The Manuel Pellegrini era got off to the perfect start at the Etihad Stadium, where goals from David Silva, Sergio Agüero, Yaya Touré and Samir Nasri capped the perfect opening fixture for the Sky Blues.
Alan Pardew’s Magpies side looked woefully disjointed from the first whistle and conceded as early as the sixth minute. Newcastle were reduced to 10 men before the break when Steven Taylor was adjudged to have lashed out at Agüero.
The result leaves the Geordies with a mountain to climb even at this early stage of the campaign, and after their nightmare in the North-West, we look at five things that became apparent over the course of the game.
If it wasn’t for their goalkeeper Tim Krul, Newcastle’s defeat at Manchester City could have been far heavier, and they had the Dutch international to thank for keeping the score down.
Outstanding saves to deny the likes of Edin Džeko and Sergio Agüero caught the eye throughout the game, and his athleticism and agility rescued United on numerous occasions.
The Magpies’ defensive deficiencies left the 25-year-old dangerously exposed, but the stopper kept his concentration in what was his first competitive appearance since April.
City threatened to run riot on more than one occasion, and without Krul, who was easily the visitors’ best player, the scoreline could have been far more embarrassing.
One tiny glimmer of light on an otherwise dim evening for Newcastle was the early form of French playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa.
His skill and trickery down the right flank and eagerness to run at Manchester City’s defenders gave United hope in the first half despite their early setback.
If the Geordies are to improve offensively over the coming weeks and months, his positive approach needs to be endorsed and supported properly by the Magpies.
A solid base in midfield would be a start, and though Ben Arfa has often been touted as a potential No. 10, his positioning out wide allows him time and space to drift infield and create chances for himself and his teammates.
He may be France’s first choice right-back at international level, but in England’s top flight, Mathieu Debuchy looks woefully out of sorts at the back for Newcastle.
His positioning at the Etihad Stadium left his team unprotected time and time again down the right, and his performance was summed up by his startling inability to deal with Samir Nasri for Manchester City’s fourth goal.
Not for the first time, the 28-year-old, who signed for the Magpies from Lille in January, failed to get to grips with the pace of the game and looked increasingly vulnerable as the evening wore on.
Debuchy remains highly rated in his home country, but if his performances in a black and white shirt don’t improve dramatically, he could well find himself back there sooner rather than later.
It was hoped by the club’s loyal fans that Newcastle’s brush with relegation at the wrong end of the Premier League table last season would spark a reaction from Alan Pardew’s players.
But after Monday night’s performance at Manchester City, it seems the bad habits that saw United finish just five points clear of the drop zone have not been addressed over the summer.
Defensively, there was an air of chaos to the Magpies’ play, and City repeatedly cut through their back four with ease, leaving Tim Krul’s goal in jeopardy time and again.
A lack of discipline saw Steven Taylor receive a straight red card, while striker Papiss Cissé cut a lonely figure on his own up front, with his side registering just one shot on target all night.
When Newcastle’s Steven Taylor left the field after receiving a straight red card in the first half, his replacement at the back was a 21-year-old who had never played in the Premier League.
And though full-back Paul Dummett made a good account of himself in what were extremely difficult conditions, his introduction exposed the squad’s obvious lack of depth after a period of inactivity in the transfer market.
Failure to strengthen in key areas came back to bite the Magpies, even at this early stage. With just two weeks remaining before the window slams shut, the prospect of new faces arriving appears slim.
A couple of new signings would give the club’s followers a welcome boost after such a disastrous start, but United’s lack of ambition in that department so far this summer suggests their wishes will continue to be ignored.