Football: Man City ooze class and goals to thump Newcastle
MANCHESTER, England (REUTERS) - Manchester City started their Premier League campaign in scintillating fashion on Monday with a stylish 4-0 win at home to 10-man Newcastle United as Manuel Pellegrini made a dream start to management in England.
Last season's runners-up took just six minutes to open the scoring with David Silva heading in after Steven Taylor failed to deal with Edin Dzeko's shot across the goal.
They doubled their lead on 22 minutes when a low shot from Sergio Aguero, set up by a neat flick from Dzeko, went in off the far post.
City's job was made even easier just before the stroke of halftime when defender Taylor was sent off after swinging an arm at Aguero and they made the man advantage count five minutes after the break with Yaya Toure's sizzling free kick.
The hosts made it four on 75 minutes when substitute Samir Nasri slotted home and could have had many more if it had not been for some excellent saves by Newcastle keeper Tim Krul as they sent a clear message of intent to their title rivals.
With champions Manchester United thumping Swansea City 4-1 in their opener on Saturday and Chelsea beating Hull City 2-0 on Sunday, City were keen to demonstrate that they too meant business.
They blasted out of the blocks, showing they had taken heed of Pellegrini's pledge to encourage an attractive, attacking approach, looking dangerous even before Silva's early opener.
The Spaniard had the goal handed to him on a plate, rising unmarked to nod past the wrong-footed Krul after defender Taylor only half cleared from Dzeko.
Dzeko, a towering figure in front of the slight and pacy trio of Aguero, Silva and Jesus Navas, seemed to be playing with a confidence not seen last season and also played a key part in the second.
City captain Vincent Kompany intercepted the ball in his own half and darted forward to feed Dzeko whose light flick found Aguero who sped past his marker, the hapless Taylor.
Already with questions hanging over him after both goals and having appeared to handball another Aguero effort, Taylor's day got even worse in first-half stoppage time when he swung his left arm at the Argentine when they were going for a high ball.
Referee Andre Marriner was quick to show a straight red to ensure the visitors, who had also lost Jonas Gutierrez to injury shortly before the break, faced the daunting task of playing the entire second half against a hungry City with 10 men.
Not one to leap around manically like his predecessor Roberto Mancini, Pellegrini celebrated the goals with dignified fist pumps but inside must have been jumping up and down at the uplifting sight of his team's eye-catching moves and dominance.
The entire stadium was on its feet when Toure netted the hosts' third with a thumping free kick over the wall and out of reach of Krul, who made a series of great saves in the game to keep the scoreline in single figures.
Newcastle's woeful defending was exposed yet again with 15 minutes to go when Nasri, who had come on for the lively Aguero around the hour-mark, had plenty of space to send in a low left-footed shot.
With City spending around 90 million pounds (S$178 million) in the close season on attacking talent, it was notable that all the goals came from players who were at the club last term.
Considering new signing Alvaro Negredo, the Spain striker who scored four goals in his final La Liga game for Sevilla, was only introduced 10 minutes from time and had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside, City fans have good reason to believe there could be plenty more goalfests to come this season.