AFTER two straight Premier League defeats, Manchester City got back to winning ways with a rousing 6-1 victory over Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium earlier today. Callum Matthews picks out three things we learnt from the Blues returning to the top of the league…

City have the ability to turn the game in a matter of minutes

During the first-half against Newcastle, Manuel Pellegrini’s side were average at best. They deservedly fell back and could and perhaps should have been further behind.

Sergio Aguero’s leveller just before the break changed the game. It is a well known fact that goals just before half-time can affect the balance of the game – as City found out at White Hart Lane last weekend – and it certainly did at the Etihad.

At the start of the second-half City were breathtaking. Newcastle simply could not handle the intricacy and pace that City demonstrated. Most sides would struggle in truth. Sergio Aguero, who Pellegrini revealed was not fully fit after the game, scored five goals either side of the break and was almost faultless alongside David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne.

Their explosive start to the second half saw five goals in 17 minutes and wrapped the three points up and a return to the top of the Premier League table.

It was a warning to the rest of the England’s top flight.

City must learn to defend better

After starting the season with five consecutive clean sheets, City have now conceded seven goals in their last three Premier League games.

They have been slightly unlucky with injuries to Vincent Kompany and Eliaquim Mangala but Pellegrini does also like to keep his back four fresh, resulting in changes more or less every week, and that certainly hinders the Blues defensively.

Newcastle’s goal today was incredibly sloppy. There was at least three mistakes during the passage of play. Pablo Zabaleta – making his first start of the season – did not need to dive in. Nicolas Otamendi’s positioning was atrocious and finally Mangala after initially defending well then let Aleksandar Mitrovic run off him far too easily.

The visitors had opportunities to extend their lead before City finally got some control and limited the Magpies chances.

It is something the Blues must iron out sooner rather than later because the attacking players will not always click like they did today and Pellegrini’s men may lose points otherwise.

Sterling looks short of confidence

After playing at Tottenham and against Borussia Monchengladbach in midweek I thought that Raheem Sterling may have found himself on the bench or in the padded seats of the Etihad Stadium for this one.

Instead he found himself hauled off at half-time and replaced by Jesus Navas – who impressed and provided a majestic pass for De Bruyne’s goal.

Whether the 20-year-old is tired or short of confidence only he will know but he certainly did not look like the player who started the season positively today. At the start of the season his link-up play with Aleksandar Kolarov was brilliant at times but that understanding was not evident between the Englishman and the Serbian.

There were numerous occasions when he could have ran forward and occupied space and got in behind the Newcastle defence but failed to. There were also too many short passes or poor touches during a frustrating first-half.

It was a disappointing afternoon for the England winger and he will be hoping a spell away with the national side will allow him to rediscover some form because with the quality of attacking talent at City his place is far from guaranteed.

By: Callum Matthews

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