Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League after easing to a 5-0 win over Newcastle at the Etihad Stadium.
The hosts, looking to bounce back from Wednesday’s Champions League exit to Real Madrid, dominated throughout and were 2-0 up by half-time thanks to goals from Raheem Sterling and Aymeric Laporte, added to after the break by Rodri, Phil Foden and a second for Sterling.
Both sides missed glorious opportunities early on, with Chris Wood’s tame header easily saved for the visitors, while Laporte and Joao Cancelo blazed off-target at the other end. City were starting to turn the screw though and took the lead on 19 minutes as Sterling nodded home after Cancelo had headed Ilkay Gundogan’s brilliant ball back across goal.
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From then on, the hosts never looked back, dominating possession and controlling the game comfortably. They had a second on 38 minutes as Gundogan’s brilliant volley from the edge of the area was fumbled by Martin Dubravka, who, although blocking Ruben Dias’ rebound, could not prevent the ball being bundled home by Laporte.
Newcastle struggled to get their foot on the ball after the break, with City enjoying 99% of the possession in the opening seven minutes of the second half. It was no surprise, then, that a third was not too far away as Rodri brilliantly headed home Kevin De Bruyne’s corner at the near post.
After that, the hosts eased up a touch, although there was still time for Dubravka to pull off a stunning stop from Oleksandr Zinchenko, diving high to his left to tip around the post.
Dubravka could do nothing about City’s fourth, as substitute Foden swept home from close range. Newcastle were cut to shreds once again in injury time; Sterling slotted home a fifth as City boosted their goal difference – which could still prove pivotal
The result means Newcastle, who should have pulled one back through Callum Wilson late on, miss out on the chance to move into the top half of the table, while Pep Guardiola’s side are now three points clear of Liverpool in first place.
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Pep Guardiola’s side showed no ill-effects from that result though. As soon as Sterling scored the opener, they were completely dominant, controlling possession and creating a string of chances against a Newcastle side who simply could not stick with them.
Liverpool’s draw with Spurs, handing over the initiative in the Premier League title race, surely gave City a lift, but it was nonetheless impressive just how comprehensively and comfortably they dispatched a side who had lost just four of their previous 17 top-flight games.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
You almost run out of superlatives when describing the Manchester City playmaker, but he was once again the architect, picking passes from deep and orchestrating the pace of the game from midfield.
The Belgium international assisted the third, a beautiful corner routine that he placed perfectly on the head of Rodri, who nodded home from a tight angle.
But his performance was about much more than that, consistently putting City on the front foot by driving forward from midfield before carefully plotting the right ball on almost every occasion. There are few better in the world game.
MANCHESTER CITY: Ederson 6, Cancelo 7, Dias 6, Laporte 7, Zinchenko 7, De Bruyne 9, Rodri 7, Gundogan 8, Sterling 7, Jesus 6, Grealish 6. Subs: Fernandinho 6, Foden 7. Egan-Riley n/a
NEWCASTLE: Dubravka 6, Krafth 6, Lascelles 6, Burn 5, Targett 6, Guimaraes 5, Longstaff 5, Joelinton 6, Almiron 5, Wood 5, Saint-Maximin 6. Subs: Trippier 6, Wilson 5, Murphy n/a
19’ GOAL – MANCHESTER CITY 1-0 NEWCASTLE (Sterling). It had been coming; City were beginning to turn the screw. Cancelo heads Gundogan’s ball back across goal and picks out Sterling, who nods home from close range.
38’ GOAL – MANCHESTER CITY 2-0 NEWCASTLE (Laporte). De Bruyne sends a corner deep to Gundogan on the edge of the area and Dubravka fumbles the shot. Dias’ follow up deflects back off the goalkeeper to Laporte who bundles into an empty net.
61’ GOAL – MANCHESTER CITY 3-0 NEWCASTLE (Rodri). A glorious bit of football from the hosts, as De Bruyne sends a corner to the near post, Rodri makes a run from the penalty spot and heads home from a tight angle. That was so well orchestrated.
90’ GOAL – MANCHESTER CITY 4-0 NEWCASTLE (Foden). Grealish charges down the left, beating Trippier for pace, before pulling back to Zinchenko, whose shot is heading off-target but Foden helps it home.
90+2’ GOAL – MANCHESTER CITY 5-0 NEWCASTLE (Sterling). Sterling gets his second of the game, comprehensively firing into the far corner after being well picked out by Grealish. Lovely back-heel from Foden in the build up too.
- This result now means Manchester City have scored more goals and have a better goal difference than Liverpool, which could be crucial come the end of the season
- Newcastle have now picked up just two points in their 17 Premier League visits to the Etihad Stadium – they have not won a league game away at Manchester City since the Maine Road days in August 2000
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