Super City go three points clear after Newcastle rout
City bounced back from the midweek disappointment against Real Madrid to thrash Newcastle United 5-0 and move three points clear of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League.
First-half goals from Raheem Sterling and Aymeric Laporte put the Blues firmly in command against lively opposition.
Rodrigo bagged the third on the hour, before crucial late goals from Phil Foden and Sterling wrapped up a wonderful afternoon the defending champions who now move within seven points of the title.
City looked sharp from the off against Newcastle, looking to press high and force errors from the visitors.
Yet the first real opportunity came for Newcastle on 12 minutes when Allan Saint-Maximin’s cross into the middle found Chris Wood and Joelinton free at the far post but Wood’s tame header from five yards was easily saved by Ederson.
Shortly after, Kevin De Bruyne’s corner fell to Aymeric Laporte who blasted over from eight yards out with a clear shot on goal.
The breakthrough came on 19 minutes, when Ilkay Gundogan’s floated cross to the far post found Joao Cancelo who headed across the six-yard box for Raheem Sterling to nod past Martin Dubravka.
After the Magpies saw a goal ruled out for offside, Gundogan came close with a 25-yard drive that went just wide.
City continued to create chances and finally doubled the lead on 39 minutes.
De Bruyne’s deep corner found Gundogan on the edge of the box and his volley was spilled by Dubravka who kept out Ruben Dias’ close range prod but could do nothing about Laporte’s follow-up.
The Blues began the second-half with Fernandinho replacing Dias – hopefully the Portuguese was taken off as a precaution more than anything else.
The opening 15 minutes were all about control, with Newcastle chasing shadows as City knocked the ball around – until the third goal arrived and, inevitably, De Bruyne was involved again.
The Belgian whipped in a corner towards the near post and Rodrigo arrived on cue to head powerfully past Dubravka to make it 3-0.
That wasn’t the end of the end of the scoring, with the excellent Oleks Zinchenko laying on a fourth for Phil Foden to sweep home in the final minute to leave the Etihad jubilant.
And three minutes later, Sterling made it five after superb work by Foden and Jack Grealish, further boosting City’s goal difference in the process.
It was masterful stuff from the Blues and, as ever, De Bruyne in particular.
City go three points clear of Liverpool with three games to play.
City's goal difference is also four better than the Merseysiders after this win.
City travel down the M6 to face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday night.
Rodrigo was on target and there were two goals in added time - but this time it was our Rodrigo and City scored the goals!
Those two late strikes takes our goal difference to +4 better than Liverpool.
That could be a crucial factor if the title were to be decided on goal difference.
The bottom line is that the Blues need seven points from three games to guarantee a fourth Premier League title in five years.
The loss of Ruben Dias today, coupled with Kyle Walker and John Stones being out, will, however, be a concern for the Blues in the weeks that remain.
"I am very pleased. (It was a) perfect afternoon. Before the start of the game I felt in our crowd that they were disappointed, but not sad about who we are as a team and what we have done in the last five years every three days.
"Three more points. Three games left and one competition to play and big problems behind because we have just three defenders for these three games.
"We are going to try and do it. Now after what happened with Liverpool and with us today, Wednesday became a final.
"It is an absolute final and I am pretty sure we will prepare well to try and beat them."
• City have scored five or more goals in the Premier League for the 30th time under Pep Guardiola – more than Liverpool (14) and Spurs (13).
• City have lost just one of the past 29 league games against Newcastle (W24, D4).
• City became the only team in Europe’s big five leagues to have four or more different players reach 10 assists in all competitions this season with Joao Cancelo (10) joining Kevin de Bruyne (13), Phil Foden (11) and Jesus (11).
• Newcastle have never won a league match at the Etihad Stadium (D2, L15), losing each of their last 13 visits to the stadium.
• The reigning champions have scored 20 Premier League goals from set-pieces this season (excluding penalties), the most of any side.
• Kevin De Bruyne has been involved in 16 goals in his last 17 Premier League appearances, scoring nine and assisting seven.
• Rodrigo has scored six goals in30 Premier League appearances this term, equalling his combined total in his two previous seasons across 69 games.
• Eddie Howe has lost all 12 of his Premier League meetings with Manchester City, the longest 100% losing record a manager has recorded against a single opponent.
• Ten of those defeats have come against Pep Guardiola - also the longest 100% losing record one manager has against another in the Premier League.