over ten minutes to go, and temporarily put the pressure on United to secure all three points at home to Sunderland.
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