City returned to winning ways with a 2-1 win against Newcastle United at the Etihad.

The Blues had to grind out a win against Rafa Benitez's well-organised side who fought back from Raheem Sterling's early goal to go in level at the break before Kyle Walker's stunning long-range effort settled the contest.

What happened?

City took just eight minutes to break down Newcastle United and with the Magpies’ early formation suggesting they would be defending in numbers, it was just the start the champions needed.

KYLE WALKER: CityTV reaction

PEP: Raheem praise from boss

Benjamin Mendy picked up a loose pass and played the ball to Sterling and the England winger ghosted past two defenders before curling a shot beyond Martin Dubravka to mark his 100th Premier League appearance for the Blues in style.

 


                        ACTION SHOT: That stunning goal.
ACTION SHOT: That stunning goal.

 

Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus both went close to increasing the lead in a lively start by City

Though Newcastle had offered little threat, their first attacking move of any real quality resulted in an equaliser.

Kenedy spotted Salomon Rondon in space on the left of City’s box and the Venezuelan caught the home defence out with a clever low cross that  the sprinting DeAndre Yedlin met powerfully to give Ederson no chance.

It hadn’t been coming, but the Blues had been stifled somewhat since the goal and frustrated by lack of space to create chances in or around the box.

The possession stats of 76%-24% in City’s favour told its own story, but with just three of the Blues’ 11 shots on target, it was evident that the visitors’ keeper hadn’t been tested enough.

 


                        EARLY CHANCE:  Riyad Mahrez looked close to giving us the lead in the opening moments of the game.
EARLY CHANCE: Riyad Mahrez looked close to giving us the lead in the opening moments of the game.

 

The second-half continued the war of attrition and  in difficult games like this sometimes, you just need something a bit special  to unpick the lock - and eight minutes after the re-start, Kyle Walker provided it.

As the Blues probed around the Magpies’ box, Aguero looked for the chance to shoot but eventually rolled a short pass to Walker who cracked home a terrific low shot from 30 yards to put City back in control.

 


                        SMILE KYLE! City get back in the lead thanks to Kyle Walker_
SMILE KYLE! City get back in the lead thanks to Kyle Walker_

 

It was his first  goal for three years and his first for City - and what a way to open your account!

On 65 minutes it should have been three as Aguero chipped the ball into Fernandinho’s path but Dubravka saved at his feet and David Silva then saw two efforts in quick succession scrambled clear by the increasingly desperate Newcastle defence.

Silva then went close again a couple of minutes later as he came within a foot of converting Mahrez’s cross at the back post.

The Blues had chances to score more, but a mixture of bad luck and good goalkeeping ensured the committed visitors ended the game with a narrow loss and no more.

 

Star man: Kyle Walker

You can't score a goal like that and not take man of the match honours!

 


                        WALKER WONDERLAND: That feeling when you've just scored a goal of the season contender
WALKER WONDERLAND: That feeling when you've just scored a goal of the season contender

 

What it means:

City head into the break unbeaten in all five competitive fixtures, winning four and drawing one. 

The Blues sit two points behind current leaders Liverpool.

Rolling Stones

After his impressive World Cup, John Stones is looking a polished defender once again.

A pulled hamstring against Leicester last season stopped the young centre-half in his tracks, but he is back to his classy best with a mixture of gritty defending and intelligent movement and passing.

Pep reaction:

"The goal we conceded we defended very badly but in general we didn’t concede many chances," Pep said after the match. "We conceded few set pieces, free kicks.

"Our performance was good, especially in second half, where we didn't let them run and create chances.

 


                        POINT OF VIEW: Pep Guardiola gives instruction from the sideline_
POINT OF VIEW: Pep Guardiola gives instruction from the sideline_

 

"We have 10 points from 12. We played Arsenal away, so it’s a good result and we are delighted for the guys. Raheem made a fantastic goal and fought a lot,.Especially in second half, he was clever, he moves the way we need to be stable. The wingers make stability in the team and he did it well.

“The game, the goal we conceded we defended very bad but in general we didn’t concede many chances. We conceded few set-pieces, free kicks. Our performance was good, especially in second half, where we didn’t let them run and created chances."

What’s next?

The international break now kicks in with the Blues returning to action in a fortnight with a home game against Fulham.