Manchester City’s first match since officially being crowned Premier League champions was full of squad rotation and delivered one of the most entertaining games of 2021. While Scott Carson’s start in goal captured all of the headlines, the return of the Nathan Aké and Eric García partnership in central defense picked up where it left off against Leicester City early in the season: penalties.
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For whatever reason, in just two matches this season with Aké and García at the back, City have leaked five penalties. Despite the thrilling end-to-end action by Newcastle, however, Ferran Torres stole the show for City with an incredible hat-trick to seal all three points. Carson even managed a save on the Magpies’ second penalty, but the rebound was unfortunately put away.
Admittedly, this game means little in the greater context of what has been a successful campaign for the Citizens, but it was an incredibly exciting affair that is likely down to some of the rotation.
City will play two more games this season as the newly crowned Premier League champions against Brighton and Everton before the all-important Champions League final against Chelsea on May 29.
In the end, this was a fun game for supporters and neutrals alike. With all three relegation places decided at the bottom of the table, Newcastle had little to play for after a good run of form, while City have sealed the title and can settle into cruise control. Nevertheless, the coming weeks will serve as crucial preparation heading into the biggest match in the history of the club, and the Sky Blues will need to maintain their focus.