Taylor-made City win
Balotelli, Richards and Aguero on target for Mancini's men
By Graeme Bailey - Tweet me: @skygraemebailey. Last Updated: November 20, 2011 11:00am
Two defensive errors from Ryan Taylor helped Premier League leaders Manchester City to a 3-1 win over previously unbeaten Newcastle United.
City maintained their own unbeaten start to the season as a record attendance of over 47,400 fans in the Etihad Stadium saw Roberto Mancini's side run out comfortable winners in the end, although the visitors had their chances before the hosts wrapped up the win.
They went ahead just before the break when Taylor was penalised for handling Yaya Toure's shot and Mario Balotelli stepped up to convert from the spot.
The second arrived just moments later and it was another error from Taylor as he failed to deal with a Samir Nasri through ball and Micah Richards was there to dispossess him and fire home.
The third arrived midway through the second half and was another spot-kick as Richards was barged into by Hatem Ben Arfa and this time Sergio Aguero converted.
Newcastle pulled one back in injury-time through substitute Dan Gosling, but it was City who maintained their unbeaten start to the season and at least for now went eight points clear of Manchester United - who feature in the late Saturday kick-off against Swansea City.
Few thought Alan Pardew's men would still be awaiting their first loss in mid-November but they showed in the first half just why they have been riding high.
And, if Demba Ba had profited during the visitors' best spell of the opening period, they might well have headed back to the North East in even more buoyant mood.
Instead, his snap-shot after being set up by Ben Arfa was turned away by Joe Hart before he glanced a header wide from Yohan Cabaye's corner.
City were the team carrying most of the threat and before Newcastle's purple patch, Aguero fizzed a shot over the bar and Tim Krul produced an excellent one-handed save to deny Balotelli's close-range header.
The Blues were still searching for some kind of inspiration when Taylor made his intervention.
He would be correct in claiming he was within close proximity of Yaya Toure's shot five minutes before the break.
However, referee Chris Foy presumably took the view that with his arm outstretched, Taylor was asking for trouble, which duly came in the form of a penalty when the ball hit him inside the box.
Never one to avoid a bit of drama, Balotelli strode slowly to the spot-kick before side-footing neatly into the bottom corner.
Taylor's afternoon was soon to get worse as on City's next attack he tried to control Nasri's through ball and turn at the same time.
All the full-back succeeded in doing was allow Richards the chance to intervene. Mystifyingly overlooked by Fabio Capello, the full-back finished smartly and suddenly City were clear.
To their credit, Newcastle refused to let their heads drop.
But the second half just brought more anguish in their bid to drag themselves back into the game.
First Ben Arfa drove a low shot against a post after he had nipped in to rob Vincent Kompany.
Then Fabricio Coloccini belted a volley wide after being picked out completely unmarked from Cabaye's corner.
Finally, Hart denied Danny Guthrie, who had sped into the box and gone for the far corner from an acute angle.
Having come through those trials and tribulations unscathed, it seemed harsh that City should grab another themselves after Ben Arfa had sent Richards tumbling in the box after a sublime through ball from substitute David Silva.
With Balotelli replaced by Silva, Aguero took over spot-kick duties and promptly sent Krul the wrong way.
The sight of Aguero and Toure hobbling off before the end would be a worry for manager Roberto Mancini with Tuesday's must-not-lose Champions League trip to Napoli looming.And the City boss would not be too happy that Gosling's effort two minutes from time denied his side a clean sheet.
|Manchester City||Team Statistics||Newcastle United|
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|5||Shots on Target||4|
|2||Shots off Target||4|
Barclays Premier League
|15||West Bromwich Albion||15||15|
|17||West Ham United||15||13|