Well, that was the score line I was expecting for last year’s opener against Southampton, but we all know how that turned out, a win but not the way we expected. Okay no more negatives, on to how spectacular we looked today against Newcastle, am I right Blues?
It is the first match of the season so there is a lot of build up for this game, and I don’t want to fall victim to setting high expectations after one win, but boy was this one impressive. We could have easily been up 4-0 at the end of the first half, but some great saves by Tim Krul kept the score line manageable at best.
During the first ten minutes, if I can use a baseball analogy here, we threw all our pitches at Newcastle and nearly put away two early goals, which would have just crushed NUFC’s hopes right away. Sadly we, and by we I mean DZEKO, couldn’t put away his early chance, and either could the lovable Pablo. Even with those missed opportunities watching City in those first few minutes got me thinking that we were essentially sending a message to the other EPL teams what we will do when clicking on all cylinders like we were today.
About 5 minutes after those chances fell to the wayside, Silva received a deflected cross from Dzeko and headed past Tim Krul, who was busy all afternoon. He also left a beautiful flick on to Aguero to put home the second goal. Now, as much as I have ragged on Dzeko in previous seasons, he will be a key to the success of our attack and after today’s game, I believe those chances will soon begin to fall for the Bosnian.
Newcastle’s afternoon was summed up by Steven Taylor’s red card, as the first half was about 30 seconds away from its conclusion. This card came after what looked to be a sure handball by Taylor would have given City a penalty kick, when he gave Aguero a close line to the top of the head. I believe it was a bit harsh to give an immediate red card, but that was Andre Marriner’s decision and that was pretty much it for any chance of Newcastle making it a game.
The second half went very much like the first, as the combination of Dzeko, Aguero, Silva and Navas continued to give the back line of the Magpies fits, especially Navas. Jesus was an absolute menace for all of Newcastle, he ran from the right side, to the left, to the defensive third, to my house and some how managed to do this all night. He will be an essential part of our attack this year, obviously, and will continue to feed Dzeko crosses to miss the goal with ;). The central midfield pairing of Yaya and Yaya Jr. (Fernandinho), which had a lot of people skeptical to how it would work, myself included, went better than expected. They played extremely well together (yes, I know it sounds like I am talking about to kids having a play date) and complimented each other’s style so well, that I barely knew Yaya was on the field. That beaut of a free kick changed that though.
With all the good that came from our first three points of the season, there is but one negative, and that is the loss of Vincent Kompany. He left the pitch (I don’t remember the exact time) with an apparent groin injury, I just got home so I haven’t seen any reports to the extent of the injury, but let’s hope for the best!
Aguero (7) (Nasri) – Surprised he made the starting XI, could have sworn he would have come off the bench. But, he was great up front playing short passes with Silva and Dzeko to set up goals. Can’t wait to see how these partnerships will play out.
Dzeko (8) – This man just could not score tonight, the Etihad Stadium must have something against him scoring when starting. On the bright side, he was essential to the first two goals scored as his pass set both of them up. If he can change my mind about his ability, fully, by Christmas I will change my handles (here and Twitter) to @ArtistFormlyKnownAsDzeko.
Silva (7) (Negrado) – He enjoyed the freedom for getting to play in and outside of the middle. Glad he got a goal, and his passing combinations with Aguero and Dzeko just added to what our attack had today. Other than that he didn’t get as many touches as we’re use to.
Navas (8) (MotM) – He is a revelation for our side! The width he brings to the attack suits us extremely well. On top of that, his speed will give back lines and goalkeepers fits throughout the season. He was my man of the match, not because I dislike Dzeko, because he was deserving of the award as well, and got it from the game itself. But, Navas was a huge factor to how our attack came together, and that is why I named him Man of the Match.
Fernandhino (8) – Much like the addition of Navas, he brings another element to our attack through the middle. He showed great determination to win every ball and had a great understanding with his teammates that rid me of my nerves of how him and Yaya would play together.
Yaya (6) – Other than that free kick Fernandinho pretty much stole Yaya’s thunder today. But, he was strong on the ball and when we had to defend, he shrugged people off the ball. Beautiful free kick though.
Clichy (6) – Man, I was hoping he’d get that goal. But, he wasn’t really threatened by Newcastle’s attack, and he didn’t get up in attack but he wasn’t really needed.
Kompany (6) (Garcia) – Frustrating that he got what seems to be a groin injury, hopefully he can come back soon because we need him. He had a solid performance, but didn’t have a lot of man on man marking today with our dominance in attack.
Lescott (6) – Other than his two left feet, Lescott had a solid dfensive performance. If he could just figured out how to dribble and pass, he’d be better suited to stay in the starting XI.
Zabaleta (6) – What a great day for Pablo signing a new deal this morning, and then a victory paired with another Pabloian performance. At the beginning he showed the threat he will bring when combining with the speedy Navas.
Hart (4) – Great game Joe, hope you’re out running a 5k haha. Not much for him to do, and wasn’t really tested.
Nasri (6) – Goal was good, but not a lot of time to make a real impact, especially with the score line where it was. He will definitely be impactful from here on out.
Garcia (N/A) – Was that not the most uncomfortable looking center back we could have had out there?
Negredo (N/A) – He had a great chance to put a header by Krul, and did, but he was ruled offside. I have yet to see a replay, but from what I heard he was clearly onside.