Manchester City extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Newcastle United on Sunday afternoon.
City took the lead early on and aside from a mini revival from their hosts in the first half they never looked like giving up their lead, getting the job done without really moving through the gears.
The visitors took just five minutes to open the floodgates with a comedy of errors from the Magpies allowing Ruben Dias the simplest of finishes at the back post.
Newcastle responded well to going behind, defending stoically and even fashioning a few half-chances. However, normal service was resumed just before the half-hour mark when Joao Cancelo – who also set up the first goal – beat two men before lashing the ball into the top corner.
Minutes later there was controversy when Ederson wildly slid in on Ryan Fraser, leading to impassioned calls for a penalty from the Newcastle players. Referee Martin Atkinson was unmoved though, and the incident was strangely not referred to VAR.
Early in the second half City were denied a third goal by Martin Dubravka, who flew across to keep Gabriel Jesus’ header out.
Just after the hour mark Riyad Mahrez did make it 3-0, finishing Oleksandr Zinchenko’s well-weighted cross with a cushioned volley. The offside flag went up initially but after intervention from VAR, the goal was given.
Newcastle battled until the end and Callum Wilson drew a save out of Ederson nine minutes from time. Aside from that late scare, City saw the game out comfortably with Sterling tapping home his side’s fourth at the back post after good work from Gabriel Jesus.
Here are your player ratings for both teams…
Martin Dubravka (GK) – 4/10 – Involved in the comedic mixup that led to the first goal. Redeemed himself somewhat with several great saves. Still, he conceded four.
Jacob Murphy (RB) – 5/10 – Newcastle’s best defender. He gave as good as he got against Sterling for most of the game.
Jamaal Lascelles (CB) – 5/10 – Did fine for the most part. His leadership will be key as the Magpies continue to lose.
Ciaran Clark (CB) – 3/10 – Horrific mix-up with Dubravka led to the first goal. Signing a new centre-back has to be a priority in January.
Matt Ritchie (LB) – 4/10 – A bit headless at times. Choosing to engage De Bruyne inside the City half was an interesting decision on the hour mark, and it should have led to a goal.
Miguel Almiron (RM) – 4/10 – A very tough afternoon. Very few chances to attack.
Joe Willock (CM) – 3/10 – Hilarious defending in the build-up to City’s second. Rightly dragged off at half time.
Isaac Hayden (CM) – 5/10 – A hard-working display. Much improved after struggling to get in the game against Liverpool.
Joelinton (CM) – 7/10 – Always brave in possession and drove his side forward from midfield.
Ryan Fraser (LM) – 6/10 – A livewire. He looked most likely – other than Joelinton – to force an opening and should have won a penalty.
Callum Wilson (ST) – 5/10 – Never stopped chasing lost causes but chances were few and far between.
Allan Saint-Maximin (LM) – 4/10 – Barely in the game.
Sean Longstaff (CM) – 5/10 – Great lip furniture. Little else to report.
Jeff Hendrick (CM) – N/A
Ederson (GK) – 5/10 – Got away with one in the first half after flying in needlessly on Ryan Fraser. Made a good save near the end to maintain his clean sheet.
Joao Cancelo (RB) – 8/10 – Unplayable. Created the first goal with a perfectly-timed run and then double his side’s advantage with an incredible strike.
Ruben Dias (CB) – 7/10 – Really, really, really enjoyed his goal. Rarely caused issues by Newcastle.
Aymeric Laporte (CB) – 7/10 – Read the game intelligently, not allowing Callum Wilson to get in behind.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (LB) – 7/10 – A bright presence going forward. Was rewarded for his consistent delivery when Mahrez got on the end of one of his crosses in the second half.
Rodri (CM) – 7/10 – A couple of loose passes but largely had the midfield under his control.
Bernardo Silva (CM) – 6/10 – Not quite as spritely as he has been recently but still caught the eye with a few bright moments.
Kevin De Bruyne (AM) – 6/10 – Not his best day. Got away with some looseness in possession early on.
Riyad Mahrez (RW) – 8/10 – His outside-to-inside runs caused the Magpies all manner of problems. Deserved his goal.
Gabriel Jesus (ST) – 7/10 – Missed a sitter just after the break. Movement was good, though. Set up Sterling with a mazy run and cross.
Raheem Sterling (LW) – 7/10 – Nothing quite broke for him but he was always lively. Finally rewarded with a goal at the death.
Fernandinho (CM) – 6/10 – A relaxing cameo with the game already won.
John Stones (CB) – 6/10 – Hardly anything to do.
Cole Palmer (RW) – N/A
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