Manchester City thrash Newcastle to boost Premier League title hopes

Guardiola's side extend lead over Liverpool at top of table to three points after 5-0 demolition job at the Etihad Stadium

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Manchester City opened up a three-point lead at the top of the Premier League after an impressive 5-0 win over Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

It was a much-needed victory for City after their devastating midweek Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid and came a day after title rivals Liverpool were held to a home draw by Tottenham Hotspur.

Guardiola's side dominated the game against the Magpies and were two ahead at half-time thanks to goals from Raheem Sterling and Aymeric Laporte. Rodri, substitute Phil Foden and Sterling with his second completed the scoring after the break.

With three games left this season, it is now firmly advantage City in the title battle with a visit to Wolves next up on Wednesday, 24 hours after Liverpool's game at Aston Villa.

"We knew there'd be pressure on us today after the defeat, we bounced back perfectly," said City attacker Jack Grealish. "We've stuck together which was needed. We'll try to end the season strongly and we did that today.

"Newcastle have been brilliant since January. Today was a perfect response and a perfect performance.

"We just have to go out there and win every game. We're in the driving seat. We can't look at what's going on around us. Fingers crossed. "

City's goal difference is now four clear of Liverpool which could be vital in a title race that looks set to go to the wire. "It wasn't really spoken about but it's common sense. We want to win the league so we see it ourselves," added Grealish.

"The main thing was to get the win. You can't speak about goal difference before you've won the game."

With a chance to give themselves more breathing space, City looked vibrant from the outset. Initially Newcastle met their fire with their own in a frantic opening and the visitors should have taken an early lead.

Chris Wood spurned a glorious opportunity when he was picked out unmarked by Alain Saint-Maximin but he headed tamely at Ederson.

A goal then might have set nerves jangling but City responded well with Laporte and Cancelo both going close.

The hosts, though, took the lead in the 19th minute after a fine work by Ilkay Gundogan.

The German clipped a fine ball across the box to pick out Cancelo at the far post. Cancelo showed great awareness himself to head back across goal and Sterling dived in to head home.

City had a moment of alarm soon after when Wood scrambled the ball into the net following a corner but it was disallowed for offside.

The champions upped the tempo with Gundogan firing wide and Oleksandr Zinchenko almost teeing-up Gabriel Jesus.

The second goal came following a corner seven minutes before the break. Martin Dubravka failed to hold Gundogan’s volley from the edge of the area and, although the keeper reacted quickly to deny Ruben Dias on the rebound, he could not prevent Laporte finishing.

With that, City appeared to break the spirit of Newcastle and the home side took firm control of the game with a third just after the hour.

It came from a corner as Rodri found space at the near post to head home Kevin De Bruyne’s cross.

The crowd celebrated what seemed a significant goal in the title race and City appeared hungry for more as Zinchenko forced a fine save from Dubravka.

With the job done, City eased off with their midweek trip to Wolves in mind. There was little to alarm them until Newcastle belatedly showed some spark in the closing minutes.

Callum Wilson, returning from injury, came off the bench to test Ederson and Allan Saint-Maximin also fired a chance over the bar.

That only served to fire up City and Foden made it 4-0 in the last minute before Sterling completed the rout with a brilliant injury-time finish into the top corner.

The City reaction to their latest Champions League blow was no surprise to Guardiola. “With what this team have done, do you have any doubt.

“We are five years doing this every three days. If some people doubted us they don’t know this team. It’s one of the best groups I ever trained in my life," the Spaniard said.

For Newcastle, it was a second defeat on the trot after losing at home to Liverpool last week. It leaves them in 13th place with two games to go.

“We started really well and tried to be really positive,” said manager Eddie Howe.

“We were trying to be aggressive but not cavalier as well. We tried to get that balance right. We made individual mistakes and got punished for them.

“We have to find a way in these games to be competitive and get results. The expectations are going to be slightly different next season and we have to grow into those demands.”

Updated: May 08, 2022, 6:46 PM