Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Football: City Show Toon How It's Done; Sven Wins His Battle with Big Sam as United Fall to a Classic Away Show from Eriksson's Side MATCH ANALYSIS

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Football: City Show Toon How It's Done; Sven Wins His Battle with Big Sam as United Fall to a Classic Away Show from Eriksson's Side MATCH ANALYSIS

Article excerpt

Byline: Alan Oliver

Newcastle United 0

Manchester City 2

NEWCASTLE United's loyal supporters must despair that things are going to get better in 2008 after Manchester City completed the double over their side for the first time in the Premier League.

But at least there was some excitement for them at St James's Park last night.

Especially when, with two players from either side lying injured in the centre circle, the United fans roared their physio to be first on the scene.

But United lost that little scenario as well.

And this just sums up another bad night for Newcastle United.

It wasn't about the two physios, of course, but the two managers - and four substitutes.

City and United started off the season in the same boat.

Both had a new owner, a new manager, and eight or nine new players.

Well United are sinking under Sam Allardyce, while with Sven-Goran Eriksson at the helm, are on the crest of a wave.

And what about four of the substitutes?

Big Sam sent on Michael Owen at the interval after Obafemi Martins continued where he had left off against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday by squandering chance after chance.

Amazingly, Owen should have scored with his first touch with the sort of chance he usually buries in his sleep.

But City keeper Joe Hart wasn't caught napping and instead of cancelling out Elano's 38th-minute opener - when they conceded the first goal at St James's Park for the sixth time on the bounce - United still had it all to do.

They weren't helped by Big Sam's second sub Jose Enrique.

I don't know which one of Allardyce's scouting team decided Enrique was worth pounds 6m, but it's a fair bet Villarreal are laughing all the way to the bank.

United fans weren't laughing when City substitute Etuhu shrugged off a weak challenge from Enrique and laid the ball into the path of Gelson Fernandes to wrap things up for Sven's side in the 76th minute.

And the last 14 minutes were embarrassing and humiliating for Allardyce and United. Chants of "You're getting sacked in the morning" were aimed at the Newcastle boss by the City fans, and chants of "Cheerio" and "Empty seats" were directed at the Newcastle supporters.

One seat that was empty before the start was the one usually occupied by United owner Mike Ashley, who missed last night's defeat because he is on holiday.

If Ashley had been there then he would have seen that United clearly need their squad strengthening in the January transfer window.

To be fair, they played better than in any of their games over the Christmas and New Year holidays.

But the fact that they only managed to pick up one point out of 12 - from a home draw with already-doomed Derby County - tells its own Christmas story.

Olly's verdict

UNITED played better than they have in recent matches. But they still lost. And that just about sums up the current mess at St James's Park.

KEY MOMENT

Michael Owen had a chance at the start of the second half to make it 1-1 - but he missed, and it proved so costly. …

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