Manchester City made it two wins from two in the Premier League with a 1-0 win against Newcastle United on Saturday.

Julian Alvarez scored the only goal of the game with a thumping strike in the first half, although City dominated the second half without finding the back of the net.

Here are three things we spotted as the treble winners returned home.

Akanji pushing into midfield

With John Stones missing with a muscle complaint, Manuel Akanji assumed the Englishman’s role of pushing up from defence into midfield when City had the ball.

The Swiss centre-back didn’t look entirely comfortable doing that job against Sevilla on Wednesday.

It wasn’t that he didn’t understand where he needed to be, more that his attacking movements and passing ability were – understandably – well below those of his attacking teammates.

Manchester City v Newcastle United - Premier League
Photo by Lexy Ilsley – Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

It was a similar story against Newcastle. Akanji did his best, but his attacking contributions were limited. Expect Stones to reclaim the role when he returns.

New tactics, or making do?

Guardiola didn’t set City up in their usual shape in the first half.

On paper Phil Foden was playing on the right wing, but when City had the ball he drifted inside into an inside forward position.

The 23-year-old was excellent, but his role meant that Kyle Walker was City’s only real outlet on the right wing.

While Walker is quick and a decent crosser, he lacks the technical ability and vision of City’s attackers. With him on the right and Jack Grealish, City’s attack felt a little lopsided.

Another tactical quirk was that at times during the first half, City defended with a back five. That saw Jack Grealish dropping to left-back in response to Kieran Trippier bombing forward on Newcastle’s right flank.

Whether Saturday was a case of Guardiola adapting to the opposition and his side’s injury absences – or whether we’ll see those tactics again – remains to be seen.

Fantastic Foden

As mentioned above, Foden spent most of the night in an attacking midfield role and did so exceptionally.

It’s no secret that Foden sees midfield as his ideal position, but Guardiola has largely been reluctant to deploy him there since he graduated to the first team.

The England star created five chances in the first half, more than any other player on the pitch.

Chance creation aside, Foden’s movement was hugely impressive. He came short to drag defenders out of position, created space and dribbled out of incredibly tight situations.

Speaking at half-time on TNT Sports, Rio Ferdinand described Foden’s performance as ‘tremendous.

Guardiola wants a new midfielder to compensate for the injury loss of Kevin de Bruyne, but his best option is arguably already in the building.

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