Pep Guardiola’s side were forced to play without a recognised striker for the second game in a row, but the Spanish manager was able to call upon impressive performances from individuals in his team to pick up an important three points on a wet and windy December night.
So, who were the best and worst performers from both sides?
✔️ GOOD PERFORMANCE
Raheem Sterling: 8.3
Without an obvious striker in his team, Guardiola was undoubtedly relying on Raheem Sterling to lead the line and drive City towards goal at every opportunity. And that’s exactly what he did.
Sterling broke through a stubborn Newcastle defence just 14 minutes into the game when he darted into the box and twirled on the spot to square the ball to an on-running Ilkay Gundgoan, to tap home the opening goal.
Although Sterling didn’t get on the scoresheet himself, the England forward hit more shots than any other City player and had, by far, the most amount of touches in the opposing box.
City fans would have welcomed the late introduction of Sergio Aguero to the game but until that point they would have surely appreciated Sterling’s efforts up front.
❌ BAD PERFORMANCE
DeAndre Yedlin: 5.4
Against a spirited Man City side, Newcastle needed composure and assurances from their defenders and unfortunately they got nothing of the sort from DeAndre Yedlin on Saturday evening.
The right wing-back offered very little in attack, with just five passes into the final third and a rather abysmal pass completion rate of just 47 percent.
Defensively he wasn’t very good either. Over the course of the game Yedlin attempted four defensive duels and won just one. Or, in other words, he didn’t win a single tackle or header.
⭐ STAR MAN
Nathan Ake: 8.4
It’s at this point in the season that a number of the biggest teams in the Premier League start to experience a number of injuries and as a result where a team finds itself in the league table come the turn of the year can often come down to squad depth more than anything else.
As such, Guardiola will be fortunate to have a player like Nathan Ake, who can seemingly fill in at centre back and left back with relative ease. And against Newcastle the Dutch defender showed exactly what he was capable of.
In a team tasked with scoring without an obvious striker, Ake was often seen bombing down the left wing to provide vital width. Over the course of the game he made 19 passes into the final third with an impressive accuracy of 94 percent.
No player offered the perfect balance in attack and defence quite like Ake and as such he was the best player on the pitch on Saturday.