It’s not very pragmatic to make snap judgments after only the first weekend of the Premier League, but pragmatism isn’t really my strong point. Manchester City’s comprehensive dissection of Newcastle United must surely leave the other English title contenders more than a little nervous even in these embryonic stages of the season. City seem to to be playing in a different division to most other teams and yes, the season is only one game old, but there is an air competence and focus not seen at city under Mancini. City are now more of a single unit than the collection of individuals that they were, possibly thanks to the exit of ‘bad apples’ such as Balotelli and Tevez, but probably more influential is the calm and personal approach of Chilean Manager Pellegrini.
The foundation of the team has plenty of Premier League experience and with Pellegrini’s methodical, tactical approach, to add to this they have demonstrated how threatening they can be to other teams. The new additions have dropped into place seamlessly, seemingly adapting to the English game instantly. Especially Fernandinho who did everything you would want, surprisingly, from traditional midfield play. Breaking up Newcastle’s forward play and driving city forward, he was always available to receive the ball. £30 million seemed like a lot to bring him from Shakhtar Donetsk but if this is the shape of things to come, he could be an important piece in the Sky blue puzzle.
In the first half at least, Newcastle were not as abject as the score line suggests. Some good interplay going forward and in particularly Ben Arfa posed a threat from the right and achieved a few efforts on goal. With the sending off of Steve Taylor it would be simple to say City had an easy ride for the majority of the match, but its the evolution of Man City which is most impressive. There is a very (surprise surprise) Spanish feel to their system now, moving the ball quickly but with patient building play, and coupled with the obvious ability in the team they could really be a formidable match for any club in Europe. A 4-0 victory, even against 10 men, surely signals their intention to the rest of the league.
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