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Match Report: Manchester City Top of the Tree for Christmas

Blues Thump Newcastle to Remain at Premier League Summit

Newcastle United v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Manchester City extended their winning Premier League run to seven matches with a resounding victory at St James’s Park. First half goals from Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo were added to in the second half by Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling as City moved four points clear at the top.

The blues were looking to follow up their 7-0 thrashing of Leeds in midweek and faced the struggling Magpies, who are languishing near the foot of the table. City went into the match with an excellent record against United, having lost just one of their previous fifteen matches in the North-East, winning eleven.

Last season, City won a topsy-turvy match towards the end of the season, having gone behind before leading, then having to come from behind again before eventually winning 4-3. Although the blues would score another four on Sunday, there would be no repeat of the Newcastle scoring exploits as the faithful enjoyed another day in the St James’s Park gods.

The blues took less than five minutes to get themselves on the scoresheet, and with it being Christmas, it was more of a gift from the Newcastle defence. A City corner came to nothing, but the blues kept possession, with the ball eventually coming out to Oleksandr Zinchenko.

His pass over the defence found the run of Cancelo. His cross should have been met with the head of Ciaran Clark, but the defender allowed the ball to bounce over his head where Dias was waiting. The Portuguese defender had the simple task of guiding the ball home to give City the lead.

City didn’t have it all their own way and some poor defending from the blues allowed Joelinton an opportunity from outside the box. The Brazilian striker picked up a stray pass and fired a vicious shot through a crowd of players that went inches beyond the post. It was enough to keep Ederson awake, with the City keeper scrambling across goal.

It was a wake-up call for City and in the 27th minute, they put some daylight between them and the home side when Cancelo added his name to the number of spectacular goals scored by the blues recently. The defender, who is rapidly turning into a candidate for Player of the Year, picked up the ball midway inside the Newcastle half and marched towards the goal. With no attempt from the home defence to tackle, Cancelo was allowed time to carry the ball to the edge of the box, before unleashing a rocket beyond the keeper and send City 2-0 up.

It was a spectacular strike by Cancelo on his 100th City appearance, as he firmly gave his contribution to the goal of the season competition. But again, it was weak defending with two feeble attempts to take the ball, and by the time the defenders decided to close him down, Cancelo had spotted the gap, picked his spot and released the trigger.

Newcastle will feel aggrieved that they were denied a penalty when Ederson appeared to bring Ryan Fraser down in the area. Cancelo clipped the ball away from both Fraser and Ederson, but the keeper collided with the Newcastle man, and it seemed certain the home side would be awarded a spot-kick. Ederson looked a relieved man when VAR backed up the referee and play continued, much to the disgust of the home supporters.

Gabriel Jesus went close for the blues before half-time, but fired wide, then saw his second-half header from point-blank range tipped over the bar by the keeper as City threatened to run riot. The Brazilian looked certain to score, but the keeper somehow adjusted and got a hand to it.

But a third goal was always in the making and it came from the trusted left foot of Mahrez. A City attack saw just City men against three defenders, but Zinchenko’s ball evaded them all and fell to Mahrez, who swept home first time into the bottom corner. The referee’s assistant raised his flag for offsides, but VAR confirmed the Algerian had timed his run to perfection and the goal stood.

Ederson was called int action to deny top scorer Callum Wilson and keep City’s goals conceded tally in single figures before Sterling finished of the scoring with four minutes remaining. Jesus beat his man on the City left and played the perfect pass to Sterling, who tapped home for 4-0.

It was the icing on the cake for the traveling supporters, who had taunted the home fans with chants of ‘you should have gone Christmas shopping.’

The win was City’s 34th win in 2021, a record for the topflight in a calendar year, and their 18th league away win in 2021 as the blues continue to smash records.

With both Chelsea and Liverpool dropping points, City go into the Christmas break four points clear, and face Leicester at home and Brentford away, before finishing the festive period with a trip to Arsenal on New Year’s Day.

Final Score: Newcastle United 0-4 Manchester City