Matt Targett lectures Allan Saint-Maximin as Kevin Keegan watches on – Newcastle United moments missed

Newcastle United suffered their heaviest Premier League defeat of the season at Manchester City on Sunday – here are some moments you may have missed...

Monday, 9th May 2022, 10:50 am

Pep Guardiola’s warm welcome

Pep Guardiola often speaks quite highly of Newcastle United. The Manchester City manager wanted to sign for The Magpies during his playing days when Bobby Robson was in charge.

Although a move didn’t materialise, the respect has remained. The fact Guardiola has lost just once out of 11 matches against Newcastle in his managerial career may also make it easier to big up the opposition, who rarely pose a competitive threat.

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But in Guardiola’s programme notes, he was quick to praise Newcastle and in particular their supporters, who certainly made their voices heard.

“Welcome to Newcastle fans, who are always so good whenever we have been to St James’s Park,” Guardiola said.

“Newcastle is an historic club, so this is a fixture I always look forward to. When a team comes into a game in good form, you always have to be aware.

“The Newcastle players are happy, feel good, trust the manager’s process and have confidence. That is a dangerous combination.”

Manchester City player Raheem Sterling in action during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium on May 08, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

That ‘dangerous combination’ failed to materialise as Newcastle were soundly beaten 5-0 in the end.

The absentees

As great as it was to see Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson back in the squad and back on the pitch after lengthy injury absences, the Magpies were hit by a double injury blow leading up to the trip to the Etihad Stadium.

Joe Willock (knee) and Jonjo Shelvey (calf) were left out of the squad entirely after starting against Liverpool in the previous match. Both players had missed training in the week building up to the match and Howe confirmed after the game that both players are expected to be out for the remainder of the season.

Newcastle co-owner Amanda Staveley (front row 2nd r) chats as former manager Kevin Keegan (top right) and former runner Brendan Foster next to him look on during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium on May 08, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Fortunately that is only two games now with a home match against Arsenal and an away trip to Burnley on the final day coming up.

Kevin Keegan watches on

Iconic former Newcastle United manager and former City boss Kevin Keegan was in attendance on Sunday afternoon. The 71-year-old was sat alongside another Tyneside favourite Brendan Foster and just a few rows behind Newcastle co-owners Amanda Staveley and Mehrdad Ghodoussi in the directors’ box.

Keegan is hailed for being the man behind Newcastle’s meteoric rise from the foot of the second tier to within touching distance of the Premier League title in the space of a few years in the early-to-mid 90s.

Newcastle striker Callum Wilson applauds the fans after the Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium on May 08, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Following the takeover, there were talks of Keegan returning to the club in an ambassadorial role but they have so far failed to materialise.

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Matt Targett’s lecture to Allan Saint-Maximin

With the scoreline at 0-0 with little over quarter-of-an-hour played, Man City were just starting to turn the heat up on Newcastle when left-back Matt Targett appeared to collar Allan Saint-Maximin for a quick word.

It occurred during a brief stoppage just as Raheem Sterling and Joao Cancelo were starting to threaten down Newcastle’s left side.

Cancelo volleyed a great chance wide just moments earlier and it was apparent Targett needed some cover in front of him and Saint-Maximin – who was Newcastle’s biggest attacking threat – was leaving his teammate exposed.

Raheem Sterling of Manchester City scores their side's fifth goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium on May 08, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

And just moments later, the opening goal saw the pair of Cancelo and Sterling combine as Saint-Maximin lost track of the Portuguese full-back, who headed the ball across goal for an easy nod-in for Sterling.

After a fairly solid start for Newcastle, the game quickly got away from them as an error from Martin Dubravka saw Aymeric Laporte pounce to make it 2-0 at half-time.

1% possession

Roughly 10 minutes into the second half, a quite staggering stat emerged that Manchester City had not completely lost possession since restarting the game from the centre-circle.

Between the 45th and 55th minute, the hosts had 99% possession with Newcastle’s 1% being down to flicks and clearances as City started to pile on the pressure.

It took the Magpies until the 55th minute to finally register their first successful and intentional pass of the second half, which actually led to a rare opportunity for Howe’s side.

Bruno Guimaraes was the Newcastle player to finally register a successful pass to a teammate in the 56th minute as he found Miguel Almiron.

A decent spell of possession then followed which culminated in Guimaraes blasting well over the crossbar from 30-yards.

Supporter unity

Newcastle’s afternoon would go from bad to worse as Rodri headed in from Kevin De Bruyne’s corner to the near post on the hour mark.

Late goals from Phil Foden and a second for Raheem Sterling piled further misery on The Magpies to see the game finish 5-0.

In spite of Newcastle suffering their heaviest defeat of the season, the 3,000 travelling supporters remained United and behind the players throughout.

Chants of ‘Who’s that team we call United?’ and ‘Eddie Howe’s black and white army’ on a continuous loop drowned out the majority of noise made by the home supporters.

The travelling Toon Army also couldn’t resist a few not so subtle digs at Manchester City either with ‘we're richer than you’ and ‘Champions League and you ****** it up’ also making an appearance on the chant set-list.

Even after the full-time whistle, the fans continued to applaud and cheer the players on. One bad afternoon doesn’t change their appreciation for what the United players have achieved under Eddie Howe in 2022.

Ten wins out of 16 has propelled Newcastle to relative safety in the table, though their record against teams at the top of the table can still be highlighted as an area for considerable improvement with The Magpies failing to win any of their 13 matches against top seven opponents this season.

But they have their 14th and final opportunity to get a win when they host Arsenal in their last home game of the season at St James’s Park next Monday (8pm kick-off).

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