Thoughts from Manchester City 4 Newcastle United 0: City Smoking, Newcastle Lack Professionalism

20 August 2013

Manchester City Reaped the Benefits of Early Summer Signings
I don't think Manuel Pellegrini could have asked for a better way to start his tenure as Manchester City manager. His team clicked on every possible cylinder, showing the benefits of getting your summer transfer business done early in the window, and allowing those signings to integrate into the system being played.
Navas and Fernandinho both played vital roles in the Manchester City midfield. Fernandinho played a little deeper in midfield, but his defensive play allowed Toure and Silva to move forward at will. Navas was more lethal in the attacking third, setting up wonderful scoring opportunities with his passing. Ever touch both players provided had purpose and it always put Newcastle on the back foot.
While Manchester City will have better opposition that will test the on field chemistry of the team, today's performance is going to be the standard most neutrals will expect week after week. It's not often that one can say after the first round of matches that the summer signings of any club look like they've been at the club for years. Monday, Manchester City proved not only is it possible, the practice should become the norm.

Steven Taylor Deserved His Red
Steven Taylor had sixty seconds at the end of the first half that could easily have been the worst minute by any player this weekend. After looking guiltier than he ever should have looked on a hand ball shout, Taylor was shown a red card for a forearm to the back of Aguero's head. Despite Paul Walsh's huffing and puffing about the decision on the television broadcast, Andre Marriner had no choice but to send the defender off.
Steven Taylor picked the worst possible way to get out a half of frustration. However, most of it was caused by own poor play. He was constantly caught out of position, leaving his center-back partner Coloccini hung out to dry. I would argue that his positional play in the first half meant that Newcastle was already playing a man down, because Newcastle played just as well with ten men on the pitch than they did with eleven.

Tim Krul Deserves Professionals in Front of Him
Many may disagree, but Tim Krul was the man of the match. It also exposed something that should scare Newcastle United fans, and that is the players in front of Krul are not professional in any way, shape, or form. Without Krul's form in goal, this scoreline could have easily read 8-0, possibly more.
I'm going to start with Alan Pardew for thinking it was a wise idea to play a midfield that provided Newcastle's back four with absolutely no cover. There was simply too much space for Manchester City's midfield to move forward, and too much time for Manchester City to pick out where the final ball would end up. Furthermore, the midfield players were bossed off the ball with too much regularity. Manchester City's second goal was a prime example of this. By the time Gouffran realized that Kompany had taken the ball from him, it was 2-0 to Manchester City. It took seven touches between the moment Kompany took the ball, and the touch that saw Aguero slide it past Krul. Also, why did Pardew not sub off Cisse when it was obvious to the whole world he wasn't bothering to try when Newcastle was making halfhearted attempts to get forward?
Their set piece play wasn't any better either. On Toure's free kick goal early in the second half, Anita thought it was be a smart idea to just abandon the space he was in, instead of taking one for the team. If you look at the free kick closer, the ball curls at precisely the same spot Anita was positioned before the ball was struck. While Negredo's effort was correctly ruled out for offside from an interfering player, the fact he was completely unmarked on the corner kick was embarrassingly bad.
What's scary for Newcastle United fans is these players didn't quit, but never showed up. The Cabaye rumors are no excuse for playing this poorly. Of the 20 teams that played this weekend, Newcastle United were the worst; and the worst by a substantial margin. When your own players refuse to take advantage in an obvious Joe Hart weakness and test him from distance, it makes me wonder if all of them want out of the north east. With Joe Kineear back at the club, I have to openly question when all hell truly breaks loose in public. I have to question aloud now if said hell hasn't already broken out behind the closed doors.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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