I’ll say it again...
Newcastle United Football Club beat the richest club in England, Manchester City, 2-1.
Manchester City came into St James’ having won their past 6, and having scored 30 goals in the month of January. Their star player Kevin De Bruyne was finally looking like his old self after dealing with various injuries throughout the season. Looking at the facts going into this match, it was hard to find any hope of Newcastle winning. In fact I, Elijah Newsome, not only picked them to lose in our podcast CHN Radio, but also wrote an entire preview talking about how this match was a calculated loss.
From kick off it seemed as if Manchester City were ready to thrash Newcastle 5-0 as Sergio Aguero picked up his 15th goal against Newcastle, scoring just 24 seconds after the match began. Sergio’s quick goal created a pessimistic atmosphere among fans at home, and at the match despite the rumored arrival of Miguel Almiron.
Chants of “We want Ashley out, We want Ashley Out!” and “ Get out of our Club” rang through the air at St James’ as Manchester City began to dominate the game. City saw all of the ball, having nearly 80% of possession in the first 15 minutes. This was Newcastle’s gameplan, as Rafa’s men were focused on absorbing pressure and getting out on the counter.
Eventually, Man City got a free kick in a dangerous area that resulted in another goal for Aguero. But, the goal was called back once it was revealed that De Bruyne took the free kick before the ref blew the whistle resulting in a yellow card for the Belgian and a retaken free kick. The second free kick taken by KDB was cleared, and Newcastle survived for the moment.
The match lulled on, but Newcastle began to play with more confidence. The back line played incredibly well, with each of the back 3 centerbacks making outstanding tackles and clearances. This was coupled with the duo of Yedlin and Ritchie working insanely hard all match to contain Man City’s pacey wingers. Newcastle strung together a few passes on counter attacks but lacked the final quality to actually convert these chances into goals.
Going into the half down 0-1, Rafa seemed pleased with how his gameplan was working so far. Newcastle fans were also happy with the result, as many of them were expecting a 0-5 hammering after the events of the first 5 minutes.
In the second half Newcastle continued to absorb pressure and counter attack with no result. Then in the 66th minute, Newcastle’s leading scorer, Salomon Rondon hammered home a half volley for a goal, tying the game at 1-1. Isaac Hayden was credited with the assist as he was the one to head the ball in Rondon’s direction after a Matt Ritchie Cross.
The chaos continued in the 78th minute as Newcastle starlet Sean Longstaff was upended in the box awarding Newcastle United a penalty. There was no debate as to whether that was a penalty or not, as the ref immediately pointed to the spot. After some time wasting by Ederson, the Brazilian keeper who costs more than the entire Newcastle starting 11, Matt Ritchie stepped up and converted the penalty giving Newcastle the lead.
Like most matches for Newcastle this season, the last 15 minutes were full of anxiety as the squad desperately tried to defend their lead. After surviving waves of Manchester City attacks, Newcastle heard the coveted three whistles from the referee and walked away with 3 points.
After today’s win Newcastle move into 14th, 5 points clear of the relegation zone.
Newcastle travel to Wembley this weekend to play Tottenham, in another nationally televised game.