Everyone was wondering how would Manchester City react to losing their first Premier League of the season away to Liverpool, and the Blues responded in style with a 3-1 win over Newcastle at the Etihad. Sergio Agüero scored a hat-trick to reward a dominant performance from the entire team, and City remain 12 points clear of everyone else at the top of the table.
It looked like Newcastle would have a very different approach than they had at St. James’ Park last month, because they went forward and pressed City high in the first few minutes and nearly got a goal thanks to a very intelligent set piece routine that caught the City backline off guard and required a good intervention from Ederson.
But City established control of the game quickly and then we saw that Newcastle did not have a different approach from last month. In fact they doubled down on it and defended even deeper, having zero intention of going forward and just hoping to frustrate City and take a draw to halftime.
For nearly 35 minutes the approach worked as City struggled to play the final ball and create real chances, but when Sergio Agüero got the slightest of touches after a cross from Kevin De Bruyne the Blues were ahead. De Bruyne and Agüero had great chances after the goal to double City’s lead, but Karl Darlow managed to keep the deficit at a minimum.
At halftime, a dominant performance from the Blues gave them a deserved lead. It was just about finishing the job in the second half.
Despite being down one goal Newcastle did not change their strategy and continued to defend deep inside their half hoping to keep the 1-0 scoreline until they had a chance late in the game, and City couldn’t really create great chances, until Javier Manquillo brought Raheem Sterling down in the box. Agüero buried the penalty and gave City some breathing room.
The two-goal lead did not last long, though: after a wonderful pass by Cieran Clark from his own half, Jacob Murphy was through on goal and chipped Ederson for a very nice goal that gave the Magpies a good chance to get a result. The visitors had their best stretch of minutes after scoring, with a couple of real opportunities to score that Ederson did well to stop.
With 20 minutes left in the game, it was clear that City really needed a goal to truly kill the game, and it took them a while but they still got it after a tremendous individual play from Leroy Sané, who dribbled about 321 Newcastle players and found Sergio Agüero for his third goal of the night.
Man City: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva; Sterling (Bernardo), Agüero, Sané (Brahim)
Goals: Agüero (34’, 63’, 83’)
Newcastle: Darlow; Manquillo (Yedlin), Hayden, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett; Atsu (Ayoze), Diamé, Shelvey, Murphy; Joselu (Gayle)
Goal: Murphy (67’)