So, what to make of that? Essentially that while Newcastle gave it a good go and had their chances, Manchester City simply had more class. Goals from David Silva and Sergio Aguero were enough. Thanks for reading. Bye.
Full-time: Newcastle 0-2 Manchester City
The champions are off to a flier!
GOAL! Newcastle 0-2 Manchester City (Aguero, 90 min+2)
Sergio Aguero makes Moussa Sissoko pay and seals the win for Manchester City! He’s so good. He was released on the left and found himself one-on-one against Coloccini. He worked space for the shot, which was saved by Krul, but when the rebound came back to him, he got up quickly and stroked the ball into the far corner with his right foot. The points are City’s.
90 min+1: Sissoko fluffs a great chance for Newcastle! Cabella cut the ball back to the edge of the area, where Sissoko was in acres of space, but he sidefooted wildly over.
90 min: There will be four minutes of the added stuff.
87 min: Fernando marks his debut with a yellow card. City suddenly look a little ragged.
86 min: Newcastle have found a second wind! Ayoze curls a cross to the far post from the right and Aarons acrobatically volleys over. City need to be careful here.
84 min: Newcastle introduce Ayoze Perez for Riviere. And the substitute goes so close to making himself an instant hero! He was released on the left and managed to cut inside before his shot took a deflection, looped past Hart and just wide of the far post!
83 min: Edin Dzeko off, Sergio Aguero on.
81 min: Newcastle appear to have run out of steam.
78 min: Samir Nasri off, James Milner on.
77 min: Don’t get too excited but James Milner is coming on in a minute. Meanwhile Janmaat is booked for fouling Fernandinho.
76 min: The wall blocks Cabella’s free-kick. The Newcastle fans think that the City players strayed beyond the magic vanishing spray.
75 min: Kompany becomes the latest defender to become booked, standing his ground and bringing down Colback 25 yards from goal. He is outraged.
74 min: Newcastle replace Yoann Gouffran with Rolando Aarons.
73 min: Toure takes the free-kick and though he achieves both whip and curl, it doesn’t come down quickly enough and flashes over.
72 min: City are pushing again and Dzeko is bundled over on the edge of Newcastle’s area by Sissoko. This is ominous. Before the free-kick can be taken, World Cup semi-finalist Fernandinho replaces Stevan Jovetic.
71 min: This game needs more Aguero. And more cowbell.
69 min: A lull. We are in a lull.
65 min: But then almost score with their next attack. Gouffran is robbed on the edge of Newcastle’s area by Kompany, who moves it to Jovetic on the left. He chips a cross into the middle, where Dzeko generates his own power and thumps a header over, the ball skimming the roof of the net. City’s fans thought it was in.
64 min: Kolarov escapes on the left, bustling through, but his cross is deflected behind for a corner to City on the left. They fail to score.
63 min: Newcastle make their first change, replacing Vurnon Anita with Gabriel Obertan.
60 min: Kompany drifts a magnificent pass over the Newcastle defence to Jovetic, who brings the ball down, only to see his fierce shot blocked by the covering Coloccini.
59 min: Jovetic shoots from the edge of the area and knocks out a bloke sitting in Row Z. Aguero is warming up.
58 min: Colback swings the ball in from the right, tempting Hart off his line. However Hart doesn’t get there in time and is relieved to see Dummett head over. That was a chance.
57 min: Now Kolarov is booked for cleaning out Riviere on the right.
56 min: A plastic bag is blowing across the pitch.
55 min: Jovetic drops a shoulder and drills wide from 25 yards.
55 min: Colback doesn’t shoot. He curls it to the far post and Kompany heads it away.
54 min: A stepover and a jink from Cabella on the right draws the foul from Demichelis, who’s booked. Newcastle have a free-kick in a good position. Colback might shoot.
51 min: Another chance for Newcastle! Sissoko powerfully zigzags his way through the middle and tees up Cabella in the area, but he’s leaning back, in a rush and under pressure and boots his shot well over.
49 min: Silva cheaply loses the ball, which leads to Cabella winning a corner for Newcastle on the right. Shenanigans ensue. Dismal marking sees Colback’s corner bounce its way to Gouffran at the far post. He chests it down and then turns the ball into the six-yard box. It’s blocked but back it goes to him. He miscontrols. Again the ball squirts back to him and this time his shot is blocked by Hart. Eventually City scramble the ball clear.
48 min: The weather has been strange recently. It’s like it can’t make its mind up!
46 min: Off we go again. Coming up in the second half: more football.
Newcastle 0-1 Manchester City
The half ends with Jovetic and Kolarov getting in each other’s way and ruining more good work from Silva, just when Newcastle were in more trouble. But it doesn’t matter too much because City lead at the break thanks to Silva’s goal.
45 min+1: Jovetic prods a pass through to Nasri, who’s clear on goal. However he tries to slide the ball across to Dzeko instead of shooting and Williamson puts a stop to it.
44 min: Now Dzeko blooters a pass straight out of play with Silva standing five yards away from him. He’s a curious player. Silva stares at him quizzically.
41 min: The camera locates Sergio Aguero on the Manchester City bench. Is that fair?
GOAL! Newcastle 0-1 Manchester City (Silva, 38 min)
Ignore what I just said. City have done very little in the last 20 minutes or so and now they lead. That’s why they’re champions, I suppose, and this was a truly brilliant goal. Silva scored it but it was all down to the assist from Dzeko. He was found by a long pass over the top. However there appeared to be little danger as he was going away from goal on the left of the area - but two Newcastle defenders came to challenge him, leaving space for Silva to run into, and Dzeko found him with a glorious backheel. Silva took a touch and confidently stroked the ball past Krul from 12 yards with his left foot. What a goal.
38 min: Colback’s pass through to Riviere is just off. If Newcastle can sort out their decision-making and execution around the box, there’s something in this for them.
35 min: Riviere needs to calm down a bit. Again he gets into a good position after rolling Kompany on the left. Again he wastes the situation, deciding the best thing to do was shoot a cross out for a throw on the volley. He’s not done badly but could do with some composure.
34 min: Silva is booked for bringing down a cheeky clip on Anita’s shins. City haven’t done much for around 20 minutes.
32 min: Janmaat’s dangerous cross from the right, looking for Riviere, is wonderfully cut out by the acrobatic Kompany. Newcastle are growing in confidence.
31 min: Cabella sashays in from the left flank, drifting away from Toure in dreamy fashion and then reversing a pass through to Riviere. Under pressure, he hurries his shot and slashes badly wide. There are moments of encouragement for Newcastle here and there, usually when Cabella is on the ball.
30 min: Newcastle have been quite cautious. They need to support Riviere more. He’s very isolated.
29 min: Some of you are asking for proof of Cabella’s haircut and who am I to say no?
27 min: Dzeko suddenly locates some space on the right but is stopped by a fine challenge from Coloccini. The ball runs to Clichy, whose cross is easily cleared.
26 min: Not much is happening. This is the worst season ever.
24 min: “Re: JR in Illinois, Chamakh’s do yesterday made him look like he’s literally been dragged backwards through a hedge,” says Simon Frank. “Either that or it’s a tribute to the Stegosaurus. Cabella’s is a bit Flock Of Seagulls. JR is onto something here. There are some superlatively bad haircuts in world football. Rodrigo Palacio’s crew cut and rat’s tail is my outright winner.”
23 min: Riviere does brilliantly to turn Demichelis and then hold off Kompany but then ruins it all by trying to score from 40 yards. He does not score.
20 min: Newcastle appear to have steadied the ship somewhat. It’s a tighter game than it was a few minutes ago and they’re threatening to cause City a few problems.
18 min: St James’s Park breaks into applause in honour of John Alder and Liam Sweeney. A banner with their faces on it is unveiled.
16 min: Newcastle turn up in attack for the first time in a while. Cabella receives a pass on the edge of the area and tries a Philippe Albert revival, going for a dainty chip over Joe Hart. An audacious effort but not good enough. Over the bar it goes with Hart never worried.
15 min: City haven’t had a chance for about three seconds now.
14 min: “Cabella most assuredly does not have an excellent haircut,” says JR in Illinois. “It is a preposterous haircut. In fact I am putting him in the pole position for the annual “Chamakh” award. (That is the award I give for the worst hair in the league. The award is named for Chamakh and of course he is not eligible to win the award because it is not possible for anyone to have worse hair than him.)“
12 min: A City goal is on the way. Dzeko slides a fine pass through to Kolarov, Gouffran having let him run away from it. Kolarov reaches the byline but his cutback is shovelled behind for a corner. City mean business.
11 min: A moment of indecision in the Newcastle defence almost gifts Jovetic a goal. Williamson was waiting for Krul to gather a long ball and Jovetic sensed that he might be able to nick it. Eventually Krul claimed it but it was almost a shambles. Moments later Krul has to save impressively from Nasri, who belted a shot goalwards from 25 yards with his right foot. City are bossing this. Forget about the Community Shield.
10 min: City’s fans are singing about Steven Gerrard and his propensity for falling over, which isn’t very nice on their part, is it, that’s a man’s feelings they’re playing with there.
9 min: Silva tries to set up Kolarov on the overlap but overhits the pass. He’s rubbish.
7 min: Now the noise raises as Newcastle pinch the ball and attack, but Gouffran takes too long on the edge of the City area and loses it to Fernando.
5 min: City pour forward again and Newcastle are already looking anxious. Now Kolarov has a shot from the left. It’s blocked. But City still have the ball.
3 min: A scrappy period of play, both sides taking it in turns to lose the ball, ends with Edin Dzeko almost giving City the lead. Jovetic turned around 30 yards from goal and dinked a lovely ball over the top of the Newcastle defence to Dzeko. He was on the stretch and tried to prod it past Krul, who managed to spread himself and block Dzeko’s effort. That would have been a classy goal. Instead it’s a moment we’ll probably all have forgotten about by next week. Such is life.
2 min: Remy Cabella has an excellent haircut.
A minute’s silence dutifully observed and it’s time for kick-off. Manchester City, all in blue, kick off, attacking from right to left in the first half.
Newcastle are wearing black armbands in honour of John Alder and Liam Sweeney, the two supporters who died in the Malaysian Airline disaster on 17 July. Before kick-off, there is a tribute to both John and Liam, their family, Fabricio Coloccini and Vincent Kompany laying wreaths in the centre-circle. There will be a minute’s silence.
Here come the teams, wearing needless tracksuit tops. They should be made to play in those tracksuit tops, that’ll give them something to think about.
I don’t like to talk about my charity work but my friend - that’s right, I have a friend - does and she’s just jetted off to Ghana to volunteer at an orphanage for two weeks. I said you’d be nice people and give up some cash. Donate here, go on.
Newcastle: Krul; Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett; Colback, Anita; Sissoko, Cabella, Gouffran; Riviere. Subs: Aarons, Perez, Haidara, Elliot, Obertan, Steven Taylor, Abeid.
Man City: Hart; Clichy, Demichelis, Kompany, Kolarov; Fernando, Toure; Nasri, Jovetic, Silva; Dzeko. Subs: Zabaleta, Milner, Caballero, Navas, Aguero, Fernandinho, Boyata.
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Who’s ready for another season of Alan Pardew? No doubt Manuel Pellegrini can’t wait to renew acquaintances with the grown man who called him a “fucking old cunt” when they last met. Let’s hope Pards has calmed down since that fateful January afternoon, although he probably has now that he’s got that and his desire to headbutt David Meyler out of his system. He’s going to be a changed man this season.
And wouldn’t Newcastle like a season of calm? To be fair, they did all right at times last year, especially before Christmas, but then it all went pear-shaped after they surrendered meekly in the third round of the FA Cup and sold Yohan Cabaye. It was a sign of Mike Ashley’s lack of ambition and then they went and told supporters that they can’t be expected to try to win trophies because it’s a proven FACT, that’s right, a FACT that simply cannot be countered by logic or reason, that doing so would inevitably lead to relegation, another Police Academy film and the end of the universe. Winning stuff? No, no, no, you’ve got it all wrong chaps, it’s the bottom line you want to be concerned about.
But Newcastle have - get this - made some interesting signings this summer, Siem De Jong, Remy Cabella and Daryl Janmaat standing out in particular, and should give Manchester City a good game today. They will be encouraged by the way that City dozed through last week’s Community Shield, not that that really told us much, and the mess they made the last time they tried to defend their title. But that was when Roberto Mancini was in charge and the atmosphere was rather more febrile than it is now under Pellegrini. City have improved in key areas, they have given Yaya Toure his birthday cake and they still have the strongest squad - and what’s more, they’ve won their last 10 matches against Newcastle and haven’t lost to them since 2005.