Manchester City got its Premier League aspirations back on track with a 5-0 win against Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, after a midweek meltdown in the Champions League.
It was nearly flawless, with City looking in good shape as they chased their ninth Premier League crown.
Raheem Sterling scored twice and Aymeric Laporte scored early in a game that Newcastle just couldn’t get back into. City out-attempted Newcastle 21-7 thanks to goals from Rodri and Phil Foden after the hour mark.
Manchester City now leads Liverpool by three points after Jurgen Klopp’s men were beaten to a 1-1 draw with Tottenham at Anfield.
To top that off, they also have a better goal difference than the side from Merseyside!
Story of the match
The first goal was scored via aerial threat.
Ilkay Gundogan chipped the ball to the onrushing Joao Cancelo, who had previously blasted a chance over before nodding across the goal for Sterling to head in.
Wood had the ball in the net from a corner but was found to be offside, and there was no VAR relief for Dubravka, who fumbled Ilkay Gundogan’s drive from De Bruyne’s set-piece and was not assessed to have possession of the ball from Ruben Dias’ follow-up as Laporte snuck home.
Rodri was on hand for a sharper corner conversion, racing to the near post to head in, despite Dias’ half-time injured absence having done nothing to improve City’s defensive stability.
After Laporte inexplicably lost control, veteran midfielder Fernandinho came on as a last-minute substitution and expertly denied Callum Wilson from Kieran Trippier’s cross.
The return of Wilson and Trippier as replacements was undoubtedly the highlight for Newcastle manager Eddie Howe, who saw Ederson deny the former one-on-one.
City then taught their guests a lesson in ruthlessness, beginning in the 90th minute when Foden tucked in Oleksandr Zinchenko’s ball.
That happened after Grealish tortured Trippier and the £100 million man put on Sterling to seal the carnage.
Back to business
Pep Guardiola stated before the game that City’s players’ spirits had greatly improved since their late surrender to Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.
That was evident throughout the course of 90 minutes at the Etihad, as few Newcastle players other than Allan Saint-Maximin managed to throw City off guard.
Liverpool’s draw with Tottenham opens the door for City to win a fourth Premier League title in five years, something only one team has done in the past 40 years (Manchester United, thrice).