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Match analysis: Manchester City 4 Newcastle United 0
Match analysis: Manchester City 4 Newcastle United 0
THERE is a way to start the new season and this was most definitely it … for Manchester City.
The same can certainly not be said for Newcastle United, who must somehow come up with a way of recovering before West Ham United arrive at St James' Park this weekend.
Last night could not have gone any worse for the Magpies.
A build-up spent discussing the possible departure of one of Alan Pardew's best players was soon followed by 90 minutes of football Newcastle will do well to forget.
If there was any good news at all it was the fact the crushing 4-0 defeat was against one of the clubs in with a genuine shout of winning the Premier League title next May on this evidence. Everything else was pure frustration for everyone associated with the Tyneside outfit.
Preparations were undoubtedly hit by the £10m offer from Arsenal for Yohan Cabaye and his absence was not the ideal talking point before the first game.
But things got worse. Much worse.
Not only did Newcastle have no answer to Manchester City taking a two-goal first half lead through David Silva and Sergio Aguero, they then lost Jonas Gutierrez to a hamstring problem and Steven Taylor to a straight card.
That meant facing the free-flowing City with ten men for the entire second half and Yaya Toure's sublime free-kick four minutes after the break increased the advantage to three.
There was a 25-minute wait for the fourth goal. But it arrived when Samir Nasri had the freedom of the Etihad to pick his spot following some awful Mathieu Debuchy hesitancy.
Manchester City were a class apart and boasted £90m worth of new recruits in their squad, but it was more about who was not there for Newcastle.
With the only new senior addition of the summer, Loic Remy, nursing a calf injury, Pardew did not have a single new face to call on against the 2012 champions. Nor did he have Cabaye.
Pardew hinted his disgust at the timing of Arsenal's offer in the minutes before kick-off by stating “the rights and wrongs of that bid, other people can make an opinion, I know what my opinion is.”
Shortly after that he had other things to worry about, like how to stop a blue machine which enjoyed instant success on Tim Krul's goal.
Despite being under new management in the form of Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City dominated the midfield from start to finish and the movement of the front five ran rings around the black and white shirts.
That was the case from the moment Krul somehow stopped a close-range shot from Aguero with his feet. Shortly after that the Dutchman did well to palm away Dzeko's effort towards his bottom corner.
Mathieu Debuchy, challenging Gael Clichy, suffered all night
But The Newcastle goalkeeper had no answer to Silva's header. When Dzeko got to Debuchy's byline, his cross was only half blocked by Steven Taylor as far as Silva's head who picked out the corner with power.
That arrived when there was just six minutes on the clock and shortly after the first – of only a few in fairness – renditions of 'Don't Sell Cabaye' from the travelling support.
There was a blazing shot from Hatem Ben Arfa which flew over the bar from distance and a Yoan Gouffran goal rightly ruled out for offside, but otherwise it was about trying to keep the numbers down.
And by half-time Newcastle managed to be just two behind. As well as seeing a couple of Aguero penalty shouts waved away by referee Andre Marriner – the first for a trip from Debuchy and the second a blatant hand ball from Taylor – Dzeko went close a couple of times.
But there was a second before the interval. When Vincent Kompany brushed the isolated Papiss Cisse off the ball, his pass in to Dzeko's feet was flicked perfectly in to the path of Aguero.
The brilliant Argentine still had plenty to do but his low, right footed finish rolled in off the foot of the far post to get beyond Krul's outstretched right hand.
If things weren't bad enough, Gutierrez hobbled off and Taylor followed him down the tunnel with seconds remaining in the first half when his forearm was deemed by Marriner to have deliberately aimed for the head of Aguero.
David Silva gets ahead of Fabricio Coloccini to head home the opening goal of the night beyond keeper Tim Krul
It was not even half-time and Pardew, in deep conversation with Ben Arfa as they left the pitch, was looking at a huge containment job against one of Europe's most dangerous teams.
It did not last long. After conceding a free-kick on the edge of the Newcastle box, Toure incredibly curled an effort up and over the wall and in to Krul's top right corner.
The quality of City's attacking players was able to pick out spaces all over the pitch and Newcastle – who often had striker Cisse deep in his own half - simply had no answer to them.
Krul had to make another fine stop to deny Dzeko's well drilled shot low to his right, but he could do nothing about the fourth.
After City's Bosnian striker thwarted Yanga-Mbiwa, Debuchy still had plenty of time to run back and clear but Nasri nipped in ahead of him before sliding in the routine finish.
The scoreline could have been worse, Dzeko headed over late on, but this was not the start anyone at Newcastle wanted – or needed.
Samir Nasri skips past the desperate challenge of Mathieu Debuchy to put City four goals up last night
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