Newcastle United 0, Manchester City 4
Manchester City will be top of the Premier League at Christmas after hammering Newcastle United 4-0 at St James’ Park.Embed from Getty Images
Goals from Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo, Riyad Mahrez, and Raheem Sterling ensured that Newcastle boss Eddie Howe suffered an 11th straight defeat to Manchester City as a Premier League manager.
In the space of two games City have closed the goal difference gap with Liverpool with 11 goals without reply and the Blues have won the title on each of the two previous occasions they have celebrated Christmas at the top of the league (2011/12 and 2017/18).
Indeed, with their 34th league of 2021, City have set a new top-division record – going clear of Liverpool in second while Newcastle set an unwanted record of their own – conceding the joint-most Premier League goals in a calendar year with 79 – the same as Ipswich Town in 1994.
Ruben Dias opened the scoring with a free header after two errors by Martin Dubravka while Joao Cancelo celebrated his 100th appearance for City with a 20 yard strike after being given a free run at goal.
Ryan Fraser was brought down by Ederson but shouts of a penalty were disregarded by Martin Atkinson and VAR.
Dubravka somewhat redeemed himself with a save from Gabriel Jesus but City made sure of the win with goals by Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling to make it eight consecutive wins in the Premier League for City.
With Kyle Walker still not fully fit, City made three changes from the side that beat Leeds United on Tuesday.
Joao Cancelo, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem, Sterling were handed starts while John Stones, Jack Grealish, and Phil Foden were rested.
And Christmas was certainly coming early for City after their hosts were so accommodating – defensive errors cost Newcastle two first half goals as City quickly converted domination into goals.
Slack defending costs Newcastle dearly as Manchester City score early
Miguel Almiron was robbed by Oleksandr Zinchenko as he hared towards goal, nobody from his side told him that the Ukrainian was on his way to rob him from the blind side.
Martin Dubravka gave away a corner and from that set piece Zinchenko sent a ball deep into Newcastle territory for Joao Cancelo.
Cancelo’s volleyed cross into the box was missed by Cieran Clark who left the ball for a statuesque Dubravka giving Ruben Dias a free header after 5 minutes for his second goal of the season.
Joelinton shot narrowly wide of Ederson’s post after City failed to clear soon afterwards as the Magpies tried to rally themselves.
Kevin De Bruyne was dispossesed by Ryan Fraser and while the resulting shot was cleared off the line by Aymeric Laporte his blushes were spared by Martin Atkinson’s decision to give a foul against Fraser.
Rodri was penalised for a push on Joelinton from which Newcastle couldn’t profit.
Zinchenko lashed the ball over the bar as City hit back but it wasn’t long before their hosts’ porous defence let them down again.
Joao Cancelo was allowed to run to the edge of the box, past 2 Newcastle players – Isaac Hayden slipped – and smash in a 20 yard strike between 2 more after Riyad Mahrez laid the ball off to him.
It was his 3rd goal of the season and his first Premier League goal since a strike in May at St James’ Park.
Ryan Fraser was brought down by Ederson long after the ball had gone, VAR checked it and dismissed it as the action went on.
City crowded the Magpies out as they once again tried to get on the scoresheet with Callum Wilson failing to make the most of a through ball from Joelinton.
Almiron’s tame cross was easily collected by Ederson as they tried to get some momentum in the second half after bringing on Allan St Maximin for Willock.
Jesus was denied by reflex save by Dubravka after a cross into the box was flicked back to him by Bernardo Silva and his header looked goalbound.
Jesus had had a shot before the break go just wide and Sterling also went wide before having a shot tipped away by Dubravka.
Cancelo blazed over before Riyad Mahrez found the net after getting on the end of a Zinchenko cross.
Martin Atkinson initially ruled it out but VAR overruled him so the Algerian’s 11th goal of the season – his 50th for City overall – stood.
Fernandinho replaced Rodri while John Stones came on to give Dias a rest and Riyad Mahrez was replaced by Cole Palmer with the result looking comfortable.
Ederson jumped on Fraser’s cross into the box and was also out of his box to head away a well timed ball into the City half with nobody chasing it up.
The Brazilian kept out a shot from Callum Wilson while St Maximin’s rising shot sailed over the bar – with on firm strikers and friendly intervention from VAR in the first half the Magpies might have pulled a goal or two back as City became sloppy.
But City ensured the points would come back to Manchester when Gabriel Jesus beat his full back on the left flank, pulled the ball back from the touchline and Raheem Sterling tapped in his 101st City goal from 4 yards out at the back post with 4 minutes to go – his 8th goal of the season.
GOALS – Newcastle United 0, Manchester City 4
Newcastle Utd 0, Man City 1: 5. Oleksandr Zinchenko’s ball over the top for Joao Cancelo was volleyed into the six yard box where a mix-up between Ciaran Clark and Martin Dubravka allowed Ruben Dias a free header from close range.
Newcastle Utd 0, Man City 2: 27. Joao Cancelo was allowed to run to the edge of the box, past 2 Newcastle players, and smash in a 20 yard screamer between 2 more after Riyad Mahrez laid the ball off to him.
Newcastle Utd 0, Man City 3: 64. Riyad Mahrez swept home Oleksandr Zinchenko’s left wing cross – it was initially ruled offside but VAR found a Newcastle player playing the Algerian onside so the goal stood.
Newcastle Utd 0, Man City 4: 86. Raheem Sterling had an easy tap-in at the back post from 4 yards out after Gabriel Jesus ran down the left flank, beating his full back, and cut the ball back from the touchline.
MATCH STATS – Newcastle United 0, Manchester City 4
Newcastle Utd: Dubravka, Murphy, Clark, Lascelles (C), Ritchie, Almiron (Hendrick 80), Hayden (S Longstaff 61), Willock (Saint-Maximin 46), Fraser, Joelinton, Wilson
Newcastle Utd subs not used: Darlow, Schar, Krafth, Anderson, Gayle, White
Booking: Hayden 21 (foul on Kevin De Bruyne)
Man City: Ederson, Cancelo, Dias (C) (Stones 70), Laporte, Zinchenko, Rodri (Fernandinho 68), Bernardo Silva, De Bruyne, Mahrez (Palmer 77), Jesus, Sterling
Man City subs not used: Steffen, Ake, Gundogan, Grealish, Foden, Wilson-Esbrand
Bookings: Rodri 25 (foul on Joe Willock); Bernardo Silva 30 (foul on Jacob Murphy)
Goals: Dias 21; Cancelo 27; Mahrez 64; Sterling 86
Referee: Martin Atkinson