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Tuesday, 20 August 2013 00:00

Manchester City 4 Newcastle 0: Fernandinho and Jesus Navas shine as City demolish Alan Pardew's Magpies

New signings on song as Eastlands club begin season in style
by Dan Smith at Eastlands

Football: Roberto Mancini’s final year at Manchester City was too often characterised by disunity and unwanted distractions resulting from his authoritarian and egocentric management style. Judging by City's systematic demolition of listless Newcastle United on Monday night, Mancini’s replacement — the charismatic Chilean Manuel Pellegrini — has brought a renewed feeling of togetherness and purpose to his new charges.

City’s emphatic victory will be tempered by the fact that Newcastle played more than half the game with 10 men after Steven Taylor saw red for a lunge at Sergio Aguero, but in truth, from the very first minute, Pellegrini’s team dominated proceedings and they played with flair and fluidity.

In Fernandinho and Jesus Navas, Pellegrini has two players of outstanding quality. The rapid Navas repeatedly stretched play on the right, allowing Spanish compatriot David Silva to find pockets of space across the front line. Silva’s elusive roaming between the Newcastle defence and midfield created numerous chances throughout the game.

Silva himself opened the scoring in the fifth minute as he drifted into the box to head home. Aguero extended the lead midway through the first half with a stylish finish before Yaya Toure’s thunderous free kick and Samir Nasri’s smart shot put the game beyond doubt in the second half. The enforced substitution of commanding captain Vincent Kompany, who appeared to be struggling with groin injury, was the only negative for City.

While Pellegrini enjoyed a dream debut, Newcastle endured the same turbulence which has defined their recent history. Even before Taylor’s sending off on the stroke of half-time, Newcastle’s defence looked as confused as the ramblings of their director of football Joe Kinnear.

Cheick Tiote and Moussa Sissoko were repeatedly overrun by Toure and impressive new signing Fernandinho in the middle of the park, meaning that Newcastle will be hoping they can keep hold of their midfield lynchpin Yohan Cabaye who sat out this game under a cloud of interest from Arsenal.

The one positive for Newcastle — other than the performance of their agile keeper Tim Krul — was the flair and creativity displayed by Hatem Ben Arfa in the first half. The Magpies' fortunes this season will depend firstly on whether they can keep hold of their mercurial Frenchman and, secondly, whether they can keep him fit.

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