MAN CITY 4, NEWCASTLE 0
Manchester City breezed past Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium to strengthen their hold on second spot in the Barclay’s Premier League.
In an embarrassingly one-sided contest, City found little resistance as they powered to an emphatic victory making it seven straight victories against the team from Tyneside.
There were goals from Carlos Tevez, David Silva, Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure and, but for the brilliance of visiting keeper Rob Elliot, it would have been by a far wider margin as Newcastle were left only three points clear of the relegation places.
City manager Roberto Mancini was delighted with his side’s performance saying they played well but admitting it is too late to force their way back into the title race with Manchester United still 15 points clear at the top.
Mancini said: “It is impossible to win the title, but important we finish the season well.
“We have eight Premier League games left and an FA Cup semi final so it is important we have good form.”
Mancini admitted to being frustrated by City’s inconsistent form, but blamed that on the loss of key players on the day Kompany returned to action after a lengthy lay off.
He continued: “We lost Kompany for 60 days and Yaya Toure for one month to the African Cup of Nations.
“Some players are very important and, if they are not playing for three, four, five games it is a big problem.”
City made five changes from the side beaten at Everton a fortnight earlier in their last fixture.
Back into the back line came captain Kompany, Joleon Lescott and Gael Clichy along with Samir Nasri and Yaya Toure. Striker Sergio Aguero, available after injury, returned to the bench.
It was a low-key opening which lacked sparkle and it took until the mid-half stage until there was any meaningful action.
Newcastle had the first clear-cut chance when Papiss Cisse’s angled volley from a long diagonal pass brought a decent save from Joe Hart.
That let off jolted City into action as they responded with Edin Dzeko’s close-range shot being blocked by keeper Rob Elliot with Gareth Barry blazing the rebound over from six yards when he ought to have found the net.
Silva then went close curling a free kick over the defensive wall and just past the upright while a fiercely struck angled shot from Clichy brought a great save from Elliot.
City found the net in the 39th minute, but the effort was ruled out as Silva had strayed five yards offside.
But moments later they made the breakthrough when Clichy crossed from the left and Tevez slid in at the far post to convert from a couple of yards under pressure from Jonas Gutierrez.
City were denied a second goal in stoppage time when Elliot pulled off a super stop to deny Dzeko.
It was simply delaying the inevitable as City added a second goal before the break when Silva made a dazzling run from the left, played a return pass with Nasri and drilled home a low shot.
Newcastle came close to halving the deficit soon after the restart when Yohan Cabaye fired narrowly wide.
It was a temporary aberration as City soon added a third goal when Gareth Barry’s shot was flying wide until it was diverted into the goal by Kompany for his first goal of the campaign.
And it would have been 4-0 before the hour mark but for a great save from Elliott to deny the dangerous Dzeko.
Yaya Toure added a fourth goal with 20 minutes left following a barnstorming burst in from the right before powering an unstoppable angled shot high into the roof of the net.
City substitute Scott Sinclair had been on the pitch for less than one minute when he almost made it five as his curling shot brought a flying save from Elliot.