The Premier League's ninety-two remaining games, spread across nine rounds of games are set to play out beginning June 17th 2020, with Project Restart's health and safety conditions meaning the remaining games of the season will be played out behind closed doors. We will be providing match reports from these behind closed doors competitive encounters as the league campaign nears its end-game. All aboard.
Match Report (GW34): Man City 5-0 Newcastle
Manchester City are looking to bounce back from their nineth league defeat of the season against Southampton, and they host a Newcastle United looking to atone for their heavy FA Cup knockout against City. Pep Guardiola has once again heavily rotated his team for the occasion, and Steve Bruce has made a makeshift team with Fabian Schär staring in central midfield amidst a host of injuries for the Toon, and surprisingly Emil Krafth drops into central defence, and Jonjo Shelvey starts as a second striker behind Joelinton.
Steve Bruce’s curious team selection couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start, with Man City initialising the training drill for the game. Pep will be relieved his team capitalised on besting the defensive drill put out by Newcastle. David Silva and Phil Foden linked up on the left-hand channel, with the Silva playing in a trademark City low cross which found Jesus 10th minute, and the Brazilian tapped into the net for City’s opener. Things could have gone from bad to worse three minutes late, with a long punt from Ederson following a poor Newcastle freekick finds Mahrez, who with the entire goal his target only manages to find the arms of Dubravka.
The nature of this game and Newcastle’s setup meant things did go from bad to worse for the Toon, and it was a carbon copy of the first goal, but this time with a different combo. Kevin De Bruyne is the one for the low cross which found Riyad Mahrez to slot away for City’s second goal of the first half. The Belgian’s latest assist puts him at eighteen for the season, only two behind the Premier League record of twenty still owned by Thierry Henry.
The rest of the half was more of the same, and there could have been a third for Guardiola’s team when Foden hit the bar in the 40th minute. Half time couldn’t have come sooner for Newcastle who must find a way to redeem a terrible first half performance.
If you thought the second half would change, you were right, it didn’t. Manchester City picked up from where they left off. Foden could have added to his recent tally but flashed wide. A Newcastle player did end up on the scoresheet but on the wrong side. Jesus ran through the Newcastle box, and as Matt Ritchie tried to clear the ball in the 58th minute, the ball struck Fernandez and curved into Dubravka’s goal.
If you’re a Newcastle supporter and still with us, in the 65th minute Raheem Sterling was fouled just outside the box, and you guess it, a David Silva freekick added City’s fourth goal of the evening. Silva chose the empty side of the net and Dubravka watched it go in. Really top-class goal. Their fifth could have come ten minutes later, again David Silva harassing the Toon goal. Another low cross in from the left channel from De Bruyne saw Silva force a wonderful save from Dubravka.
Capping things off for a rudimentary City win was manoeuvred by David Silva in extra time who found Sterling completely unmarked in the City box, and the England international coolly slotted in City’s fifth from low cross from David Silva. Newcastle were sloppy today and Bruce will just be glad it is over, they were punished by constantly giving the ball away and falling asleep in their defensive duties. Once again, the negative all-out defence strategy didn’t pay off for Steve Bruce or his team.
Goal Contributions: Manchester City
Goals: Jesus (1), Mahrez (1), D. Silva (1), Fernandez (OG, 1), Sterling (1)
Assists: D. Silva (2), De Bruyne (1), Sterling (1), Ritchie (OG, 1)
Man of the Match: David Silva (MCI)
The Spaniard's time in the Premier League is ending, and we are being reminded about the calibre of player David Silva is. Pep will hate losing Silva, and with a goal and two assists, Silva was the engine in City’s attack today. That’s it. Silva bossed Newcastle all game and deserves the credit for leading the attacking drill against a defensive Newcastle.
MCI 5-0 NEW - Insight and Analysis:
I didn’t think I had to repeat the soulless crushing of Newcastle in the FA Cup by the hand of Manchester City again so quickly. The only thing that had changes since that encounter was the competition being played. Newcastle were setup by Steve Bruce to simply sit and defend, his hands may have been tied with injuries to key men like Lascelles, Saint-Maximin, and doubts over Almirón’s fitness. I still think that with these players the emphasis doesn’t change, and they made it a training game for City to just repeat their relentless attacking phase.
I can’t be critical of City’s play, they play wonderful football, you’d think so with the most expensive team every assembled. I am critical of the soullessness of it, as it isn’t fun watching City do this to teams. When you come to know what exactly will happen in a football match, the game loses its spark, as this is a league where anyone can beat anyone. Not with City though, they are expert annihilators of teams in the bottom half, with five or six goal margins considered ‘normal’ in most these games. City’s money was there to remove the randomness of results, it explains why they were able to nearly get 100pts in two consecutive seasons, which is why Liverpool’s title win is even more extraordinary as they did it by constantly being in the plus figures for their transfer net spend.
Teams sit and give City all the respect, and against Liverpool teams tend to fight for their lives, and that is because managers don’t expect to beat a team like City’s, as it can be quickly forgotten, whereas managers know more eyes are on them against Liverpool so they have a point to prove to the world. The Reds have been the final game for seven managers in the last three years but controlling shareholders don’t consider City a realistic game to win. It is worth a think about.
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Manager: Pep Guardiola
LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko
CB: Nicolas Otamendi
CB: John Stones
RB: Joao Cancelo (Walker, 45’)
CDM: Rodrigo (Gundogan, 45’)
CM: Kevin De Bruyne
CM: David Silva
LW: Phil Foden (B. Silva, 62’)
RW: Riyad Mahrez (Doyle, 75’)
ST: Gabriel Jesus (Sterling, 62’)
Claudio Bravo, Raheem Sterling, Aymeric Laporte, Fernandinho, Bernardo Silva, Eric Garcia, Tommy Doyle, Ilkay Gundogan, Kyle Walker
Manager: Steve Bruce
GK: Martin Dubravka
LB: Danny Rose
CB: Federico Fernandez
CB: Emil Krafth (Muto, 85’)
RB: DeAndre Yedlin
LM: Matt Ritchie (Atsu, 85’)
CM: Nabil Bentaleb
CM: Fabian Schär
RM: Valentino Lazaro (Manquillo, 66’)
CF: Jonjo Shelvey (M. Longstaff, 66’)
ST: Joelinton (Gayle, 66’)
Karl Darlow, Jack Young, Miguel Almirón, Dwight Gayle, Matt Longstaff, Christian Atsu, Thomas Allen, Yoshinori Muto, Javier Manquillo
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