Newcastle United vs Manchester City match report: David Silva and Sergio Aguero get the champions off to winning start

Newcastle United 0 Manchester City 2

St James' Park

The champions of England will have more memorable days than these over the next nine months, and Manuel Pellegrini’s team will have to play better over the course of the season if they are to fulfil all the targets that their ambitious masters in Abu Dhabi have in mind. But if this was Manchester City simply getting started, they will be formidable once they hit their stride.

Newcastle vs Man City - as it happened

Sergio Aguero, on as a substitute, closed the argument in injury-time with a second goal for Pellegrini’s side as Newcastle pressed for an equaliser. There are 37 games left and tomorrow night, Chelsea, most people’s idea of City’s nearest contenders have their first match of the season. Yet, three points away at St James’ Park is no bad first day launch-pad for any team.

The threat that there was in Newcastle’s new-look team was gradually extinguished by City who look now like the kind of side - and the kind of club - that are comfortable in their position at the head of the elite. When there was danger, Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis were superb, especially a block late on by the City captain when the Newcastle substitute Ayoze Perez had a sight of goal.

In the Premier League era, the champions have never lost on the first day of the following season, and from the moment that David Silva scored his team’s first on 38 minutes it never looked as if City were in any danger of defeat. That was not to say that Newcastle were poor, they had two periods at the start and then at the end of the second half when they created chances but it takes a lot to place City under the kind of pressure that might break them.

Pellegrini selected Joe Hart in goal ahead of Willy Caballero, and there were not many moments when the City goalkeeper found himself tested. The new signing Fernando, £12m from Porto, looked accomplished in midfield, another giant to go alongside Yaya Toure. Some of Newcastle’s new signings showed some promise too, but it gets no harder than trying to break down the reigning champions.

 

Newcastle had four newly-acquired players in their starting XI and St James’ Park was given its first opportunity to admire the swooping undulations of Remy Cabella’s quiff-mohican. The signing from Montpellier was the pick of the new boys, along with Jack Colback, a local lad on his competitive debut having crossed the divide from Sunderland. The chance Cabella created for Moussa Sissoko in the 90th-minute was arguably the best for the home side.

That was before Aguero’s goal. City’s first had arrived seven minutes before the break and spoiling all the momentum that Alan Pardew’s team had built up to that point. Their two supporters killed in the MH-17 flight, John Alder and Liam Sweeney, were remembered with a touching pre-match presentation to the families from both captains and representatives of Sunderland. Then the silence came to an end, the flowers were removed and the roar signalled another nine months in the tumultuous life of Newcastle.

In spite of the changes to Pardew’s side, they looked quite well-organised with Vurnon Anita working in front of the defence and Colback and the impressive Sissoko operating in the centre. Cabella looked like he was capable of all sorts of trickery but he kept it low-key in the first half, his best moment a ball through the City defence for Emmanuel Riviere to run onto.

The striker signed from Monaco failed to hit the target on that occasion, amid a first half where not much he attempted worked out. There was one excellent touch to kill the ball on the right side and, having given himself a run at goal, he elected for a daft strike from too far out. It ended up the kind of shot goalkeepers need only trap with their foot.

Sergio Aguero makes it 2-0 to Manchester City Sergio Aguero makes it 2-0 to Manchester City As or City, they created an excellent opening for Edin Dzeko on four minutes from Stevan Jovetic’s pass but he seemed unprepared and hit his shot straight at Tim Krul. They had to wait more than 30 minutes for the next decent opening. This was made by Toure’s ball forward and a fine back heel first time from Dzeko which afforded Silva two touches with his left foot – one to control and one to shoot past Krul.

Newcastle had opportunities through Yoan Gouffran and a Cabella shot that went over the bar at the start of the second half. At the end they came strong again, but it was Aguero who prevailed, holding off Fabricio Coloccini once to hit a left foot shot and then, when Krul saved, to pick himself up and score the rebound first time with his right. The challenge is now for Chelsea to match them tomorrow night.

Newcastle (4-1-4-1): Krul; Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett; Anita (Obertan, 63); Gouffran (Aarons, 74), Sissoko, Colback, Cabella; Riviere (Perez, 84).

Substitutes not used: Elliot (gk), Haidara, Taylor, Abeid.

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Hart; Clichy, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov; Fernando, Toure; Nasri (Milner, 78), Dzeko (Aguero, 82), Silva; Jovetic (Fernandinho, 72).

Substitutes not used: Zabaleta, Caballero (gk), Navas, Boyata.

Referee: M Atkinson

Booked: Newcastle Janmaat. Manchester City Silva, Demichelis, Kolarov, Kompany, Fernando

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect