Blues rampant ahead of Barca clash
FA Premier League
Saturday 21 February 2015, 17.30 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Mangala, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Toure, Nasri (Lampard 70), Silva (Navas 60), Aguero (Bony 60), Dzeko
Unused: Caballero, Clichy, Demichelis, Fernando
Goals: Aguero (2), Nasri (12), Dzeko (21), Silva (51 & 53)
Booked: Aguero, Milner
Referee: Chris Foy
Man of the match: Silva
Saturday night saw Manchester City host Newcastle United in the Premier League, and the Blues had the chance to close the gap on Chelsea after Jose Mourinho's side dropped points at home to Burnley earlier that day.
The game saw Yaya Toure return, and Wilfried Bony was named in the squad for the first time since his move from Swansea. Edin Dzeko was handed a start up front alongside Sergio Aguero, with Samir Nasri and David Silva supplying. The defence was unchanged from the excellent win at Stoke, with Joe Hart starting in goal.
City started excellently, pressing Newcastle high up the pitch and immediately winning a penalty, when Edin Dzeko was fouled by Vurnon Anita. Up stepped Sergio Aguero to give the hosts the lead after a minute, as City looked to pile the pressure on Chelsea. It was a lightning start from the home side, who played with the tempo that has often been lacking this season, forcing Newcastle into mistakes.
Samir Nasri has been in wonderful form since his return from injury, and the French international quickly doubled the lead, firing home after good work from Dzeko. The Bosnian striker quickly went from provider to scorer, as he latched onto a wonderful pass from David Silva, before controlling the ball and firing an expertly cushioned volley into the top corner. It was an exceptional first half performance from the Premier League champions, who seemed to be back to their best in recent weeks.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with the hosts again pressing high up the pitch, before soon adding a fourth. This time Samir Nasri squared the ball to David Silva after an excellent run from Sergio Aguero, and the Spaniard finished coolly past Tim Krul. Newcastle simply had no answer to the City's fast attacking tempo, and soon found themselves 5-0 down when David Silva added his second, volleying Aguero's chested lay off into the bottom corner from outside the box.
With the score at 5-0, and with Barcelona on the horizon, Manuel Pellegrini removed Samir Nasri, David Silva and Sergio Aguero, bringing on Frank Lampard, Jesus Navas and giving a debut to Wilfried Bony. The Ivorian received a rapturous reception from the home fans, and very nearly added to the rout, seeing his first time effort saved well by Krul.
The game finished with City closing Chelsea's lead to just five points, and it was a timely reminder of what the Blues are capable of ahead of Tuesday's crunch game against Barcelona in the Champions League.