Manchester City's players applaud during a minute respect for former goalkeeper Trautmann who died recently ahead of their English Premier League soccer match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester

Manchester City 4 – Newcastle United 0: Sky Blues dominate at the Etihad (Video)


It didn’t take long for Manchester City to confirm their title contenders’ credentials, with the Sky Blues laying siege to visiting Newcastle from the match’s opening kickoff. Within six minutes, the former champions were on the scoresheet, their first goal en route to a 4-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium.

David Silva opened the scoring from seven yards out, heading home a deflected cross from Edin Dzeko. The Bosnia striker also played a key role on City’s second goal, his 22nd minute backheel for Sergio Aguero allowing the Argentine to open his 2013-14 account.

Near halftime, Newcastle were reduced to 10 men, Steven Taylor having been shown a straight red card after his left forearm hit Aguero in the back of the head. By that time, the Magpies were also without Jonas Gutierrez, the Argentine winger leaving injured near the end of the first half.

Early in the second, Yaya Touré’s direct kick from 22 yards out put City up 3-0, and with Newcastle playing down a man, the Citizens appeared set to post an embarrassing number. But their next goal didn’t come until the 75th minute, with Samir Nasri finally adding to City’s goal total. Taking advantage of Mathieu Debuchy before finishing inside Krul’s left post, City’s second half substitute made it 4-0.

At full-time, Manchester City had outshot the Magpies 19 to 5, putting 11 shots on goal to Newcastle’s one while holding 62 percent of the game’s possession.

source: ReutersThe news wasn’t all good for City, who were forced to remove captain Vincent Kompany after he emerged from a 69th minute challenge grasping his left groin. The Belgian international was immediately replaced by Javi Garcia.

With lopsided result leaves City first after week one, their +4 goal difference besting rival Manchester United for the Premier League’s top spot. The result also leaves Newcastle in 20th place, goal difference leaving them one spot behind Swansea City.


Manchester City: Joe HartPablo ZabaletaVincent Kompany (Javi Garcia 71′), Joleon LescottGael Clichy; Jesus Navas, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, David Silva (Alvaro Negredo 80′); Sergio Aguero (Samir Nasri 61′), Edin Dzeko; Unused: Costel Pantilimon; Jack Rodwell; James Milner; Aleksandr Kolarov

Newcastle United: Tim KrulMathieu DebuchySteven Taylor, Fabriccio Coloccini, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa; Moussa Sissoko, Cheick Tiote; Yoan Gouffran (Paul Dummett (45+4′), Hatem Ben Arfa (Sammy Ameobi 65′), Jonas Gutierrez (Vurnon Anita 43′); Papiss Cisse; Unused: Robert Elliot; Sylvain Marveaux; Gabriel Obertan; Shola Ameobi.

Agent: “There’s no hatred” between Bale, Ronaldo

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
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Gareth Bale doesn’t at all dislike Cristiano Ronaldo — or vice versa — despite what may seem a lukewarm on-field relationship between the two Real Madrid superstars, insists Jonathan Barnett, agent of Bale.

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Instead, Barnett insists that the two men with very different personalities have a healthy relationship, and competition, that pushes each Galactico to be the best player he can be.

Barnett, on Bale’s relationship with Ronaldo — quotes from the Guardian:

“They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine. There’s no hatred there. Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it. Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. He has some very good endorsements but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world. I don’t think he wants to be the best model in the world or the best underwear seller. That’s not him.”

That’s a hilarious closing quote from Barnett, but he knows exactly how some folks are going to interpret it: “Bale thinks Ronaldo loves himself too much.”

[ MORE: Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott ]

There’s nothing better for the ultimate success of a team than healthy, friendly competition between teammates who are spectacularly talented as Ronaldo and Bale. The former will only be around to perform at his current level for so much longer, but at what point does the latter officially take the torch and supplant Madrid’s biggest star, and how accepting will he be of passing that proverbial torch?

Olivier Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott

Olivier Giroud, France
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Is it just me, or does the press really only ever get noteworthy quotes from players during international breaks?

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I suppose it’s not surprising, given Premier League players get away from the mean ole British press, go back to their respective homelands and speak with journalists they’ve likely known since their early playing days, thus feel more comfortable opening up about key issues.

Anyway, today we have Olivier Giroud essentially calling himself out for having lost the starting striker’s job at Arsenal because he’s been outplayed of late by Theo Walcott. As discussed before, this is bad news for Giroud because he’s now falling down the depth chart for France with next summer’s European Championship on the horizon.

[ MORE: Aguero admits he wants Guardiola link-up ]

Giroud, on losing his place at Arsenal — quotes from the Guardian:

“At Arsenal, I am in competition with Theo for the striker position. But he is doing well at the moment, so there is no reason to change.

“Whether it was at Tours, Montpellier or Arsenal, I have never experienced a situation like this, I have often played from the start. I need to take positives and to harden myself mentally. It is something new for me.

“I was in [Walcott’s] place in previous seasons at Arsenal. I imagine what he must have been thinking. But I feel that the coach believes in me.”

Giroud goes on to cast into doubt his own confidence, stating in very certain terms he needs “to believe more in [his] abilities.” Giroud’s always come across as a bit of an existentialist, but it’s always strange to hear players publicly call themselves out — particularly their confidence — as if that’s not going to increase the pressure currently weighing down on them.

[ MORE: Rodgers reportedly chosen to take over at Aston Villa ]

The next eight months are going to be monumentally important in Giroud’s career, as the 29-year-old attempts to prove he’s worth keeping around at Arsenal and deserving of a place in the national team squad for next summer’s EUROs, which are to be played in France.