Sun 20 Aug 2023, 10:50 · NUFCFEED

Manchester City 1-0 Newcastle United: Premier League match report, highlights, player ratings, and Howe/Bruno reactions

Manchester City 1-0 Newcastle United: Premier League match report, highlights, player ratings, and Howe/Bruno reactions
Dave Thompson | AP
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In what will hopefully be our least eventful match synopsis of the season, Newcastle lost 1-0 to Manchester City on Saturday evening in a game dominated by Pep Guardiola's treble-winners.

Eddie Howe's side huffed and puffed all night, but struggled to make a significant impact on the contest due to the sheer quality of players in the home ranks.

City did struggle to manufacture genuine chances, though, and only scored thanks to a couple of mistakes from Sven Botman that gave Julián Álvarez the chance to smash home from 16 yards.

The Dutch centre-back was superb otherwise, but he first passed the ball straight out of his play with his right foot when trying to find Anthony Gordon or Dan Burn. He was then caught in no man's land between man-of-the-match Phil Foden and the young Argentinian striker after a quick restart from the throw.

Álvarez just had far, far too much time to set himself and shoot into the top-right corner as a result, though Nick Pope will likely be disappointed that he didn't manage to get more of a glove on the effort.

Haaland dragged wide soon after and fluffed his lines on a couple of occasions in the second half, with the big Norwegian otherwise brilliantly marshalled by Botman and the imperious Fabian Schär.

At the other end, a tame long-range effort from substitute Harvey Barnes was all Newcastle really had to show for their toil, though Callum Wilson did waste a huge three-on-one counter-attacking opportunity after a rare mistake from Rodri in the passage that led to Barnes' shot.

The experienced striker showed a real lack of composure when dribbling straight into Joško Gvardiol despite having Sean Longstaff and Miguel Almirón breaking on either side of him.

There was no lack of effort on display but Howe himself seemed disappointed with the performance of his midfielders and forwards in his post-game interview. The back four were outstanding, with Kieran Trippier and Dan Burn supporting the centre-backs throughout. None of them deserved to be on the losing side.

To end on a positive, if and when we batter Liverpool next week, this result will soon be forgotten.

Are there any highlights of the game?

"Lowlights" more like, so we'll only subject you to a couple of minutes from Sky Sports:

What were the player ratings?

As mentioned above, Trippier, Schär, Botman, and Burn were the best players in black and white, with Schär putting in an almost perfect performance after looking like he'd dislocated his shoulder in the first 15 seconds.

Botman battled well with Haaland throughout, but he was ultimately at fault for the goal and needed his more experienced partner to bail him out on a couple of occasions besides. One of those occasions produced one of the best last-ditch tackles we've ever seen from Schär, who didn't even concede a corner with it.

Pope made a couple of good saves with his feet but could've done a little better on the goal, too, while his lack of quality in possession made it harder for us to get a foothold in the game.

Bruno still doesn't look right to us and isn't showing up in the biggest moments like he did when he first arrived, but Sandro Tonali and Joelinton were both made to look very ordinary by how good City were all over the park. That trio probably won't face a harder task than this all season.

Miggy was the pick of the forwards and ran himself into the ground, with Gordon lucky to still be on the pitch after a couple of very poor challenges that owed much to frustration. His mentality has come a long way since he signed, but there's still work to be done there. Howe had to bring him off earlier than planned here to avoid a red card.

Alexander Isak showed glimpses of his class but was barely involved, while Wilson was poor when he came on and never got up to the pace of the game, much like Longstaff. Of the substitutes, Elliot Anderson made the most noticeable impact, but Barnes did well enough, while Livramento just didn't have time to make a real contribution.

Jacob Murphy, in hospital with his partner due to the imminent birth of their child, was a big miss here.

Newcastle United (4-3-3): Pope 7; Trippier 8, Schär 9, Botman 8, Burn 8; Tonali 6 (Longstaff 5), Guimarães 6, Joelinton 6 (Anderson 6); Almirón 7 (Livramento 5), Isak 6 (Wilson 5), Gordon 6 (Barnes 6).

What was Eddie Howe's reaction?

Speaking to Dan King of NUFC TV shortly after the whistle, Howe was clearly disappointed with the side's performance in possession:

"I think they played very well today. I thought we were slightly off our highest levels, especially in the first half. I thought it was much better in the second half. In the first half, it was a disappointing start to the game. I really thought we'd fly at them and put them under pressure. It was sort of the opposite, they controlled the game and it was a difficult opening to the match. It was much better in the second half, but you have to give them credit. They're a top team and that's why they win so much.

My initial thought is that they kept the ball very well and we were loose technically. That created a couple of moments where we went long spells without the ball, and then it becomes more difficult. Maybe the lads lost a little bit of confidence in that opening period but certainly, there's stuff to reflect on and look at.

Mentality (was the biggest change at half-time). It was a change in focus, a change in energy. We were fearless, we were braver, and we got our rewards for that. I thought we were a lot more front-foot and won the ball back in dangerous areas, but it just didn't translate to anything meaningful. We had a few moments but no real big chances.

They were outstanding (Botman and Schär) in a really tough game, especially with the way that we play. They're not necessarily cramped in together and defending deep. We're front-foot, we're brave, and I thought they defended very, very well. Some one-versus-one duals, big spaces to defend, I thought both players and Kieran (Trippier) and Dan (Burn) were excellent."

What did Bruno Guimarães have to say?

A downhearted Guimarães was the only player to give the official website an interview, saying:

"I think we gave them too much time with the ball. We know with City we cannot leave them time to play and I think we gave them too much space. With the ball we were not good enough, we can do so much better and I think everyone knows it.

In the second half, we played much better. We crossed one or two balls that I think we could score (from) but we did show in the second half that we can compete with a team like that. Eddie tried to put more pace in the team with the new players that came in (substitutes). I think we should score at least once, to be honest, but in the first half, we gave the ball away and left them with too much time on the ball. In the second half, we were much better but we had too many things to improve.

I think so (about a lack of composure being evident). We tried to press them one-versus-one, sometimes we got the ball but when we did not we had to run all night. Pope made two brilliant saves but at the same time we had a two-versus-one and a three-versus-three and we didn't score. Against a team like that when you have chances you have to score, but we didn't."

What's next for NUFC?

Liverpool at home in the Premier League on Sunday at 4.30 p.m., live on Sky.

We don't know about you, but as it stands there isn't a league game on the calendar we want to win more than that one. The gurning, moaning Jürgen Norbert Klopp and his thoroughly unlikeable group of players are owed a couple from last season.

Howay the lads!