Manchester City 5, Newcastle United 0
Manchester City thrashed Newcastle United 5-0 as they responded to their Champions League exit to Real Madrid to lead the Premier League by 3 points with three games to go.
Raheem Sterling started and finished the scoring with a brace and Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, and Phil Foden helped City improve their goal difference to +4 over Liverpool after they scored five or more goals for the sixth time in the Premier League this term, the 30th time in all under boss Pep Guardiola.
The last two goals felt especially important to the home crowd who know what it is like to win the title on goal difference – a decade after Sergio Aguero’s winning goal against QPR City came out in a special commemorative Puma training top.
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe admitted that City were too good for his side today but hailed the home crowd’s backing for their team and added that Newcastle’s mistakes contributed to the 5-0 scoreline today.
He said: “City can do that to anybody – they were that good – and the crowd was good for them today.
“Tactically City are always interchanging positions throughout the game, out challenge was to find solutions.
“We struggled in the wide areas.
“We conceded from two set plays but there were some positives.
“We were aggressive and had chances that we didn’t take.
“There’s a huge gap between us and Liverpool and Manchester City – we have to try and close that gap through the seasons.
“That requires evolution not revolution – we will look to improve every day through hard work and smart moves.”
Addressing the late goals conceded, he added:
“We pushed too many men forward in the last minutes. Individual mistakes cost us today.
“Whenever you come here you’ll concede chances but you have to hope they have an off day.
“We had the first big chance in the game but we didn’t take it and the scoreline looks harsh.”
Pep Guardiola revealed that City now have an defensive injury crisis after Ruben Dias was taken off at half time against Newcastle United with Kyle Walker limping off at the Bernabeu on Wednesday and John Stones not featuring after limping out of the first leg against Real.
”Ruben [Dias], Kyle [Walker] and John [Stones] are out for the rest of the season.
“Ruben has a muscular problem – hamstring.
“But we have big problems at the back, we only have three [fit] defenders.
“We have thirteen and a half senior players [Nathan Ake is an injury doubt] available for Wolves plus the academy.
“Today we had a problem and we had to use Fernandinho against [Callum] Wilson.
“Goal difference may be important in the end – we can lose one game and they [Liverpool] can win everything.
“Our destiny is in our hands, I want to arrive here with a chance to retain the title against Aston Villa.
“We have Joao [Cancelo], Oleks [Zinchenko], and Aymeric [Laporte] – Nathan [Ake] might be available against Wolves.
But Guardiola praised the impact of the home fans on the win over Newcastle today as they spurred the team on to victory today.
He said: “It was a perfect afternoon, before the start of the game I felt our crowd were disappointed but not grumpy or upset or sad about our team.
“Three points today, three games left.
“Today and Wednesday became finals for us – if we can win on Wednesday we can come back home and win for the title.
“In the locker room most of the time we talk about our away fans – they are really good.
“I said we have to play good to lift our fans to ensure that they [Newcastle] think this place is not a nice place to come.
“For five years every three days these guys have deserved my admiration as one of the best groups I have had as a player or manager.”Embed from Getty Images
Kyle Walker was injured during the Real Madrid defeat while Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez, and Phil Foden started on the bench after their exhausting exploits in Spain.
They were replaced by Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ilkay Gundogan, Raheem Sterling, and Jack Grealish.
Neither Walker nor Stones featured in the match day squad as City had just the Premier League trophy to play for.
Newcastle United were all but mathematically safe from relegation prior to kick off after Leeds United lost to Arsenal.
And both sides started at pace with the ball changing hands as both sides pressed hard with Gabriel Jesus and Bruno Guimares enthusiastically involved.
Jack Grealish was tripped by Guimares on the edge of the Newcastle area but Kevin De Bruyne sent his free kick wide of the near post.
Zinchenko had a shot saved by Martin Drubravka after the sight of De Bruyne running upfield surrounded by black and white shirts got the crowd pumped up even more.
Chris Wood got a tame header collected by Ederson after the magpies broke free on the right and put a cross in.
Aymeric Laporte slice a shot over the crossbar after City won a corner in a frantic start at the Etihad while Cancelo also sliced wide as the ball arrived for him on the right channel where he was free.
The pressure was building and City soon broke the deadlock after 19 minutes.
Raheem Sterling got on the end of Joao Cancelo’s header across the 6 yard box to head City into the lead with his 15th goal of the season following a raking cross field ball by Ilkay Gundgoan to pick the Portuguese out.
Allan St Maximin was popping up on both wings to torment City and he evaded Cancelo more than once during the first half and provided a constant danger to City on the break.
Matt Targett’s corner was converted by Chris Wood but was ruled out for offside by Guimares in the build up to the relief of City fans.
City were approaching their best and after a long passing move ended with a Gundogan shot that could have gone better De Bruyne curled a superb pass to Jesus which the Brazilian took a poor first touch with.
Zinchenko then laid the ball across the area for Jesus who couldn’t quite reach it as the game was firmly in City’s favour.
Aymeric Laporte scored City’s second after 38 minutes when Gundogan’s long drive from De Bruyne’s corner was spilled by Dubravka and Dias’ followup was blocked by the Newcastle ‘keeper at close range only for Laporte to nick the ball home past the Slovakian keeper who could do nothing more.
It was Laporte’s fourth goal of the season.
Fernandinho replaced Dias at half time and slotted in alongside Laporte in defence to add more control to City’s build-up.
Sterling saw his second half shot deflected as City started the second half on the front foot.
Guimares shot high overt the bar while Saint-Maximin fired wide as the Magpies tried to find an opening.
But City scored their third when Kevin De Bruyne’s corner was converted art the near post by Rodri who slipped his marker and nodded the cross home – his sixth goal of the season and City’s 27th goal from a set piece this term – a Premier League high.
That was the signal to remove Jesus from the game and replace him with Phil Foden and Guardiola geed up the City crowd to cheer the Brazilian striker off.
Zinchenko saw a great shot tipped over by Dubravka after Grealish started putting in more crosses from the left.
Newcastle responded by bringing on Callum Wilson and Kieran Trippier for Emile Krafth and Chris Wood and later Jacob Murphy for Miguel Almiron.
Ederson saved from Wilson while Newcastle threatened on the break without producing many more clear chances.
Conrad Egan-Riley was City’s final change, replacing Laporte for the last 3 minutes of the game after making his Premier League bow and he was warmly applauded as he nicked the ball off Guimares as Newcastle tried to get a consolation goal late on.
But City only went up the other end and put a fourth goal in after Jack Grealish’s energetic run up the left flank, he cut the ball back to Zinchenko who instantly picked out Foden for a close range finish – his 14th of the season.
And Sterling made it 5-0 (his 16th of the season) after Grealish laid the ball on for him as City went 3 points clear of Liverpool and improved their goal difference to +4 with 3 games to go.
GOALS – Manchester City 5, Newcastle United 0
Man City 1, Newcastle Utd 0: 19. Raheem Sterling’s header broke the deadlock after he got on the end of Joao Cancelo’s header across the 6 yard box following a raking cross field ball by Ilkay Gundgoan to pick the Portuguese out.
Man City 2, Newcastle Utd 0: 38. Aymeric Laporte nipped in to tap in the loose ball after Martin Dubravka’s double save from Ilkay Gundogan and Ruben Dias left the Slovakian on the floor with the ball breaking away.
Man City 3, Newcastle Utd 0: 60. Kevin De Bruyne’s corner was converted at the near post by Rodri who slipped his marker and nodded the cross home from 6 yards out.
Man City 4, Newcastle Utd 0: 90. Phil Foden’s instinctive finish from from Oleksandr Zinchenko’s lay off following an energetic run up the left flank by Jack Grealish made sure of the win.
Man City 5, Newcastle Utd 0: 90+3. Raheem Sterling put the icing on the City cake after Grealish picked him out from the left and he also applied a fine finish.
MATCH STATS – Manchester City 5, Newcastle United 0
Man City: Ederson, Cancelo, Dias (Fernandinho 46), Laporte (Egan-Riley 87), Zinchenko, De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan, Sterling, Jesus (Foden 61), Grealish
Man City Subs not used: Steffen, Ake, Bernardo Silva, Mahrez, Mbete, Palmer
Booking: De Bruyne 75 (foul on Allan Saint-Maximin)
Goals: Sterling 19, 90+3; Laporte 38; Rodri 61; Foden 90
Newcastle Utd: Dubravka, Krafth (Trippier 68), Lascelles, Burn, Targett, Guimares, S Longstaff, Joelinton, Almiron (Murphy 80), Saint-Maximin, Wood (Wilson 68)
Newcastle Utd subs not used: Darlow, Dummett, Schar, Ritchie, Manquillo, Gayle
Bookings: Guimares 31 (foul on Jack Grealish); Burn 70 (interfering with a corner); Targett 89 (foul on Raheem Sterling)
Referee: Stuart Attwell