Newcastle United 3-4 Manchester City: 5 talking points as Ferran Torres stars for the champions

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A seven-goal thriller at St. James’ Park ended with Manchester City nicking a 4-3 victory against Newcastle United.

This was Manchester City’s first game since being crowned champions of the Premier League, and the Newcastle players duly gave them a Guard of Honor prior to kickoff.

Pep Guardiola made a raft of changes to his starting lineup, with fringe players like Eric Garcia, Nathan Ake and Ferran Torres handed starts, while goalkeeper Scott Carson made his first Premier League appearance in 11 years.

Manchester City started the game on the front foot but had trouble breaking down a resolute Newcastle defense. The hosts sat deep to absorb the pressure while trying to catch their opponents on the break.

The pace of Joelinton and Alan Saint-Maximin caused problems for the Cityzens, and Newcastle United broke the deadlock against the run of play.

Emil Krafth rose highest to head home a corner kick from Jonjo Shelvey and put the Magpies ahead with his first goal for the club. Shelvery struck the bar with an excellent free-kick in the 36th minute, but Manchester City turned things around in the space of four minutes.

First, Joao Cancelo’s goal-bound shot found its way through a packed Newcastle box, although a deflection left Martin Dubravka flat-footed.

Ferran Torres then put Manchester City ahead with an audacious back-heeled flick from a free-kick in the 42nd minute.

At that point, it seemed like the league champions would cruise their way to the win, but the hosts had other ideas.

A quick break saw Saint-Maximin run straight at the Manchester City defense and dribble his way through before teeing up Joelinton. The 24-year-old was felled in the area by Nathan Ake, but the assistant referee raised his flag for offside.

A check by the VAR revealed that there was no offside in the buildup play, leaving referee Kevin Friend with no option but to rescind his previous decision and point to the spot.

Joelinton dusted himself off to take responsibility and drew Newcastle United level with an emphatic penalty to score only his fourth goal of the season.

The start of the second half mirrored the first half, with Manchester City struggling to create penetration against a packed Newcastle defense.

The game came to life on the hour mark when a bursting run forward by Joe Willock ended with Kyle Walker tripping him in the penalty box.

The Arsenal loanee stood up to take the penalty, which was saved by Carson, but Willock turned the rebound into the back of the net.

It was a case of deja vu for the hosts as Manchester City quickly turned things around and regained their lead in the space of four minutes through Ferran Torres.

The former Valencia man drew the visitors level after he was teed up by Gabriel Jesus in the 64th minute. Just two minutes later, he showed great reflexes and anticipation to react quickest after Cancelo’s shot rebounded off the post.

With Manchester City back ahead, they regained control of the game and slowed the tempo down with their measured possession football.

Up next for the Etihad outfit will be the visit of Brighton, while Newcastle United will host the already relegated Sheffield United.

Here are five talking points from the fixture.

#5 Manchester City write their names into the record books yet again

Manchester City are the first English side to win 12 consecutive away league games
Manchester City are the first English side to win 12 consecutive away league games

Manchester City have rewritten what was previously thought impossible under the management of Pep Guardiola and have set many records over the last four years.

However, the current campaign saw the Mancunians struggle to match previous standards, and they were far removed from a title tilt as recently as December.

Things changed for the better at the turn of the year, which resulted in Manchester City being crowned champions with three games to spare.

They came into Friday’s game having won their last 11 away league games since playing a goalless draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford in mid-December.

A win against Newcastle would have made it a dozen victories on the road and despite making hard work of it, City ultimately came through.

The victory means that Manchester City are the first side in the history of English football (at all levels) to win 12 consecutive league games away from home, and they did it in dominant style too.

The 83% possession they recorded against the Toon army is also the most any side has racked up in a Premier League game this season.

#4 Joe Willock continues his fine run of form

Joe Willock has scored in five consecutive games
Joe Willock has scored in five consecutive games

The loan system has almost as many detractors as it has supporters. However, for every Chelsea player who has faded into obscurity owing to too many loans, there are several others who took advantage of the opportunity to shine like a million stars.

Joe Willock is a perfect example of the latter scenario. His loan move to Newcastle United has given him a platform to shine on without the pressure that comes at a club like Arsenal.

The 21-year-old had struggled to nail down a regular spot in the Gunners first team before completing a loan transfer to Newcastle in the January transfer window.

He scored the opener on his debut for Steve Bruce’s side before hitting a fallow patch that saw him go six games without a goal.

Willock got back among the goals when he stepped off the bench to net the equalizer against Tottenham Hotspur. Since then, there has been no turning back for him.

He was largely on the periphery against Manchester City as Newcastle’s low-block limited his attacking impetus. His first chance to run at the visitors resulted in him winning a penalty.

Willock’s spot-kick was poor and easily saved by Carson, but the former Arsenal man converted the rebound to make it five goals in his last five appearances for Newcastle.




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