Another win. That’s six league wins on the bounce, and undefeated since November 10th. It’s a remarkable run of form that leaves us top of the table at least until Arsenal’s match at Villa Park tonight is done.
This was a seriously hard fought affair that saw City soak up a lot of pressure from a Newcastle side galvanised by vociferous home support angered by the decision to rule out Chieck Tiote’s 34th minute strike. You can read our review of the match here, but for now let’s look at how the players rated in the 2-0 win.
Joe Hart – 8
Made a number of excellent stops, including one low down from Remy at 1-0 that was outstanding. Not back to his very best just yet, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that his spell on the sidelines has allowed him to refocus. City look all the better for it.
Pablo Zabaleta – 8
Pablo never lets us down and is now, for my money, the best right-back in Europe. So rare to see his opposite number get the better of him. His positioning, tackling and determination are pretty much flawless, and we’re lucky to have him.
Vincent Kompany – 9 (Man of the Match)
His best showing since the Manchester derby earlier in the season. Headed everything, cleared everything and tackled anyone who came near him. Newcastle had a lot of the ball, but rarely got inside the 18-yeard box thanks to our captain. A first-class performance.
Martin Demichelis – 8.5
His best game for the club. His reading of the game and his intelligence are a joy to watch. Concerns over his lack of pace are slowly dissipating the more he settles into the side. When you can read the game like he does, pace is less important. He’s also fabulous in the air.
Aleksandar Kolarov – 8
Set up City’s first, his fourth assist in the league this season, and played very well again. Every player has improved under Pellegrini but Kolarov more than most. Defending much more sensibly these days, and choosing the right option when in possession far more, too.
Fernandinho – 8
Outstanding, again. The man’s energy levels are phenomenal, and his composure in possession a sight to behold. Great passer, cool on the ball and a top tackler. Not much to dislike about our Brazilian. City’s PotY so far, in my opinion.
Yaya Toure – 7
Not his best game. Sloppy with possession a couple of times and dished out a couple of silly fouls that could have got him into bother, especially given the state of the refereeing.
Samir Nasri – 7.5
Injured after a disgraceful ‘tackle’ from Yanga-Mbiwa. The defender took three swipes at Nasri, the final one so forceful it sent him crashing to the ground, jarring his knee badly on the way down. Looks set to be out for eight weeks – a huge blow to City after the season he’s had. He’s been fantastic.
David Silva – 7.5
A beautiful player to watch, even when, like in this match, he doesn’t hit his very best. His role in the opening goal has gone largely unnoticed, but it’s his intelligence in knowing when best to release the ball that made that move happen.
Alvaro Negredo – 8
Scored his 19th goal of the season to wrap up the points and led the line brilliantly again. The three games prior to the West Ham match in midweek has been quiet by his standards, but he’s well and truly back after his brief dip.
Edin Dzeko – 8
Another excellent performance from a player who has really stepped up in the last three weeks. Scored the first with a really well taken strike and gave the Newcastle defence a hard time. Was taken off with a slight injury after putting in a great shift.
Jesus Navas – 7
Came on for Dzeko and used his pace to scare the Newcastle defence. A great impact sub – he’ll be needed even more now Nasri is out.
Javi Garcia – 7.5
Receives a lot of stick from City fans, but did a splendid job again here. Came on to shore things up and he, well, shored things up.
James Milner – 7.5
Every City fan loves him and it’s easy to see why. Great assist for City’s second.
Written by Rob Pollard