Manuel Pellegrini enjoyed a thumping victory over a useless Newcastle side in his first game in charge of Manchester City
Could Manuel Pellegrini have asked for better than that? Manchester City were indecently good tonight and simply blew Newcastle away from the very first whistle. It wasn't a contest/ Joe Hart barely had a touch and there were exquisite goals from Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure. They look a much happier team already. The less said about Newcastle, who lost Steven Taylor to a bone-headed red card, the better. That was pure misery for their supporters. If they lose at home to West Ham on Saturday, it's going to get ugly up there. We'll leave the final word to Andrew Robinson: "Dear Mr Ashley, we're REALLY sorry for calling you a fat cockney bastard, please stop destroying (y)our football club." Good night.
Ohhhhhhhhhhhh City. That was good.
90 min+2: "Spend some fucking money" is the chant from the Newcastle fans. Arsenal fans, you have company.
90 min+1: Negredo hoicks a cross from Clichy over. It arrived at an awkward height.
89 min: Debuchy has given one of the worst individual performances I have ever seen. He dawdles on the ball near his own area and loses it to Nasri. He moves it to the left for Dzeko, who opens up his body and tries to curl one into the far corner. Straight at Krul. Debuchy, though.
GOAL! Alvaro Negredo has the ball in the net but the flag is incorrectly up for offside. And where's the technology for that, I hear you wail. Navas whipped a corner to the near post from the left. Garcia met it and glanced a header towards the far corner. Krul pushed it away with a superlative save but Negredo converted the rebound. His joy was shortlived however.
85 min: If Newcastle fans want me to pick out any positives, I will say that Paul Dummett has coped admirably against the lightning pace of Navas.
81 min: "The Saved and the Spilled," says Ashling O'Riordan.
80 min: City want a fifth. Dzeko wants a goal. Navas wants to give Dzeko a goal. He hangs a cross to the far post but Dzeko's header is just over. And on comes Alvaro Negredo for his debut, replacing David Silva.
78 min: "Krul and unusual," says Michael Bertin. "Dutch underground club."
City meet the Steinberg Challenge of two goals in the second half! They'll be so very relieved. Another horrendous goal from Newcastle's point of view, by the way. A loose pass was played back from midfield towards Newcastle's defence. They all left it to each other, Coloccini particularly culpable, and Nasri smelt blood. He pounces on the ball, beating a half-hearted challenge from Debuchy, and clips a composed shot past Krul and into the left corner.
74 min: City need to step it up if they are to meet the Steinberg-approved two-goal target for the second half. "When you lose your job, Steinberg's Wine Bar has a pleasant ring to it," says someone who is not Sean Ingle, who's actually not my boss. "One could imagine you polishing glasses, a tea towel insouciantly draped over your shoulder, Hall & Oates 'Maneater' permanently on the stereo. Your affectionate boss, Sean Ingle. ps. lovely verbs in tonight's MBM."
72 min: "Building on David Johnston-Raw's Italian cafe suggestion - what about a kebab house called the Prima Doner?" says Dan Taylor. Of course, as we know, a Yohan Kebab is a kebab that looks great but leaves you with a dodgy stomach the next morning.
70 min: With Nastasic injured and Kolo Toure sent on his way to Liverpool, City lack cover in defence and Javi Garcia, who's usually a defender, has replaced Kompany.
69 min: This isn't what City want to see. Kompany stretches to tackle Ameobi and seems to hurt his groin in the process. He won't be able to continue.
68 min: Dzeko heads wide from Silva's corner. "It's easy to be overlooked, but Krul is having a hell of a game," says Michael Hood.
67 min: Credit to Newcastle here, they just kept the ball for more than five seconds. Anyway. Silva slides a pass behind Dummett for Navas but the full-back recovers well to concede a corner.
65 min: Newcastle replace Hatem Ben Arfa with Sammy Ameobi. "The Careless Hart," says Phil Withall.
63 min: Dzeko dashes in from the left and lets fly with his right foot from 20 yards. Krul dives down to his right to push the shot away.
62 min: They're basically queuing up now. Silva scoops the ball over the Newcastle defence and there are basically five City players running in on goal. Poor Tim Krul. They all end up leaving it to each other though and Krul collects.
61 min:Aguero, trying to reach Silva's through ball, wins a corner off Yanga-Mbiwa. It's cleared. And that's the cue for Samir Nasri to replace Sergio Aguero. "Somehow you know that, whatever the goalkeeper pub is named, it'll always be a bit of a Dive," says Adrian Boey. "Boom tish!"
58 min: Turn the commentary down and watch Newcastle defend to the sound of circus music. Fernandinho sends in another cross. It misses Silva and Dzeko but Krul decides to give chase, leaving his goal unattended. But Clichy beats him to the ball down by the left corner and luckily for Krul, his cross is headed away. "Bar Thez," says Matt Dony.
57 min: Navas shows Dummett a clean pair of heels and cuts the ball back to Clichy - this is how easy it is for City - who lines one up, only for his left-footer to be desperately deflected over by Coloccini. "The Post and Inn," says Ronan Carroll.
56 min: Navas zips to the byline and whips a fine cross to the near post. Yanga-Mbiwa beats Dzeko to it. "The Punch Away," says Philippa Booth. "PS - Mapou is not a fullback. OK, rightback in a real emergency, but...leftback? I assumed that was a joke. Heavens. He's been capped for France, and I think was in L'Equipe's team of the year 2011/12, as a centre back. Pardew...grr. Anyway."
55 min: The Newcastle wall didn't exactly cover itself in glory. Did it even jump? There were certainly a few turned backs. One from the Samir Nasri playbook. "The Cross Bar," says Matt Shelton.
53 min: This would have been absurd. Fernandinho lifts a ball over the Newcastle defence. It drops over Silva's shoulder and he somehow kills it in instant with his left foot but he can't poke it past Krul from close range. He smothers the chance. "Surely Football pubs are a little yesterday," says David Johnston-Raw. "I think an update on the theme could be an Italian cafe. Let's call it the Prima Donna."
52 min: "The Green Man?" says Gary Naylor.
City are showing no mercy and it's another brilliant goal. Debuchy, who is rubbish, fouls Aguero on the edge of the area. Silva and Toure stand over the ball. It's to the left, so Toure's the favourite to hit and he caresses a sublime effort into the top-right corner. Mmmm.
49 min: It looks like Dummett is playing at left-back and Yanga-Mbiwa is at centre-back. Not that it's making much of a difference. Silva slips a pass through to Aguero, who drops a shoulder to lose Yanga-Mbiwa and chips the ball into the six-yard box where Dzeko is waiting. He looks certain to score but Krul claws his header away. A great save, though he probably shouldn't have been given a chance.
47 min: City had better go for this in the second half. I'll be annoyed if they don't. Two goals should be the minimum requirement. "The Ball's Inn," says Fred Lane.
46 min: City begin the second half. Pray for Newcastle.
Who's harder to understand: Jamie Carragher or Bane? I think Carragher might be a good pundit but the problem is you can't hear what he's saying when he gets excited.
Your suggestions for a goalkeeper pub.
"Open Arms," says Gary Crawley. Surely Open Legs?
"The Flailing Arms?" says Tony Cowards. "I always remember Joe Corrigan was great in "Top Trumps", always won on height, 6'4" if I remember correctly."
"Lev Yash Inn," says Ian Burnett, winning.
Yeah, Taylor's been an idiot. A clear clump of Aguero's head. Newcastle are an utter shambles.
Right, I'm off to check the odds on Pardew being the first manager to be sacked.
"When I was a kid my dad would use the phrase 'off to see Joe Corrigan" as a euphemism for going for a couple of beers on a Saturday afternoon." says John Donnellan. "Took me years to figure out what he really meant. Anyway, I've been wondering, what would be an apt name above the door of a pub owned by a keeper. Any suggestions?"
45 min+4: Paul Dummett replaces Yoann Gouffran for Newcastle. He'll move to centre-back.
45 min+3: What a silly chap. Under a high ball, he flails an arm in the direction of Aguero's head. He doesn't catch him particularly hard and kind of looked like he was clumsy but I suspect he knew what he was doing. Marriner has no doubt. He pulls out the red card straight away. Oh Newcastle.
45 min+2: City are denied another penalty. Aguero breaks clear again, cuts back and tries to curl one into the far corner from the left. It hit Taylor on the arm but was it deliberate? Maybe. I'm not so sure. Not that it matters, because...
45 min: A flurry of activity at either end. First Tiote rakes one through the bodies from distance but Hart is in no mood for a repeat of his shenanigans against Scotland last week and holds well. Then up the other end, Aguero dinks a cross into the area from the left but Dzeko heads weakly wide. He probably should have done better.
43 min: Vurnon Anita replaces Gutierrez. "Apparently Tomas Rosicky will go to Newcastle in exchange for Cabaye," says James Murton, who, wait for it! "Joe Kinnear won him over by promising him he'll get to play with Czech totty. Or is that joke too contrived even by MBM standards?"
42 min: Newcastle's evening get worse. Gutierrez has just pulled up holding his hamstring.
41 min: Yanga-Mbiwa is walking a tightrope here. After being awarded a free-kick off Dzeko, he bumps Navas over after the whistle had gone. He needs to calm down. "Which would be worse: being a Manchester City supporter back in the 'dark days' of relegation worries etc. and watching Manchester United rack up titles OR being a United supporter now and watching this City team show the signs of becoming a long term rival?" says Michael Shaffer. The former by a long way.
40 min: The increasingly forlorn Debuchy is booked for showing his displeasure at a throw-in decision going against him, chucking the ball down in disgust.
39 min: Just want to say I'm really enjoying watching this City side play. That is all.
36 min: There's no let-up from City and Newcastle have been let off the hook here. Fernandinho glides through Newcastle's midfield and weights a perfect pass through to Dzeko, who slips on the greasy surface at the crucial moment. He looked set to cap what has been a very good half from him with a goal. "I assume every neutral is supporting City today?" says Espen Bommen. "No no, hear me out. A City win means a Newcastle defeat, and every Newcastle defeat brings us closer to Joe Kinnear as Newcastle manager. How can anyone not want that??"
35 min: Navas bounces the free-kick into the six-yard box. Dzeko throws himself at it but can't get there and it flashes inches past the far post with Krul saying his prayers. "Just noticed on Stats Zone that Newcastle have attempted and completed more attacking-third passes than Man City and yet find themselves 2-0 down," says Shoaib Akhtar. "More evidence that it's actual "chances created" that matters, eh? ps: Fernandinho looks to be an excellent buy."
33 min: Another booking, this time for Sissoko. He doesn't like being embarrassed by Aguero's quick feet on the left and lets him know by kicking his shin.
32 min: Now Fernandinho is booked for cynically halting a break from Gouffran. A tactical foul if ever there was one. "My dedication to your MBMs is such that I am tuning in whilst sipping a Bloody Mary on the deck of my friend's cape cod beach house," says Dan Schulwolf. "I vaguely remember Debuchy being a quite serviceable defender at Lille, and being regarded as a quality signing for Newcastle. What ever happened? It sounds like he's having a shocker tonight."
31 min: Fight! Fight! Fight! Yanga-Mbiwa dumps Dzeko over down by the right corner flag and then pushes the Bosnian as he stands up. Dzeko's not best pleased. The two exchange meaty views before Marriner steps into calm it all down and book the pair of them.
28 min: "I notice City are playing almost a 4-2-4 with Navas, Silva plus 2 strikers," says Simon Frank. "Is the handbrake off?" Mancini's side played exciting football - 6-1 at Manchester United, if you recall - it was more that the players didn't like him.
26 min: Ben Arfa, Newcastle's sole threatening player, diddles his way in from the right and sees his left-footer deflected wide for a corner. It's headed away.
25 min: I must say I'm surprised that Dzeko stayed at City this summer. I haven't been overly impressed with his contribution over the past two years but he's been very good so far this evening, a constant handful for Newcastle's defence and he's played a part in both goals.
This is so good. Once again, Newcastle can't keep the ball for long, Kompany stepping into to win it back. He strides forward, over the halfway line, and finds Dzeko. In turn, he backheels the ball through to Aguero, who has Taylor for company. Taylor looks like he has this one covered. Aguero is being forced to the right, away from goal and the area. But he's not close enough. Aguero improvises, as the greats do, and sends an early low shot skimming towards the far corner with his right foot. Such accuracy. What a finish.
20 min: There's a real swagger about City but what has really stood out is the way their front players are hounding Newcastle in their own half. Fernandinho swarms all over Unspecified Newcastle Player to win the ball back and then feeds Dzeko in the area. From the left, he shoots through Taylor's legs but a few yards wide of the far post. A slight waste.
18 min: Fernandinho puts Silva in trouble with a short pass and he loses the ball to Ben Arfa, allowing the winger a free run at Lescott. If he'd taken it round him he would have been through on goal but Lescott waits and waits and waits before producing a Bobby Moore on Jairzinho tackle to deny him. Are you watching, Roberto?
15 min: Fernandinho heads Ben Arfa's free-kick away. "Not seen the Neville and Carragher show yet, but from your description it reminds me a bit of the relationship between David Brent (Carragher, forced hilarity) and Neil (Neville, effortless cool) from the Swindon branch in The Office," says Simon McMahon. "All we need now is both to turn up in matching leather jackets by Sergio Giorgini." I was just joshing. They were getting on famously by the end.
14 min: Aguero almost gets on the end of a ball over the top of the Newcastle defence but he can't bring it down. He would have been through. Up the other end, Zabaleta does bring something down. Unfortunately it's Gutierrez. A free-kick to Newcastle on the left.
12 min: City should have a penalty and the risible Debuchy should be off. Andre Marriner appears to have got this one wrong. It was another glorious move from City. Aguero quickly flicked a pass to Dzeko, who turned on a sixpence and then shuffled the ball into the path of Toure. He was the wrong side of Debuchy, who surely bundled him over in the area. Marriner says no.
10 min: Newcastle have the ball in the City net but the flag is up for offside against Gouffran. It's the correct decision although something of a shame because it came after a delicious run and assist from Ben Arfa, who somehow wriggled through a thicket of City shirts as if they weren't there.
8 min: That was just rank defending from Debuchy. Almost as if he didn't care. Newcastle look stunned. City look good. "Watching from the US and the introduction of the City Team by the announcer accompanied by music sure was cheesy - like something from here but on steroids," says Michael Hood.
This is abject defending from Newcastle. Dearie me. Silva finds Dzeko on the left but Debuchy looks to have him under control. Think again. Dzeko takes him on, lollops past a total non-challenge with ease and then pulls a cross back from the left byline. Taylor doesn't do enough with his clearance at the near post and the ball spoons up for Silva, charging in, to head into the left corner with Krul stranded.
5 min: This is better from Newcastle. A loose ball breaks to Ben Arfa 25 yards from goal. Toure stands off and Ben Arfa pings a fierce shot over.
4 min: Newcastle are being given a chasing down their left side. Zabaleta overlaps again and cuts the ball back to Dzeko, who sweeps a shot towards the far corner with his right. It takes a deflection off Taylor and makes it an even harder save for the unsighted Krul, who somehow tips the ball wide for a corner which Lescott heads wide at the far post.
2 min Part Two: What a start this would have been for Manuel Pellegrini! City go on the attack down the right flank at a fair old pelt. Dzeko plays a canny pass down the line to Navas, who's sprinted off into the distance in his way. He swiftly slips the ball into the path of the onrushing Zabaleta - the right-back - who seems to have his heels clipped by Steven Taylor as he prepares to shoot. No penalty, though, and Aguero steams in only for Krul to block his effort from six yards out. Silva's fierce follow-up is blocked.
2 min: Newcastle's fans are having a sing-song. None are in tribute to Joe Kinnear though. "The Simpsons is so passé," says Matt Dony. "I'd say Carra's admission to the Sky team is more like Jake Sommers turning up in series two of California Dreams. Taking something already good, and adding a nonchalant, earthy charm. All he needs is a leather jacket. Now THAT is niche..."
And we are off! Newcastle, in their black and white stripes, get the ball rolling, kicking from right to left in the first half. City are in blue shirts and white shorts. They're quickly on the front foot but a ball over the top finds Aguero in an offside position.
A minute's applause before kick-off to pay respect to Bert Trautmann, who passed away recently. He, of course, was the City goalkeeper who played on with a broken neck in the 1956 FA Cup final.
The teams are in the tunnel. And the teams are on the pitch. Manuel Pellegrini gets a pleasant round of applause and watches the teams shake hands in the classy manner. "I love the Pardew video," says Lee Murphy. "If memory serves West Ham were the last team to beat Le Arse at Highbury, and the first to beat them at Ze Emirates. Good times. Currently have Joe Cole on the cusp of 400 Hammers goals in Championship Manager 99/00. He'll retire a one club player in my reality.
I've been rumbled.
Alan Pardew isn't happy with Arsenal bidding for Yohan Cabaye on the eve of the game. Here's what he had to say.
We want to focus on what's important for Newcastle and that's to get a result here. On the eve of a game we've had a bid for the player which we don't think is acceptable. The rights and wrongs of the bid, other people can make their opinion. I know what my opinion is."
Maybe he'll have another set-to with Arsene Wenger.
Jamie Carragher is still talking. Gary Neville is now doing cartwheels across the studio, singing opera and balancing plates on his head. Ed doesn't even look. This is so sad.
Fernandinho and Jesus Navas start for City but Alvaro Negredo is on the bench and Stevan Jovetic is missing. It looks like City are playing a 4-4-2. How embarrassing for them! Newcastle are in a much more fashionable 4-2-3-1 and should thus be awarded the points on artistic merit immediately.
Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy; Navas, Fernandinho, Toure, Silva; Dzeko, Aguero. Subs: Rodwell, Milner, Nasri, Negredo, Garcia, Kolarov, Pantilimon
Newcastle: Krul; Debuchy, Taylor, Coloccini, Yanga-Mbiwa; Tiote, Sissoko; Ben Arfa, Gouffran, Gutierrez; Cisse. Subs: Elliot, Dummett, Anita, Marveaux, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Shola Ameobi.
Referee: Andre Marriner.
Jamie Carragher is standing up and showing the right body position a defender should adopt when defending a cross. Gary Neville's going to need to show us how to do a throw-in next. This is like when Gabbo put Krusty the Clown off the air.
Yohan Cabaye is not in the Newcastle team tonight. Stand by for more team news.
I'm probably more excited than I should be about this but I cannot tell you how excited I am to have Gary Neville back on a Monday night. And he's got a new friend with him: Jamie Carragher. Perhaps wisely, they're sitting on opposite sides of the table, Nice Ed keeping them apart.
Good evening to you. Everyone's very concerned about class in football these days. Sometimes it's like Katie Hopkins is running the show. Class matters. Class is important. Class is class. Anyone who displays even the merest hint of the stuff will be given a patronising pat on the head and commended on what must now be termed "a real classy touch". Things that are "good to see" include applause for former players, players not celebrating against their old clubs and commemorative programmes. But heaven help anyone who displays a lack of class in the pursuit of
more money glory, which is what Manchester City were guilty of when they sacked Roberto Mancini in May. Lectured to within an inch of their life by the Soapbox Brigade, it was widely forgotten that Mancini was confrontational, out of his depth in Europe, oversaw a dreadful defence of City's title and one of the most ludicrous performances ever seen in an FA Cup final and also insisted on wearing a heavy scarf in hot weather. Thanks for Aguerroooooooooo and the 6-1 but it was time.
In his place, a rather smoother and calmer operator in the shape of Manuel Pellegrini, who looks like he is in no hurry to grab any headlines - the fool! Instead City have gone about their business quietly and assiduously, adding Fernandinho, Stevan Jovetic, Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo to an increasingly strong squad. Players like Pellegrini and he likes players, which is useful. There should be fewer tantrums at City under him and there should be better performances in the Champions League too. He took Villarreal to the last four in 2006 and Malaga to the last eight last season. They could do with another defender and, perhaps, a defensive midfielder but City are in good hands.
With Chelsea and Manchester United both winning well on the weekend, they could do with a fast start against Newcastle this evening. An upset does seem unlikely. Newcastle have never won at the Etihad Stadium and City have won the last seven matches between the two sides. It might take something special to stop them from making it eight in a row. Newcastle were abject on their travels last season, only winning twice, and it's been another curious summer for them. Joe Kinnear's arrival as director of football seemed to undermine Alan Pardew, they're having to fend off interest in Yohan Cabaye from Arsenal, who had a bid rejected today, and another relegation battle wouldn't be a huge surprise. There isn't a lot of optimism on Tyneside at the moment. There might be even less by 10pm. Kick-off: 8pm.