x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Winning start for Pellegrini as Manchester City thrash Newcastle

Silva, Aguero, Toure and Nasri score during a dominant 4-0 victory in manager's first game in charge, reports Richard Jolly.

Sergio Aguero celebrates scoring Manchester City's second goal in their win over Newcastle United.
Sergio Aguero celebrates scoring Manchester City's second goal in their win over Newcastle United.

MANCHESTER CITY 4

Silva 06’, Aguero 22’, Toure 50’, Nasri 74’

NEWCASTLE UNITED 0

Red card Taylor (Newcastle)

Man of the match
Edin Dzeko (Manchester City)

MANCHESTER // Welcome to Manchester. This was the ideal introduction to his new club for manager Manuel Pellegrini as Jesus Navas and Fernandinho made delightful debuts.

For Manchester City, it was an emphatic way to get off the mark. The fixture list left them the last of the title contenders to play but if Manchester United and Chelsea made statements of intent, so did City.

They did not defeat Newcastle United as much as demolish them and now they top the embryonic league table after the first round of fixtures.

David Silva, Sergio Aguero,Yaya Toure and substitute Samir Nasri were the scorers and the trio of Navas, Fernandinho and Edin Dzeko all excelled.

It amounted to a scintillating display of attacking. Pellegrini has promised to change the style of play and this was a tantalising glimpse of the new era for the City faithful.

Ambition is evident in the new manager’s gameplan. City aim to win the ball back as high up the pitch as possible and their newcomers, Fernandinho and Navas, have made them speedier and sharper.

Whereas last season’s side had a habit of starting slowly, the new-look team were configured to attack from the off.

In some ways, it was reminiscent of Chelsea’s turbo-charged first half against Hull City on Sunday. City were unrelenting, Newcastle under pressure.

It was almost a surprise the breakthrough took six minutes to arrive.

Tim Krul made a brilliant fingertip save to deny Dzeko a fourth-minute opener. Soon after, however, he could only push the Bosnian’s cross out to Silva who headed in the first goal of Pellegrini’s reign.

The Chilean is not a particularly demonstrative man but he was punching the air with both hands, the task of replacing the crowd favourite Roberto Mancini suddenly seeming simpler.

Meanwhile, Dzeko was ubiquitous. A disgruntled substitute under Mancini, he has been installed as the first-choice forward by Pellegrini, a role he appears to relish.

The target man turned creator for a second time when City doubled their lead. He flicked the ball into Aguero’s path and the Argentine, with inch-perfect precision, angled his shot beyond Krul.

Aguero’s inclusion constituted a surprise, given that he had missed City’s pre-season games with an ankle injury. Nevertheless, it was justified and with one striking signing, Stevan Jovetic, sidelined and another, Alvaro Negredo, only a late replacement, Aguero illuminated the Etihad Stadium.

He was the provider when, for a second time, Krul kept Dzeko off the scoresheet, clawing away the striker’s header superbly. Once again, however, a wonderful save preceded a goal. Toure curled in a free kick.

He is a specialist at scoring against Newcastle, and indeed the Magpies are favourite opponents for City. Nasri, who excelled against them last season, scored an assured fourth after awful defending from United on an awful day for them.

Having omitted Yohan Cabaye, subject of a £10 million (Dh57.4m) bid from Arsenal that Newcastle – and many others – deemed derisory, they were also shorn of summer signings. Their one significant addition, Loic Remy, was not fit to figure and a dispiriting summer appears to be getting worse.

They lost Jonas Gutierrez to injury, Steven Taylor to a red card, for a particularly pointless forearm smash on Aguero towards the end of the first half, and the match. City, too, ended the game without a first-choice centre-back, captain Vincent Kompany limping off with 20 minutes remaining. It was their only concern on an otherwise perfect night.

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