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West Ham United
6 May 2012
• St. James' Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 52389
Y. Touré 70', 89'
FULL-TIME!! It's ended Newcastle United 0-2 Manchester City, and is that the title race almost decided? Yaya Toure scored twice in the second half to send the Blues three points clear at the top of the Premier League. The Magpies, who had hoped to leapfrog Arsenal to go third with a home win this afternoon, leave the Sports Direct Arena empty handed and rooted fifth.
Right, that's it from me, Miles Chambers, thanks for keeping me company this chilly Sunday afternoon! Stick around for plenty more coverage on all the Premier League action!
Alan Pardew's men look like they won't have Champions League football at this rate, while Roberto Mancini is just one win away from winning the title.
90' + 2'
Rob Stewart reports from the Sports Direct Arena: "City fans are singing 'We're Going To Win the League' and on this evidence I don't think you will find anyone prepared to disagree with them."
90' + 1'
Two superb saves from Joe Hart deny Newcastle of grabbing a goal back against the Blues. I heard someone describe him as the best goalkeeper in the world at the moment - I don't know about that but he's definitely in the upper echelons!
GOAL!! Is that the title in the bag? Yaya Toure grabs a second with just a minute remaining on the clock, and it's a fantastic culmination in a fantastic counter attack. He takes a touch, mere yards away from goal, then bangs the ball past Krul from eight or nine yards out. Newcastle United 0-2 Manchester City!
Aguero's first-time cross from the left is blocked by Ameobi of all people before it can reach Dzeko, who was unmarked 10 yards from goal.
I say that, and then Newcastle decide to pin the visitors in their own box! Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba combine inside City's 18-yard box but to no avail.
This is looking more and more like a Man City win at the Sports Direct Arena. Newcastle haven't had a foray forward in a fair few minutes now.
Another HOW DID HE MISS THAT moment! Yay Toure falls over when one-on-one with Tim Krul and it remains 1-0 to the hosts.
Elsewhere in England, Tottenham have been reduced to 10 men against Aston Villa in their bid to overturn the 1-0 lead to Alex McLeish's men - Danny Rose is the guilty party.
Yaya Toure almost gets a second, his glancing header falling agonisingly wide of the left post.
Arsenal fans must be delighted with this scoreline, Manchester United supporters on the other hand must be on the verge of tears.
Yellow CardShane Ferguson
A cynical challenge by Zabaleta on the Newcastle left flank earns Ferguson a free-kick 35 yards from goal. Nothing comes of the free-kick however.
Yellow CardPablo Zabaleta
Shola Ameobi chips the ball in from the right half of the box and Cisse nods the ball just wide of Hart's left post. Man City are certainly on the back foot heading into the last 10 minutes.
Superb defending by Santon against Aguero, then top quality stuff from Vincent Kompany to deny Papiss Cisse wriggling into the City box.
Newcastle need to kick into gear if they want anything from this game. They're attacking at the moment, and substitute Shane Ferguson wins a corner on the left for the hosts.
HOW DID HE MISS??? Sergio Aguero, through on goal, misses from 10 yards out, slotting centimetres wide to the right of Krul's goal. Shocking stuff and a wasted opportunity to double City's lead.
Hatem Ben Arfa
Dzeko gets through on the left but fires woefully wide to the left of the Newcastle goal.
Rob Stewart reports from the Sports Direct Arena: "Roberto Mancini clearly has the Midas touch because no sooner does he take off Carlos Tevez than City take the lead with a moment of class from Yaya Toure."
City supporters are jumping for joy in the upper stands. Hands are covering eyes as they prepare to witness the final moments of this key match in the title race.
GOAL!! Manchester City take the lead, and it's Yaya Toure who gets the vital goal! The Ivorian curls a beautiful strike into the bottom right corner of the net, and my my my, what a tense 20 minutes we have left now! Newcastle United 0-0 Manchester City.
Carlos Tevez is the man sacrificed at Dzeko's expense. "Carlos Tevez, he gets what he wants" echoes around the Tyneside stadium.
The tension is palpable on the pitch - both sets of players are desperate to win but unable to find that final spark in front of goal.
Edin Dzeko is being given some last-minute advice on the sidelines by City manager Roberto Mancini, as he prepares to make his second change of the match.
Time is ticking away for both these teams. Ba tries to place a shot on the left corner of the City box, but his shot is blocked. The visitors' defence has been an absolute wall this afternoon, there's been so many attempts on goal blocked.
At the other end, Ben Arfa receives the ball from Ba, dribbles into the box and fires a shot wide of the right post. The France international is unhappy with his end product and he probably ought to be.
A scrappy period of play in and around the Newcastle box ends with Coloccini running the ball clear, much to the relief of the 50,000-odd home support inside the stadium.
So, less than half an hour left in this currently-subdued affair on Tyneside and the score remains a stalemate at 0-0. Can either side nick a goal or two that will have a huge say on the title race and the battle for supremacy in the top four.
Nigel De Jong
Nigel de Jong comes on for Samir Nasri. The Dutch midfielder broke Ben Arfa's leg in this fixture last season. Let's hope nothing like that tackle happens at the Sports Direct Arena this afternoon.
City's attackers look frustrated with their lack of chances, Tevez and Aguero especially.
Ben Arfa fools the Manchester City defenders...but then fools himself. He stumbles on the ball on the right flank and the ball dribbles out for a goal-kick to the hosts.
Coloccini thumps it clear, and Demba Ba does a bit of trickery 60 yards from goal, but his pass to Papiss Cisse is inaccurate and ruins what could have been a good Newcastle move.
Gutierrez fouls Tevez on the halfway line as City threaten to counter attack. He's lucky Howard Webb has calmed down with his card-giving.
Although the visitors are the team looking more likely to score, the hosts are still venturing forward now and then. Davide Santon almost wins a corner with his winding run down the left wing, but Zabaleta recovers the loose ball.
Tevez's Argentinian team-mate but opponent this afternoon, Fabricio Coloccini is deservedly applauded for intercepting a lofted pass to Tevez with his head. The City attacker finds the ball a few seconds later and forces a save from Tim Krul inside his left upright.
Newcastle fumble clearing the ball after a short City corner, and Tevez gets to have shot which he loops wide to the right of goal.
David Silva nutmegs Cheick Tiote on City's left flank. The Newcastle man will not be a happy bunny after that!
Yaya Toure fires the free-kick over the bar, a poor effort from the former Barcelona man.
James Perch fouls Carlos Tevez just off the left edge of the Newcastle box. Clever play to draw the foul by the City striker.
Jonas Gutierrez is judged to have fouled Pablo Zabaleta for a foul on the United left. The home fans vent their fury at Howard Webb - they believe it was a fair challenge.
HUGE news from Villa Park: Tottenham have gone one goal behind against Aston Villa thanks to a deflected shot from Ciaran Clark. If the game finishes 1-0 to the Birmingham-based club then Newcastle will pop up a position into fourth should it remain 0-0 at the Sports Direct Arena.
Elsewhere, Phil Bardsley levels for Sunderland at Craven Cottage, but Moussa Dembele puts Fulham 2-1 ahead immediately after.
Manchester City end the break by kicking off for the second half. No changes at the break from either manager.
The players are back out on the pitch and the latter 45 minutes are imminent.
I have a funny feeling this tie will not finish 0-0. Saying that, it probably will do now! But both sides are taking the game to one another and something has got to give. Cisse has yet to spark into life but we all know he only needs the one chances to be a danger. Aguero has been lively but he has the capacity to take his game up a notch too.
If the score on Tyneside stays this way Manchester City will stay top of the league but a win for Manchester United later today would allow them to leapfrog their 'noisy neighbours' and go two points clear with one game remaining. Newcastle United would stay in fifth unless Tottenham lose at Aston Villa today, in which case they will go into fourth.
Martin Petrov has fired Bolton Wanderers into the lead from the penalty spot at the Reebok Stadium against West Bromwich Albion. What a crucial goal that is in the relegation battle.
It's been an enticing encounter despite the lack of goals, but hopefully it'll shift up another gear in the second half. It certainly has the potential to as both sets of players are keen on attacking.
Rob Stewart gives his half-time analysis from the Sports Direct Arena: "With the deadlock still to be broken, it will be squeaky-bum time in the Manchester City dressing room because the Premier League pacesetters will know that they should have gone into the interval with the lead but their failure to make the most of their chances is bound to be on their minds against a Newcastle side who might have been living dangerously but also look threatening themselves."
45' + 2'
And there's the half-time whistle! It's Newcastle United 0-0 Manchester City heading into the break. Gareth Barry had the best chance of the match, denied on the line by Davide Santon. At the other end, Joe Hart saved excellently to prevent Hatem Ben Arfa giving the Magpies the lead. Demba Ba has been a hassle for the Blues, while David Silva has been the key playmaker for the visitors.
45' + 1'
Barry is called offside and it's a Newcastle free-kick in their own box in the first and only minute of added time.
Cisse is tackled twice by Kompany in fine fashion 25 yards from goal. The striker should have done better there in my opinion.
Kompany is caught by Ba in an aerial challenge - no booking (!!!) from Webb for once.
Fulham have gone 1-0 up at home to Sunderland by the way thanks to Clint Dempsey. Music to the ears of Newcastle fans I suspect!
How has Barry not scored there?! The Man City man fires in an effort after Krul saves his initial effort and Davide Santon is the saviour on the line for the hosts. Super defending from the Italian left-back denies the visitors a lead just before half-time. A melee inside the box eventually ends up with Newcastle as the victors, and they clear quickly.
Ben Arfa - who has been mercurial this afternoon so far - whips in a cross from the left and Ba heads just over the crossbar.
Nasri clears the threat inside the City 18-yard box in his defensive duties. At the other end, Cabaye intercepts Aguero to end any threat from the Blues.
Yellow CardYaya Touré
Davide Santon is caught just past the halfway line and Yaya Toure is booked for the tackle. Howard Webb is getting a bit carried away with all these cards - everyone on the pitch is going to be in his book soon!
Boos echo around the ground as Man City sit patiently with possession for a good minute or two without fashioning any actual chance.
Yellow CardJames Perch
This game has sparked into life at the Sports Direct Arena as United have finally found some attacking spirit. James Perch is the latest player to see yellow for a tackle on Tevez.
Demba Ba has a strike inside the box but his shot is blocked by Clichy. Ben Arfa's effort from the right inside the box is then saved magnificently by Hart at his near post.
Silva tries to loft in the free-kick but nobody's there to nod the ball in for the visiting team. Newcastle goal-kick.
Yellow CardCheikh Tiote
Tiote is booked for a challenge on Silva 30 yards from goal now, his ninth of the season. The midfielder may as well be given a yellow ahead of the game, such is his propensity for getting them. The home fans are fuming as they don't believe it was a foul. Replays are inconclusive.
Cabaye hammers the free-kick against the City wall, and Tiote pounces on the rebound before seeing his shot similarly blocked.
Yellow CardGareth Barry
Gareth Barry gets yellow carded for bringing down Ba on a dangerous-looking counter attack from the home team. He's a lucky boy - that was a clear goalscoring opportunity for United.
Ben Arfa beats Joleon Lescott on the right and passes inside for Demba Ba. The Magpies striker, with his back to goal, loops the ball just over Joe Hart's head.
Rob Stewart reports from the Sports Direct Arena: "Manchester City have dominated the early exchanges of this contest but ominously for the league leaders they have failed to take two decent early chances that have been squandered by David Silva and Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri failed to make the most of a promising situation and that lack of a killer touch could prove costly against a side who look dangerous on the counter-attack."
Ooo, close! Tevez tests Krul with a dipping little effort aimed towards the inside of the Dutch goalkeeper's right upright.
Yellow CardHatem Ben Arfa
Ben Arfa is yellow carded for a 'professional foul' 30 yards out on the left. Free-kick to the away team, quite the chance for Tevez.
Vincent Kompany has a journey up the pitch and shows off some cheeky skill, but the centre-back slips near the by-line on the right flank to stop anyone believing he is secretly a striker.
It's hoofed up the pitch by Newcastle but the free-kick is poor and City counter - the attack ends with Krul rushing out and denying David Silva a shot.
Aguero scuffs an opportunity in the left half of the Newcastle box after some tidy attacking play from Clichy on the wing.
At the other end, Cisse opts to pass 25 yards out from goal which is too heavy for Cabaye. Considering his current form he might have been better off having a pop!
Gael Clichy fires a shot high over the Magpies' crossbar. The home fans cheer with irony at the City left-back's poor attempt.
Krul ventures way out of his goal and it almost backfires, as he presses Aguero on the right flank. The Argentine striker crosses but a Newcastle defender is in the way and puts it out for a corner. The United shot-stopper is lucky to get away with that one.
Mike Williamson clears excellently in the centre of defence for United. I get the feeling the 28-year-old is going to be a busy boy this afternoon.
City have had 77% possesion in the last 10 minutes. But there are still many, many minutes remaining, so fear not Newcastle/Manchester United fans.
Sergio Aguero dummies on his left foot 15 yards from goal then fires a shot away on his right, and Krul does well to get down to his left and pounce on the deflected effort.
Newcastle need to turn on the gas if they are to take three points from this game - their periods of possession are yet to culminate in a chance on goal.
Tiote is down with a bit of cramp, which does not bode well for the home team considering how early in the match it is.
Ben Arfa and then Gutierrez take it in turns to tackle Man City attackers and quell the immediate danger. Neat defending from the attackers.
Tevez crosses from the right after Jonas Gutierrez failed to control a pass, but Nasri's first touch inside the area is poor and the chance evaporates.
Rob Stewart reports from the Sports Direct Arena: "It's almost summer and yet City manager Roberto Mancini is sporting his blue and white scarf which might well be to do with his superstition but is more likely to be do with with the fact that it's freezing thaks to a biting wind coming off the North Sea."
Papiss Cisse counter attacks and loops a ball over to Senegal team-mate Demba Ba, but he's outnumbered and swiftly tackled by the Blues defence.
The hosts' box is cleared but it only takes a few seconds before Silva has the ball 10 yards from goal and forces a fine save from Tim Krul, who palms the ball away to the Man City right where no blue-shirted opponents loom.
Samir Nasri gives a short corner to David Silva, who evaded his marker and fired an angled shot on goal from the left, but it's blocked for another City corner.
Carlos Tevez tries to play in Pablo Zabaleta down the right but the ball bobbles out for a Magpies goal-kick before the right-back can reach it.
The first interesting moment of the match comes from Yohan Cabaye accidentally kicking Gareth Barry in the face. The Manchester City midfielder rolls around for a little bit but gets up after a minute or so and is good to continue. No card as it was clearly an accident.
Hatem Ben Arfa looks like his feet are covered in glue whenever he gets the ball. The French winger could cause trouble for the visitors this afternoon.
Roberto Mancini is watching with a pained expression on the sidelines ass his teams struggle to get control of the ball. Alan Pardew is yelling instructions at his men, who have had most of the possession but are yet to get beyond the City back-four.
Plenty of wayward passes from both sets of players - big pressure on both teams I suppose. No shots to speak of yet and no forays into the Newcastle half from the visitors whatsoever.
This game is personified by niggling fouls in the opening salvos. The hosts are winning the majority of them courtesy of referee Howard Webb.
Cheick Tiote took an elbow to the head in the Chelsea game and his head looks battle-worn with a big white plaster-of-sorts over his stitches.
The Sports Direct Arena roars into life as Newcastle United get this fixture underway.
The players are out, handshakes are complete and the formalities are done. We're seconds away from kick-off on Tyneside. My fingers are tingling with anticipation!
"One small step for Mancini, one giant leap for Manchester City." Haha, I'd like to personally congratulate whoever wrote that genius line for the Sky Sports' commentators!
Tim Krul, Newcastle's brilliant shot-stopper, looked like he injured his hand in warming up but he's injury-free enough to play. City's goalkeeper Joe Hart shook off a foot injury to feature this afternoon, much to the misery of Geordies I imagine as he is another fantastic player.
Rob Stewart has this to add from the Tyneside ground: "You can always bank on the Newcastle hierarchy to upset the locals when things are going along nicely and Toon managing director Derek Llambias has done that by re-affirming the club's intention to sell the naming rights for St James' Park: "It is crucial that we make the most of this commercial opportunity because while we have matched the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea on the pitch this season, they are in a different league when it comes to their sponsorship deals,” Llambias said in his programme notes. “Last season, we brought in £15.7million in commercial revenue. This sounds like a lot of money, but when you compare it to the £50million that Tottenham Hotspur generated, you can begin to see where I am coming from. This is not about trampling on people's feelings for the club. It's about generating the kind of money that could bring in another Papiss Cisse, another Yohan Cabaye or another Cheick Tiote.""
A win for the Magpies would give them a genuine hope of returning - after a nine-year absence - to the Champions League. Manchester United fans across the world have adopted the Geordie team as their second club ahead of this game, but I expect a win for Mancini’s men would end any affection towards Pardew’s side. I like to think that Sir Alex Ferguson and co are huddled around a little television with their fingers crossed and praying to their religion of choice!
Rob Stewart reports from the Sports Direct Arena: "They like a good singsong in this part of the world and that probably explains why the club have employed renowned opera singer Graeme Danby to get the crowd going with a rendition of The Blaydon Races before kick-off. It's just to be hoped, though, that he doesn't turn the airt blue like he did when he performed similar duties before derbies against Sunderland and Middlesbrough."
The players are out on the pitch at the Sports Direct Arena and warming up in the chilly north east. I just caught a glimpse of Cisse - will we see any more outrageous goals from the former Freiburg striker? My reaction to his second goal at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday was one of pure disbelief. I nearly gave someone the other side of the room a heart attack with my shriek of “HOW HAS HE DONE THAT?!” haha. Who thinks he could have a huge say on the title race on Tyneside? Or will it be a City striker who steals the headlines? Let me know in the comments section below you lovely lot.
Because I’m such a gentleman (disclaimer: I’m not), I will be keeping you up to date with events elsewhere in the English top division. But you know this game is the place to be, don’t you? Either that or you accidentally stumbled across this play-by-play and your mouse has broken so you’re stuck with me. My condolences - I promise to make you stay with me an entertaining one nonetheless!
Rob Stewart has this to add on the newest statue in the north east: "Manchester City fans and their Newcastle United counterparts have been uniting today ahead of kick-off thanks to the late Sir Bobby Robson. A splendid statue of the former Newcastle and England manager has been unveiled near the man entrance of the ground the boyhood Toon fan used to adore It’s just a shame that he is not here to enjoy what should be a humdinger of a game."
Four straight wins have made the title race insanely exciting, but Manchester United could not have hand-picked a trickier fixture than Newcastle United. The Red Devils lost 3-0 at the stadium earlier this year and 50,000 screaming Geordies could test the mettle of Man City, who almost threw away the title race before their hot streak which losses against Arsenal and Swansea City and dropped points against Stoke City and Sunderland.
Rob Stewart is Goal.com’s man at the Sports Direct Arena this afternoon: "Greetings from the Sports Direct Arena where the weather looks ominous for Manchester City fans as the Premier League leaders prepare to face in-form Newcastle United. That’s because the blue sky that has provided the backdrop to the famous old stadium has suddenly started to disappear and now things are starting to look decidedly cloudy. If that doesn’t give City fans the creeps against 13-goals-in-his-last-12 games Papiss Cisse then I don’t know what will because they know that their team will face a major fight on their hands today. For the first time since England were up in this neck of the woods the press box will be full to the brim which just shows what a significant contest this is. Win and City will be almost home and dry in their pursuit of their first Premier League title but slip up in any shape of form and that will let Manchester United in. The incentive for Newcastle could not be greater because victory would keep them on track for Champions League football. It’s no wonder that this feel as if it is the second Cup final of the weekend because there is so much at stake."
Wouldn’t it be mind-blowing if the Tyneside club finished in the top four? Would the media’s beloved ‘Top Six’ have to be extended to Top Seven, as they shed the ‘Top Four’ a few years back? Mancini’s men could scupper hopes of a third-placed finish by winning but the club are unlikely to sink back into mid-table mediocrity next season, unless their side is decimated by injury or transfer sagas. Papiss Cisse, Haten Ben Arfa, Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote have been inspired budget signings over the last two years and are good enough to slot into almost any top European side.
Yes, Newcastle United can go third in the Premier League if they collect three points against table-topping Manchester City. Before some of you sneer at the suggestion allow me to point at the form table, where the Toon Army sit above the other 19 teams in the last eight games. Tottenham would swipe third away from them, however, with a win at Aston Villa today. Arsenal really have thrown the towel in over their last four games to open the door for an incredibly tight top four tussle between the Magpies, Spurs and the Gunners. It’s going down to the wire and it’s making me giddy with excitement.
A statue of former manager Bobby Robson was unveiled at St James’ Park (or the Sports Direct Arena, for all you budding Sunderland fans who revel at the ridiculous new name) today. The man was the last coach to guide the north east club to Champions League football, but a win this afternoon would give Alan Pardew an excellent chance at updating that little statistic.
Roberto Mancini also keeps things simple for me by making no changes to the team which conquered Manchester United 1-0. Their attacking options really are ridiculously good, aren’t they? Samir Nasri, David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, even Yaya Toure - I bet Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson have been having sleepless nights all week. Newcastle have kept 15 clean sheets in the league this season, but the visitors have scored at least twice in their last seven meetings with United. Goals galore, perhaps?
Alan Pardew makes zero changes from the team that beat Chelsea 2-0 on Wednesday - hardly surprising considering the perfect little performance they put in. The home side are hoping for their first win over the Blues since September 2005. With United-Swansea City getting underway after this match, I imagine the Red Devils’ most affable bench-warmer will be hoping his former side do his current employers a world of good by knocking back the Blues with a draw or even a victory.
Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy; Barry, Yaya Toure; Nasri, Silva, Aguero; Tevez. Subs: Pantilimon, Johnson, Kolarov, Dzeko, Milner, Richards, De Jong.
Newcastle United: Krul; Perch, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon; Tiote, Gutierrez; Ben Arfa, Cabaye, Ba; Cisse. Subs: Elliot, Ferguson, R Taylor, Gosling, Marveaux, Obertan, Sh Ameobi.
Line-ups coming right up lads and lasses...
I’m Miles Chambers by the way, it’s lovely to meet you (or again, for you legendary regulars). Let me know in the comments below what score you see this game finishing as, I’m curious to see what the prevailing opinion is.
Manchester United v Manchester City the biggest match of the season? Pah, that was a mere warm-up for this encounter. Newcastle United v Manchester City will hopefully be what Monday’s Manchester derby failed to be: simultaneously a title decider and a damn good game of football. Coming up in this LIVE commentary are the line-ups, analysis of both teams ahead the game and - of course - every detail on the action from Tyneside when it kicks off at 13:30.
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