The combination of Joelinton, Sandro Tonali and Bruno Guimaraes that was so successful against Aston Villa struggled to get a hold in the midfield where the presence of Rodri and Kovacic proved an affective barrier that allowed Phil Foden the freedom to exploit space and break the Newcastle midfield line at will.
In Foden City possess a player of exceptional talent and his grip on the game was sublime. His passing, his ability to find and make space, his movement and all-round exceptional skills were something special to witness and City don’t need to worry about the long-term absence of De Bruyne when they have a player of Foden’s ability able to step in and control the pace of a game with such ease.
Defensively Fabien Schar and in particular Sven Botman put in a sterling shift to combat the threat of goal machine Erling Haarland. Not many defenders can say that they have nullified the Norwegian over 90 minutes at the Etihad, but Botman has now succeeded twice in achieving what some would see as the impossible!
But it was in the final third where Eddie Howe's side were really lacking – which was surprising having scored five goals in their previous outing.
The searing facts are that we did not manage a shot on target until the 70th minute, when Harvey Barnes, who came on for an ever more frustrated Anthony Gordon, tested Ederson with a shot from long range.
Alexander Isak was an isolated figure and his withdrawal on 66 minutes came as no surprise His replacement Callum Wilson wasted an opportunity to capitalise on a poor pass by Rodri the move proved to be one of only a handful of efforts with the resulting shot by Barnes being comfortably saved by Ederson in the city goal.
Speaking to the press after the game Howe said of his team’s first half performance "I was angry because I had not seen exactly what I wanted to see. Sometimes that emotion you feel is a real positive if you can express it in the right way."
And while you can’t disagree with Howe’s assertion, the facts were that Newcastle were second best in most areas.
However, on the plus side they were facing the treble winners and a coach in Guardiola who on Wednesday night secured his sides 15th trophy in six seasons with City as they added the UEFA Super Cup to their haul of silverware.