“Like a setting sun…”
Newcastle United and manager Rafa Benitez came into the Etihad on Saturday night knowing that a result would be a massive challenge versus Manchester City, having lost 1-0 in the reverse fixture last month. There were moments in the second half, but the Magpies were ultimately undone by superb passing and a clinical striker.
Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick and over 80% of the possession were enough to secure a 3-1 victory for the home side, now 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League table. Newcastle remain 15th, but are only two points above the relegation zone.
United will prepare to face Chelsea in the FA Cup Fourth Round next Sunday at Stamford Bridge.
Benitez’s squad started off well with strong pressure and a high line, but that quickly changed after only a few minutes. Kevin De Bruyne sent in an excellent cross to Aguero in the 34th minute to open the scoring.
There seemed to be little hope for the visitors, despite a 1-0 scoreline at the half-time break.
The second half
It seemed to only be more of the same in the second act, especially after a penalty made it 2-0 in the 63rd minute.
But a magnificent play from Jacob Murphy gave Newcastle life, and a feeling was in the air that maybe an equaliser could be found.
The defence battled City’s attack throughout the encounter, and tried their best to keep a result within reach. However, a spectacular pass from Leroy Sane found Aguero for his third of the game and delivered all three points to manager Pep Guardiola’s team.
Overall not the best showing, but Saturday’s effort from the Newcastle players was quite admirable.
Newcastle United and Rafa Benitez are in a dangerous position at the moment with only 14 league matches left in the campaign. At the end of the day, points can’t continue to be lost.