Same old script for Newcastle United as they are made to pay for missed opportunities at Man City
MANCHESTER: New weekend, same old Newcastle United.
Without even watching Eddie Howe’s side, they are becoming the easiest of Premier League sides to script.
Play well between both boxes, move it positively, create the odd decent opportunity but fall woefully short at the top end and let things slip away at the other.
And like West Ham and Bournemouth and Liverpool and Manchester United before it, this trip to the Etihad was the same old story for the Magpies.
A first half strike from Phil Foden and one against the run of play from substitute Bernardo Silva, as Newcastle looked at their most dangerous, ensured the Magpies suffered their third defeat on the bounce in all competitions, a sequence not seen since last season’s battle against relegation.
Newcastle’s three goals in the Premier League in 2023 is the lowest of all of the 20 sides in the division.
Having suffered a 2-0 defeat in the Carabao Cup final last weekend, Howe made three changes to his side, with Loris Karius dropping out of the squad altogether and Nick Pope returning to the starting 11, with Martin Dubravka on the bench.
Anthony Gordon, cup-tied last weekend, also came in for Allan Saint-Maximin while Jamaal Lascelles got a run at the back with Fabian Schar out injured.
It took the hosts just 15 minutes, after a brightish opening for Howe’s men, to get their noses in front, as they closed the gap on league leaders Arsenal.
And it will be one the Newcastle players will not want to watch back.
Some lax defending and pressing allowed Foden to waltz first past Dan Burn, then Gordon and Bruno Guimaraes before he fired past Pope via a deflection from Sven Botman, one very much akin to the Marcus Rashford Wembley strike six days ago.
It should really have been 2-0 much sooner than it was when Kevin De Bruyne, off color for once in a blue moon, cut back onto his right foot, swung a cross in and Erling Haaland nipped ahead of Botman to nod wide.
That seemed to spark something into the visitors, who then looked the most likely to score next, right up until Silva’s game-ending finish just past the hour.
And Callum Wilson, preferred to Alexander Isak surprisingly, missed a gilt-edged opportunity to level.
Kieran Trippier, again well below his best, got in behind former Howe charge Nathan Ake and nodded into the path of Wilson, who failed to connect with the cross properly with the goal at his mercy.
That lack of final third killer instinct produced a near carbon copy miss after the break.
Making a triple change — with Isak, Saint-Maximin and Joe Willock thrown into the mix — the Magpies began to push. But their finishing, as has so often been the story this campaign, let them down badly.
Willock swung in an inch-perfect ball for Joelinton but the big Brazilian swung and missed when free in the area.
And it was then, with City on the back foot, that Newcastle let their hosts off the hook.
A Trippier error, as he gifted possession to the opposition allowed England teammate Jack Grealish to wriggle toward the area, then find Haaland, whose deft touch was flicked into the path of Silva, who guided it, missile-like, past Pope for 2-0.
And with that went any chance Newcastle would reverse a quite awful run of form at the Etihad, which has not seen them win in 18 visits to the ground — a sequence that stretches back to its opening in 2003. Fifteen of those encounters have resulted in a Newcastle loss.
Foden almost added a third as City ended this one the stronger, but Pope held firm to keep things respectable and probably more befitting of the encounter.