I will hold my hands up and admit I didn’t expect much from this (what turned out to be Newcastle 3 Manchester City 4) game, it was certainly an entertaining watch (if a little too much for the nerves at times).
It shaped up as the expected attack vs defence I was envisioning but the mags took an unlikely lead from an unlikely goalscorer in Emil Krafth.
In fairness, it was a great leap and a strong header to beat stand in keeper Carson, hands up if you remembered he even ‘played’ for City.
Shelvey missed a chance to double our lead, mere millimetres away from a very good free-kick opportunity. It had an air of inevitability when City scored a quick brace to go 2-1 up One dodgy deflection and one absolute quality flick.
Deep into added time before the break, ASM broke away from Ake to drive into the box, and Ake, trying to atone for himself, takes out Joelinton’s legs. I very much had my eyes closed when I saw the Brazilian would take the penalty that he had won, but give the man some credit, he absolutely leathered it home to bring us level at half time!
The second half started in much the same fashion as the first, with City having the bulk of the attacking, but we were impressive in the counter-attack, and made a few more decent chances of our own.
A huge swing in the game happened after another really poor defensive showing from City gave away another penalty, this time from Walker. A poor penalty from Willock, who won the spot-kick, but he was alert enough to poke home the rebound. Luckily he did, as City pretty much instantly went up the other end and scored another, Torres again, and indeed again, as he benefited from another deflection back into the box, our box this time, off the post from a Cancelo shot.
For the remainder of the game, City basically played a game of keep-ball, refusing to concede a chance to counter, without really creating any of their own.
We need to make these performances the default
A loss it may have been but the performances across the pitch were far and away from what we’ve been subjected to all season.
I may well have said this last week but if we had played like this all season, top 10 wouldn’t have been out of the question!
This must be the energy levels and playing style we aim for all of next season at a minimum, starting with playing like this next week and rout Sheffield United to make up for the embarrassment last time we met at Bramall Lane
VAR did its job but it does like the suspense
For once, I’m glad VAR looked at the penalty shout, as my first thought was that Joelinton had just fallen over in the box due to an overabundance of overthinking and inability to finish (as did many readers, I’m sure).
However, the officials desperately looked at the ASM breakaway so many times, as if they were determined to find the tiniest reason to rule it out, left a bad taste in my mouth. I mean, anyone looking at that could see Ake’s entire torso was keeping ASM on. So why spend literally minutes keeping people in suspense?
Ritchie should have been in the team all season
Just like the last match, Ritchie’s deliveries and long passes have been nothing short of excellent, don’t we have another player who’s supposed to be good at that…?
Just another ‘what if’ situation.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 3 Man City 4 – Friday 14 May 8pm
Krafth 25, Joelinton 45+6 pen, Willock 62
Cancelo 39, Torres 42, 64, 66
(Half-time stats in brackets)
Possession was Man City 82% (81%) Newcastle 18% (19%)
Total shots were Man City 15 (8) Newcastle 11 (5)
Shots on target were Man City 6 (4) Newcastle 5 (2)
Corners were Man City 5 (3) Newcastle 4 (2)
Referee: Kevin Friend
Dubravka, Murphy, Fernandez (Gayle 88), Krafth, Dummett, Ritchie (Sean Longstaff 84), Shelvey, Willock, Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Joelinton (Lewis 84)
Mark Gillespie, Ciaran Clark, Andy Carroll, Jeff Hendrick, Javier Manquillo, Matty Longstaff
(Newcastle 3 Manchester City 4 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Friday’s defeat – Read HERE)