Manchester City lose their fourth league game of the season and this one feels like a killer blow in our chase to retain the Premier League crown. City took the lead after just 24 seconds through Sergio Aguero but didn’t make the early advantage count. Rondon equalised on the hour mark looping his shot over Ederson. A rare lapse in concentration from Fernandinho allowed Ritchie to nick the ball away from him and in a panic, lunged in and brought him down for a penalty. Despite a lengthy delay for an Ederson knock, Ritchie stuck the ball in the bottom right corner to win the game for Newcastle. Here are the talking points from a disappointing night in the North-East.
The knock-out blow
When Sergio Aguero scored within a minute last night, we were already looking forward to praising his incredible record (which is still phenomenal by the way) and possibly purring at another comfortable Manchester City victory. But typical City strikes again, why am I even surprised. February is a big month for us, especially in the Premier League. With Arsenal and Chelsea on the horizon, this game was nothing short of a must win. City lacked the intensity throughout the game, especially in the areas we specialise – our interplay. Players like David Silva, who are normally flawless on the ball, were giving away the most simple of 5 yard passes. Our constant insistence on playing the ball out from the back cost us the second goal as well, when the ball should really have been cleared upfield.
At a similar stage last season Manchester United lost to Newcastle to give City a big lead at the top, and this result feels exactly the same. If Liverpool beat Leicester tomorrow, they go seven points clear. City have now dropped 11 points against lower league opposition; it is certainly not title contender form, if you compare that to Liverpool’s 0 dropped points – that is the difference. City now enter a tough run of fixtures, and with this confidence-shattering defeat, it could spell more points being dropped over this period.
1 shot on target, 1 goal
How often this season have we heard that? Too much is the answer. Crystal Palace, Chelsea, Leicester and now Newcastle have scored with their first shot on target and now major questions must be asked. There is no denying Laporte and Stones have top quality defending on the ground, but their aerial defending seems to be exposed time after time. Nicolas Otamendi’s aerial power worked so well in the fixture here last season and maybe he was the better option to combat Rondon’s threat.
Maybe I’m just overthinking it and taking away from Rondon’s quality, but I’m sure I’m not the only one trying to figure out where we went wrong. How much blame does Ederson take? I’m not saying he could’ve done something about the first goal, but the penalty went right under his body and it’s moments such as that one that we need him to step up. Just like against Palace last season, it’s the difference between gaining a point, possibly nicking all three or losing it completely. Maybe this is too harsh.
Can we trust Benjamin Mendy as our main LB for much longer?
First of all, let me start this by saying I am a massive fan of Benjamin Mendy. When he’s played for us he’s been a constant menace and the fact that he still has five assists to his name with very limited game time proves that. But his injury problems are now becoming a massive worry. Pep Guardiola really opened up on Manchester City’s ‘All or Nothing’ documentary to his new signing Aymeric Laporte that he was really missing Benjamin Mendy last year despite Fabian Delph’s good form, and nothing seems to have changed this campaign.
Once again though, the constant threat as shown tonight through Newcastle’s first goal is in behind our left-back. Even though Danilo has performed well in recent weeks, we desperately need a left sided fullback that can defend over anything else. And I’m not even sure with the Frenchmen back, that it solves that issue.
We march on as City always do to with a tough home game against an Arsenal side who barely have a centre back available, but if we play anything like tonight, they need not to worry.
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