City were dumped out of the Capital One Cup after a morale-sapping defeat to Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium.
The Blues, enduring their worst run of performances since Manuel Pellegrini took command, conceded a goal in each half to lose 2-0 on the night as well as seeing David Silva limp off barely ten minutes into the tie.
It was, unfortunately, one of those nights where pretty much everything went wrong.
Newcastle, fresh from their weekend victory at Tottenham, must have shuddered when they were paired with City for this game.
Prior to this match, you had to go back to 2004 to find a Newcastle win in this fixture with 17 games passing since without success – the Blues winning an astonishing 15 of those.
Alan Pardew must have looked at those stats before he selected his starting XI – with respect – as he rested six of the players who featured in the victory at White Hart Lane.
Pellegrini also rang the changes from the team that lost 2-1 at West Ham – seven in total – but it was still a team with 11 regular internationals.
With the benefit of hindsight, Silva who picked up an ankle injury just four minutes into the game and was forced to limp off shortly after, would have been a strong candidate to be rested - but had he scored one and made two, the gamble would have paid off with no questions asked.
As it was, Silva laboured on for a few minutes and the Magpies take a shock lead as Fernandinho’s wayward pass allowed Rolando Aarons to race clear and nutmeg Willy Caballero to send the travelling fans wild just six minutes in.
The goal seemed to shake the Blues – that plus the loss of the talisman Silva, who could now be a doubt for Sunday’s Manchester derby – and the play became a little scrappy with the visitors buoyed by their shock lead
...City 0 Newcastle 2..
Stevan Jovetic went close a couple of times and perhaps should have done better with one effort from four yards out that was scrambled off the line, but Newcastle reached the half-hour mark with their lead intact and on 33 minutes, they really should have doubled their lead as Paul Dummett saw his volley straight from point-blank range saved by the knees of Caballero.
Without Silva orchestrating the play, the Blues had become disjointed and were not really making any impact on a makeshift Newcastle defence who, by in large, looked fairly comfortable.
After the break, the visitors had loud appeals for a penalty and a possibly a sending off when Gabriel Obertan raced through and went down in the box under the challenge of Aleks Kolarov - you’ve seen them given, as they say – but the ref decided the tackle had been clean and the Blues survived falling further behind.
It was inevitable Pellegrini would eventually send for Sergio Aguero with Jovetic and Edin Dzeko unable to make any headway and the appearance of City’s top scorer immediately lifted the near-41,000 crowd who had been fairly subdued up to that point.
But there was to be no comeback on this occasion as the lacklustre champions fell further behind when substitute Moussa Sissoko was allowed to dance through a static City defence and toe poke the ball past Caballero on 75 minutes
...City 0 Newcastle 2...
There was still time for Dzeko and Jesus Navas to miss gilt-edged chances that might have made the final ten minutes interesting, but the Blues just aren’t firing on all cylinders at the moment and with the Manchester derby next on the agenda, the champions need to rediscover their swagger – and quickly.