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Breaking through a barrier
Manchester City eased past Newcastle 2-0 on Boxing Day to get back into the race for another Premier League crown.
The Magpies defensive strategy proved no match for the blues who had 76% of the ball.
Steve Bruce scratched leading scorer Callum Wilson from the starting eleven clearly looking to stymie City’s attack.
The strategy proved futile as his side rarely threatened Ederson‘s goal.
14 minutes into the match and City went in front.
Joao Cancelo released Raheem Sterling down the right.
The Englishman did well to draw the Magpies defence in with a nice drag back before picking out Ilkay Gundogan who sidefooted his shot into the bottom right corner.
In the 20th minute, Kevin De Bruyne came close to making it two-nil but his angled shot was turned aside by Karl Darlow
Darlow denied the Belgian again in the 35th minute.
After being sent clean in on goal, Newcastle’s keeper did well to spread himself and block his shot.
As the match moved into the second half Newcastle created a rare opportunity in the 52nd minute.
Jacob Murphy had lots of space down the right-hand side firing a shot just inside the City box but in the end, Ederson easily got down to cover it.
City got an insurance goal three minutes later.
Bernardo Silva did well to take the ball away from Miguel Almiron on the right flank sending a nice low ball across the face of the goal.
Frederico Fernandez scuffed his clearance straight to Ferran Torres who found the bottom right corner.
Four minutes later they should’ve had a third.
A perfectly placed cross by Cancelo hit Sterling, then deflected to Bernardo Silva who struck the post from a tight angle.
Newcastle’s best chance came in the 78th minute.
A nice cutback from Almiron who curled a left-footed strike towards goal that Ederson did well to palm away.
In the end, it was a very comfortable win for Pep Guardiola’s side.
Man of the Match
Joao Cancelo was a constant threat for the Blues down the right side creating many of City’s best scoring opportunities
If not for some heroic saves by Darlow in the Magpies net he could very well have scored three or four goals.
Etihad Stadium continues to be a tough place for Newcastle to earn points.
Man City’s now won 12 games at home against the Magpies scoring 41 times and only conceding seven.
Boxing Day meanwhile continues to haunt Newcastle United.
They’ve lost more games on this date than any other Premier League side with 15 following today’s loss.
Playing his part
Raheem Sterling was once again kept off the scoresheet for City but he continues to make an impact.
His assist on City’s first goal is his 150th goal involvement in all competitions for his side since Guardiola became manager in 2016.
Following the match, Pep Guardiola had high praise for how his team performed.
“It was the best performance of the season [in terms of player positioning]. Our football has to be played in one rhythm.
“To do this everyone has to be in his position, do his job, and today was a big example. When a team plays 10 players behind it’s not easy to attack them, but the guys did really well. I’m glad with the way we play.”
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce says once again his side simply wasn’t good enough.
“We lacked a bit of quality in the final third, we gave the ball away for the second goal, but I couldn’t fault their effort, application, and attitude towards the game.
“We had a bad week, and some of the mass hysteria, in my opinion, was unjust, unfair, and a lot of it was not right in my opinion. I’m going to say that, and that’s my opinion on it.”
With the win, Manchester City jumped from ninth all the way to fifth in the Premier league table.
Baring a major slip-up for Liverpool in their match tomorrow with West Bromwich Albion City will likely still be well behind the leaders though.
The good news is they’re well positioned to move into one of the Champions League spot very soon.
Just three points separate Guardiola’s side from second-place Everton in the table.
City has a golden opportunity to climb the table again Monday when they battle Everton.
The kickoff from Goodison Park is at 8 pm. (JSL).