To go two goals down in the first four minutes of the game, when you are playing at home in front of over 51,000 fans, is hardly the best way to start a game – but that’s exactly what happened to Newcastle United this afternoon.
And Tim Krul did his prospects of keeping the goalkeeper jersey no good at all, when after just two minutes gone he gave a belated Christmas present to City, and they accepted it willingly.
Krul, before most players had been warmed up, put a terrible pass out of his box, which was easily intercepted by Carlos Tevez, and the Argentine quickly found Gareth Barry.
And within a twinkling of an eye, the English International finished all too easily, by slotting the ball home into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal.
So Newcastle were 1-0 down almost as soon as the game started, and for the third game in a row the defense had absolutely gifted the opposition a soft goal – and Sol Campbell wasn’t even playing for heaven’s sakes.
But worse was to come when City went 2-0 up after 4 minutes.
Ivory Coast International Cheick Tiote’s tried to send the ball up-field, but his pass came back off the back of Kevin Nolan’s legs, and is was that man Carlos Tevez again, who got the ball quickly out to former Magpie, James Milner on the right wing.
And in an instant Milner fed the ball through to Carlos Tevez and the center forward hit the ball home first time, with his left foot, and City were up 2-0.
Four minutes gone, two mistakes by Newcastle, and the Magpies found themselves 2-0 down against a side that were second top of the Premier League – not good.
Could Newcastle have made a worse start to the game today? It would be hard to beat what happened this afternoon – that’s for sure.
But Newcastle almost hit back immediately when the impressive Andy Carroll forced a decent save from goalkeeper Joe Hart, but Newcastle had dug themselves into a very deep hole very quickly in this game.
Newcastle came more into the game as the half progressed, and played some decent football after the calamitous start, but the score was still 2-0 at half time.
Wayne Routledge then gave way to Nile Ranger after 60 minutes, as Pardew went into a more attacking 4-4-2 formation to try to get back into the game, and after 72 minutes Andy Carroll scored his 11th Premier League goal of the season, and the 5th successive game in which he has scored.
And it was a familiar goal again for Newcastle, when big Andy headed home well from a Joey Barton corner (who else?), and Newcastle were back in the game.
But then Carlos Tevez scored his second goal of the game after 81 minutes, when his shot took a deflection off not one, but two Newcastle players – before hitting the back of the net and it was 3-1.
But this game was lost in the first 4 minutes, make no mistake about that, and after Man City sleep-walked through the first 25 minutes of their game with Everton last Monday night, surely the Newcastle players expected a fast start from the opposition today.
They didn’t need any Christmas gifts to get them going in this game, but they got two very quickly.
Newcastle will not do very well this season if the lads continue to give away sloppy goals, as they have in their last 3 games with 7 goals conceded, and maybe as many as five of them that could (and should) have been avoided.
Today Newcastle were not good enough – it’s as simple as that – at least not in those first 4 vital minutes – – and whatever happened to our wonderful home form of last season?
Let us know your Man of the Match for Newcastle in our poll on the home page.
Next game is at Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday night, and we just have to hope that all eleven players that start that game are not in a comatose state when the referee blows his whistle to start the game.
It was hardly a good start to the four league games in the next 10 days, that Newcastle must navigate through.
Teams and stats:
Newcastle United: Krul; Simpson, S Taylor, Coloccini, Enrique; Routledge (Ranger, 60), Barton, Tiote, Gutierrez; Nolan; Carroll. Subs not used: Harper, Perch, Williamson, Guthrie, Smith, Best.
Manchester City: Hart; Boateng, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov; Milner, De Jong, Barry, Silva (A Johnson, 70); Y Toure (Viera, 83); Tevez (Balotelli, 85). Subs not used: Given, Zabaleta, Richards, Jo.
Goals: Barry 2, Tevez 5, 81, Carroll 72
Referee: Chris Foy