Newcastle United are now certain of their status in the Premier League and they played with freedom against the newly crowned champions, Manchester City, on Friday night.
Pep Guardiola named a much-changed side from his regular eleven, even giving 35-year-old third-choice goalkeeper Scott Carson a run out, however the outfield ten was still something that most top-flight sides could only dream of fielding every week.
Newcastle boss, Steve Bruce made just one change from the side that comfortably defeated Leicester City the previous week, that being an enforced one with Joelinton replacing the injured Callum Wilson.
Despite suffering defeat, The Magpies had plenty to be pleased about and there are certainly positives to take moving forwards.
Deadly on the counter-attack
As much as Newcastle didn’t actually score from open play against City, their counter-attacking play was what helped them score their three goals.
With the pacy duo of Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin, the Toon always have a chance to bring the ball forwards with speed and this was crucial to them getting their goals.
Joe Willock was also instrumental in this with his willingness to drive into the box and win Newcastle their second penalty after drawing experienced defender Kyle Walker into a challenge. As much as Willock missed the resultant spot-kick, he tucked away the rebound.
It sums up how dangerous Newcastle were on the front foot when even Champions League winning manager Guardiola sang their praises.
Resolute at the back
It may seem strange to say this after shipping four goals, but it wasn’t always easy for City to find clear paths to goal.
It was the quality that came through in the end, summed up by the fact that it took a long-range deflected effort from Joao Cancelo to score the Manchester club’s first.
It is also worth noting that Ferran Torres was constantly being intelligent with his movement in the Newcastle box, making it difficult for defenders to mark him and predict his movements.