• Premier League

City get title defence off to perfect start

ESPN staff
August 17, 2014
David Silva opened the scoring for Manchester City in the first half © Getty Images

David Silva and Sergio Aguero gave Manchester City the perfect start to their title defence after scoring in their 2-0 win at Newcastle.

Silva struck seven minutes from the break, before Aguero came off the bench to make sure of the result in added time.

The Spaniard's opener was set up by an exquisite back-heel from Edin Dzeko, with Silva running onto the ball, holding off Emmanuele Riviere and slotting home past Tim Krul.

As Newcastle pushed for an equaliser, City countered with Aguero driving into the hosts' box and forcing a save from Krul. The ball then fell kindly to him to curl into the net on the rebound.

Match Analysis

  • Key moment: With four minutes of added time, Newcastle's push for an equaliser was ended when Sergio Aguero doubled Manchester City's lead. Had Tim Krul not pushed the striker's first effort straight back into his path, then Newcastle may still have had a chance to snatch something.
  • Man of the match: Last summer Edin Dzeko was rumoured to be on his way out of City. What a turnaround. The striker picked up where he left off last season, if not with a goal but an excellent performance including a sublime back-heeled assist for David Silva's opener.
  • Villain: After good work down the left from Remy Cabella and Ayoze Perez, Moussa Sissoko could have levelled things for Newcastle going into added time but blazed over when the ball was cut back to him. Aguero then proceeded to go down the other end and score.
  • Nick Atkin

City's movement and passing were characteristically impressive - their finishing less so - although Newcastle were unable to work City goalkeeper Joe Hart to any real extent despite enjoying their fair share of possession in front of a crowd of 50,816 at St James' Park.

New boys Jack Colback and Remy Cabella were impressive on debut, while lone striker Emmanuel Riviere showed flashes of his talent before fading as he found himself locked in a physical battle with Vincent Kompany.

But while there were positives for Newcastle manager Alan Pardew and appreciative applause from the home fans on the whistle, it was Manuel Pellegrini and his club's followers who were wearing the smiles.

Captains Fabricio Coloccini and Kompany, along with former Sunderland goalkeeper Jimmy Montgomery, laid wreaths on the centre circle as they were joined by relatives of fans John Alder and Liam Sweeney, who died on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.

But while City played their full part in an emotional start to the afternoon, they ripped into their hosts from the off and might have established a commanding lead within the opening 11 minutes.

Krul had to be at his most alert to keep out Dzeko's close-range second-minute effort after Steven Jovetic had played him in over the top with a delicately lofted pass, and the Dutchman was in action once again nine minutes later.

Sergio Aguero wrapped up the three points with a goal in added time © Getty Images

Samir Nasri and Aleksandar Kolarov played a long-range one-two before the Frenchman teed himself up to unleash a rasping drive which Krul had to dive full-length to turn away.

But as they warmed to their task, Newcastle started to make an impact.

Coloccini and central defensive partner Mike Williamson managed to get to grips with Dzeko and Jovetic to allow the men in front of them to prosper, although, while there were flashes from Cabella and Riviere and a series of surging runs from Moussa Sissoko, there was little of note to trouble Hart.

Cabella drifted a chipped 16th-minute effort over Hart's crossbar and Riviere, who showed plenty of endeavour, but slightly less composure, scuffed wide from distance and blazed across goal when he might have done better.

At the other end, Williamson denied Jovetic with a perfectly timed block, but the respite was temporary and City took the lead with seven minutes of the half remaining.

Coloccini and Williamson were both drawn to Dzeko as he chased down a long ball, and both were left stranded when he cleverly back-heeled it between them for Silva to exploit the space and fire left-footed past Krul.

Newcastle responded in determined fashion immediately after the restart with Yoan Gouffran seeing two shots blocked in quick succession after Colback's 50th-minute corner reached him beyond the far post, and Cabella scooped over under pressure from Sissoko's pass.

Full-back Paul Dummett headed over after reaching Colback's corner ahead of Hart, but it took a good block by Coloccini to prevent Jovetic from extending the visitors' lead on the hour.

Dzeko headed onto the roof of Krul's net 25 minutes from time and Yaya Toure, who endured one of his quieter afternoons, floated a free-kick just over eight minutes later.

Newcastle threw caution to the wind as time ran down and substitute Ayoze Perez saw a shot deflected just wide of the far post before Sissoko blazed wastefully over at the death.

But substitute Aguero wrapped up the win in stoppage time when, after Krul had blocked his initial effort, he stabbed the rebound home from close range.

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