Manchester City took a giant step towards retaining the Premier League title on Sunday as they dispatched Newcastle United with ease at the Etihad.

Manchester City bounced back from their midweek UEFA Champions League disappointment in emphatic fashion, beating Newcastle United 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium. A brace from Raheem Sterling and strikes from Aymeric Laporte, Rodri and Phil Foden pushed the Magpies to a crushing loss, with two goals surrendered in the closing act.

The game started off brightly, with opportunities coming at both ends, including a golden chance for Newcastle United striker Chris Wood to grab a surprising lead. Manchester City then piled the pressure on the visitors until Raheem Sterling breached Newcastle’s resistance with a close-range header to put the hosts ahead after 20 minutes.

Following some poor goalkeeping from Martin Dubravka, Aymeric Laporte bundled in another from close range to double the lead before half-time. Rodri made it three with a powerful header at the near post from Kevin De Bruyne’s corner, before Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling added the fourth and fifth goals to round off a drubbing.

The away side was overwhelmed on multiple occasions and could not stand up to the onslaught. With the win over Newcastle on Sunday, Manchester City have consolidated their position at the top of the points table and sit firmly in the driving seat, with Liverpool now three points behind the reigning Premier League winners, while the style of City’s victory has also turned the goal difference on its head.

Manchester City

Ederson Moraes: 7/10

As usual in these types of emphatic Manchester City wins, Ederson had little to do on Sunday, although he did make a brilliant stop to deny Callum Wilson in a one-on-one situation. His passing and distribution were once again impeccable with a sublime long ball to Phil Foden being the pick of the bunch. This is his 20th clean sheet of the season, tying him alongside Liverpool’s Alisson.

Joao Cancelo: 7/10

Despite an early miss, Cancelo was instrumental in Manchester City breaking the deadlock as he cushioned a header across goal to set up Raheem Sterling. The Portuguese full-back was a ghostly presence at the far post behind Allan Saint-Maximin, with Matt Targett opting to stay narrow.

Ruben Dias: 6/10

Following a dismal performance in the late collapse against Real Madrid in the Champions League, Dias was not really put to the test much by a hapless Newcastle attack, while he was calm and collected at the back and also played a part in Aymeric Laporte’s goal. His withdrawal during the half-time break signals another worrying defensive injury for Manchester City.

Aymeric Laporte: 7.5/10

Laporte appeared wide open in the opening exchanges and made a few uncostly errors while dealing with Chris Wood. But he tightened the screws as the game progressed and City started to dominate the visitors. He also scored the all-important goal that doubled Manchester City’s advantage while looking composed playing out from the back.

Oleksandr Zinchenko: 8/10

Zinchenko’s defensive positioning was perfect on the day as he nullified the threat from Miguel Almiron. The Ukrainian international looked keen to foray forwards and did some great work on the overlap before firing a few teasing low crosses into the box. He eventually got his assist for Foden’s late strike.

Rodri: 7/10

Rodri was solid in midfield and imposed his physical presence in the middle of the park when required. He broke up play and distributed the well while keeping play ticking along with his razor-sharp passing before capping off a fine display with a brilliant header at the near-post to thwart any hopes of a comeback for the visitors.

Ilkay Gundogan: 7.5/10

Renowned for his ability to make well-timed late runs into the opposition box, Gundogan displayed the undermined quality of his game that is his ball distribution skills as Manchester City utilised his passing ability to dictate the tempo of the game. The 31-year-old played a part in City’s first two goals and attempted over 100 passes at around 93% accuracy, with 6 of his 7 attempted long balls finding their target.

Kevin De Bruyne: 9/10

De Bruyne was magnificent with the ball at his feet and was a joy to watch. He ran the show from the heart of the hosts’ midfield, playing some jaw-dropping passes-cum-crosses from the right half-space.

The Belgian playmaker was a chance-creating machine for the home side as he played six key passes, created three big chances and grabbed one assist. And despite failing to find the back of the net, he still remained the best on the pitch and was rightly named the Player of the Match for his scintillating performance.

Raheem Sterling: 8/10

Sterling looked extremely sharp throughout the game and caused Matt Targett all sorts of problems with his direct dribbling, exquisite control and swift twists and turns. He opened the scoring with a 19th-minute close-range header at the back-post and added another late in the game to complete his brace and round off Manchester City’s thrashing in style.

Gabriel Jesus: 6/10

On a red-hot scoring streak last week, Jesus might not have scored here, but he was influential in Manchester City’s attacking movement. The Brazilian had a decent game in the final third, as he constantly pressed for the ball and made some good runs inside the box. But he could not get on the end of crosses or cut-backs despite his best efforts and was hooked off without registering a shot on target.

Jack Grealish: 8/10

Grealish appeared to be weighed down after the Champions League disappointment in Madrid on Wednesday but ultimately found his groove by knitting passages of play down the left, drawing fouls and attention of Newcastle’s backline.

The Englishman combined well with De Bruyne and Zinchenko and produced some dangerous dribbles before bursting to life at the death, weaving his way past Kieran Trippier in the build-up to Foden’s goal before serving one on a plate for Sterling to score Manchester City’s fourth.

SUBSTITUTES

Fernandinho: 6/10

Fernandinho replaced Ruben Dias at half-time but did not look out of the place in a centre-back role whatsoever. In fact, the Brazilian enforcer put in a solid display at the heart of the Manchester City defence, making some vital interventions. Though, passing out from the back is not really his forte.

Phil Foden: 7/10

Barring the goal, the English international did not do much as the match was pretty much done and dusted by the time of his introduction. He took his goal well and occupied some promising positions inside the box.

CJ Egan-Riley: N/A

Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Newcastle United

Martin Dubravka: 5/10

Dubravka faced a total of 21 shots and while he was badly exposed by his defence for most of them, he should have done better to prevent the second goal as he spilled Gundogan’s strike for a rebound. Else, he made some brilliant saves to keep the scoreline respectable.

Emil Krafth: 5/10

Krafth had a torrid evening and was tormented by Jack Grealish in the first half. The Swede struggled against a world-class Manchester City side, never looking comfortable playing balls down the channel for Almiron. He has had an impressive run in the team and defended well under pressure at times here as well, but he left Rodri unmarked to score Manchester City’s third goal.

Jamaal Lascelles: 4/10

Lascelles had a poor game by any standards. He failed to contain the Manchester City attackers and never appeared to be at ease with the ball at his feet which is just not good enough at this level. He also lacked recovery pace when outnumbered or caught up high on the pitch. He did make a great tackle to deny Foden a clear shot but will have to step up if he wants to stand any chance of being a part of this ambitious project.

Dan Burn: 4/10

Burn looked solid in the opening 15 minutes or so; he was robust, aerially dominant and made some good tackles but could not handle the interplay and lethal chemistry between the Manchester City attackers and was booked for cynical tussle before a corner, cutting a frustrated figure. He failed to maintain the offside trap and played Foden onside for the fourth goal.

Matt Targett: 4/10

It was always going to be a tough afternoon for Targett to be up against the afterburners of Sterling, but a lack of cover in front of him from Saint-Maximin meant he was, at times, all alone against the potent Cancelo-Sterling duo. He was booked late on for a cynical challenge on the Manchester City winger, but he did make a few good tackles in the second period to prevent turnovers.

Joelinton: 5/10

Switched back into the left-sided midfield role, Joelinton was just relentless, and he did battle for the ball a lot against the dominant Manchester City midfield but to little avail. He broke the play up well a fair few times and ran his socks off, covering every blade of grass, but he could not push the side upfield with his powerful drives.

Bruno Guimaraes: 6/10

Bruno Guimaraes was uncharacteristically sluggish in possession during the early stages but improved as the game progressed. The Brazilian was not at his best, as he could not get hold of the ball as much as he would have liked, although that was expected against the Manchester City midfield.

He showed glimpses of his quality in tight spaces, making six tackles while playing a few nice balls forward. Probably one of Newcastle’s better performers in a sea of underwhelming displays on the night.

Sean Longstaff: 4/10

Longstaff will hope to forget and move on from this game, as he could not find his footing in the game and was bypassed easily by the Manchester City midfielders. He was awful in possession with his wayward passes taking the sting out of counter-attacks, and the less said about shielding the backline, the better.

Allan Saint-Maximin: 6/10

Saint-Maximin was yet again Newcastle’s danger-man with mazy dribbles, sparkling turns and unmatched flair. But he undid all this positive work by not putting on a defensive shift here and costing his side the opening goal when the Frenchman allowed Cancelo to run beyond him. He did create a huge chance for Wood with a perfect cross, which the target-man could not covert.

Miguel Almiron: 4/10

Almiron had a rather quiet afternoon as he struggled to try to contest for the ball against his opponents in the forward areas. And when he did recover possession, he lacked the quality and composure to construct plays. It would not be a surprise to see the Paraguayan international lose his spot to Jacob Murphy after a couple of dull performances.

Chris Wood: 3/10

In a game where clear-cut openings were always going to come few and far between, Wood missed a huge opportunity to hand Newcastle the lead early on, as he directed a tame header straight to Ederson. He had a goal disallowed for offside in the first half, while the New Zealander’s lack of mobility means he will find it difficult to remain in Howe’s long-term plans.

SUBSTITUTES

Kieran Trippier: 5/10

Trippier displayed some flashes of his crossing and technical strengths that Newcastle lacked dearly during his cameo. But he was easily beaten by Grealish for Manchester City’s fourth, perhaps due to rustiness. He should be back to his old self in no time, though.

Callum Wilson: 6/10

Newcastle really missed Wilson’s ability to stretch defences with his sharp movement, runs in behind and awareness to beat the offside trap. But he clearly lacked match sharpness, as on another day, he could have buried the one-on-one chance that Ederson smothered. He did, however, offer a threat.

Jacob Murphy: N/A

Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Leave A Comment...

*