On a day where many feared a drubbing, the lads put in a big effort and respectable display at the Etihad tonight, falling to a narrow 2-1 defeat to Man City – with Kyle Walker’s 30-year stunner being the difference in the end.
We were up against the best Premier League team (statistically) ever and gave it a good go and stayed in the game – which is commendable given every single Man City starter cost more than our £16m transfer record..
Dubravka was brilliant, Fernandez continues to look like a very solid buy, Kenedy was better (not brilliant but more like it after two horror shows), Yedlin put in a big shift and Rondon looks a real unit who’s capable of holding up the ball, linking the play and causing problems for any centre-half.
Our passing (from midfield especially) and ability to retain the ball in general needs to be better, but it was good to see us look organised and disciplined again after a turbulent week on and off the field.
It was a funny old first half. Lascelles’ early mistake gifted City possession in a dangerous area and they were 1-0 up five seconds later, with Sterling cutting in from the left and firing past Dubravka – giving them a lead within 7 minutes.
We then struggled to keep a hold of the ball (despite looking slightly more willing to get forward) and looked sloppy at the back, making it look as though we were in for a torrid evening – but things got better.
They were limited to half chances but we took our one big opporunity, with some great work from Rondon setting up a marauding DeAndre Yedlin to smash home at the back post after a brilliant 70-yard run.
— Newcastle Blue Star (@NUFCBluestar) September 1, 2018
The second half was more of the same, however a superb 30-yard drive from Kyle Walker ended up being the deciding goal 7 minutes into the restart.
Performance wise, Dubravka was excellent. He was commanding and barely put a foot wrong all afternoon. Lascelles made an early error but recovered well, whilst Fernandez put in a very assured display at the back; he’ll be a regular alongside the skipper before long.
Rondon was impressive in the circumstances. He was quite isolated but he’s a man mountain who made runs, battled for every ball and played a huge part in the goal; showing his intelligence with a clever ball across the box.
It wasn’t brilliant, but there were some positive signs today – and it can only get easier from here!
Bring on Arsenal at St James’ Park in two weeks time!