Premier League Etihad Stadium Att:46842 Monday, August 19, 2013 7:00:00 PM
- Kompany Garcia 71’
- Silva Negredo 80’
- Yaya Toure
- Aguero Nasri 62’
- Unused subs
- Pantilimon, Kolarov, Rodwell, Milner
- Ben Arfa S Ameobi 65’
- Gouffran Dummett 45’
- Gutierrez Anita 44’
- Unused subs
- Elliot, Marveaux, F Ameobi, Obertan
Explosive, stylish, inventive, mesmeric… the superlatives could go on as City started the new season with a breath-taking 4-0 win over ten-man Newcastle United to climb to the summit of the Premier League (albeit after one game!)
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It wasn’t so much the visitors were swept away, more caught in the eye of a hurricane for long periods as Manuel Pellegrini’s marauding Blues attacked at will and tore open the visitors’ defence with a hunger that suggests this could be a thrilling campaign.
It’s no exaggeration to say that City could have racked up double figures against a Newcastle side who simply could not live with the pace and movement of Pellegrini’s men.
The Magpies attempted to stop the leaks, but as soon as one hole was fixed, another sprung up somewhere else as the hosts created chance after chance.
Before David Silva nodded (yes, nodded) Edin Dzeko’s cross home on six minutes, Pablo Zabaleta and the Bosnian himself could have scored such was the blistering start City made.
Newcastle reminded everyone there were two teams on the pitch, first when Hatem Ben Arfa fired powerfully over from 20 yards and then the Frenchman set up Yoan Gouffran who did score – from an offside position – but it was brief respite and no more.
City had two strong shouts for penalties as the dominance continued, first when Yaya Toure went down chasing Dzeko’s clever through ball and just before the break when Steven Taylor handled Sergio Aguero’s shot in the box.
By that point, however, Aguero had already found the net. Skipper Vincent Kompany won the ball in his own half and then zipped a pass towards Dzeko – looking like a player re-born – and the Bosnian’s neat flick set the Argentine away.
Aguero’s pace, power and precise low shot did the rest to double City’s lead with just 22 minutes on the clock.
Alan Pardew must have wished the match could have ended there and then, but there was more punishment to come with the promptings of Silva and the excellent Jesus Navas giving City a fluidity that was reminiscent of the Blues in the first half of the title-winning campaign a couple of seasons ago.
In stoppage time before the break, Taylor rubber-stamped his team’s fate with a crude flailing arm as he challenged Aguero and referee Andre Marriner didn’t hesitate in showing the defender a straight red card.
The onslaught continued, as expected, in the second period and Tim Krul produced a save even the great Bert Trautmann would have been proud of as he spectacularly clawed away Dzeko’s header – but it was a momentary reprieve as Yaya Toure curled a beautiful free-kick home a minute later.
Three up and coasting to victory the Blues continued to create opportunities and the only disappointment was that several chances were spurned – though there was poetry about the build-up play that had the capacity crowd drooling at times.
Substitute Samir Nasri completed the rout in the 75th minute with a clever piece of skill and cool finish and Alvaro Negredo thought he’d added a fifth in the time that remained – but his effort was ruled out for offside - wrongly, TV replays suggested.
As the happy masses drifted home after the final whistle, some were talking about the last time City opened the campaign with a 4-0 home win – the title-winning campaign of 2011/12.