Newcastle’s Premier League safety remains unsecured after a disappointing performance against last year’s champions and with an away Europa League fixture this coming Thursday before the visit of Fulham, a team which we always struggle against the run in looks a very daunting prospect again. Today’s game was always going to be a test of Newcastle’s squad as we were without our first choice full backs due to injury, whilst Fabricio Coloccini and Tim Krul have yet to recover from their respective injuries. However, we simply sat off Manchester City in the first half giving them ample time and space to run at our full backs and create chances in the box. Whilst Rob Elliot has used his run of games to show that he is a good shot stopper and can distribute the ball effectively from the back, Danny Simpson and Gabriel Obertan continue to frustrate supporters with their play and it is looking very unlikely that either will still be Newcastle United players after the summer whatever division we are in.

After the injurious result against Wigan we really needed to get something from this game to prevent relegation fears creeping back into the fray. In the initial period of the match it looked as if Newcastle were determined to be defensively resilient. Indeed the first twenty minutes of the match passed without many goal mouth incidents with Rob Elliot only having to make a routine save from a Silva corner, but a succession of fouls by Newcastle’s midfield pair of Cabaye and Anita provided City with the opportunity of fashioning a scoring chance. Whilst Tevez and Silva failed to trouble Elliot with their efforts, it seemed like only a matter of time before the hosts opened the scoring.

However, Papiss Cisse gave the hosts cause for concern when he diverted Anita’s pass onto a post. This half chance for Newcastle seemed to spur the home team into more purposeful action and as the first half wore on it seemed inevitable that they would break the deadlock. Indeed, Gareth Barry soon contrived to miss from inside the 6 yard box when it looked easier to score and Elliot did well to save a full bodied drive from Gael Clichy. Silva did put the ball in the net on 38 minutes but his effort was rightly ruled out for offside. Finally, 5 minutes before the break, Tevez opened the scoring latching onto a sublime cross from Clichy. Tevez managed to get to the ball before Gutierrez who was standing in at left back, and gave his usual industrious performance but his effort could not conceal the fact that he is not a natural left back and has lost a yard of pace this season.

A one goal deficit at half time would have been a welcome result but as so often Newcastle contrived to concede again before the break as Nasri somehow managed to wriggle away from a clutch of Newcastle defenders before passing to Silva who gleefully drilled the ball home past Elliot. Steven Taylor looked furious with his fellow defenders but in reality Newcastle did not deserve to go into the half time break in a positive frame of mind anyway as our midfield had been anonymous throughout the half and Cabaye barely had a touch. If Cisse or any of our forwards is to have any opportunity of scoring we must be more creative with our midfield play and look to run behind the opposition defenders rather than playing in front of them. Indeed Gabriel Obertan was guilty of the worst example of Newcastle’s inability to create chances for the forwards when he momentarily broke free of his marker only to inexplicably stop running rather than continuing the move. Obertan’s enigmatic behaviour might be partly explained by injury as he was substituted shortly before the half-time whistle but he has played in the same fashion for much of the season and his lack of assertiveness when attacking the final third continues to exasperate supporters.

The half time break provided Pardew with the opportunity to breathe life into Newcastle’s performance and his words inspired the players to put together a ten minute spell which briefly threatened the Manchester City goal. Firstly, Danny Simpson produced a dangerous looking cross which Vincent Kompany had to clear, before Cabaye had an effort which was well off target.

Afterwards Cisse did manage to latch on to Anita’s pass but he had moved a fraction too early so even if his attempt had been on target it would not have counted. This brief period of attacking football by Newcastle was held in disdain by City who simply worked the ball down the channels in order to work an opening. On 55 minutes they got their reward when Kompany added a third, after Barry’s shot was diverted into his path. This third goal put the game well and truly out of Newcastle’s reach and deflated their efforts to attack City’s goal. City could have played out the remaining half hour of the match by playing keep ball and holding Newcastle at bay, but they were determined to improve their winning margin and gained a fourth from a marauding run from Toure who rounded off the scoring by smashing the ball past Elliot who got a hand to it but could not get enough on it to keep it out of the net. Losing today may have been predictable given our away record this season and our injury situation but the score line has significantly dented our goal difference and our performance has seriously dented the supporters’ confidence.

So before our visit to the Stadium of Light in Lisbon on Thursday evening Newcastle put in a lacklustre performance against the defending champions and will need to improve significantly if they are to keep above the relegation places for the remainder of the season. Although Manchester United’s second string managed to do us a favour in the lunch time match, we cannot rely on other teams to give us a helping hand and we must up our performance against Fulham, a team who we have struggled against in recent seasons if we are to climb towards safety.

By Rachel Horne

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  1. AndyMac

    "Manchester City might have lost their title but they have not lost their mettle. Roberto Mancini's side were simply too good for Newcastle and put in the kind of performance that saw them triumph last May. Sadly for Mancini, they have not done it often enough this time around."

    That's because they only play Clueless's Newcastle twice a season 🙁

  2. DaveMan

    There is only one Sky Blues in this country and it's not Manchester bleedin City. If they want that nickname they are going to have to pay for it, god knows we need the money.

    PS you got Biggy for a steal.
    Any donations to buy the RICOH will be great fully received.


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