Manchester City’s grip on the Capital One Cup has been released, as the holders suffered a shocking 2-0 home defeat to Newcastle United.
Both clubs fielded drastically different sides compared to their regular league XIs, but City looked to have more than enough on paper—with the likes of Edin Dzeko, Yaya Toure and David Silva in the team.
But City fell behind early on a goal from Rolando Aarons and they failed to respond. The expected City onslaught in the final 15 minutes never materialised, as a crucial second goal from Moussa Sissoko took the wind out of their sails.
The trip to the Etihad was Ryan Taylor’s first outing in over two years. His first contribution was to fell Silva on the edge of the box, but the free-kick from Yaya Toure was poor.
The free-kick was ineffective and within a couple of minutes Newcastle were in front. Fernandinho was robbed of possession deep in his own half and the pace of Aarons left Eliaquim Mangala standing.
The forward still had plenty to do from a tight angle, but he slid his shot through the legs of Willy Caballero and into the net.
Rolando Aarons' goal was Newcastle’s first against Man City in 585 minutes of football between the sides. pic.twitter.com/pQEIzM2xk1— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 29, 2014
Silva failed to shake off the injury he suffered under challenge from Taylor and was forced off with less than nine minutes on the clock.
Fernandinho attempted to atone for his error on 15 minutes by striding toward the Newcastle goal and letting fly, but his effort lacked both pace and power and was no threat to Rob Elliot.
City came close to leveling on 20 minutes, but Elliot was able to scramble across his line to keep out an instinctive shot from Stevan Jovetic. Shortly afterward, a sliced clearance from Newcastle skipper Fabricio Coloccini crashed against his own post, as Newcastle rode their luck.
Coloccini's centre-back partner, Paul Dummett, was a threat at corners for the visitors, and he forced a save from Caballero with a volley.
It was a rare chance for Newcastle, as City laid siege to the Magpies’ goal. But despite Elliot being made to work overtime, City went in at the interval one goal down.
Newcastle had the ball in the net at the start of the second half, but an offside flag cut short Gabriel Obertan’s celebrations.
That was a rare foray forward for Newcastle, with the pattern of play following the first half—the Magpies sitting deep and City dominating possession.
But Newcastle threatened on the break and should have had a penalty on 69 minutes. Obertan galloped on to a pass from Sammy Ameobi and got to the ball before Aleksandar Kolarov.
The City defender stuck out a leg in a desperate attempt to get the ball, but only succeeded in felling Obertan in the box. A penalty looked the only logical conclusion, but referee Stuart Attwell waved play on.
Magpies boss Alan Pardew was apoplectic on the touchline, and replays showed he was justified to be so upset.
Pardew's temperature cooled on 75 minutes as his side got themselves a crucial second. Sissoko produced a quite brilliant piece of skill to trick his way into the box and then executed a perfect finish, clipping the ball over the onrushing Caballero to seal the win.
Newcastle have bigger priorities this season, climbing away from the drop zone, but they are now just two opponents away from a trip to Wembley.
With the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United out of the picture, Newcastle will fancy their chances of going all the way—and that brings a trophy, irrespective of its perceived value.
For City, it is an extension of a bad week. The loss was hot on the heels of the defeat to West Ham United, and manager Manuel Pellegrini will demand a response in this weekend's Manchester derby.
Yaya Toure: D
Another disappointing night from the midfielder. Toure looked laboured for much of the match and was substituted on the hour.
Eliaquim Mangala: C-
Another tough game for the big-money summer signing. He was beaten for pace by Aarons for the opening goal and found life tough all match.
Rob Elliot: A
The keeper is the understudy to Tim Krul, but he proved his worth with a series of saves and excellent handling.
Fabricio Coloccini: A
Newcastle’s leader produced another captain’s performance by marshaling his defence and standing tall in the face of City’s star-studded attack.
Speaking on the club's official website, Pellegrini has admitted his side are struggling at present.
"We didn't play well enough, we conceded two easy goals and didn't take our chances to score,” said Pellegrini. "The team ran a lot, tried to do things better but we couldn't because we're not in a good moment. I think Newcastle deserved to win, although we had four or five chances to score."
Pellegrini also spoke about Silva: "David has a problem with his knee but I don’t know how serious it is.
“There was no reason why David cannot play. We played on Saturday and had four days to recover so I don’t think that was a reason. He was prepared to play but maybe not the whole game."