With key players injured, Allan Saint-Maximin rested and Man City a wounded animal after Sunday’s shock defeat to Southampton, it was always going to be a tough evening, but that was absolutely shocking.
We couldn’t string three passes together, constantly lost the ball in awful positions, looked half asleep defensively and didn’t ever impose ourselves on the game.
I expected to get beaten, and I don’t think many would’ve minded if we went down trying, but we looked resigned to our fate early on and were slow, sloppy and sluggish in all areas from start to finish.
The starting line up initially looked like we’d gone with a five at the back, but it was actually a more ‘attacking’ set up than many expected and, if we’re being honest, incredibly bizarre.
Shelvey looked to be playing as a second striker just behind Joelinton, Schar was in midfield alongside Bentaleb and Krafth was part of a two-man central defence with Fernandez next to him and Yedlin and Rose either side.
A 4-4-1-1 which suggested Bruce wasn’t going to sit back and surrender as we did in the FA Cup, however a complete lack of marking and some awful passes gave us that dreaded feeling early on that this was going to be a VERY long night.
Firstly, an untracked David Silva run allowed him to cut the ball back for an unmarked Gabriel Jesus, who slotted past Dubravka.
Then, after a spell of Man City dominance (which saw them have literally 90% of the ball for a spell) and Newcastle sloppiness, it was 2-0 ten minutes later. A similar goal, with Kevin De Bruyne ghosting in and cutting back for an unmarked Riyad Mahrez.
It was that one-sided for the first half an hour that us winning a corner and subsequently getting the ball into Man City’s box was arguably our ‘moment of the half’ 31 minutes in.
Half-time couldn’t come quick enough and it eventually did. 2-0 City.
Onto the second half and we were hoping for a much better display – and it needed to be to avoid a hammering.
We started the first few minutes in a 4-5-1 set up, with Shelvey dropping back into midfield to give our defence a bit more protection. Well, that was plan at least.
Without posing a threat we’d kept them out for 13 minutes, however that soon changed when Matt Ritchie scuffed a last ditch clearance off Federico Fernandez and into his own goal past Dubravka.
It capped off what had been an awful night for the usually reliable Argentine, but City weren’t done there, with David Silva making it 4-0 moments later with a brilliant free-kick:
That said, how much space did Dubravka give him to put it into that corner?!
Nothing more to report from a Newcastle perspective, with us still unable to find a way into Man City’s box, however Man City made it 5-0 in stoppage time.
It was another awful goal to give away, with Nabil Bentaleb – who was shocking throughout – gifting the ball to David Silva, who set up Raheem Sterling for their fifth.
A night to forget, yet one that reminds us how far away we are from the top sides at this level.
I can take a towelling if we go down with a fight and at least attempt to learn from our mistakes, but tonight was sadly as much about us strolling around and gifting them easy goals, not them simply being ‘too good’ and steamrolling us.
Next up, Watford away on Saturday. Let’s hope we see a response.