Newcastle United’s Premier League season began in the same way as it did 12 months ago, as goals from David Silva and Sergio Aguero earned Manchester City a 2-0 win over the Magpies.

However, the manor of the defeats could not be more different. One year ago a disjointed Newcastle side turned up at the Etihad Stadium and were torn apart by a rampant City side that barely had to get out of first gear in order to register a 4-0 win. This time round, only two pieces of slick attacking play separated the sides as Manuel Pellegrini’s squad depth proved the decisive factor in the game.

Between the goals – in the second half in particular – Newcastle showed encouraging signs and tried everything they could to equalise after Silva’s goal separated the teams at the break. Remy Cabella looked excellent in midfield and Emmanuel Riviere done a good job of making a nuisance of himself against the strength of Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis.

But the home side struggled when it came to the final third, while the visitors excelled.

Just three minutes were on the clock when City unlocked the Newcastle defence for the first time. Stevan Jovetic’s exquisite flick landed in behind Fabricio Coloccini and Edin Dzeko’s stretching effort lacked the power to beat Tim Krul.

Newcastle hit back though and quickly settled into their rhythm. Cabella was keen to get involved wherever he could and regularly dazzled the capacity St James’ crowd with stepovers and feints that threatened to cause problems. The Frenchman also came close with Newcastle’s first shot, an audacious 20-yard chip that landed on the roof of Joe Hart’s net.

Krul was called into action again before the quarter-hour mark when Samir Nasri’s long-range effort was beaten away by the Dutchman.

At the other end, Riviere was doing his best to create something against a tough defence but wasted the opportunities when they arrived. He controlled a long pass and turned away from Demichelis at one point, before suffering a rush of blood to the head and thrashing a 35-yard shot well wide of Hart’s goal.

A similar outcome occurred when the Frenchman showed good strength to turn away from Kompany, before smashing a cross-cum-shot towards the corner flag.

The punishment for Newcastle’s failings in attack came seven minutes before the break. Yaya Toure was afforded too much time to float a pass towards Dzeko and the Bosnian took out both Mike Williamson and Coloccini with a neat backheel. Silva was arriving on the scene and tucked his low shot under Krul to give the Premier League champions the lead.

Yoan Gouffran came close to levelling in the second half when a Jack Colback corner found him unmarked at the far post, only for some last ditch defending from City to bail them out.

Alan Pardew introduced youngster’s Rolando Aarons and Ayoze Perez in search of an equaliser and the former Tenerife striker almost made an instant impact.

The 21-year-old burst onto a ball over the top of Kompany and turned Demichelis well inside the box. His shot was going in the corner but Fernando’s sliding deflection took the effort centimetres past Hart’s post.

In the final stages, Moussa Sissoko blazed a shot way over the bar from the edge of the box before watching on as City substitute Aguero showed everyone how to finish.

The Argentine’s left-footed shot was beaten straight back to him by Krul and he was able to spring back to his feet to finish and get City off to the perfect start to the defence of their Premier League title.