Manchester City continued their rampant form as they dispatched Newcastle United with ease at St. James’ Park on Sunday.
Manchester City ensured they will go into Christmas on top of the Premier League as they cemented their place on the summit of the table with a win over a hapless Newcastle United side. The defeat leaves the Magpies in a difficult position as they endured the wrath of yet another quality opposition.
The early talking point of the game was Newcastle’s shambolic defence that gifted Ruben Dias the opening goal after just five minutes on the clock. The Magpies visibly improved their display at the back after that, minimising Manchester City’s attacking threat until Joao Cancelo pulled something special off his sleeve.
The right-back skipped past a few players before unleashing a thunderous strike from outside the box to double Manchester City’s advantage. From that point on, Pep Guardiola’s men never lost control of the game and put behind them a half described by the manager as their worst performance this season.
Riyad Mahrez was next to get his name on the scoresheet. However, his effort was initially flagged away for offside, only for VAR to overturn the decision and triple Manchester City’s lead. Finally, Raheem Sterling scored the fourth to seal the three points.
Top of the Premier League table on Christmas Day in the past five seasons:
🎄 2017/18 = Man City
🎄 2018/19 = Liverpool
🎄 2019/20 = Liverpool
🎄 2020/21 = Liverpool
🎄 2021/22 = Man City
City have won the league in three of the past four anyway. 😅 pic.twitter.com/5wqr3DfeBk
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) December 19, 2021
While Manchester City are certain to keep their top spot heading into the festive period, Newcastle remain 19th, with Norwich City yet to play their game in hand. There are more challenging times ahead for the Magpies, who will want to move on from this result and look to get points on board going forward. Here’s how the players fared from Manchester City’s crushing victory over Newcastle United.
Martin Dubravka: 4/10
Dubravka was at fault for the opening goal and conceded three more during the course of the game. However, he made some smart saves to keep the score a bit more respectable.
Jacob Murphy: 4.5/10
Murphy was Newcastle’s best defender in the match, but he only had a few good moments to cherish. He must be low on confidence looking at the final score.
Jamaal Lascelles: 5/10
Lascelles did his job as best he could to keep some of the threat away. The Newcastle captain played a big part in the defensive unit’s improvement after the opener, but he could not prevent the next three strikes.
Ciaran Clark: 4/10
Clark was the culprit in the mix-up with Dubravka in the build-up to the goal scored by Dias, and his performance bolstered Eddie Howe’s need for a centre-back in January.
Matt Ritchie: 4/10
While he spent most of the game with his back against the wall, Ritchie made some questionable positional choices during the game. He did not make any meaningful contribution in the final third, and the game passed him by.
Miguel Almiron: 4/10
Almiron’s threat was nullified by Manchester City rather comfortably, and the attacker could not get to grips with the challenges of the game.
Joe Willock: 3.5/10
Howe hauled Willock off at half-time, which was not surprising given his horrific first half display. Willock was nowhere near good enough and made some questionable defensive choices in midfield.
Isaac Hayden: 5/10
The busiest of all Newcastle players on the afternoon after being tasked with the anchor role. Hayden put in a decent, hard-working display, trying to break up play as much as he could.
Joelinton produced a very promising display as he gave his side hope whenever on the ball. He was a driving force at times and proved to be a bright spark yet again.
Ryan Fraser: 6/10
Fraser and Joelinton were Newcastle’s only hope to get something from the game. He kept driving forward, carrying a threat on the flanks at times. He should have won a penalty, but the calls for it never materialised into what would have been the correct call.
"That's just a terrible excuse… he wipes him out."
VAR said no penalty ❌
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 19, 2021
Callum Wilson: 5/10
Wilsons hard work cannot be questioned as he ran his sock off chasing the ball and figuring out a way to get something out of a tough game. With hardly any chances being created, very few openings came his way, meaning he did not create a meaningful impact.
Allan Saint-Maximin: 4/10
After coming on, the Frenchman barely made an impact.
Sean Longstaff: 5/10
Longstaff produced a decent display after coming off, which probably showed the manager the problem of playing Willock instead of him in the team.
Jeff Hendrick: N/A
Hendrick did not produce much of an impact in his cameo.
Ederson Moraes: 5/10
As Newcastle could muster one shot on target, Ederson had one of those quiet afternoons that he so often does. He controversially got away with a penalty call after ramming into Ryan Fraser, and he went scot-free thanks to some questionable officiating.
Joao Cancelo: 8/10
That extraordinary strike to double the lead was the cherry on top of how good Cancelo was in the game. The Portuguese international proved a constant threat down the right side and created the first goal for Dias.
🅰️🇵🇹 Joao Cancelo
— City Xtra (@City_Xtra) December 19, 2021
Ruben Dias: 7/10
After a mix-up in Newcastle’s backline, Dias gave Manchester City the lead and then sat rather comfortably with the Magpies failing to trouble him.
Aymeric Laporte: 7/10
Laporte is an intelligent reader of the game and he proved it on Sunday. He kept Wilson quiet for most parts as Newcastle barely threatened the Manchester City defence.
Oleksandr Zinchenko: 7/10
Zinchenko was a lively presence on the left flank as he often found the space to attack from the front. He provided a pinpoint cross for Mahrez to score the third goal and effectively seal the encounter.
With the midfield under his control, Rodri made things difficult for himself with some bad passes. However, it did not matter much in the grand scheme of things.
Bernardo Silva: 6/10
Silva was not 100 per cent fit to be at his dazzling best. The Portuguese international was still effective in proceedings as Manchester City kept a stronghold on the game through their attacking display.
Kevin De Bruyne: 6/10
De Bruyne produced a somewhat sloppy display on the ball and was nowhere near his sizzling self. This was a major drop off in performance compared to the one against Leeds United the other day.
Riyad Mahrez: 8/10
Mahrez justified his inclusion with a goal and overall attacking display. The Algerian playmaker caused the Newcastle defence all sorts of problems with his mazy runs and was consistent with his output.
Gabriel Jesus: 7/10
Four players have provided 10 assists in the Premier League in 2021:
◎ Trent Alexander-Arnold (12)
◎ Mohamed Salah (11)
◎ Paul Pogba (10)
◉ Gabriel Jesus (10)
Alô, Gabriel. 📞 pic.twitter.com/JNisWdrtKK
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 19, 2021
Apart from missing an easy chance to score, Jesus worked very hard to make himself useful. The Brazilian set up Sterling for his goal with some beautiful skills on the ball.
Raheem Sterling: 7/10
Sterling was still a lively presence in the final third without creating much danger. He got himself a goal to justify his selection ahead of Jack Grealish.
34 of Raheem Sterling's 101 Premier League goals have been scored from inside the six-yard box.
The ultimate poacher. 🦊 pic.twitter.com/3VjCZ4gpX3
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 19, 2021
The Brazilian was sent to provide fresh legs as the game had already been won.
John Stones: 6/10
Stones slotted in seamlessly and helped see the game out.
Cole Palmer: N/A
Palmer did not play enough to get a rating.