The Newcastle United youngster in line for rare start v Liverpool after fresh injury concern

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Newcastle United were beaten 1-0 at Manchester City in the Premier League.

No one really expected Newcastle United to spoil Manchester City's treble-celebrating, UEFA Super Cup-winning party, did they?

Well, expectation was high heading to the east end of Manchester, after the barn-storming opening day Premier League win over Aston Villa. But the Magpies, unlike seven days previous, failed to deliver anywhere close to their best - and ultimately paid the price against arguably the best team on the planet.

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Eddie Howe cut a frustrated figure after the game, expressing his ‘disappointment’ in defeat. But what can he take from the game? Here’s five points of interest from the City loss.

The ‘right’ midfield three - but where was the balance?

City's midfield is full of guile, experience and quality. And Newcastle's United's is still a work in progress. However, it was a real tough day at the office for the Magpies in the middle.

While Bruno Guimaraes got to grips with things, Joelinton had a monumental struggle and the easy-going Villa days seemed like a lifetime ago for Sandro Tonali.

Joelinton, in particular, was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Not pushed on enough to impact, and nowhere near when it came to tracking any midfield runners.

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On paper, Tonali, Joelinton and Bruno looks to be the best fit, but in practice, it didn’t quite work for Howe, allowing Phil Foden and goalscorer Julian Alvarez far too much space to cause havoc.

Bruno Guimaraes of Newcastle reacts during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium on August 19, 2023 in Manchester, England. Bruno Guimaraes of Newcastle reacts during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium on August 19, 2023 in Manchester, England.
Bruno Guimaraes of Newcastle reacts during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium on August 19, 2023 in Manchester, England. | Getty Images

One-to-one, Kieran Trippier loves the battle

While he might have the odd off day - although rare - Kieran Trippier is more often than not Newcastle's Mr Consistent.

And again, you'd argue, he was United's man of the match on the night.

Fabian Schar and Sven Botman were again imperious in the middle dealing with the super human powers of Erling Haaland in exemplary fashion, but it was Trippier, in his personal dual with Jack Grealish, who really caught the eye.

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His forward link up with Bruno and Miguel Almiron is near telepathic, even if the other two players in this right-sided triumverate weren't always on Trippier's wavelength.

Fabian Schar of Newcastle United is comforted by teammate Kieran Trippier after going down with an injury during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium on August 19, 2023 in Manchester, England. Fabian Schar of Newcastle United is comforted by teammate Kieran Trippier after going down with an injury during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium on August 19, 2023 in Manchester, England.
Fabian Schar of Newcastle United is comforted by teammate Kieran Trippier after going down with an injury during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium on August 19, 2023 in Manchester, England. | Getty Images

Miguel Almiron = end of attack

And that brings me neatly on to the Paraguayan. Not for one second can you criticise Almiron for his effort and willingness to run when the tank is all but empty. But the end product, as can often be the case, was nowhere near good enough.

Even in a poor first period Almiron got the ball in some useful attacking areas but failed to deliver anything close to an opportunity for himself or those around him.

That continued well into the second period, especially when a tiring City allowed the game to stretch.

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Finding spaces at will, Almiron just couldn't produce anything telling in the attacking third - and sadly, that detracted away from what was a very industrious showing.

Elliot Anderson bright spark

Phil Foden, all day, broke the lines with his clever switches of balance in the middle to turn defensive actions into ones with attacking intent. United's midfield three, until it was changed up, lacked anything close to that. Being brutally honest, few can do close to what Foden can - but at least Elliot Anderson gave it a go.

He was clever on the half turn and proved a spark in a mini-United revival in the second half.

You'd have to think if Joelinton misses Liverpool next weekend, Anderson must be first in line to take up the mantle.

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Robert Jones shows a yellow card to Sandro Tonali of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium on August 19, 2023 in Manchester, England.Robert Jones shows a yellow card to Sandro Tonali of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium on August 19, 2023 in Manchester, England.
Robert Jones shows a yellow card to Sandro Tonali of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium on August 19, 2023 in Manchester, England. | Getty Images

Progress in defeat?

This wasn't one of Newcastle's stellar performances, far from it, in fact. But you might be able to make a case for progress.

Earlier this year, Newcastle walked away from the Etihad beaten 2-0. Numerically, at least, this was just a one-goal defeat.

It didn't feel like progress. Progress would have been going to City and giving them a right good game, Newcastle didn't really, despite the narrow margin.

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