Manchester City beat Newcastle United 2-0 in their first match of the new Premier League season. It was far from smooth sailing for last year’s Premier League champions however, with victory only secured after a last minute Sergio Aguero goal eased the tension from a sustained Newcastle siege on the Man City goal. We shall examine what were the most important things that we learned from the proceedings.
Newcastle’s newcomers need not worry
The new additions for Newcastle shined brightly on Sunday. Emmanuel Rivierie and Remy Cabella took no time to adopt to the white and black stripes, as both looked sharp from the start. Between the two of them they had 6 shots and created 3 chances. The home-crowd was raucous with support for the new duo upfront despite neither of them scoring. They also added a touch of flair to the game, winning over 75% of their dribbles. The duo promises to be quite the bright point for the rest of the season.
“You’ll never get past Fernando; he’s magic, you know”
While the lyrics and the melody might need some work, the subject of the City fan’s song was flowing in perfect rhythm. Fernando’s Premier League debut was almost flawless. After a tentative first twenty minutes where he seemed like he was getting an idea of the pace of the game, he fell in line quickly and dominated along side Yaya Toure. Fernando made 3 tackles, 2 interceptions, 3 clearances and also demonstrated a deft touch with the ball, completing 91% of his passes. This is bad news for the rest of the EPL. Factoring in Fernandinho, City looks to have three incredibly talented center midfielders. This the first successful showing of Pelligrini’s off-season plan to add depth to the roster in order to bolster them across all competitions.
Newcastle’s weakness: Full Back
While the Toon’s defense did a good job overall of keeping City out of the back of the net, they could do nothing to keep them out of their attacking third. Kolarov and Silva were practically unstoppable and had many long raiding runs that ended in on target deliveries into the 18 yard box. Janmaat looked completely outclassed from the start on Newcastle’s right side. Alan Pardew’s squad will need to come up with a solution for this problem, as City showed the rest of the league an effective blue-print on how to play Newcastle.
Man of the Match: Gael Clichy
While the post-game highlights showed replays of Dzeko’s back-heel pass and Aguero’s calm last minute finish neither of City’s attacking players deserve the man of the match award. Strangely absent were the highlights that took place on Newcastle’s attacking left wing. And this is simply because there were none. Gael Clichy dominated in every sense of the word, collecting 8 tackles throughout the game; currently leading the Premier League’s chart for this statistic. When combined with 5 interceptions, and 7 clearances his shutdown defensive performance deserves all the praise. In a team that has surplus of wing backs, Pellegrini will be hard pressed to bench Clichy after his performance on Sunday.
Calm as could be: Manchester City
Manchester city never struggled in this match up. They withheld Newcastle’s 80th minute push, and while the defense bended at times it never gave the appearance of breaking. Jovetic and Dzeko handled themselves professionally and paired well upfront together; Aguero’s late substitution was a matter of practicality and not necessity. The entire midfield performed up to standards, and were it not for some misplaced passes, the scoreline could have been more in City’s favor. This game was a clear sign to the rest of the league that the Citizens are prepared to not only defend their title, but also make a strong push for the Champions league success.
Do you think that Manchester City showed the beginnings of the signs of Premier League champions? How successful can Newcastle’s season be if their players can replicate the quality and desire in attacking areas we saw during this match? Let us know in the comments or on twitter @TBRFootball .
After shock international call is Antonee Robinson a future Everton star
The defender has been in good form for Bolton Wanderers this season.
Bolton Wanderers have recently seen one of their players called up to international duty for the first time. Antonee Robinson has been included in the senior USA squad for the upcoming fixture against Paraguay
The left-back was born in Milton Keynes but his father is from New York state so qualifies for the USMNT. Robinson has previously played for the USA under-18 side and received a call-up to the under-20s but this is his first senior call.
For Everton fans, it will be a sign of the excellent work he has been putting in with the Championship strugglers. Robinson is on a season long loan at the Macron Stadium from Everton.
The 20-year-old has been a revelation for the Trotters, performing brilliantly and featuring in 26 league games this campaign. Despite recently losing his place to the more experienced Andrew Taylor it has been an excellent campaign for Robinson.
Everton must be keeping track of his development, especially considering that left-back is a position that they need to improve.
This season has seen Cuco Martina play out of position to fill the role. Leighton Baines is still an excellent operator, as he is shown since his return from injury. The issue however is that Baines seems to be picking up injuries on far to regular a basis for Everton’s liking.
Robinson therefore could be the answer on the long-term. There has been talk of Everton diving into the transfer market to fill the role but in the 20-year-old the Toffees have a potential long-term replacement.
Everton have a long history of bringing through young talent and at the moment have a queue of youngsters knocking at the first-team door.
One of those players is Robinson. Considering the problem area that is left-back, it should not be ruled out that Robinson is a potential solution to Everton’s positional trouble.
Tieumoue Bakayoko disappoints again for Chelsea against Leicester City
The Frenchman looked to struggle against his FA Cup opponents.
Tieumoue Bakayoko was one of the big-name signings for Chelsea during the summer as the club tried to push on under Antonio Conte after their Premier League triumph.
The Frenchman had been a standout player for AS Monaco during their surprise Ligue 1 winning campaign and cost the Blues a reported £40 million.
Although they are one of the richest clubs in the world, that remains a big spend and they would have been expecting a first-team ready player.
That hasn’t been the case as Bakayoko has struggled to adapt to English football and has found himself sidelined for Danny Drinkwater on several occasions.
The England international is an experienced Premier League player, but he was brought in to provide cover. It is a worry that he has been performing better than the player brought in to partner N’Golo Kante.
Chelsea managed to qualify for the semi-final of the FA Cup with an extra-time victory over Leicester City. However, Bakayoko was underwhelming once again after being brought back into the starting eleven.
He lasted until half-time before being replaced by Cesc Fabregas. During the first half, the Blues were too predictable in central midfield as neither player offered creativity from deep.
Wilfred Ndidi was arguably the best player in that area of the pitch as he dominated Bakayoko and Kante for the first-half.
The summer signing from Monaco was booked just before the break and didn’t re-emerge for the second-half. It was another disappointing performance from him as he failed to take the opportunity provided by Antonio Conte.
During the match, Bakayoko had a tackle success rate of 33% and he failed to make a single key pass to influence proceedings in the attacking half.
It was obvious that he was lacking in confidence as he often chose the simple pass and wasn’t as aggressive as the Leicester midfield players that he was competing with.
As the season has progressed, central midfield has emerged as an area of weakness for Chelsea. They often play with two defensive-minded midfielders and that makes them predictable to play against.
Last season, Nemanja Matic was more dynamic in central areas and he wasn’t afraid to step into the attacking half to contribute to attacks. The decision to sell him to a rival club now looks a huge mistake as the Blues are less effective in the middle of the park.
It was hoped that Ross Barkley would provide more energy to that position, but he has struggled with injuries since moving to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have a difficult task to save their season, as they must finish in the top four and lift the FA Cup to restore pride.
Bakayoko needs to have a strong end to his season if he is to prove himself worthy of another chance next season. There is likely to be a new manager at Stamford Bridge with Antonio Conte’s position looking more untenable by the day.
A managerial change will lead to a squad overhaul and the 23-year-old will be one of the first to go. He doesn’t offer anything different to Kante and his compatriot is far superior in every area.
His most ardent supporters will allude to his inexperience and suggest that he needs to be given more time. However, when watching him against the 21-year-old Ndidi, it became clear that he isn’t good enough for a club like Chelsea. He was outclassed and outbattled by his younger opponent.
Since Roman Abramovich bought the club, there have been several mistakes made in the transfer market. The decision to sell Matic and sign Bakayoko was another.
Junior Stanislas winner cliches Premier League survival for Bournemouth
The Cherries came from behind to beat West Brom on Saturday.
Bournemouth fought back from 1-0 down to secure a vital three points against West Bromwich Albion, as they took a huge step towards Premier League survival.
It wasn’t the best performance from the Cherries, but one player to standout was Junior Stanislas. The winger has been in good form during recent weeks and scored the winning goal on Saturday with a superb free-kick from range.
The 28-year-old is reaching the peak years of his career and he will want to be a regular starter in the top-flight. Bournemouth are a good fit for him, as there are no superstars and the team is greater than the sum of its parts. There are sprinklings of quality throughout and Stanislas is one of the players that can produce moments of brilliance on the pitch.
During the second half of the season, he has been one of the key attacking elements for Bournemouth. He has scored four goals in his last seven Premier League matches, but the one on Saturday was the most important of those as it was directly responsible for the win.
There were only minutes remaining and the chance came from a free-kick that was a long way out. Stanislas showed great confidence to take a shot and the resulting goal will go down as one of the best in his career to date.
The overall performance from Stanislas was a positive one, as he worked hard and contributed in both halves of the pitch from the left wing. The 28-year-old completed two dribbles and made one key pass during the contest, while his pass completion rate was 80%.
He was effective in possession and rarely gave the ball away, which aided the team’s attacking play. In addition to his goal, the winger offered a threat for the entire game and had four attempts on goal. This was the joint-most of any player on the pitch.
Eddie Howe demands total commitment from his players and everyone is expected to contribute to the defensive effort. Stanislas certainly did that on Saturday as he completed both of his attempted tackles. It is important for the wingers to work back and help their full-backs in a 4-4-2 formation. Both Stanislas and Jordon Ibe did their bit for the team.
With their victory over West Brom, Bournemouth moved into the top ten of the Premier League and sit on 36 points. That should put an end to their relegation worries, as they are eight points clear of the bottom three with only seven matches left to play. Although the Cherries have been in the top-flight for three seasons now, it remains a huge achievement to stay in the division given the size of the club.
The success has been due to the team spirit and players stepping up to the highest level. Stanislas is a great example of that, as he has spent the majority of his career in the Football League. He helped Bournemouth get promoted and has continued to improve since the club arrived in the Premier League. Now he is one of the Cherries’ best players and moments like his goal on Saturday reflect that.
Sessegnon or Bale? Past or future? Spurs must make right move this summer
Amadou Haidara released by Leeds United, bringing an end to bizarre transfer chapter
Sevilla triumph will have Everton fans regretting Steven N’Zonzi failure
Brendan Rodgers should finally get Kyriakos Papadopoulos this summer
Ryan Sessegnon should look at Tottenham pair and make switch
Tottenham Hotspur2 weeks ago
Tottenham Hotspur must push Toby Alderweireld toward Barcelona
Liverpool2 weeks ago
Jurgen Klopp’s brave January decision is playing off thanks to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Brentford3 weeks ago
Romaine Sawyers – Blossoming in the Championship with play-off contenders Brentford
Liverpool3 weeks ago
Mohamed Salah: Is Liverpool’s Egyptian star the best player in the world right now?
Liverpool4 weeks ago
Roberto Firmino: His performances will shape the end to Liverpool’s season
Liverpool2 weeks ago
Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold finds himself at the centre of Jurgen Klopp’s plans
English Premier League2 weeks ago
Liverpool 2-0 Newcastle United: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain growing into role under Jurgen Klopp
Barcelona4 weeks ago
Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona: Three talking points from Stamford Bridge