- Tom Cayless
Review and Player Ratings as 5-star City move 3 clear – Manchester City 5-0 Newcastle United
Fresh from Champions League heartbreak against Real Madrid in the week, Manchester City hosted Eddie Howe's Newcastle United at the Etihad this Sunday afternoon. The Blues ran out 5-0 winners.
Goals from Raheem Sterling (x2), Aymeric Laporte, Rodri and Phil Foden did the job for Guardiola's side this afternoon in an absolutely stellar performance which put City back on top and gave them the advantage in the goal difference tally too.
After Wednesday's Champions League semi-final defeat, Guardiola only has the Premier League to think about from now until the end of the season. The Catalan made four changes from midweek; Oleksandr Zinchenko came in for an injured Kyle Walker, Ilkay Gundogan stepped in for Bernardo Silva, whilst Foden and Riyad Mahrez were swapped for Sterling and Jack Grealish, who impressed when he came on midweek. John Stones once again missed out on the squad with injury along with Walker.
For the first-ever time, Guardiola selected this specific starting XI:
Right from the off, there was action. Both sides had great early opportunities, Newcastle through Chris Wood. The Toon broke away with Allan Saint-Maximin finding space out on the right – the Frenchman crossed towards the far post, where Wood was unmarked, but he could only direct his headed effort into the arms of Ederson.
Moments later, Laporte came close for City. After peeling off the back of Newcastle defender Dan Burn, the Spaniard volleyed Kevin De Bruyne's corner over the top of the crossbar from close-range.
15 minutes later, City missed another huge chance this time through Joao Cancelo. De Bruyne, who was superb all game, received the ball wide left and whipped in a delicious ball towards the far post. Cancelo connected well, but his effort went straight into the side netting.
Shortly after, the Blues broke the deadlock. Gundogan lofted a delicious ball inside the area to Cancelo, who impressively managed to head over Burn and towards Sterling. City's No.7 headed into the open net – and in doing so, made himself City's top Premier League scorer under Guardiola, overtaking Sergio Aguero.
City then got a second in the 37th minute. A well-worked corner found Gundogan just outside the penalty area. City's starting captain struck the effort on the half-volley towards Martin Dubrvaka, but the Newcastle keeper split it straight back to Ruben Dias who couldn't convert. The ball, however, fell back to Laporte who slammed home to make it two.
Just before the end of the half, Dias seemed to pull up after jumping for a header. He was substituted for Fernandinho at half-time.
After a commanding start to the second period, in which the Blues held 99% of the ball within the first eight minutes, City added a third. Another inviting De Bruyne corner was met, but this time by Rodri at the near post. He glanced the ball into the net for his third goal in the last three Premier League games.
Just six minutes from the end, Newcastle had the opportunity to pull one back. They carved City open with Callum Wilson and Jacob Murphy combining to send the former down on goal. With only Ederson to beat, the Toon striker struck his effort well, but the Brazilian made himself big and made an important stop that kept the goal difference tally in City's favour.
CJ Egan-Riley would replace Laporte in the 87th minute for his Premier League debut and looked assured for the final minutes of the game.
Right at the death, City added another two and in doing so made it five. For the fourth, Grealish drove down the left past Kieran Trippier before pulling it back to Zinchenko, who drilled a low pass towards Foden. The academy graduate diverted the ball past Dubrvaka.
Sterling then added the fifth. Grealish and Foden played a wonderful one-two before the £100m man laid in Sterling, who cooly converted.
Ederson - 7
Cancelo - 7
Dias - 7.5
Laporte - 8
Zinchenko - 7.5
Rodri - 8.5
De Bruyne - 9
Gundogan - 8
Grealish - 7.5
Jesus - 6.5
Sterling - 8
Substitutes: Fernandinho (7), Foden (7.5), Egan-Riley (7)
Well, what a response. There was a worry after Madrid that it could have crushed the team, but they were emphatic in hitting back. The Liverpool result would have given plenty of confidence, but the Blues still had their job to do – and what a way to do it!
They now travel to Wolves this Wednesday night but will be without Dias, Stones, and Walker, all of whom will not play again this season, according to Guardiola. Nathan Ake is also said to be a doubt for the Wolves fixture but could return for the final two games against West Ham and Aston Villa, according to the boss.
City will have to dig in deep to retain their Premier League crown.
Written by: @TomCayless_
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