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Newcastle 1-0 Manchester City: Alexander Isak Crushes City’s Quadruple Aspirations in League Cup, Eddie Howe’s Side Advances

Newcastle has shattered Manchester City’s hopes of achieving a quadruple, as Eddie Howe’s team ousted City from the League Cup during the third round on Wednesday, courtesy of Alexander Isak’s second-half goal at St. James’ Park. While City might have harbored ambitions of a season-long clean sweep following their memorable treble last year, Newcastle is determined to make up for their loss in last season’s EFL Cup final.

When the half-time whistle blew at St James’ Park, its deafening atmosphere that is so often eulogised about, was silent. Manchester City – even their supposed ‘second string’ – were dominant; Newcastle United’s reserve players were chasing shadows.
But whatever oranges were served at half-time had been injected with the most infectious of adrenaline. That injection? Brazilian midfield magnifico Bruno Guimaraes. With his introduction, the Magpies were back on song. The Lewis experiment – Messrs Hall and Miley – was binned.
Guimaraes’ arrival was the igniting spark that the hosts needed, having been outpassed, out-thought, outclassed in the opening 45 minutes.

City, who had rung the changes after Pep Guardiola had bemoaned their four away trips in 11 days, characteristically and expectedly took charge of proceedings after a frantic and high-octane first 10 minutes, with their slick pass-and-move hammering their tent pegs into the edge of the Newcastle penalty box.
Despite their dominance, clear-cut chances were few and far between. Julian Alvarez, the focal point up front, drew the game’s first save from a tight angle on 18 minutes, with his right-footed drive saved by the foot of the still-standing Nick Pope, and another flashing shot, this time from the left peg of the Argentine, whizzed past the opposite post on the half-hour.
When finally Newcastle were able to prise their backs from the wall, they burst forward at pace. Joelinton picked the pocket of Kalvin Phillips in midfield, before feeding Alexander Isak ahead of him. The Swede opened his body up, sliding in the onrushing Jacob Murphy down the right, but the winger, could not conjure the necessary composure not accuracy with his strike, which was repelled by the deputy goalkeeper Stefan Ortega.
But with the restart came a different Newcastle. Their press was ferocious; their mentality on the offensive.
They were duly rewarded on 53 minutes, when Guimaraes, so often the orchestrator, started the move, finding his compatriot Joelinton in a pocket of space, before driving into the box with menace and power. To the byline he went, and finally, he released a cross-shot that caught Rico Lewis asleep at the far post. Isak was alive, and his tap-in sent the Gallowgate End into a sea of ecstasy.

Newcastle 1-0 Manchester City: Alexander Isak Crushes City’s Quadruple Aspirations in League Cup, Eddie Howe’s Side Advances

The aggression, the intensity, the work-rate of the Toon had gone up tenfold. And that is how you beat the treble winners.
With Newcastle’s newfound desire and fight, City were pinned back – rattled – with Guardiola having to turn to some of his star names on his substitutes bench to try and dig them out. Phil Foden, Matheus Nunes, Jeremy Doku… none of them could find that elusive equaliser as the Toon Army roared their heroes into the next round of the Carabao Cup.

Whatever Eddie Howe said to his players in the dressing room at half-time, he’ll be scrambling to remember and write down.
Newcastle’s first and second-half performances were night and day, but they display two important things.
The first, is how pivotal Guimaraes is to their system. He is the one to receive the ball on the half-turn when the pressure is on. He is the one to start attacking moves. He is the one to initiate the give-and-goes that set up Isak and the frontline for their easy finishes.
The second is the squad depth issue, which is particularly highlighted here against City, a side with similar riches to Newcastle, and a blueprint that the Magpies will be keen to copy in the coming seasons. Newcastle have had to contend with a drop-off in quality when it comes to resting their big names, and with a huge Champions League clash against Paris Saint-Germain next week, the fact that Isak came off injured, and Guimaraes had to come on, will not have done their fitness levels any favours.
The positive? The emergence of Tino Livramento, who marshalled Jack Grealish expertly down the Newcastle right, as a very able stand-in for captain Kieran Trippier at right-back.

What an impact.
The Magpies were being overrun in centre-field – not something that we can all too often – with the two youngsters, Lewis Hall and Lewis Miley, flanking Sandro Tonali, as City’s quality on the ball proved too much for the inexperienced trio, but with the introduction of the Brazilian Guimaraes, the balance changed quickly.

The former Lyon player brought a sense of composure, leadership, and high-quality performance to the midfield, with strong support from his hardworking teammates Joelinton and Tonali on either side.


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