Five star Man City masterclass piles misery on Magpies
Manchester City sent out an emphatic warning to Premier League title rivals Chelsea, as they cut the Stamford Bridge side’s lead to five points, following an impressive 5-0 dismantling of Newcastle United.
The ramifications of this rout could surely have both long and short-term value for City, who were able to rest key players earlier than expected ahead of the club’s crunch Champions League clash with Barcelona, and can also count themselves firmly back in the title race.
Visitors Newcastle, meanwhile, offered remarkably little resistance, and the scoreline cannot have helped interim coach John Carver’s prospects for keeping his post.
The Magpies immediately began on the wrong foot, conceding a penalty in the first 30 seconds, and never seemed to regain their balance.
Vurnon Anita will certainly not be on Jose Mourinho’s Christmas card list anytime soon, after his inability to control a pass allowed Edin Dzeko to pounce and snatch possession. Anita attempted to make amends, but only succeeded in bringing the Sarajevo-born striker down in the box.
Top scorer Sergio Aguero coolly converted, despite keeper Tim Krul’s best attempts to distract the Argentina attacker, and City fans will be relieved that the 26-year-old seems to have his spark back.
The Sky Blues controlled the game effortlessly after that though, worryingly for Chelsea, never quite reached top gear. Quite simply, Manuel Pellegrini’s men didn’t have to, as the travelling Tyneside team suffered a series of calamities in defence.
Easily and repeatedly beaten both on the ground and in the air, Newcastle’s backline was breached and bypassed at will, with sloppy passing and poor positioning seemingly contagious.
Fullbacks Daryl Janmaat and Massadio Haidara noticeably struggled against Pellegrini’s deployment of a fluid formation, in which Aguero, Dzeko, Samir Nasri and David Silva interchanged excellently.
There were bright spots in the Magpies’ performance, however, as Senegal striker Papiss Cisse and midfield engine Moussa Sissoko continued to drive on and make powerful runs to pull the team forward, despite the increasingly dismal scoreline.
Spain schemer Silva was deservedly named Man of the Match after crafting an opening to help create Nasri’s nifty effort, as well as providing an exhilarating pinpoint pass for Dzeko’s stunning half-volley.
This kind of artistry is what is expected of a playmaker of Silva’s talents, but the Iberian attacker has added real goal threat to his game this term, and City are so much the better for it.
Now arguably the Etihad outfit’s most important player, Silva turned from assistant to sharpshooter in the second half, with two instinctive finishes to settle the match.
This allowed Pellegrini to rest both Silva and Aguero early, with Wilfried Bony replacing the latter to make his Sky Blues bow.
It seemed the Ivory Coast attacker, who showed promising glimpses of an established understanding with compatriot Yaya Toure, would open his Etihad account after Krul’s poor clearance. However, the stressed stopper recovered in time to deny a dream debut.
If dangerman Dzeko’s performance, including an assist for Nasri and a wonderfully executed goal, is anything to go by, however, Bony will not find it easy to claim a starting spot.
Dzeko’s powerful and promising showing provides a fantastic headache for Pellegrini ahead of the Nou Camp clash, and a cautionary tale for Jose Mourinho’s men should they slip up again.
City will have to hope, having battled the Blues twice already this term, that the Londoners will drop points elsewhere. Game on.