Newcastle United sent six debutants onto the pitch at St. James Park, but it wasn’t enough to knock down the defending Premier League champions as Manchester City escaped with three points.
It wasn’t pretty for either side, but David Silva took advantage of some poor defending in the first half to put the visitors ahead, and Sergio Aguero put things away late for a wire-to-wire victory that at times proved nervy.
The first chance fell to Samir Nasri in the 12th minute, as a quick and powerful counter fell to the French winger. He wasn’t planning on shooting, but the ball bounced so perfectly in front of him he decided to blast a shot and forced a diving parry from Tim Krul.
Otherwise, there was little to report out of the first half-hour, with both teams proving incredibly wasteful.
Finally, after 37 minutes, we had our first moment of quality, with Manchester City earning their first goal thanks to some beautiful passing and shambolic defending by Newcastle.
Yaya Toure ripped a long ball up for Edin Dzeko in the corner of the box, and he settled well before flicking a pinpoint back-heel to a streaking David Silva, who snuck behind new Toon signing Daryl Janmaat much too easily to the near post. Silva finished cooly past Krul and Manchester City had their lead.
Dzeko’s back-heel was outstanding, but the two Newcastle defenders surrounding him were hardly looking to prevent him feeding an opponent, likely hoping the other would do the job.
Despite the relative lack in quality of the first half, it was fun to watch the partnership between Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic, who linked up well up front. In addition, new Newcastle signing Remy Cabella showed some individual skill for the home side, despite an unfortunate hairstyle.
Newcastle surprisingly came to life following the break, with some shaky defending giving them some opportunity in the box, and the chances lit up the stadium. Michael Williamson nearly picked out a free-kick with his head, placing it just over the bar on 58 minutes after Joe Hart unwisely came out to try and collect in traffic.
With the home side still pressing with a half-hour remaining, Alan Pardew threw on Gabriel Obertan, one who impressed in preseason, causing his manager to speak publicly of his second chance at St. James Park.
On ten minutes remaining, Newcastle began to throw everything forward and pressure the City defense hard. Substitute Ayoze Perez rifled a dangerous shot on a breakaway in but it was deflected just a whisker wide. Then Rolando Aarons came close a minute later.
The best chance yet came from Moussa Sissoko early in the four minutes of added time, having received a cut-back from Cabella, but the Frenchman blasted it over the bar.
Then Manchester City put things away, with substitute Sergio Aguero bursting down the left with Fabricio Coloccini. He cracked off a shot from a tight angle which Krul saved, but it came right back to Aguero and he nestled it into the far corner for a 2-0 lead and all three points.
Newcastle: Krul; Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett; Anita (Obertan 63′), Colback; Sissoko, Cabella, Gouffran (Aarons 74′); Riviere (Perez 83′).
Manchester City: Hart; Clichy, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov; Fernando, Toure, Nasri (Milner 78′), Silva, Jovetic (Fernandinho 72′); Dzeko (Aguero 83′).
Goals: Silva 38′, Aguero 90+2′