EPL: Dzeko Proves Hunger as Man City Turn up Heat

Published: 22nd February 2015 02:33 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd February 2015 02:33 PM   |  A+A-

Dzeko-Man city-Ap

LONDON: Seeking their first home league win since New Year's Day, City could not have been gifted a better start by visitors who seemed intent on continuing their run of 10 consecutive league defeats against Manuel Pellegrini's team.

A dreadful touch by Vurnon Anita, with fewer than 30 seconds on the clock, presented the ball to Edin Dzeko. The Newcastle midfielder tried to make amends with predictably disastrous results, his blatant trip prompting referee Chris Foy to point to the spot.

Sergio Aguero nonchalantly rolled the ball past a stationary Tim Krul into the bottom right-hand corner, the perfect start for a City team who had already been buoyed by leaders Chelsea surrendering two home points to Burnley earlier in the day.

By the time Samir Nasri make it 2-0 11 minutes later, City seemed well on course to cut that deficit at the top and the fact that Dzeko was again heavily involved was presumably the response his manager, Manuel Pellegrini, would have been looking for.

The arrival of Wilfried Bony, a pounds 28?million substitute, for his first experience as a City player following his transfer from Swansea last month, had cast a doubt over the long-term future of Dzeko, who had not scored a League goal for City since the end of September.

However, his committed darting run down the right took him into the Newcastle area and his threaded pass to Nasri allowed the Frenchman to skilfully wrong-foot Fabricio Coloccini and scoop an unstoppable eight-yard shot into the roof of the visitors' net.

In between the goals, Newcastle had responded relatively well, with Massadio Haidara's deflected drive briefly worrying Joe Hart and Daryl Janmaat cutting in from the right to send a powerful right-foot drive just off target.

But the half was rapidly being taken over by Dzeko, unexpected given that the contest seemed destined to be dominated by Toure, whose absence at the Africa Cup of Nations had coincided with City losing ground in the title race and whose return against Newcastle was viewed as a panacea for his team's troubles.

The Bosnian had a strong penalty claim when his shirt was tugged by Haidara, his turn and shot on the edge of the area sailed just over and his 20th-minute right-wing cross was superbly dummied by Pablo Zabaleta for Aguero to guide a low shot just wide.

Goal number three, therefore, was surely destined for Dzeko and it duly arrived after just 21 minutes as David Silva found space in midfield and lofted a sublime pass behind the Newcastle back four. Coloccini mistimed a header which allowed Dzeko to time his run to perfection, take the ball on his chest and bury a textbook finish past Krul.

The promise of a rout was sufficient to have Newcastle supporters chanting the name of former manager Alan Pardew and when Moussa Sissoko hurried a shot high and wide of the City goal, their patience was stretched further.

In contrast, it was turning into the perfect warm-up for City's Champions League commitments on Tuesday with the outcome all but decided and Pellegrini looking forward to the prospect of taking key players out of the fray in the second half, with an eye on Barcelona.

In that light, there was a moment of anxiety as Aguero went down under a crude foul from Coloccini after 31 minutes, resulting in a 25-yard free-kick which was wasted by Toure although there was consolation in the fact that his Argentine team-mate showed no lasting ill effects from the incident.

Toure's underwhelming return continued with him collecting a yellow card for a petulant trip on Jack Colback, shortly after Fernandinho had tested Krul with a 25-yard shot, but the game was taking on the air of a training-ground stroll with the two teams resigned to the outcome.

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