Manchester City cruised to their second victory of the season thanks to a stunning Julian Alvarez strike, earning a deserved 1-0 win over Newcastle.
Two of the Premier League’s big winners on opening weekend squared off at a jubilant Etihad Stadium, but there was no sign of the Newcastle that put five past Aston Villa, with Pep Guardiola’s side outclassing their visitors in almost every department.
Newcastle haven’t won in 18 league visits to City’s Manchester home – which treated fans to a treble celebration pre-match, complete with a trio of trophies and rousing fireworks, before Alvarez got to work dismantling the latest side to fall victim of City’s imperious home record.
Manchester City: Ederson (7), Walker (8), Akanji (8), Dias (7), Gvardiol (7), Kovacic (7), Rodri (7), Foden (9), Alvarez (8), Grealish (6), Haaland (5).
Newcastle: Pope (7), Burn (6), Botman (6), Schar (5), Trippier (6), Joelinton (6), Guimaraes (6), Tonali (6), Gordon (5), Isak (6), Almiron (6).
Subs: Barnes (6), Longstaff (7), Wilson (6), Anderson (5), Livramento (n/a).
Player of the match: Phil Foden
Phil Foden was majestic in possession, using a no-look pass to tee up Alvarez’s smasher in the 31st minute, which somehow ended up being the only breakthrough of a game littered with chances for Erling Haaland – although only half of the forward’s four efforts hit the target.
Newcastle improved after the break but were powerless to prevent the newly-crowned Super Cup champions from extending their impressive run to 17 straight home wins, as they move joint top of the Premier League standings with Brighton.
“This is the second game of the season but it is proof of the reason why we won a lot,” Guardiola reflected, “the mindset and mentality of this group of players amazes me every time.”
How City overpowered Newcastle
Newcastle, buoyed by last week’s Villa rout, had travelled the 145 miles south in hope of claiming their first league win at City for almost 23 years. Hopes were ultimately in vain.
Guardiola’s side, perhaps a little fatigued from midweek exploits in Athens, weren’t at their fluid best throughout, but produced a professional performance to follow up last week’s Burnley success, with forward pairing Alvarez and Foden the brightest players on the pitch.
City began to pressurise midway through the first half and threatened for the first time when Manuel Akanji curled a long-range attempt over, before Haaland failed to connect with Alvarez’s low cross.
Having stepped into the playmaker role vacated by long-term absentee Kevin De Bruyne, Foden then began dictating centrally, creating seven chances from open play overall – his competition best, 131 appearances in.
“I enjoy playing in there, hopefully in the future I can pick up more games there and show people what I can do,” Foden said post-match. “The manager spoke to me a few times, he said to remain patient, you’ll get your opportunity.”
The No 47 was predictably at the heart of the game’s only opening, wriggling into space before pulling a clever reverse pass towards Alvarez, who arrowed into Nick Pope’s top right. Foden then slipped Haaland in on goal but the Norwegian’s low shot dragged wide of the far post.
City’s failure to kill the match allowed Newcastle the chance to get back into it as the game became more stretched late on, but neither Miguel Almiron nor Harvey Barnes had the desired effect, with the latter registering Newcastle’s only shot on target – which Ederson caught comfortably.
In the end, Alvarez’s strike was enough and City, who began the evening parading last season’s silverware, could celebrate another job well done.
Pep explains sub interaction with fan
A Manchester City fan got an unexpected offer of a chance to coach the team from Guardiola after the Spaniard did not make any substitutions in the victory.
“He (the fan) said to me ‘Make a sub’. I said come sit here and do it. The game was in a good tempo, a good rhythm,” Guardiola told TNT Sports.
“I didn’t see the players too tired. It wasn’t easy to make the changes so I didn’t do it.”
Speaking about Foden’s performance, Guardiola said: “Phil is a reality as a player, he can play many positions.
“He is a real threat. I am really pleased. The way he behaves with everyone. The mentality is always there. That is the most important thing.”
Howe: ‘Elite’ City too good
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe speaking on TNT Sports:
“Tough game. As we knew it would be. They are an elite team. We tried our best to execute our plan, press high, and make it difficult for them. But they did well against that.
“When the moments came for us we weren’t clinical enough. I don’t remember too much about the opening of their goal, I remember the final action – that’s one for me to analyse.
“The second-half showing was much better. Fitness wise we looked good, but we were technically off today, and that’s where we lost the game. We turned the ball over quite a bit.
“I still thought we defended well. You can go one of two ways here, you either sit in, or try and get after them and we went for the latter. We wanted to be ourselves but we didn’t quite execute that.”
Opta: Newcastle falter, City only need 11
- Newcastle recorded just one shot on target at the Etihad Stadium; their joint-fewest in a Premier League game under Eddie Howe.
- Manchester City didn’t make any substitutions in a Premier League game for the first time since May 2022, while it was just the sixth time in 268 league games that Pep Guardiola hasn’t made any changes.
- Julian Alvarez has been directly involved in 20 goals in his 26 starts across all competitions for Manchester City, scoring 15 and providing five assists.
FPL Stats: Man City 1-0 Newcastle
|Bonus points||Foden (3), Alvarez (2), Akanji (1)|
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Manchester City’s next game is away to Sheffield United in the Premier League on Sunday August 27, live on Sky Sports – kick-off 2pm.
Pep Guardiola’s side then host Fulham on Saturday September 2 – kick-off 3pm.
Newcastle are next in action on Sunday August 27 when they host Liverpool in the Premier League, live on Sky Sports – kick-off 4.30pm.
The Magpies then travel to Brighton on Saturday September 2, live on Sky Sports – kick-off 5.30pm.