Hindsight is twenty-twenty, and I’d be bullshitting you if I wrote that I knew what was going to happen. I didn't. But I can’t be happier it ended up doing so.
You knew where Newcastle were coming from: a five-nil defeat at the hands of this very Manchester City side—barring Erling Haaland—at the end of last season on the comfy confines of St James’ Park, no less.
You knew that Eddie Howe, if anything, has had it rough in the past against any and every Big Six side, let alone the Sky Blue.
You knew that Newcastle, for the second match in a row and virtually the third, was deploying the very same XI that has been used in all games of this baby Premier League season with the lone addition of Nick Pope and (of late) Sven Botman steadily performing for Newcastle with not a single more addition—let alone a brand-new forward—on the squad nor the field.
You knew it all, so the starting lineups didn’t surprise you just one bit.
What I was trying to say with the above introduction is that, yesterday, and for the first time since I am covering Newcastle here at CHN, I didn’t watch the game with my notepad and a pen next to me. I didn’t watch the game incessantly pausing and rewinding and trying to get the tiniest of details, tactical and technical, correct. I decided I was going to do that (again, not going to lie here) because my sister was going to be packing his stuff to move places on Sunday evening so I might have to help with something, and also because for once, I did want to just relax and enjoy the show these two teams should, now and/or in the future, bring to our televisions and radios and laptops and so on yearly going forward.
And for some reason, the footie gods were happy with my thinking and hella provided me with the most thrilling and wildest of matches I could have imagined.
I fired up my Kindle Fire, opened DAZN, and realized I had left my wifi setting off so I was going to miss a few minutes because it takes a while for the data sharing between my mobile and tablet to work. First-world problems, I guess.
I was very disappointed to see that the Premier League officials had decided the game should start 0-1 in favor of Manchester City, what a pity!
Anyway, there was still a full game to be played. And let me tell you, as much as Kevin De Bruyne was surgical with his passes and Haaland with his touches, so clinical were Nick Pope with his saves and Newcastle as a whole with their counter-attacking game.
It’s funny to watch a team—any team—play against Manchester City. If you root for that club, you might fall into the delusional idea of thinking that your lads stand a chance. Then, of course, you look up left and you find the scoreboard reading 0-1 and reality hits you like a wall made out of Hummers.
“At least, we’ll always have Paris”. Or, in Newcastle terms, “at least, we’ll always enjoy Saint-Maximin.” A Saint-Maximin that, distances permitting, donned a very real GOAT aura for 90 minutes in a game that suited his abilities to a tee. So much so that when he got the ball in the final third with 28 minutes in the clock, softly brought it down to the green mat of St James’ Park, faced Kyle Walker (already lost, and soon even more) and Rodri, invited them to bite the dust, and delivered the goodies.
Only for Almirón to pull off the most ridiculous of strikes, whatever that was, on offside. Or was it!? Hammy goal for Almirón, can’t ask for more.
Some things, you can’t understand.
Manchester City is so good a team that even being up, or just tied at one, they were playing reckless, desperate, winning-in-mind football all game long. That’s why Ederson was roaming the field and getting out of the penalty box in wild ways to try and fail to clear the ball. That’s why Cancelo was going to save you once. That’s is also why no John Stones nor Ruben Dias were going to save you for a second time, not with ASM performing like a magician on the Magpies turf and Callum Wilson playing in front of England Honcho Gareth Southgate ahead of Qatar’s World Cup in three months time.
Even watching on tape delay because of some pausing here and there—my sister needed some help wrapping and packaging some frozen food for his trip—the goal feel enlightening and, as the old bum I am these days, I find it easy to always keep spoilers at bay.
City probably got away with a penalty the referee clearly saw taking place but decided not to signal. And with that, the match went to halftime. Not me, as the 12-minute padding I had been pause-building throughout the first half helped me go nearly straight into the second period. Ah, technology.
Fifty-two minutes into this thing and Haaland sent a ball to the left post—that is, after it got touched by Big D*ck Nick Pope. And speaking of touches, allow me the little interjection here to call out all goddamn pundits and television commentators and whatnot for keeping the “Haaland is not getting many chances in his Manchester City career so far.” Erudites say sometimes you miss the forest for the trees, and hey, they might be right after all.
It was completely expected for Trippier to score on Sunday. That’s a banger. That was, also, a foul-kick straight into the Sky Blue’s net that he once defended when he was just a teen trying to find his way toward this mad world of football. Oh, and it was also completely expected for the foul to be on ASM, who was still doing his thing more than 50 minutes into this by-then-still-one-sided war.
Not for long, even though Pope couldn’t really have done more. Haaland one, press hobos zero. Also: Haaland one, Pope two. Take that, lad.
I’m still looping through that KDB ball to Silva for the Brazilian to score. Sublime pass, gorgeous touch.
Not so much the never-existing red card, even though the Citizen folks would make you believe Trippier should be getting a seven-game ban... Bitter, indeed.
Red for Trippier. Deserved.— Bitter and Blue (@BitterandBlue1) August 21, 2022
It’s already been six goals, and this is already approaching 1.2K words so I don’t know if I should extend my report any more.
I’ll leave you all with a very deept thought, though:
Three-game unbeaten run. Tranmere next in two days. Away we go. Howay the lads!