Manuel Pellegrini enjoyed an almost ideal start to life in the Premier League as his new Manchester City side brushed Newcastle United aside 4-0 at the Etihad. City, with new signings Fernandinho and Jesus Nvas playing a significant part, were full of energy and purpose from the start and virtually sealed the three points against a listless Newcastle inside the first quarter of the contest with goals from David Silva and Sergio Aguero. The visitors, without Yohan Cabaye after the midfielder was the subject of a bid from Arsenal, showed little appetite for the challenge of stemming the tide of City’s attacks.
Steven Taylor did show the desire to fight, but not in the way Pardew would have desired. The defender swung an arm at Aguero in first-half injury time to earn a red card and further his side’s troubles. And City adding an emphatic touch to the scoreline after the break with a free-kick scored by Yaya Toure and a cool finish from substitute Samir Nasri as Newcastle’s defense crumbled.
Pellegrini will have been delighted with the way his side worked without the ball, as well as the chemistry already developed going forward. Indeed, the only thing that detracted from an otherwise perfect evening in Manchester for the former Malaga boss was a groin injury that forced captain Vincent Kompany off.
Newcastle, on the other hand, after a summer of negative publicity following the appointment of Joe Kinnear and a lack of signings, look set for another long season; on this evidence at least. Few could begrudge Cabaye’s perceived keenness to continue his career elsewhere.
City could have twice taken the lead inside the first four minutes, with Newcastle overwhelmed by the new double threat down City’s right of Navas and Pablo Zabaleta. The full-back saw a shot blocked from Navas’ low cross in the opening exchanges, before Tim Krul produced a fine save from Aguero’s follow-up effort. And moments later Navas and Zabaleta again combined, this time to set-up Edin Dzeko whose shot was tipped wide by the already besieged Newcastle keeper.
It would take only until the sixth minute for the first goal to arrive. This time it came down the left side as Silva found Dzeko and when the forward beat the hapless Mathieu Debuchy to the byline before his cross was deflected off of Taylor, the diminutive Spaniard was on hand to head home.
City’s early furious temp dropped off a little after going ahead, while some sloppiness in possession also crept into their game. Still, Newcastle hardly appeared able to capitalize, despite Hatem Ben Arfa showing glimpses of his ability on the ball.
And with the visitors incapable of getting any pressure on the ball as City came forward, a second goal was soon forthcoming. Dzeko, always involved and looking a rejuvenated player after being talked up by his new manager during the summer, went close to scoring once more but then played a key part his strike partner doubling the lead.
Kompany summed up City’s greater eagerness as he won possession inside his own half, strode purposely forward and then fed a ball into Dzeko, who intelligently allowed it to run for Aguero. The Argentinian, a surprise inclusion from the start after missing much of preseason, showed he had plenty of sharpness to outpace Taylor and fire a precise show low into the far corner.
Taylor’s evening was only to get worse. The defender, raised on Tyneside, was lucky not to concede a penalty when his arm appeared to move toward the ball to block an effort from Aguero. There could be no misinterpretation about the movement of that same left arm moments later. In a moment of stupidity before going to head a ball away, Taylor blatantly swung his arm across the back of the former Atletico Madrid striker’s head. While it was hardly a vicious assault, there could be no complaints about the referee ensuring Newcastle ended a dismal first half with 10 men.
It was not to get any better after the break. In the opening minutes Krul, seemingly on a mission not to allow Dzeko to find the net, was forced to produce the best of several stops from the Bosnian to keep out a header from six yards out. The Dutch keeper could do nothing, though, as City made it 3-0 after 50 minutes. Toure whipped a free-kick over a static Newcastle wall and into the top corner from the edge of the box to further the punishment.
City’s increased strength in depth was shown with the arrivals off the bench of Nasri and new signing Alvaro Negredo. With 15 minutes remaining, it was the former Arsenal man that made it 4-0.
For the second time in the match, Dzeko showed his awareness to allow the ball to run on and this time Nasri was the beneficiary as he waltzed past a poor challenge from the dreadful Debuchy and finished clinically past Krul. The other arrival should have had his name on the scorsheet too but Negredo’s finish late on was incorrectly ruled out for offside. It was not to matter and, based on this display, the Etihad will be witnessing plenty of goals from their team in the season ahead.