Manchester City are still looking for the relentlessness of their title wins with Pep Guardiola, but this victory still puts them in fifth place.
A killer touch is missing before the goal, with Sergio Agüero being treated so that he is back in top form. Newcastle were beaten here last season and would have been again had Ferran Torres and Raheem Sterling, in particular, been colder-eyed finalists.
Kyle Walker’s positive coronavirus test forced Guardiola to draft Nathan Aké, his only change since Saturday’s 1-0 win at Southampton, while Steve Bruce hoped for a much better display than the one that led to Newcastle being eliminated. of the Carabao Cup for Brentford. in the middle of the week.
This Boxing Day contest started in pouring rain and featured the visitors having a generous share of the ball. Miguel Almirón threatened from the left, while Raheem Sterling had to put down a counterattack.
However, as is often the case, City would soon attack at a terrifying pace. Kevin De Bruyne threw a pass from left to right to João Cancelo, whose slide-rule ball landed Sterling against a wall of zebra-striped jerseys. After taunting these defenders, No. 7 sideways hit Ilkay Gündogan and crashed up close.
This had taken 14 minutes. In Newcastle’s 5-0 match last season, City’s first game came after 10 minutes – there was an unwanted similarity here that could prove the worst omen for Bruce’s men and when De Bruyne launched a cross archery moments later Karl Darlow I had to fight to stay out for a second.
The city was in muscle mode. Ferran Torres, number 9 with Gabriel Jesus also a positive forced absence from Covid, received from Aké deep in his half and ran 70 yards, only his tame shot saved Newcastle.
However, despite the advantage, Guardiola was unhappy. For below par passes, both John Stones and Rodri received a vocal volley and City’s wastefulness upset the coach. While Torres’ hooked ball that had De Bruyne cleared at full speed was received better by the Catalan, the Belgian was entertained before a poor effort that Darlow repelled was again received unfavorably.
As halftime approached, Sterling’s close-range shot at least upset Darlow and heralded the first of City’s two corners. But Newcastle finished the half with three of their own: half of them had City in disarray and while the home team responded with another, Bruce’s men drifted away in the interval still in the game.
A flawed control by De Bruyne giving up possession early in the second half suggested City were still not as skilled as they would like to be. If a pass from Rúben Dias that went straight to Jacob Murphy reinforced the impression, further dislocation ensued when Stones headed a free kick from De Bruyne when the defender should have aimed past Darlow.
Newcastle’s vague game plan to hang on and score a draw was somehow underscored by a snapshot of Joelinton that, at 51 minutes, was his first goal. And this strategy seemed in tatters when a center from Cancelo was directed by Federico Fernández in Torres’ path and he made no mistake by making it 2-0.
He was nearly 3-0 when Bernardo Silva hit Darlow’s left post, although Sterling should have scored with a failed attempt that ultimately went to the Portuguese.
City appeared to have a third from Agüero, as a late replacement for Torres, only for Darlow to save point-blank from number 10.
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