Date:Tuesday August 20 2013
It Should Have Been Ten...
The plazas around the Etihad Stadium were buzzing from an early stage last night as with everybody else having played over the weekend, the paymasters at Sky kept us waiting for an age to see City's new on-field set finally burst into action at home.
The bars in the newly-christened BT City Square were bursting at the seams as once again City fans watched and waited for the signal that turnstiles were green and the capacity crowd, except for the Newcastle ticket returns, poured onto the seating decks to welcome Navas, Fernandinho, Negredo and Jovetic to the fold together with Manuel Pellegrini.
It was the manager who sprang the first surprise by putting Aguero directly into the line-up without any pre-season playing time at all. It was to prove to be a master stroke as the diminutive genius led Newcastle's leaden-footed defenders a dance all night.
It was clear from minute one that this could be a season like no other in terms of the football that City will play as Navas tied the left hand side of the Magpies defence in knots and left them like the coyote in pursuit of the road-runner. The variation in his pace and delivery confused the entire back line and it was clear from the moment that Krul made a fantastic full-stretch save from the re-energised Dzeko that it was not going to be his only great save of the night.
As the Pedmachine has said previously, having a wideman that needs to be marked and two dangerous lively attacking forwards is bound to afford more space for the magical David Silva and it took City only six minutes to exploit this as Dzeko with neat control down the left hammered in a cross which cannoned off a Newcastle defender and sat up beautifully for the undetected Silva to hare in and head home. In reality this could have been City's third goal of the night.
City continued to bombard the Mags from every conceivable angle and if the black-and-whites did get lucky they discovered Kompany in imperious form at the heart of City's defence. Indeed, after 21 minutes Newcastle broke down the inside left channel, Kompany made a timely tackle and screamed out of defence a toute vitesse. Dzeko had come short with 2 men, stepped over Kompany's pass which then went onto the toes of Aguero making one of those superb diagonal runs of his before he clipped the ball in one movement back towards the far post and out of the reach of Krul. This was a typical Aguero goal similar to the one that led the Stretford defence a dance at Old Trafford last season.
Virtually every time City were in posession they looked like scoring but as the first half closed Mr Marriner got the card count under way. First of all, probably exhausted at chasing Dzeko around the field, Sissoko weighed him in. Dzeko retaliated and both got yellows. Next up, as the Mags for once sprang quickly out of defence Fernandinho brought them to a dead halt and was booked for his troubles. Then as we entered stoppage time Taylor gave Aguero a forearm smash that would have pleased Big Daddy and the ref went straight to his back pocket. Ten men and 2-0 is not exactly a Jamie Oliver recipe for the second half.
Pardew sacrificed Gouffran for Dumb and Dumber in a bid to shore up a beleaguered defence.
And it was more of the same from both teams as the second half got under way. City were relentless in their pursuit of goals and Newcastle in defence of their goal which could have been breached time and again with more City accuracy.
They kept the faithful waiting a mere 5 minutes, City time in fact, before a free kick on the edge of the box was superbly bent up and over the wall by of all people Yaya Toure! Pardew's men looked in total disarray as they took to their damage limitation duties ably led by the magnificent Tim Krul, who was probably their man of the match, or man of the Alamo.
On the hour it was time to rest Aguero who had not stopped running all match and his replacement was..Nasri. Regular readers of Ped Reports will know I am not his best fan, but even I had to applaud the way, from an exceptional touch by Dzeko, he outpaced, yes outpaced, Dummett to drill home and complete the scoring for tonight.
As the match headed for a finish Negredo was unlucky to be flagged offside for pouncing on a loose ball in the box and sneaking it into the net.
This was an exhilarating performance by City and it should really have been ten. Two good shouts for penalties were turned away as Mr Marriner joined in the damage limitation exercise and on another night Dzeko would have scored 5. Krul was cruel in saving all his best saves for Dzeko's efforts and it was one of the only 2 disappointments of the night that Edin didn't adorn the scoresheet. The second disappointment was an injury to the majestic Vincent Kompany. It looked like a recurrence of his groin injury from last season as his knee bent and his upper leg stretched in a typical no holds barred tackle. With him and Nastasic now in sick bay I sincerely hope that Pellegrini is not tempted to put Richards in at centre-back, especially with the Stretfords now on the horizon.
When you look around that field tonight you can tell instantly that this will not be a one-off result this season. This team oozes quality everywhere you look and the immediate effect of adding the likes of Navas, Negredo, Jovetic and Fernandinho has done precisely what Rodwell, Garcia and Sinclair didn't do last season. It has piled pressure on those holding a starting shirt to step up to the plate and this was clearly seen as there were four different scorers, but all four were from the last regime.
Silva in his new-found space was brilliant, Aguero, lively and threatening, Dzeko like a man possessed playing his best game since he scored four against Spurs and Yaya clearly seeing the spectre of Fernadinho every time he looks over his shoulder.
The fans immediately took to Navas, the turbo-charged winger from Sevilla. And don't they just love a quality wide player who zooms down the touchline like a rocket and varies play so much?
So a night that started off with a tribute to Bert Trautmann ended with a tribute to another new era in the life of Manchester City and a crushing 4-0 victory which even after one match propelled them to the top of the table.
But, ladies and gentlemen, I have to leave you with another "typical City". On the East Stand there is a hospitality area known as the Citizens Lounge. Behind this and under the seating was once a corridor which was inaccessible to the fans and which was a storage room for unused furniture. Over the summer, the Citizens Lounge has been refurbished and it looks fantastic and four new individual lounge-style cubicles have been built with delightful soft furnishings and engraved glass panels and doors. Each one of these is named after an esteemed captain of the Club namely Tommy Booth, Vincent Kompany, Tony Book and Richard Dunne.
Each of these cubicles has one of the player's names engraved on the panel and the other on the door. Yes, you know what's coming. The cubicles to the right hand side as you look in are named after Book and Dunne. The one on the left says "Tony" on the panel and "Book" on the door. The other says "Richard" on the door and "Dunne" on the panel. The doors are back-to-back and when they are both open all you can see are the names on the panels which then read "Tony Dunne". Now which genius planned that?
UPCOMING DATES for Your Filofax
all times East Manchester BST
Su 25 Aug 16h00 Cardiff City, Cardiff City Stadium PL
Th 29 Aug 12h00 Champions League Group Stage Draw, Monaco
Sa 31 Aug 12h45 Hull City, The Etihad PL
Mo 2 Sep 23h00 Summer Transfer Window Closes
Sa 14 Sep 15h00 Stoke City, Britannia Stadium PL
Su 22 Sep 16h00 The rags, The Etihad PL
Sa 28 Sep 15h00 Aston Villa, Villa Park PL
Date:Tuesday August 20 2013
The Saints versus The Citizens (Friday December 6 2013)
Fine Tuning The City Juggernaut (Friday December 6 2013)
The Ped Report West Brom 2-3 City (Thursday December 5 2013)
Stats: West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City (Wednesday December 4 2013)
VIDEO: Pellegrini Hails Kompany Return (Wednesday December 4 2013)
El Kun And The Hunt For Red December (Tuesday December 3 2013)
The Baggies versus The Citizens (Tuesday December 3 2013)
The Ped Report City 3-0 Swansea City (Monday December 2 2013)
Stats: Manchester City v Swansea City (Sunday December 1 2013)
The Citizens versus The Swans (Saturday November 30 2013)
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