City returned to winning ways with a 2-1 win against Newcastle United at the Etihad. The Blues had to grind out a win against Rafa Benitez's well-organised side who fought back from Raheem Sterling's early goal to go in level at the break before Kyle Walker's stunning long-range effort settled the contest.
What happened? City took just eight minutes to break down Newcastle United and with the Magpies’ early formation suggesting they would be defending in numbers, it was just the start the champions needed. Benjamin Mendy picked up a loose pass and played the ball to Sterling and the England winger ghosted past two defenders before curling a shot beyond Martin Dubravka to mark his 100th Premier League appearance for the Blues in style. Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus both went close to increasing the lead in a lively start by the champions. Though Newcastle had offered little threat, their first attacking move of any real quality resulted in an equaliser. Kenedy spotted Salomon Rondon in space on the left of City’s box and the Venezuelan caught the home defence out with a clever low cross that DeAndre Yedlin met powerfully to give Ederson no chance. It hadn’t been coming, but the Blues had been stifled somewhat since the goal and frustrated by lack of space to create chances in or around the box. The possession stats of 76%-24% in City’s told its own story, but with just three of the Blues’ 11 shots on target, it was evident that the visitors’ keeper hadn’t been tested enough. The second-half continued the war of attrition and sometimes, you just need something a bit special and eight minutes after the re-start, Kyle Walker provided it. As the Blues probed around the Magpies’ box, Aguero looked for the chance to shoot but eventually rolled a short pass to Walker who cracked home a terrific low shot from 30 yards to put City back in control. It was his first for the Club and what a way to open your account! On 65 minutes it should have been three as Aguero chipped the ball into Fernandinho’s path but Dubravka saved at his feet and David Silva then saw two efforts in quick succession scrambled clear by the increasingly desperate Newcastle defence. Silva then went close again a couple of minutes later as he came within a foot of converting Mahrez’s cross at the back post. The Blues had chances to score more, but a mixture of bad luck and good goalkeeping ensured the committed visitors ended the game with a narrow loss and no more.
Star man: Kyle Walker You can't score a goal like that and not take man of the match honours!
What it means: City head into the break unbeaten in all five competitive fixtures, winning four and drawing one. The Blues sit two points behind current leaders Liverpool.
What’s next? The international break now kicks in with the Blues returning to action in a fortnight with a home game against Fulham.
Manchester City (2): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte; Mahrez (Gündogan, 75’), Fernandinho, David Silva (Kompany, 88’), Mendy; Sterling, Gabriel Jesus (Bernardo Silva, 57’), Agüero
Newcastle (1): Dubravka; Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernández, Clark (Murphy, 80’), Dummett; Kenedy (Atsu, 53’), Ki, Diamé, Ayoze; Rondón (Joselu, 73’)