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Season 2021-22
Manchester City (h) Premier League


Sunday 19th December 2021, 2.00pm
(altered from 2.15pm at 48 hours notice when
an earlier PL live TV game was postponed)
Live on Sky Sports

 St. James' Park

Conditions: Disheartening



 Manchester City


0 - 4





5 mins Martin Dubravka passed the ball behind his own goal line to concede a flag-kick, taken by from the Strawberry Corner by Kevin De Bruyne and half cleared. A short exchange of passes then saw Oleksandr Zinchenko ping a pass in the direction Joao Cancelo on the right hand byline/six yard box.

Whether Martin Dubravka thought the pass was over-hit and the ball was going out is unclear, but the goalkeeper and Ciaran Clark simply stood and looked at each other as the ball was hooked across goal - allowing Ruben Dias to nod it first bounce into the empty Gallowgate net from a yard out.

Repeated viewing from several angles confirms that Clark is ideally situated to clear the danger with a header, but completely misjudges the situation and steps under the dropping ball. Horrific. 0-1

27 mins United's defence parted to allow Cancelo all the time and space he needed to charge towards our goal and unleash an unstoppable drive that Dubravka watched sail past him. Abdicating their duties in particular were Joe Willock whose first challenge was pathetic, Isaac Hayden who slipped over in a slapstick style and Jamaal Lascelles and Clark who failed to charge and challenge the scorer and turned their backs on the shot. 0-2

Half time: Magpies 0 Citizens 2

63 mins An unmarked Riyad Mahrez volleyed in Zinchenko's cross which was flagged as offside by the linesman who did his job by allowing the goal and then indicating that it needed checking. VAR correctly gave the goal after the replays showed Mahrez was onside.  0-3

Why the linesman is required to raise his flag is just another flaw in the administration of VAR. Surely it is better to allow play to continue and then just let him tell the ref he thought it was close via his headset. It would be checked anyway.

At the same time, the linesman in the Wolves versus Chelsea game was made to look ridiculous by being told to raise his flag 24 seconds after the ball crossed the line. That one was eventually chalked off.

86 mins Gabriel Jesus picked the ball up down the City left and breezed past Jacob Murphy to centre to Raheem Sterling, who had an embarrassingly simple tap-in finish at the Leazes End. 0-4

Full time: Magpies 0 Citizens 4

We Said


Eddie Howe said:

"We shot ourselves in the foot. It was a big frustration. If there's one team in world football you don't want to chase the game against it's Manchester City and to do it so early made our task doubly difficult.

I thought the rest of the first half, bar their second goal, was a really disciplined performance. We really minimised their goalmouth action. They were relatively quiet although they scored two goals that sounds like a contradiction. We looked a threat and should have had a penalty.

"I'm not the type of manager that looks for excuses or looks to blame the officials but it's another clear big moment in the game that has gone against us. I'm shaking my head at it.

"The goalkeeper is out of control, he's wiped Ryan Fraser out. It's a stonewall penalty. How VAR hasn't intervened is a really strange one for me.

"I think there's been one in every game. At that stage we were well in the match and you don't know what can happen beyond that point."

They Said

Pep Guardiola said: 

"It was a good result but not a good performance. The first half was one of the poorest we have had this season. We were not there. We didn't play in the rhythm we should play. Everyone gave more touches and lost the ball.

"We were lucky to score in the first few minutes. It was a misunderstanding from the Newcastle defenders and the second goal is a brilliant action from Cancelo - that made the difference.

"The second half was much closer to who we are. We have to try and improve. We have an obligation to play every single game at the highest level possible. I don't have a reason why we don't play good every time."

For the penalty incident Pep created a new rule:

"Fraser didn't have the ball. The ball was with Cancelo. If Fraser has the ball it's a clear penalty but Cancelo had the ball so it's not a penalty."

Asked about the current plight of Newcastle and their supporters:

"I had the feeling having travelled that the people in the stadium would react and support the team.

"Sometimes it is about momentum and dynamics. They have exceptional players and a really good team, but now they are struggling.

"It is still a long season to play for those who look to win the Premier League, get to the Champions League or Europa League and the teams at the bottom.

"There are many, many games to play and many things are going to happen so I would say be positive and anything can happen."


United v City @ SJP - PL era:

2021/22 Lost 0-4
Lost 3-4 Krafth, Joelinton(pen), Willock
2019/20 Lost 0-2 (FAC)
2019/20 Drew 2-2 Willems, Shelvey
2018/19 Won 2-1 Rondon, Ritchie (pen)
2017/18 Lost 0-1
2015/16 Drew 1-1 Anita
2014/15 Lost 0-2
2013/14 Lost 0-2
2013/14 Lost 0-2 (LC)
2012/13 Lost 1-3 Ba
2011/12 Lost 0-2
2010/11 Lost 1-3 Carroll
2008/09 Drew 2-2 Ameobi, og(Dunne)
2007/08 Lost 0-2
2006/07 Lost 0-1
2005/06 Won 1-0 Owen
2004/05 Won 4-3 Robert, Shearer, Elliott, Bellamy
2003/04 Won 3-0 Shearer 2, Ameobi
2002/03 Won 2-0 Shearer, Bellamy
2001/02 Won 1-0 Solano (FAC)
2000/01 Lost 0-1
1995/96 Won 3-1 Ferdinand 2, Beardsley
1994/95 Drew 0-0
1994/95 Won 3-1 Gillespie 2, Beresford (FA)
1994/95 Lost 0-2 (LC)
1993/94 Won 2-0 Cole 2

The Magpies lost three consecutive PL games for the first time since January 2021, when they endured a run of five defeats.

With two games still scheduled in 2021, Newcastle have conceded 79 goals in 41 Premier League games - equalling the PL record in a calendar year (79 in 42 games by Ipswich Town in 1994). That total of 79 also matches the previous worst total record by any Magpies side, from 45 games in 1966.

Eddie Howe has lost all eleven games as a manager against Manchester City (10 with Bournemouth, one with Newcastle. Goals against 34, for 5.)

U23 midfielder Joe White was an unused substitute in the PL for the second time, having previously sat on the bench at Manchester United in August.




Attempting to explain Newcastle's third defeat in eight days left us torn between describing them as feckless or luckless, but despite the margin of City's success, Eddie Howe's men weren't useless.

No points, just one goal scored and 11 conceded this week looks anything like progress to the casual observer, making the vocal support and flag waving that filled the emptying ground in the final moments totally inexplicable.

Retaining our Premier League status may be in ever greater peril and there's only so much satisfaction that can be gained by watching opposition players celebrate goals without Sports Direct signage being in shot any more, but this isn't quite a hopeless cause just yet, a glimmer of optimism remains.

Alongside that defiance though there's an acceptance that we may not get out of this; that the hoped-for reinforcements might not work, or get here at all. There appears to be a realisation that you reap what you sow and our demise is the logical outcome of prolonged, misguided decision making. On that basis, there's a tolerance of those now seeking to halt the decline that might just give them breathing space and room to work in. What else is there? 

Maybe it was the early kick-off, the collective hangover from Anfield on Thursday or the renewed apprehension across the country as to what the future holds, but the atmosphere at kick off today was muted at best.

And of course in time-honoured fashion, United did their best to eradicate any remaining positivity with unseemly haste. Heads were in hands and the ball was in the net within five minutes after messrs Clark and Dubravka got in the most unholy, unbelievable mess. Like City needed help....
There were five changes to the side: Allan Saint-Maximin and Fabian Schar benched, while Jamal Lewis, Javier Manquillo, Jonjo Shelvey and Emil Krafth were all declared unavailable due to injury or illness. That brought messrs Clark, Almiron, Ritchie, Willock and Wilson back in - giving some pace going forward but a backline that inspired anything but confidence.

Attempting to recover from that early body blow, Joelinton fired a fine effort from the edge of the box narrowly wide and De Bruyne was dispossessed in his own box, allowing Ryan Fraser a clean sight of goal. However his shot was cleared off the line as referee Martin Atkinson blew for a foul - the first of many dubious decisions that would blight United during the afternoon.

But there was no blaming the officials for the way United's defence parted to allow Cancelo all the time and space he needed to charge towards goal and unleash an unstoppable drive that sail past Dubravka.

His counterpart was lucky not to concede a spot-kick when cleaning out Fraser while his defence cleared the ball - a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch - but Atkinson and VAR official Craig Pawson saw no offence.

With City in cruise control, United tried to make a contest of it and should have gone in at half-time having at least scored; Isaac Hayden off-target with a header from a corner before Gabriel Jesus shot wide at the other end.

Substitute Allan Saint-Maximin appeared at the start of the second half and within five minutes his cross was just too far ahead of Callum Wilson. Dubravka made a stunning save to deny Jesus' header from close range but it only delayed the inevitable third goal, scored after VAR overturned an offside flag against Riyad Mahrez when volleying in Zinchenko's cross.

With the game gone, United still went in search of a goal but when Saint-Maximin slotted in Fraser, his pullback was smothered by Ederson. The 'keeper then denied Wilson by emulating Dubravka's earlier save as our leading scorer's header looked destined for the top corner of the net (although we did wonder why he was flogged through 90 minutes: had that been a Steve Bruce decision then there would have been plenty of criticism).

Reality intervened again four minutes from time though; City's fourth coming when Jesus breezed past Murphy and centred to Sterling for an easy tap-in. 4-0 and the victors barely played at 75% power. No amount of effort can really bridge that gulf in class, except once in a very blue moon. We're just not good enough. The signs may have gone from the stands, but the legacy is there to see on the field.

Confirmation that Fernandez and Lewis will be out for the foreseeable future means that another mix and match defence will be cobbled together for the visit of Manchester United on the 27th.

We'll then bid a hearty good riddance to 2021 at Goodison Park on Thursday week; by which time the vital work of recruiting new defenders needs to be coming to fruition.

For all the gloom pervading after a desperate week, games against Southampton, Watford and Leeds United next month still represent a viable escape route - if only we can stop the continual self-harm in and around our own box.


Page last updated 21 June, 2022