Foden’s return to form helps mask De Bruyne’s troubles

MANCHESTER, England – Manchester City continued to put pressure on Arsenal top of the Premier League table with a 2-0 win over Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Phil Foden and substitute Bernardo Silva scored every half to give the score a comfortable look, but Newcastle had their chances, especially thanks to Anthony Gordon, who made his full debut from his January move from Everton, as well as Sean Longstaff and Joelinton.

Newcastle are now five games without a win in all competitions, with City extending their unbeaten streak to seven.

Fast reaction

1. Foden continues to be in good shape

Foden was kept waiting for regular games after the World Cup, but when he returned to the team, he found some form. His goal against Newcastle was Foden at his best; picking up the ball in space on the right, driving past Joelinton and Gordon into the penalty area and scoring a goal from Sven Botman. It was pace, power and precise control crammed into 10 seconds.

– Stream on Sportzshala+: La Liga, Bundesliga and more (USA)

We’re in the middle of the season, with Guardiola starting to think about which players City will start in the UEFA Champions League’s biggest knock-out matches, and Foden is making a strong case. Admitting he has struggled with a foot problem since Christmas, he has now scored four goals in his last three games, including two in two in the Premier League.

Erling Haaland is sure to start the big games and Jack Grealish has been doing well enough of late to also guarantee himself a permanent seat. This leaves one spot in Guardiola’s traditional top three for either Foden or Riyad Mahrez. Foden got the nod against Newcastle and made the most of his chance to impress.

2. De Bruyne can no longer be dropped

There was a time when Guardiola could not have dreamed of choosing a team without Kevin De Bruyne, but those days seem to be coming to an end. The Belgian was left on the bench after a 1-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur in February and when he was unable to travel to a Champions League match against RB Leipzig due to illness, it was not the kind of drama that could have been. be sometime. .

De Bruyne did not have a good game against Newcastle and as Eddie Howe’s team started to come out on top early in the second half, Guardiola’s first substitution was to replace the 31-year-old with Bernardo. The difference was almost immediate. Bernardo’s first involvement was to catch up with a lost ball and force Nick Pope to land a botched shot. Seconds later, the ball returned to the Portuguese midfielder via Nathan Ake, Grealish and Haaland, giving Bernardo the chance to score City’s second goal and kill the game.

De Bruyne is still a very good player – he showed it with a goal in the win against Arsenal – but he is not the first name on the team list, and Guardiola’s decisions before the end of the season can prove it.

3. Newcastle season could fail

“Let’s go to Wembley and fuck him,” City fans sang to traveling Newcastle fans, but losing to Manchester United in the League Cup final won’t be the biggest disappointment of the season if their form doesn’t improve. t improve.

Newcastle’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League have never depended on a result at the Etihad, but it’s now just one league win since Boxing Day – a 1-0 win over Fulham thanks to a last-minute victory behind Aleksandar Mitrovic. could not convert a penalty for summer residents.

After spending most of the season in third place, Newcastle have slipped to fifth in the table and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are breathing down their necks as the Reds begin to recover from a disastrous first half of the campaign.

It can be argued that by flirting with relegation last season, Newcastle have already taken a big step forward, but Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham have had the opportunity to grab onto the stability. Ensuring European football will mean a good season still ends at a high level, but Newcastle need to find a win somewhere soon to give momentum to move in the right direction.

Best and Worst Performers

BEST: Bernardo Silva, Midfielder, Manchester City Came out in the 65th minute and made a safe score two minutes later, scoring City’s second goal.

BEST: Nathan Ake, defender, Manchester City Participated in Bernardo’s goal and made a fantastic block, depriving Longstaff of a certain goal.

BEST: Ilkay Gundogan, Midfielder, Manchester City: The ball moved smoothly in the center of the field. City will miss him if he leaves in the summer when his contract expires.

WORST: Joelinton, MF, Newcastle: Completely missed the ball when presented with a golden chance to equalize in the second half.

WORST: Kevin De Bruyne, midfielder, Manchester City: It was a bad day for the Belgian and it was not surprising that he was substituted at the start of the second half.

WORST: Callum Wilson, ST, Newcastle: Newcastle scored three goals in 2023 and Wilson never intended to change that.

Highlights and Notable Moments

After the match: what coaches and players said

Guardiola in an interview with BT Sport: “Bernardo [Silva] had the opportunity to help us have a long tenure or make a tenure longer. He had the opportunity to keep the ball and make an additional pass, because at that moment the game was interrupted.

“It was better for Newcastle. We didn’t want the game to cross over, so the idea was with Bernardo. It works and we won, so it’s perfect.”

“The game started and they were better, we struggled to ramp up, we made some changes in the first half and after Phil’s brilliant performance. [Foden]we had the game in hand, we didn’t get hurt.

“The first minutes of the second half were good, but then we lost the game and Bernardo helped us bounce back. Their threat is not a surprise, there is a reason they were in the final of the Carabao Cup and for many minutes they were better than United.

“This team and this club will pose a threat to the title in the next few years.”

Eddie Howe said: “I think we played well today. It was like last week when we were good at the game, very dynamic in our game, aggressive, good with the ball, hurt them at times but couldn’t fix it. the final piece together.

“Our plan was to come here and attack, try to give it our all physically and then give the new players the opportunity to come on the field to do the same.

Howe said, “I thought we played well today.” It was like last week when we were good at the game, very dynamic in our game, aggressive, good with the ball, hurt them at times but couldn’t. don’t put that last piece together.

“Our plan was to come here, attack and try to give it our all physically, and then give the new players the opportunity to come on the field to do the same. I guess what sticks in my head is Joelinton’s chance at 1-0.” These are important points, and when you play such games, you have to be careful.”

Key statistics (provided by Sportzshala Stats & Information research)

– At 22 years and 280 days, Foden (33 goals, 17 assists) becomes the youngest player to reach 50 Premier League goals for Manchester City.

– Bernardo’s goal for Man City was their 1,000th home goal in the Premier League, the sixth team to reach the milestone in the competition (160 at Maine Road, 840 at the Etihad).

– Newcastle scored just three goals in the Premier League in 2022, the lowest in the division.


Manchester: Guardiola’s men will have a week to recover before they travel to London to face Crystal Palace next Saturday. They will then play RB Leipzig at the Etihad on Tuesday 14 March in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 (1-1 first leg) before hosting Burnley in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday 18 March .

Newcastle United: The Magpies’ Champions League bid is in dire need of fuel and will host Wolverhampton Wanderers on March 12. A home win is a must if they want to get their campaign back on track. They finish before the international break with a trip to Nottingham Forest on Friday 17 March.


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