Sunday night finished Newcastle 0 Manchester City 2 but in truth it could and should have been at least a five or six goal advantage to the visitors.
It was woeful to watch.
BBC summed it up when after 27 minutes they put a stat up, Man City had completed 188 passes by that point, Newcastle United only 15. Plus, I bet pretty much all of them were involving Karl Darlow receiving the ball and one or two of the hoofs up the pitch finding the head of Andy Carroll.
Newcastle United only had one decent chance all match and that was created by a Manchester City defender.
Steve Bruce’s shockingly negative tactics sending the visitors to sleep and thinking they had zero to worry about, so much so that under absolutely no pressure, Otamendi played the ball aimlessly across the edge of his 18 yard box, straight to ASM. His low cross seeing Gayle somehow miss the target unmarked eight yards out.
Predictably that was what Steve Bruce wanted to talk about at length, if only Gayle ad equalised then…
…Man City would have stepped it up and probably won by more than they did win by in the end.
The game wasn’t lost when Dwight Gayle missed Newcastle’s only chance, instead defeat was ensured with Steve Bruce’s team selection against Aston Villa.
Newcastle were 11 points clear of the bottom three and in reality already safe, the bookies made them 300/1 rank outsiders to be relegated after beating Sheffield United.
Instead of massively prioritising this FA Cup sixth round match, Steve Bruce bizarrely played the exact same 11 players only three days apart, drawing 1-1 with Villa.
Man City would have been tough anyway but Steve Bruce made it impossible.
Due to their exertions in the first two games, our hardest working player Matt Ritchie was ruled out today, same with our only really creative midfielder, Jonjo Shelvey.
More than that though, Bruce also ensured that Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin had minimal impact today. Both of them look knackered, ASM in particular was flat as anything, totally at odds with recent matches. From kick-off he looked so so tired.
Without those two providing energy and enterprise, the situation was hopeless.
Steve Bruce then compounding that with the selection of Darlow and Carroll ahead of Dubravaka and Gayle.
Darlow wasn’t to blame for either goal but why would you leave your best player out of the only important game you have left?
Whilst surely Gayle had to start and allow some kind of pressing / pressure to be put on Man City and have the threat of pace to get in behind? Instead, City had all the time in the world to play the ball out as Carroll jogged around the pitch, plus of course zero pace to threaten in behind. Especially poor when defending is City’s biggest weakness.
Instead, the only tactic appeared to be sitting back and waiting for Man City to score.
They cut through time after time and were only let down by a poor final touch or final ball or shooting accuracy, until Schar gave them the chance the chance from the penalty spot.
The tactics were wrong and made all the worse by not having fully fit Ritchie, Almiron, Shelvey and ASM on the pitch at kick-off.
Gayle as well needed to start, he scored with pretty much Newcastle’s only decent effort on target against Villa and today he missed a far easier one, NUFC’s only chance of note.
Here’s hoping that very soon we will see it all change, the takeover and Mike Ashley on his way and taking the likes of Bruce and Charnley with him, plus then a major quality upgrade of the playing staff.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 0 Manchester City 2 – Sunday 28 June 6.30pm
De Bruyne 37 pen, Sterling 68
(Half-time stats are in brackets)
Possession was Man City 76% (82%) Newcastle 24% (18%)
Total shots were Man City 20 (15) Newcastle 4 (2)
Shots on target were Man City 4 (3) Newcastle 1 (1)
Corners were Man City 8 (4) Newcastle 0 (0)
Referee: Lee Mason
Darlow, Manquillo, Schar, Fernandez, Lascelles, Rose (Lazaro 75), Hayden (Matty Longstaff 79), Sean Longstaff, Almiron (Joelinton 65), Carroll (Gayle 65), Saint-Maximin (Yedlin 74)
Dúbravka, Shelvey, Muto, Krafth
(Newcastle 0 Manchester City 2 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Sunday’s defeat – Read HERE)
(Newcastle 0 Manchester City 2 – Watch official match highlights HERE including both goals)