Manchester City begin with bang against Newcastle
Magpies see Steven Taylor sent off as Pellegrini’s side put four past their visitors
Referee Andre Marriner shows the red card to Steven Taylor of Newcastle United. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images
Manchester City’s manager Manuel Pellegrini (right) and his Newcastle United counterpart Alan Pardew at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters
Manchester City 4 Newcastle United 0: Presumably, Manuel Pellegrini knows it will not always be this straightforward and that he cannot rely on Manchester City coming up against teams as hopelessly out of their depth as this every week. Newcastle United were certainly obliging opponents for Pellegrini’s first match and they suffered badly against a team that attacked from every angle.
It was a wonderful display from City: fluent, slick, pass-them-to-death football, brimming with confidence and a collective desire to get the Pellegrini era off with a bang. Equally, it is not entirely easy to use a game this one-sided as an accurate barometer when their opponents were so abysmal.
Newcastle should just be grateful that City restricted themselves to two first-half goals from David Silva and Sergio Aguero, then another two after the break from Yaya Toure and the substitute Samir Nasri. As bad as it was, 4-0 does not really do justice to the pummelling they had to endure.
Alan Pardew also lost Jonas Gutierrez to injury and there was a touch of ignominy thrown in for good measure in the form of the forearm chop that Steven Taylor served on Aguero to get a straight red card in stoppage time at the end of the first half.
Moments earlier, Taylor had been fortunate to escape giving away a penalty after an Aguero shot struck his arm. The two players were still disputing it when a high ball came their way and Taylor swung his left arm.
Pellegrini had promised vibrant, attacking football and his team played as though impatient they had been made to wait until after the weekend. The new manager had two holding midfielders, Yaya Toure and Fernandinho, who are both better known for their attacking qualities.
Ahead of them there were two wide players, Jesus Navas and Silva, interchanging positions, and Aguero accompanying Edin Dzeko in attack. Roberto Mancini’s teams could be devastating going forwards sometimes but this forward six is brimming with even more adventure.
At one point Vincent Kompany found himself, as the last man, under pressure from Yoan Gouffran. The City captain simply rolled the ball under his own foot and nonchalantly went on his way.
Kompany would later play a stunning part in the Aguero goal, outmuscling Papiss Cisse inside his own half, then striding forwards to turn defence into attack. Dzeko flicked on the pass and suddenly Aguero was running through the inside-right channel, expertly picking his spot to score off the inside of the post.