Dominant City secured an incredible 18th successive Premier League victory to move 15 points clear at the top of the table. Raheem Sterling supplied the matchwinner, finishing Kevin De Bruyne’s sublime assist in the first half.
What happened? The game started with Jonjo Shelvey’s direct shot from the kick-off towards Ederson – but after that it was virtually all one-way traffic in the other direction. City’s possession was well over 80 per cent for most of the game, with De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan orchestrating the match from midfield, and ultimately the margin of victory could have been greater but for the St James’ Park woodwork. Pep Guardiola’s men were precise and patient with the ball, switching the play from flank to flank at will, probing, and working angles in a bid to prise open a stubborn and massed defence. They were equally impatient without it, wrestling control back at the earliest opportunity and pressing Newcastle into mistakes. The Blues set up base camp in the Magpies’ half early and launched wave after wave of attacks, even if the tempo of the match was relatively calm. There was an early blow for City by way of Vincent Kompany’s departure through injury, but with Gabriel Jesus sent on as his replacement our rhythm was not disrupted. Sergio Aguero looked lively early, having one sharp header well saved and then hitting the post twice; first from close range after Fernandinho’s cross, then with a thunderous, swerving shot from distance. The goal - City's 200th under Guardiola - arrived moments after that effort, thanks to a wonderful chipped pass from assist king De Bruyne. Sterling didn’t have to break stride before squeezing the ball in at Rob Elliot’s near post for his 17th of the season. Up until that point Newcastle had played very defensively, but the goal prompted them forward, and with some success. Nicolas Otamendi came to the rescue though, brilliantly heading away from underneath the bar to deny Rolando Aarons’ smart chipped effort. After that scare City reasserted control, with De Bruyne going close after the break with a curling shot that thudded against the post. With the difference just a goal there was always an edge to the game and Dwight Gayle was booked for diving in the box with home fans appealing for a penalty. And although Newcastle did mount a late rally, and Gayle headed narrowly wide late on, City claimed the points. City are now just one victory short of equalling Bayern Munich's record of 19 successive top-flight wins and as fast as the festive fixtures are served up, the Blues deliver the goods! Team notes Fabian Delph’s long run in the Premier League came to an end with the England man not fully fit and Danilo taking his place. Delph has been a fixture in the side since coming on against Crystal Palace in September. Elsewhere there were starts for Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan in midfield. Kompany was forced off after 10 minutes , with Jesus replacing him and Fernandinho dropping into defence.
Man of the match – Kevin De Bruyne The brilliant Belgian was City’s main supply line and created the matchwinner.
Key moment – Otamendi clearance A contribution worth a goal from the in-form Argentinian.
Up next City travel to Crystal Palace for the midday kick-off on New Year’s Eve before the home game with Watford on 2 January (8pm) at the Etihad.