Ferran Torres was phenomenal as Manchester City twice came from a goal down to beat Newcastle United 4-3 at St. James’ Park on Friday.
Despite fielding a largely second string side, Manchester City were the dominant of the two sides in the early exchanges, but it was Newcastle United that ended up grabbing the lead against the run of play, when Emil Krafth headed in the opener from a corner. Newcastle almost doubled their lead shortly after, only for Jonjo Shelvey to strike the woodwork with his free-kick.
This is when Manchester City woke up from a brief slumber, scoring twice in three minutes through Joao Cancelo and Ferran Torres to go ahead. However, after the stroke of half-time, Newcastle made it 2-2 through Joelinton, who converted from the spot after being brought down by Nathan Ake inside the box.
Another penalty at the hour mark saw Newcastle take a lead for the second time, with Joe Willock taking the spot-kick this time around after being fouled by Kyle Walker, and even though his effort was saved, the Arsenal loanee hit home from the rebound. However, Manchester City were unrelenting and were ahead once again in six minutes’ time, as Torres completed his hat-trick with a couple of beautiful finishes.
Thereafter, the newly-crowned Premier League champions were not troubled one bit, with the wind seemingly knocked out of Newcastle’s sail. The result meant Manchester City grabbed a 12th away win in a row in the Premier League – an English top-flight record. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Pep Guardiola’s men.
Scott Carson: 6/10
Scott Carson has not started a top flight game in 3645 days.
He's just received a Guard of Honour as a Premier League champion 👏 pic.twitter.com/4wo3Aar6jO
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 14, 2021
In a shock decision by Guardiola, Scott Carson was picked between the sticks, with the game proving to be his Manchester City debut. A decade on from his last Premier League appearance, Carson impressed, saving Joe Willock’s penalty and making another impressive save. However, he could not have done anything to deny Newcastle any of their three goals. A feel-good moment for him nonetheless.
Kyle Walker: 5/10
A game to forget for Walker, who was caught out of position whenever Newcastle took on the Manchester City defence during counters. To make matters worse, the Englishman also gave away the second penalty by fouling Joe Willock, a rare occasion when his composure left a lot to be desired.
Eric Garcia: 5/10
The Manchester City defence failed to impress on Friday and Garcia, handed a rare start by Pep Guardiola, failed to show the qualities that have put him on the cusp of joining Barcelona. Was caught out whenever Newcastle pushed forward at pace, with Allan Saint-Maximin giving him quite a few nightmarish moments. Might have played his final game for Manchester City.
Nathan Ake: 5/10
Making a start at the heart of the Manchester City defence for a second successive game, Ake was left crumbling whenever Newcastle embarked on their counter-attacking moves. Ended up conceding a penalty on the stroke of half-time, with Joelinton converting the resulting spot-kick. Has to do better when given a rare opportunity to impress.
Joao Cancelo: 7/10
Installed as the left-back in place of Benjamin Mendy, Cancelo posed a great deal of threat from the left flank, and always looked to make things happen. However, he faced a few challenges against a nippy Jacob Murphy, suffering on the counter at times. Ended up scoring a fine goal, though, to kick-start the Manchester City comeback in the first half.
Bernardo Silva: 7/10
Back in the starting lineup, Silva was a bundle of energy in the middle of the park and linked up superbly with Ferran Torres all through the game. Completed a staggering 97 percent of his attempted passes, misplacing just two passes all game. Such an asset for Guardiola.
The Manchester City midfielders were instrumental in ensuring they had a staggering 83 percent of the possession, and Rodri was simply colossal in the middle of the park. Bar a moment or two, the Spanish international was never really overrun in the midfield. Completed 93 percent of his passes while winning 6 duels and even provided the assist for Cancelo’s goal.
Ilkay Gundogan: 7/10
An utterly dominant display by Gundogan, who ran circles around the Newcastle defence at times and played a game-high 3 key passes and even grabbed the assist for the first goal that Ferran Torres scored. Saw the ball more often than any other player on the pitch and conducted play smartly while also putting in the hard yards off the ball. Wasteful in front of goal, though.
Ferran Torres: 10/10
With the Premier League title sealed, Torres has been getting ample opportunities to impress lately. And, the Spanish international is not squandering his chances, as was the case on Friday as well, as he scored a match-winning hat-trick to earn Manchester City all three points.
The finish for his first goal was especially sensational as he flicked the ball from Ilkay Gundogan’s corner brilliantly. Having said that, the finishes for his other two goals were brilliant as well, and Torres is showing just what he can bring to the table for Manchester City next season.
21y 75d – Ferran Torres is the youngest player to score a league hat-trick for a Pep Guardiola team, with the previous-youngest being Lionel Messi against Tenerife in January 2010 (22y 200d). Company. pic.twitter.com/6CMzqLsGFL
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 14, 2021
Gabriel Jesus: 6/10
A game of hits and misses for Jesus, who made a greater impact when linking up with teammates than in front of goal. Oddly, the Brazilian’s shooting boots have been nowhere to be seen for much of the season, which is a shame considering Manchester City are searching for Sergio Aguero’s successor. Nevertheless, Jesus did provide the assist to Torres for one of his goals.
Raheem Sterling: 5/10
A sub-par display by Sterling, who drifted in and out of the game at an alarming rate, despite the fact that Manchester City were almost exclusively in the Newcastle half for the majority of the game. In fact, the Englishman did not muster up a single shot on goal while only managing a single key pass. In need of an inspiration.
Benjamin Mendy: N/A
On for Cancelo, Mendy was on the pitch for the final 15 minutes and helped see the game out without much of a fuss.