Chelsea: Jose Mourinho thanks fans for welcome and vows striker search will continue

PA

Jose Mourinho thanked Stamford Bridge for the “fantastic” homecoming at their – and then promised Chelsea can be even better than during his first spell.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich held a morale-boosting pre-match meeting in the dressing room and the feel-good factor carried on as the fans cheered, held banners and gave Mourinho an inspirational reception.

Mourinho, who won back-to-back Premier League titles in his first reign at , claimed their devastating destruction of the Premier League newcomers in the opening 25 minutes was better than anything he has EVER seen.

“I’ve played so many times here and won so many matches here, but we’ve not had so many periods here like that quality,” said Mourinho.

“I’m very happy. We can’t play that way for 90 minutes – we had no energy, no physical energy and no mental availability to play that way.

“The three boys behind Fernando Torres were fantastic. In the second half they disappeared.

“All of them played national team matches: Kevin (De Bruyne), 85 minutes v France, Oscar, 80 minutes v Switzerland, Eden (Hazard), 80 minutes against France.

“When the creativity disappeared, we lost the danger in our game. But the game was already dead when I made the changes.

“The reception was fantastic.

PA 

“It gives me more responsibility, I guess. But at the same time they know I give everything for this club, but the reception was amazing.

“I was expecting that, to be fair, because I played here with Inter as an opponent and it was fantastic.

“I could imagine coming to Chelsea would be like that. But when the game started I focused on the game.

“They gave me more than I deserve, they gave me a lot, and they have to support the players from now on.”

Mourinho claimed his young squad is bursting with potential and also said Abramovich’s rallying cry shows the club is unified and together:

“We had Mr Abramovich in the dressing room with us for the first time in those years before the match, which means a lot to every group: a moment wishing everyone the best, the medical department, the players not selected, so to have Mr Abramovich coming from his holiday to be with the team meant a lot to all of us.

“We are together and know where we want to go. We know the profile of the squad we have. When you see De Bruyne, Oscar and Hazard as kids, Schurrle another one, Van Ginkel… kids who need stability, and we want to give them conditions to do well.

“We need to win matches. We can try to make this progression at the same time, get results and support the boys.”

Manchester City: Mauel Pellegrini on the new season

Gallo Images

Manuel Pellegrini insists he is not fazed by the challenge of the Premier League and the pressure to deliver success at Manchester City.

Pellegrini begins his City reign with Monday night’s visit of Newcastle, his laid-back demeanour in stark contrast to the demonstrative and combative nature of his predecessor, Roberto Mancini.

Where Mancini brought conflict and tension, despite leading City to Premier League and FA Cup success, Pellegrini’s approach is the antithesis – a measured coach whose calm outlook is one of .

And while there may be pressure on Pellegrini to bring immediate success to , the 59-year-old Chilean says the role does not even represent the biggest challenge of his career.

Stints at River Plate, Real Madrid, Villarreal and Malaga have primed Pellegrini for the challenge of the Premier League, one he intends to take fully in his stride.

"It’s not fair to compare this with another challenge," said Pellegrini.

"I’ve worked in a lot of different leagues, very difficult leagues. To manage River Plate in Argentina is not easy. To manage Real Madrid in Spain is not easy.

"I’m very excited about my new job but I don’t want to compare. They are all very good leagues and I try to always give my best.

"For me, my target is that City must improve in all aspects.

"Last season it was a pity that City didn’t win at least the FA Cup.

"I think we must improve in Europe also. We have a strong team and the target of the club is to play Champions League, not only the group stage but to continue in the competition.

"We also have to work very hard to win against all the other teams and also bring the Premier League [title] back here.

"The football is a different style, and maybe we’ll need some time to try to play the way I want, but the targets for me and the club are always the highest."

While title rivals City, Manchester United and Chelsea all have new managers this season, Pellegrini is the only one without experience of the Premier League.

But City’s boss does not see that as a disadvantage, having studied the Premier League closely for the past nine years since he has been coaching in Europe.

"I don’t think it can be a problem for me [being new to the Premier League]," said Pellegrini. "I have a lot of experience in different countries and know a lot of things about Premier League, so I don’t think I give it any easier to other managers.

"I’m always watching different matches, so of all the Premier League teams I have all the information I need here.

"I have a very good squad, so I’m not nervous – there is excitement.

"It’s nothing different, as every year I start seasons in differentcountries.

"For me, the Premier League is the best league in Europe. I saw the statistics the other day – 95 per cent of stadiums are full every weekend.

"It has a high pace every match, all the teams are very well organised and they are good teams. So it has a lot of important things for good football."

City have spent close to £90million on four players so far this summer, the addition of Fernandinho, Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic giving the squad the depth and variety it needed.

City chief executive Ferran Soriano has set Pellegrini a target of five trophies in five years, the newly-appointed boss showing his lighterside by claiming he already has one in the bag, following the club’s triumph in the pre-season Barclays Asia Trophy.

"We just need four more after we won the Asia Trophy," joked Pellegrini. "No, I think we will try to do our best in all the competitions and when we finish the year we will see what happens with how many trophies we have won."

Gareth Barry’s future remains unclear, with the midfielder out of contract at the end of the season and facing a battle to play having fallen down the pecking order.

Asked if Barry could leave before the transfer deadline on September 2, Pellegrini said: "Maybe, it depends on what he wants. If he wants to go because has better options.

"I have in his position also Jack Rodwell, Javi Garcia, Yaya Toure and Fernandinho. But I spoke with Gareth, he wants to stay here and he doesn’t have any problems to stay here and fight for his position like other players in the squad.

"He’s here and in the squad and we will try to use it the whole year,depending on the performance of all the players."

Match of the Day 2 recap: The Premier League highlights show with added jokes

10:37 pm

Your Sunday night MOTD fix is back, andColin Murray is GONE, his brash, skittish ways replaced by the safe pair oflips that belong to Mark Chapman (not the one that shot John Lennon).

Where Murray’s presentational style wasoften reminiscent of someone who had raided the bathroom cabinet and neckedeverything therein, Chapman emits more of a ‘leaning with one elbow restingagainst the mantelpiece’ kind of vibe. Nice.

10:39 pm

Jose is back at Stamford Bridge and isgreeted by a vast array of ugly homemade banners littered with grammaticalerrors.

Chelsea get an early penalty but FrankLampard fluffs the opportunity to give the new old boss the perfect start, asMcGregor saves the spot kick. Is Abramovich having second thoughts yet?

A few minutes later Oscar manages to scoreand the game is almost surely over as a contest.

10:41 pm

Frank makes amends by drilling home a freekick from about half a mile out. Hull’s defenders seem content to watch it sailover their heads and Allan McGregor is wrong-footed. Sorry, but it’s not asgood as it looks.

Meanwhile, Jose and Steve Bruce enjoy somechummy banter with each other by the tunnel. Is Bruce enjoying his day out inLondon and the inevitable defeat for his team?

10:45 pmAndy Dawson

It ends 2-0 and BOTH managers are waxinglyrical about Chelsea’s performance. Watch out for Steve Bruce missing Hull’snext match and opting to hang around next to Mourinho by the Chelsea dugoutagain instead.

Alan Hansen and Gus Poyet are in theanalysis thrones. Last time Poyet was on, he found out Brighton had sacked him.

Maybe he’ll get some nicer news duringtonight’s show – like word that his car has been clamped or that his dog hasfallen down a well.

10:50 pmAndy Dawson

‘If there is one person who knows FrankLampard, it is Jose Mourinho,’ says Poyet, momentarily forgetting that the pairhaven’t worked together for six years.

Interesting body language from Alan Hansen,who is tightly gripping a pen. It obviously represents a spear and is a clear message tonew presenter Chapman. ‘Do not cross me – you saw what happened to Colin Murray’.

10:56 pmAndy Dawson

Crystal Palace v Tottenham looks tasty. There’s fans holding blue and red cards, and actual eagle watching over proceedings and a lovely close-up of the ref picking the match ball off the ceremonial plinth as the teams emerge.

Actually, that last feature is a bit weak. I’d like to see the eagle drop the match ball from its claws from a great height and for the match to get underway the moment the ball hits the ground.

Come on Premier League – let’s have a bird of prey at EVERY match!

Jamie McDonald 

11:00 pmAndy Dawson

It’s just occurred to me that this couldwell be the most entertaining Premier League in years.

Not only do we have thepotential of an open championship race, but we’ve got Jose Mourinho, Ian Holloway,Paolo Di Canio spouting hot air all over the place each and every week.

And Brendan Rodgers, and whatever that thinghe does is.

11:04 pmAndy Dawson

Roberto Soldado gets a debut Spurs goalfrom the penalty spot. It’s only the third goal to be scored by a bearded Spursplayer on a Sunday in a month with an ‘a’ in it since the Premier League began.

Palace respond by bringing on KevinPhillips. He’s the oldest outfield player in the Premier League’s history tohave played for clubs whose names can be rearranged into the phrase ‘Now Janeis the muddiest, but glad and sleeping’.

Couple of stats for you there… 

11:08 pmAndy Dawson

It ends 1-0 to Spurs and Holloway is on the offensive against match officials right from the off, magnificently describing them as ‘these people’ with his season only 90 minutes old.

Mind you, he referred to the foul he was moaning about as ‘shoulder to shoulder’. So, a shoulder charge then. Man up, Ian.

Christopher Lee 

11:13 pmAndy Dawson

If you’ve got an HD TV, take a look at AlanHansen’s neck. To be honest, you won’t thank me.

As part of the analysis, there’s more ofthe dots that we saw Alan Shearer using to make no point whatsoever last night.

I’d like to see match action demonstratedusing a Rorscach Test picture. ‘It’s two candlesticks – no, it’s Luis Suarezand Phil Jones about to butt heads!’

Now we’re getting a round-up of yesterday’sgoals. I’ll shut up for a bit as

11:27 pmAndy Dawson

Hansen and Poyet are discussing the trialsand tribulations of Arsene Wenger’s shoddy Arsenal side. I can’t hear whatthey’re saying – I’m mesmerised by the utterly ridiculous array ofbrightly-coloured boots as worn by the idiots that are today’s Premier Leaguefootballers.

Wahoo! ‘2 Good 2 Bad’ is back, to thedelight of absolutely no one, and we start with a shot of Adrian Chiles, theman who first brought us the creaky old feature.

We end with the league table. After onematch, it’s utterly meaningless – they might as well have shown us a watermelonwith a face drawn on it.

That’s it for the weekend – thanks forreading!

 

John Cross on Roy Hodgson and England's hopes of qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil

Reuters

Hodgson’s England are flying the flag for the Home Nations in the qualifying campaign as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are now effectively playing for pride.

But for any football fan it is great just to have our national sport back after the summer break.

And to celebrate in style, we have got four sets of tickets to give away for the September qualifiers for the Home Nations. So you can go and support your team next month courtesy of Vauxhall – the Home Nations Sponsor.

Gordon Strachan’s Scotland gave England a stern test at Wembley in a friendly which was anything but. When football’s oldest rivals get together, the friendly part goes out of the window.

England twice had to come from behind to beat Scotland – and then threw up a lovely fairytale in the process. It set up a thrilling finish and, step forward, Southampton striker Rickie Lambert to score on his debut as the 31-year-old proved that, with hard work and determination, football dreams can come true.

Hodgson claims Lambert has now given himself a chance of going to the World Cup and that is the dream for any footballer.

Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have endured difficult campaigns. But Republic of Ireland are still in the mix as they warmed up for their next competitive games with a goalless draw against Wales in Cardiff.

Local rivalry and national pride count for a lot whenever any of our teams are playing which means you never get a meaningless friendly. When it comes to national pride, our determination, heart and hunger always mean the players are determined to do the fans proud.

Win Home Nations match tickets

This season the Daily Mirror has teamed up with Vauxhall – to offer readers the chance to see England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales in action in the lead up to the World Cup 2014 in Brazil*.

This month, the prize is two tickets to see England face Moldova at Wembley, Northern Ireland play Portugal at Windsor Park, Scotland take on Belgium at Hampden Park – all on the 6 September – or to see Wales play Serbia at the Millennium Stadium on 10 September.

 

Arsenal are in reverse while the rest of Premier League's big guns roll forwards – Mark Lawrenson column – Mark Lawrenson

Clive Mason

While , the big clubs have started the new season as they mean to go on.

Robin van Persie’s two goals as Swansea were dominating Manchester United shows just how important he is to the champions.

Jose Mourinho at Chelsea is off and running with his bid to turn Stamford Bridge into a fortress.

Liverpool, if they really can hold on to Luis Suarez, look to have a great chance of building on a really promising win over Stoke.

And for the first time I look at Spurs as having a realistic chance of finishing above the Gunners in the top four.

I have no idea what Arsenal are doing.

If they had gone in with, say, £45million plus add-ons for Suarez maybe two or three weeks ago, they would probably have had a good chance of getting him.

Now it is not looking good for them and, after losing that first game, whoever they go for the player’s club will just put the price up.

In any case, so many of the good players have already slipped through their fingers.

I couldn’t see Arsenal ­outbidding Chelsea for Wayne Rooney.

Marouane Fellaini will want to work with David Moyes again at Manchester United.

And it is all just a mess at the Emirates, especially when you look at the decisive way that Spurs and Manchester City – who I think will win the League – have gone about their transfer business.

It just shows you how far Arsenal have fallen behind.

At the bottom of the league, I’ve seen nothing to surprise me this weekend, with the three promoted teams, Cardiff, Hull and Crystal Palace, all losing without scoring.

I have tipped Sunderland to go down and they have been beaten at home by a Fulham team not noted for winning that often on the road.

And congratulations, too, to Rickie Lambert on capping a brilliant week with the winning goal for ­Southampton at West Bromwich.

Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino is building a good team there and will keep that club competitive.

All in all, a good start to perhaps the most competitive season there has ever been in the Premier League.

I’m looking to seeing how Manchester City fare tonight.

Does Arsene Wenger have an abject fear of spending money? Ten things we learned about football this weekend – Andy Dawson

Paul Gilham

So that was the weekend that was, when Premier League football finally came back after a long summer of Lions, Ashes and strawberries and cream.

We asked Andy Dawson, better known as Twitter’s Profanity Swan, to pick out some of the key things he noticed on the first weekend of the new top flight season.

1) Michael Owen will never succeed as a pundit

A tour guide in a haunted bakery, maybe. A voiceover artist in a promotionalfilm for a small Gloucester town, possibly. But a voice of authority covering ‘The Greatest League In The World’? Nah – the soporific striker is TV’s equivalent ofCharlie Brown’s teacher.

 

2) Wenger’s got the spending yips

Like a man who devours holiday brochures while simultaneously nursing an abject fear of flying, WANTS to splash all that cash, he just can’t bring himself to do it. It’s footballistical fiscal erectile dysfunction.

3) Manchester United will be okay, really

It’s bad news for everyone who assumed that David Moyes would be some kind of Mr Bean figure and that the walls of would begin to crumble post Fergie. They’ve got good players who know what they’re doing and it’ll all be fine.

4) Steve Bruce has got special feelings for the Special One

Jose and Brucie returned to the Premier League together yesterday, but the Hull boss didn’t seem bothered that his team lost, laughing and joking with Mourinho mid-match and praising Chelsea to the hilt afterwards. Perhaps he got Jose to sign his boob afterwards…

Clive Mason

5) Paolo Di Canio is going too easy on his players           

Banning mobile phones, mayonnaise, ketchup, ice in their fizzy pop and prematch singing led to a tame 1-0 reverse at home to Fulham. The Italian needs to toughen things up. Ban their baseball caps, crisps, car stereos and get them fitted with curfew ankle tags and the Black Cats might scrape a draw next week.

6) Wayne Rooney isn’t happy

His body language at the Liberty Stadium proved this conclusively. But was it because he wants away from Old Trafford or because he’d been put in a seat that was sponsored by a popular hair-restoral service? We’ll have to wait and see…

Getty

7) Football is poorer for the absence of Michael Knighton

He might have presided over one of Carlisle United’s grimmest eras but the ball-juggling businessman is still an eccentric source of entertainment, with a collection of his poetry imminent.

8) Carlisle United don’t need Knighton back

The Cumbrians have got enough problems of their own, having conceded 13 goals in three league games and only avoiding bottom spot due to it being held by 10-point-handicapped Coventry. Mind you, it was the Sky Blues who won 4-0 at Carlisle on Saturday, so that might not last for long.

9) Barcelona are a decent each-way bet for La Liga

Just the six goals for them in the first half against Levante yesterday (although they worryingly added only one more after the break), these boys look good for at a top-two finish – pile your money on them now!

10) The coloured boot epidemic must end now

Oranges, lime greens, various neon shades – the footwear of footballers is now officially ridiculous and needs to be curbed now. It’s going to be great for sales of Fruit Pastilles but we really shouldn’t be staring at players’ boots and thinking that they look delicious.

Arsenal Supporters' Trust insists talk of new contract for Arsene Wenger is "inappropriate" for now

Mirror

Arsene Wenger should not be offered a new contract while player recruitment remains under the spotlight, according to the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST).

The Frenchman was the target of criticism following , with a lack of summer signings again the main gripe.

chief executive Ivan Gazidis has spoken about the possibility of handing Wenger a new deal, with his current contract running out next summer.

But AST believes any decision on this must wait until the club’s performance can be properly analysed.

"A decision on whether to offer an extension to the manager’s contract which ends in May 2014 should only be taken following the closing of the transfer window and assessment of the team’s performances in the weeks ahead," it explained.

"Considerable improvement must be shown for us to be convinced this should happen, and we believe that other senior football appointments must come first."

Fan's view: Arsenal have got it badly wrong in this transfer window – and we simply can't understand why – Andrew Mangan

Clive Mason

The reaction to was not unexpected.

The outpouring of anger and frustration was not simply because of an opening day defeat, it was the result of a summer which began with talk of big spending and proper investment in the team, and ended with an injury hit, and frankly farcical, playing Aaron Ramsey at centre-half and Lukas Podolski at left back.

Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis spoke openly about the club’s ability to move into a different financial bracket when it came to buying players.

A club that had been doing its shopping in Aldi and Tesco might, at least, be able to do some Marks and Spencer, if not quite Harrods.

"We also have new revenue streams coming on board and all of these things mean we can do some things which would excite you," he said eagerly at the beginning of June. Yet even then the man who was so keen to speak about added a caveat, saying, "What excites Arsene isn’t necessarily what excites you."

At this point it’s hard to know what might excite Arsene Wenger. In his post-Villa press conference, the Arsenal manager was asked about his lack of transfer action in the summer, and not spent a single penny (in fact, he’s made a profit of close to £10m through the sales of Gervinho and Vito Mannone).             

Getty

"People always say ‘buy players, buy players, buy players’", he said. "When you tell them ‘tell me who?’ it becomes much more problematic."

Everybody likes to play a bit of Championship Manager with their club when it comes to transfer business, but this is a summer in which Stefan Jovetic, Luiz Gustavo, Gonzalo Higuain, Paulino, Roberto Soldado, Alvaro Negredo and others have all moved clubs, all of whom have been well within Arsenal’s price range. 

In fact, even the most expensive deal of the summer, Edinson Cavani, is conceivably within their budget (if not their capability). Players like Marouane Fellaini and Asmir Begovic could, with the right will, be prised away from their clubs and make Arsenal better.

Instead, the team with more money than any other in the Premier League has been outspent by almost every other side in England’s top flight. It’s little wonder there’s frustration.

There’s a criticism sometimes leveled at Wenger’s teams, that they want to score the perfect goal. Maybe that translates to the transfer market too: the manager wants to make the perfect signing. The Goldilocks porridge of deals, the one that’s ‘just right’, that sees you get a talent like Santi Cazorla for £12m. But those are the exception, rather than the rule. 

On the face of it there’s no good reason why a club like Arsenal, with the resources it has, the cash at hand, and the fantastic potential to kick on and make good on their fourth place finish last season, should have gone through an entire summer without spending.              

Getty

The opportunity was there to build on what they worked so hard to achieve in the final months of the last campaign. Instead, they’ve let it slip, dropped three points and now the threadbare squad is in difficult shape heading into the Champions League qualifier against Fenerbahce. 

As fans react the targets are Wenger, Ivan Gazidis, the transfer negotiating team and owner Stan Kroenke. There’s frustration and confusion, mostly because it’s nigh on impossible to understand why Arsenal have done what they’ve done this summer.

They might have their reasons. Perhaps Arsene Wenger can ‘explain it in his next book’, but whatever those reasons, they’ve got it badly wrong.

Manchester City 4-0 Newcastle United: Manuel Pellegrini's first game in charge as-it-happened

Gallo Images

7:17 pm

Good evening!

Aren’t Mondays better now there’s football back?

And we’ve got a decent-looking match in store for you here tonight, as many people’s tip for the title Manchester City take on Newcastle, who have had a, er, ‘eventful’ summer.

There’s going to be plenty of new faces in store at the Eithad tonight, as Manuel Pellegrini takes to the City dugout for the first time with a squad that was furnished with £100m worth of new signings.

No such money floating around the Toon though, who have been slow to bring in new signings, despite the return of the shy and retiring Joe Kinnear. His major transfer coup to date is Loic Remy, who misses out through injury tonight.

Stick with us tonight and we’ll be bringing you all the action and analysis you could shake a stick at.

7:17 pm

Team news:

While Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher try and out-do each other on Sky Sports, we have us some team news.

New boys Navas and Fernandinho start for City, but perhaps the biggest news comes from the Newcastle line-up, as there’s a big Yohan Cabaye-shaped hole on their midfield, follow Arsenal’s bid for the Frenchman.

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Navas, Fernandinho, Toure, Silva, Dzeko, AgueroNewcastle United: Krul; Debuchy, Taylor, Coloccini, Yanga-Mbiwa; Tiote, Gutierrez; Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Gouffran; Cisse.7:40 pm

Right. So the headline here is undoubtedly the absence of one Yohan Cabaye.

Considering there was no word of any injury to the French midfielder, you fear for his future at the club.

And Alan Pardew has just spoken with Sky Sports and seems to be fuming with Arsenal’s bid – and more specifically its timing:

"Well to be honest we want to focus on what’s important for Newcastle United… But on the eve of the game we’ve had a bid for the player that we don’t think is acceptable.

"I’ve picked a team which I think can get a result here. People can debate the rights and wrongs of it."

That they will, Alan, but the bottom line – Yohan Cabaye doesn’t feature.

7:55 pm

So Pards is pretty peeved with Arsene?

There’s only one way to sort these sort of grievances out… FIGHT!!!

Oh, they’ve already kind of done that one.

 

8:00 pm

Nearly time for kick-off in Manchester.

There’s a minute’s applause to remember City legendBert Trautmannwho

Then shortly we will be underway with the final fixture of the Premier League opening weekend.

Strap yourselves in…

8:02 pm

We’re underway!

City manage to find Sergio Aguero in the penalty area inside the first minute but the Argentine is offside.

The Manchester Evening News’ Rob Dawson reckons it’s an offensive line-up from Pellegrini in his first game in charge:

"It’s an attacking line up from City with two centre forwards."

"He easily could have been a bit more defensive and picked Milner but he’s gone for Navas instead. Obviously going all out for the win.

"Newcastle have got an awful record here and I think City will win fairly comfortably."

8:06 pm

GREAT SAVE from Tim Krul!

Manchester City are carving Newcastle open already and Edin Dzeko gets on the end of a neat one-two to reach the byline.

The Bosnian manages to tug it back to Pablo Zabaleta – who misses it – and the onrushing Sergio Aguero sees his goalbound shot tipped agonisingly wide.

A crucial intervention from the Dutchman but worrying scenes already for the visitors.

8:08 pm

GOAL MANCHESTER CITY! DAVID SILVA!

The miniature Spaniard nods home from close range, and it’s a simple goal for the hosts that was most certainly coming.

Edin Dzeko was involved again, and his cross deflected off Steven Taylor, throwing Tim Krul off the scent and allowing wee David to score from a couple of yards.

Simple stuff. 1-0.

8:13 pm

Newcastle score! Oh, but it won’t count.

Hatem Ben Arfa weaves a bit of magic, threading Yoann Gouffran through the Manchester City back four to prod home.

However, he’d just leaned himself into an offside position between the centre-backs and City get away with it.

8:15 pm

PENALTY SHOUT! It’s not given though, and City are fuming.

Yaya Toure is slid in to the penalty area by a wonderful pass, and with the Ivorian having nipped in front of Mathieu Debuchy in that inside-right channel, the Frenchman appeared to drag Toure down in front of goal.

Not given though, and on second look it’s probably because Yaya was so willing to crumple under minor duress.

Still 1-0.

8:22 pm

The game has settled down a bit now, with Newcastle still creating the odd opening.

A nice switch pass caught Man City out on the diagonal, and with Clichy slipping, Hatem Ben Arfa found himself in a good position only for the target of his cross, Papiss Cisse, to stray offside.

Meanwhile, here’s a happy David Silva:

Michael Regan 

8:25 pm

GOAL MANCHESTER CITY! Sergio Aguero makes it 2-0:

From nothing, the Argentine doubles City’s lead and this one is starting to look like a foregone conclusion.

Driving at the defence, Aguero looked for support, didn’t receive any, and instead drifted right before unleashing a laser-guided snapshot into the opposite corner – catching Tim Krul completely off-guard.

Newcastle in trouble.

8:27 pm

Stat attack!

This one courtest of Opta Sports chief Duncan Alexander:

" With that goal, Sergio Aguero draws level with John Spencer and Paul Dickov on 36 Premier League goals."

AND NOW YOU KNOW.

8:32 pm

The local view:

The Manchester Evening News were very happy with that second City goal, with Paul Hadler describing it as "poetry in motion".

"Navas into Dzeko and his flick finds Aguero, who speeds forward before lashing a precision shot past Krul and in off the post.

"Pellegrini lets fly with a double fist pump – City are in business!"

That they are, my Mancunian chums. That they are.

8:34 pm

Another stat from Opta:

 

8:36 pm

Moussa Sissoko becomes the fourth player booked in this game.

Apologies for not mentioning the others but bloody City have been too busy scoring goals and all that nonsense.

Edin Dzeko, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Fernandinho were the other three.

The resultant free kick whips through everyone in the box and curls menacingly past Tim Krul’s far post.

Still 2-0.

8:37 pm

More from the MEN’s Rob Dawson at the Etihad:

"Edin Dzeko looks like a man who’s had an arm put round him this summer.

"Pellegrini has said nice things about him in public and he must have done the same in private…if Dzeko’s doing step overs in the box you know he’s full of confidence."

Yep, he looks very dangerous tonight, a complete contrast with the end of last season.

8:41 pm

Another booking, this time for Mathieu Debuchy.

City are in complete control now, with any minute threat previously being posed by Newcastle now extinguished as the hosts hold onto the ball.

In fact, the possession for the last ten minutes has been something like 75% in the favour of the hosts.

Too easy.

8:46 pm

Jonas Gutierrez OFF, Vurnon Anita ON:

An enforced substitution for Newcastle, who are now looking like they’re in real trouble.

And straight away there’s another chance for City as Sergio Aguero zips away down the left flank and stands up a great cross, which Edin Dzeko heads across goal and narrowly wide.

8:50 pm

STEVEN TAYLOR IS SENT OFF!

Andre Marriner has dismissed Steven Taylor, and Newcastle are in the brown stuff.

The ball is up in the air, and Taylor swings his left arm at Aguero’s head.

Not a super-obvious red, but one that you can understand. And it’s done now.

The Magpies down to ten and in big trouble.

8:54 pm

HT: Man City 2-0 Newcastle.

City good, Newcastle bad. Newcastle also down to ten men.

Foregone conclusion barely covers it in terms of the result, but it’s the implications of a heavy defeat and everything else for Alan Pardew that makes this an intriguing second half.

Fabricio Coloccini sums it up:

Michael Regan 

9:02 pm

From bad to worse for Alan Pardew, and that’s not even thinking about Joe Kinnear grinning away in the stands.

Pardew is the 5-1 favourite in the Premier League sack race, and that price may well be getting pummeled tonight.

And to think, they may still lose Cabaye!

9:09 pm

AAAAAAND we’re back underway:

In case I forgot to mention it, young Paul Dummett came on for his Premier League debut in place of Yoann Gouffran.

The academy product has lined up at left-back for this second half, with Coloccini and Yanga-Mbiwa becoming the central pairing.

9:11 pm

GREAT SAVE TIM KRUL!

Phenomenal athleticism from Krul, who denies Edin Dzeko’s point-blank header with a brilliant diving stop.

Sergio Aguero’s wonderful work down the left flank ends with the Argentine standing it up to the middle and it looked every inch the goal until Krul’s superb intervention.

9:13 pm

GOAL MANCHESTER CITY! YAYA TOURE!

Moments ago Tim Krul was making a brilliant save and now he’s picking the ball out of the net.

A Mathieu Debuchy foul outside the box is punished by Toure, whose exquisite curling free kick slams into the left-hand side of the goal with everyone watching on helplessly.

3-0!

9:16 pm

Nearly 4-0 to City!

A deft chip over the defence sends David Silva flying through towards the byline but surely he can’t pluck that pass out of the sky?

Of course he can, and the most sumptuous of touches nearly allows him to score a ludicrous goal for City before Tim Krul smudges him out at close range.

There are more goals here, and they’re not coming at Joe Hart’s end.

9:18 pm

Turning point?

Action

Nah, not really, but it certainly didn’t help Newcastle who are now being ripped limb from limb by a rampant City side.

Impressive from Pellegrini to get his men working so well.

9:22 pm

I’ve just realised that Newcastle have been so unspeakably atrocious that I’m yet to make any jokes about their French contingent.

I can only offer you my apologies for the slipping standards at Mirror towers.

Meanwhile, our chum Sergio Aguero is given a rest as Samir Nasri comes on for his first Premier League appearance of the season.

‘Deece’ as the kids say these days.

9:27 pm

Hatem Ben Arfa OFF, Sammy Ameobi ON:

A fairly inconsequential change from Alan Pardew but he’s paid to keep trying and not storm off the changing rooms in a huff so fair play to him.

His current position is the ‘standing motionless on the edge of the technical area’ one, ripe for the stony-faced ignoring of the camera at the final whistle.

Unfortunately for Super Al, there’s another 25 minutes to go and it’s hard to remain stony-faced when you’re 6-0 down and crying inside.

But there you go, enough about my tortured childhood of Sunday morning sport, there’s a game on…

9:32 pm

Vincent Kompany OFF, Javi Garcia ON:

Ah, this is not good news for City.

A stroll in the park and they’ve potentially lost their captain for a few weeks due to injury.

There’s a rueful grimace about Kompany as he walks down the tunnel, but in sliding into a challenge he immediately grabbed his groin (no, not like that) and called for help.

With Nastasic out, this is hardly ideal for Pellegrini, but ludicrously-coiffured Spaniard Javi Garcia replaces him.

9:35 pm

If anyone’s interested, three, four or five more corners in this game and I win a tidy sum of money, so for extra interest I will be cheering on the corner flag.

Oh and there’s a goal…

9:37 pm

GOAL MANCHESTER CITY! SAMIR NASRI MAKES IT FOUR!

Simple as you like, but City will be going top of the league tonight.

The ball loose in the Newcastle half, and Nasri nips in from the left to steal in front of the defender.

The gaping hole in the back four makes the channel tunnel look like a hedgehog’s pore and he slides it past Krul and home.

4-0. Oh dear.

9:42 pm

Alvaro Negredo ON, David Silva OFF:

But more crucially, we’ve still had no more corners.

I’m getting a little bit antsy, and nobody wants that to happen.

9:46 pm

Some of the chants ringing around the Etihad right now:

"We’ve got Sheikh Mansour, you’ve got Joe Kinnear."

"Joe Kinnear’s a football genius."

And some more unsavoury terms are being used to describe Gary Neville.

9:48 pm

Debut goal for Alvaro Negredo…is ruled out!

And ruled out incorrectly.

Tough break for the Spanish striker who has only been on for *checks watch* five minutes or so, but the linesman’s gone a bit early there and even though Negredo has nodded past Tim Krul it will not count.

City continue to defy my thirst for corner-based set pieces.

9:50 pm

Macca pretty much nails that offside decision:

 

9:54 pm

Our Chief Sports Writer Ollie Holt is at the game:

"Dzeko named man of the match at Etihad," he tells us.

"He hasn’t scored but has been absolutely superb," and Ollie’s right, although if he could have finished some of the great chances he’s been served up tonight then it would have been a cricket score.

9:56 pm

FT: Man City 4-0 Newcastle.

Erm, it was a thrashing.

City wound down at the end but still could have won by more.

Newcastle have problems; on AND off the field.

 

Robin van Persie will only get better warns Manchester United manager David Moyes

Action Images

David Moyes has warned the Premier League Robin van Persie is only going to get better and could even surpass last season’s 30-goal heroics.

Van Persie began the new season with two goals in United’s , on the back of scoring both goals in the 2-0 Community Shield triumph over Wigan.

Moyes said he has been blown away by van Persie’s finishing and overall play since taking charge of and said the 29-year-old Dutchman is driven to win more trophies following his first Premier League success last season.

VanPersie plundered 30 Premier League goals for Arsenal in the 2011-12 season and 25 for United in last season’s title-winning campaign, meaning he is on course for a hat-trick of Golden Boot wins, awarded each year to the league’s top scorer.

Asked if van Persie could surpass his remarkable achievements in his first season at United, Moyes said: "I hope he can.

"His goals [against Swansea] were top goals, those of a top goalscorer, and in ways you can see the different it makes.

"The performance of the team – we can play better – but I thought his finishes made the difference."

Moyes said van Persie, whose only previous trophy in English football was the 2005 FA Cup with Arsenal, is driven to win more titles and silverware before his career comes to an end.           

Getty

"I said to them [United’s players] the other day, you know, how many medals had they won?" said Moyes.

"Giggsy has won 13, quite a few of them have won five or six and Robin said he’d only won one.

"So for me the challenge is for Robin to keep trying to win medals and I think he’s got it, I think he’s driven to do it.

"He wants to succeed and I’ve been really impressed by him in his training and commitment and in trying to improve himself.

Moyes acknowledged van Persie was one of the best strikers he had worked with, but reserved special mention for his United team-mate Wayne Rooney, despite the England striker remaining determined to quit Old Trafford for Chelsea.

"Look, I worked with Wayne Rooney when he was a 16-year-old boy," said Moyes, when asked whether van Persie was the best forward he’d managed.

"But I’ve got to say at the moment, the way I’ve seen Robin – world-class is sometimes used quite loosely – but I think it’d be hard not to put him in that category, that’s for sure."

Moyes claimed it was not just van Persie’s clinical finishing in front of goal that made him such a formidable striker, but his overall play, in particular his ability to hold the ball up and provide a vital link between midfield and attack.

"Yeah, some of his hold-up play as well," said Moyes when asked what else had impressed him about van Persie.

"We’re talking about his goals but the balls [against Swansea] when we got it into him and his hold-up play and brought people into the game for us as well.

"So he’s got an all round game and we want to keep supplying him and give him every opportunity to score."

United defender Patrice Evra endorsed his manager’s praise of van Persie and admitted he had also been taken aback by the relentless quality of his finishing.

Getty

"I keep telling Robin to calm down. I don’t know why he can’t start a little more softly," Evra joked.

"He scored two in the Community Shield and scored two again at Swansea.

"He’s a great player and he’s hungry, he wants to win more trophies."

Despite United’s stunning start in their first competitive game under Moyes since he succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson, Evra tempered the emphatic win with a cautionary note.

"We all know what the manager wants," said Evra. "He wants to win everything and that’s the target.

"We’ve gained some confidence from this result but, as I say, it’s only the first game. It’s just the beginning."