THE ETIHAD STADIUM, MANCHESTER — Before Bernardo Silva came off the bench, Phil Foden scored an outstanding solo goal to give Manchester City a tenacious and maybe crucial 2-0 Premier League victory against Newcastle United.
Arsenal defeated relegation-threatened Everton 4-0 in the middle of the week to increase their advantage at the top to five points, gaining ground on the reigning champions.
When Newcastle was knocked out of the Carabao Cup last weekend, City got off to a shaky start. But, in the 15th minute, Foden ducked inside Dan Burn to create mayhem in the Newcastle area and score with a deflected effort via Sven Botman.
Before Silva, who came in for the unimpressive Kevin De Bruyne, had an immediate impact by converting Erling Haaland’s pass in the 67th minute for Newcastle, Callum Wilson and Joelinton both had chances to equalise.
Ilkay Gundogan, the captain of the City team, squandered a header in the opening minute, but the fact that it came on the counter-attack suggested that Newcastle would approach the situation aggressively.
It took a stroke of brilliance from Foden to calm City’s nerves after a risky Kyle Walker ball towards his own goal almost allowed Callum Wilson to score.
The England forward received a ball from Rodri in the inside right position, sprinted inside Burn, sped past Anthony Gordon, and ignored other tight attention before seeing the prone Botman deflect his shot in.
Before Wilson squandered a great opportunity from Kieran Trippier’s knockdown and more worries were to follow for City after the break, Nathan Ake made a last-ditch effort to deny Sean Longstaff.
After the hour, Eddie Howe made three substitutions, and Joe Willock, one of the replacements, immediately made his presence known by crossing for Joelinton to miss his kick with the goal at his mercy. Ruben Dias and Ederson made two valiant tackles to stop Alexander Isak, another substitute, from scoring.
For immediate effect, Silva outperformed them both. Pope was hurried into a subpar clearance by the Portugal midfielder, who displayed his usual tenacity. After picking up the pieces, Jack Grealish found Erling Haaland, whose pass Silva had expertly guided home.
Back is Phil Foden
Before to the break, only Foden’s particular ability distinguished the two teams. Everything up to that moment was jet-heeled perfection, so the deflection off Botman was frustrating merely from a visual standpoint. With his recent struggles with form and fitness behind him, Foden now has four goals in three appearances this week. For the final stretch, he ought to be one of Guardiola’s go-to players once more because City will need a few more flashes of brilliance like that if they’re to defeat Arsenal.
What is Man City’s best defensive strategy?
Guardiola abandoned his hybrid fullback strategy in response to Newcastle’s combination of physicality and creativity. Silva shouldn’t have been playing left back with Miguel Almiron and the Grealish story in town. Given the struggles of John Stones and Aymeric Laporte with their fitness, Kyle Walker, Manuel Akanji, Ruben Dias, and Nathan Ake undoubtedly make up City’s strongest back four at the moment.
Dias and Ake, the latter of whom is quietly having a fantastic season, did some of their signature “over my dead body” work in their own penalty area. This dilemma, and how Guardiola handles it, could make or break his season both at home and abroad when up against quality opposition.
Wilson and Joelinton draw attention to Newcastle’s obvious issue
Newcastle could have won this game on a different day. The improvement over the previous 10 months is evident, even when they are not at their best as a group.
The only recurring theme, however, is “nil,” and Newcastle’s decision to stop scoring since the new year threatens to fatally undermine their bid to make the top four. Even though Wilson and Joelinton could not have blown their respective chances any worse and Isak passed up a less obvious opportunity after entering the game, it is obvious that this was not a conscious choice. Since thrashing Leicester City 3-0 on Boxing Day, Newcastle has scored three goals in eight Premier League games.
More in Sports: https://buzzing.today/sports/
Photo Credits: https://commons.wikimedia.org/