Report as Manchester City move from ninth to fifth with simple win over Newcastle; Ilkay Gundogan gives City lead from Raheem Sterling centre before Ferran Torres’ second after the break; Newcastle sit 12th, seven points above drop zone
Saturday 26 December 2020 22:17, UK
Manchester City breezed past a lethargic Newcastle as goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Ferran Torres gave them a 2-0 win at the Etihad Stadium.
City dominated the ball in the first half and took the lead through Ilkay Gundogan (14), converting from close range after Raheem Sterling had squared in the box.
And the hosts turned it up a notch in the second half, doubling their lead through Torres after both Miguel Almiron and Federico Fernandez’s failed clearances (55).
Bernardo Silva hit the post and sub Sergio Aguero saw a big late chance superbly saved by Karl Darlow, but it ended 2-0, meaning a 13th clean sheet in all competitions this season for City, more than any other team in the top five European leagues.
The result moves City up from ninth to fifth, five points off the lead, while Newcastle are 12th, still with a cushion of seven points between them and the drop zone.
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Man City: Ederson (6), Cancelo (8), Dias (7), Stones (7), Ake (7), Rodri (7), Gundogan (8), De Bruyne (7), Bernardo (7), Torres (7), Sterling (7)
Subs: Fernandinho (6), Aguero (NA)
Newcastle: Darlow (7), Yedlin (6), Clark (5), Schar (5), Fernandez (5), Ritchie (4), Hayden (5), M Longstaff (5), Murphy (4), Almiron (4), Joelinton (5)
Subs: Lewis (5), Carroll (5), Gayle (NA)
Man of the match: Joao Cancelo
How City strolled to win over listless Newcastle
Newcastle left Callum Wilson on the bench and set up in a defensive style at the Etihad, and though City had 75 per cent of the ball in the first half, they only managed the one goal.
It came as Joao Cancelo found Sterling in-behind – Sterling had the better of Matt Ritchie on the right flank repeatedly in the first half – and after composing himself as Karl Darlow rushed out, the City man squared for Ilkay Gundogan to slot home from close range after peeling off the Newcastle defence.
Kevin De Bruyne forced Darlow into a good save from a cross-shot from the left flank, before Darlow denied the Belgian again at his feet after he was played through on goal by Ferran Torres.
Newcastle showed little ambition, often turning back after winning the ball in City’s half, and with City only in second gear, they turned it up after the break.
John Stones’ header square was just ahead of Torres when he should have gone for goal himself, but City duly got their second after two instances of sloppy Newcastle defending. First, Almiron’s lazy clearance allowed the brilliant Cancelo to take over, and though his cross was intercepted by Fernandez, the ball fell on a silver platter to Torres to tuck into the bottom corner from eight yards.
City should have had a third, but Sterling couldn’t get his feet right three years out from Cancelo’s centre, before Bernardo Silva’s stretched rebound hit the outside of the post.
Sergio Aguero was introduced late on and nearly got his first Premier League goal of the season, but Darlow denied him brilliantly with a last-gasp save as the Argentine looked certain to score from Cancelo’s cross.
Newcastle were incredibly passive throughout – they attempted just 123 passes in the second half to City’s 432 – while Joelinton had just two touches in the opposition box in his 70 minutes, as pressure grows on Steve Bruce.
For City, Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus were out having tested positive for Covid-19, so Nathan Ake came in to replace Walker. Sergio Aguero and Aymeric Laporte were only fit enough for the bench.
Newcastle made four changes from the 1-1 draw with Fulham; Callum Wilson was on the bench, replaced by Joelinton, Matty Longstaff came in for brother Sean, Paul Dummett made way for Fabian Schar, and Jonjo Shelvey was out, replaced by Jacob Murphy.
But for City, capitalising on several teams above them dropping points means a Boxing Day job well done for Pep Guardiola, as attention turns to tricky trips to Everton and Chelsea in the Premier League.
- City have won their last 12 Premier League home games against Newcastle, scoring 41 goals and conceding just seven.
- Newcastle have lost more Boxing Day games than any other side in Premier League history (15), and have now lost each of their last six league games in a row on this date.
- Raheem Sterling’s assist for Man City’s opener was his 150th goal involvement in all competitions since Pep Guardiola joined in 2016 (96 goals, 54 assists), more than any other player at the club in that time.
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Man City now go to Everton on Monday at 8pm, before going to Chelsea on January 3, live on Sky Sports Premier League at 4.30pm.
Newcastle now host champions Liverpool on Wednesday at 8pm, before hosting Leicester on January 3, live on Sky Sports Premier League at 2.15pm.
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