It may not have always been aesthetically pleasing, but when it needed to, City made the game look very easy.
The first half was very typical of City: holding the possession, picking out spaces to attack and countering with intent, but it seemed like the teams would be going into the half at 0-0. As soon as I was thinking that very thought, Yaya put a beautifully weighted pass that found Dzeko inside the box and with an un-Dzeko like back heel, the ball found Silva. Silva made no mistake, using his favorite left foot to put City up 1-0 with five minutes left until half time.
The second half was a much different story, as Newcastle relentlessly attacked City, giving the Blues a real go of it. As the game wound down, Newcastle put the pedal to the metal and had multiple quality chances to tie the game up, but City held “firm” (and I use firm loosely). The nerves were calmed when Aguero put the Champions up 2-0. This particular sequence illustrated the difference in the sides. It began when Sissoko missed a wide-open chance and, when City countered, the Argentine made no mistake when given the chance to score.
As I mentioned at the beginning, it certainly wasn’t the prettiest display by City, but when the game called for City to grab it by the horns, we did just that. Newcastle fans should be encouraged by their team’s performance today, but they will need to be more clinical with their chances.
Minus the last ten minutes or so, City’s defense of the Newcastle counter attack was very organized and there were more blue shirts in the box than the black and white of Newcastle. Having the likes of Kompany and Demichelis at the back was very calming, because they worked extremely well together today and have complimentary skills.
The partnership between Dzeko and Jovetic was fantastic, as the Montenegrin’s work ethic allowed Dzeko to find spaces because he knew Jo-Jo would find a way to get him the ball. The three-headed monster of Dzeko, Jovetic and Silva will likely give teams fits throughout the season, and the addition of Aguero, Nasri and Navas will make the attack that much more threatening. Talk about an embarrassment of riches, huh? Having a talent like Aguero coming off the bench speaks volumes of our depth, which will be essential for us this season (along with health) if we want to make a real run at a Champions League title.
Dzeko (7) - Starting extremely well; holding the ball and looking to get open wherever he is on the field. Beautiful back heel to Silva for the first goal. This Dzeko was very similar to the one we saw early on last season, but I hope he doesn’t revert to the Dr. Dzeko and Mr. Edin routine we’ve seen before.
Jovetic (7) - He was the same player we saw during the preseason and it was his shiftiness in attack that kept the Newcastle defenders on their heels. Can’t wait to see more of him this season and I don’t mind his selfishness when shooting. I feel those shots will start hitting the net.
Silva (8 MotM) - If the importance of this beautiful Spaniard was ever questioned (it never is, just bear with me), today was another fine display of his effect on our attack. He was a key factor in every counter, picking out passes and finding holes in the Newcastle defense.
Nasri (5) - Wasn’t too involved in today’s games, although he had his moments. When he got the ball, he was full of the same intent he displayed last season.
Yaya (6) - Looked a little lethargic in the first half, could be a hangover from a long offseason. And, just as I said he looks bad, he picked an inch perfect pass to Dzeko that led to the first goal. His passes were threatening and were a display of his skill.
Fernando (7) -Strong defensive presence and halted most of Newcastle breaks, which was a delightful site. His tackles were thunderous, leaving Gouffran lying on the pitch. There must be something with the #6 and wayward headers that give the opposing team a chance to go on and score.
Kolarov (6) - Bombing runs down the left hand side, familiar from last season. He showed better defensive work than I am use to, especially with how frequently he was tested today.
Kompany (6) - More timely clearances, keeping me calm when Newcastle looked to be making an attempt at scoring. He was the glue again to City’s back four, as he was always in the right place in the right time.
Demichelis (6) - I miss your hair :( His City renaissance continues with another solid performance with short rest from his World Cup campaign. Read the game well and stuffed holes in the defense aganst Newcastle’s attacks.
Clichy (6) - Looked extremely comfortable on the right side today, and I’m sure playing the preseason in that role aided that confidence.
Hart (6) - Confident in net, coming to claim the balls sailing into the box. Having Willy behind him will give him the kick in the pants he needs. Still a bit nervy at times, but he’s a blonde; we’ll give him some blips as long as they don’t lead to goals.
Aguero - Talk about efficiency in minutes played and goal scoring, eh?