Boxing Day delight for City against Newcastle
Ilkay Gundogan and Ferran Torres scored to stretch Manchester City’s unbeaten run to 10-games in all competitions with a comfortable 2-0 Boxing Day win over Newcastle United.
Gundogan fired home from six-yards to give City a half-time lead and Torres wrapped up the points after the break with a close range finish after good work down the right wing from the impressive Joao Cancelo.
After a lowkey opening 10-minutes, a well-worked move in which City switched the ball from left to right allowed Gundogan to fire us in front with the first shot of the game.
Sterling was the architect, eliminating Matt Ritchie and Fabian Schar with his cutback and showing a cool head inside a crowded penalty to delay the pass from which the German steered the ball inside the post from six-yards.
The goal did little to alter Newcastle’s cautious approach and, with the visitors often putting 11-men behind the ball, the best of the rare goalmouth action fell to City.
Karl Darlow clawed out an overhit Kevin De Bruyne cross that dropped dangerously under his cross bar and made a comfortable save from a tame 18-yard effort from Torres before the Belgian midfielder spurned a golden opportunity.
Sent clear by Torres’ ball over the top, De Bruyne delayed taking his shot and it allowed Darlow to race off his line and make a good block.
Newcastle’s attacking threat centred around long balls into Joelinton, who was well marshalled by John Stones and Ruben Dias, though the Brazilian fired a warning when he rose highest to head Miguel Almiron’s cross wide of Ederson’s goal.
City may have felt frustrated to have only gone in one goal ahead at the break, but with space opening up in the second half, our free-flowing football began to cause the stubborn Newcastle defence problems.
Cancelo was a constant threat and when he picked Almiron’s pocket on the edge of the area his low ball across goal was diverted into Torres’ path by Federico Fernandez and the Spaniard made no mistake from close range.
It should have been three moments later as another good ball from Cancelo found Sterling a yard from goal, but Fernandez slid in to put the winger off and Bernardo then cracked the loose ball against the woodwork.
Ederson made a couple of comfortable saves from Jacob Murphy as Newcastle toiled in attack and with City looking increasingly comfortable, Guardiola sent on Sergio Aguero for the final 13 minutes.
The Argentine has a superb scoring record against the Magpies and he would have continued it but for Darlow’s heroics, the goalkeeper flinging himself across goal to block the Argentine’s effort as met another teasing Cancelo cross at the far post.
Newcastle sent on Andy Carrol as they fought to get back into the game and whilst they did go searching for goal late on, City were untroubled and held firm to close out a deserved win.
It’s a quick turnaround for City, who are back in action on Monday, when we face Everton at Goodison Park in our final game of 2020. Kick-off is at 20:00 (UK).
Manchester City (2): Ederson; Cancelo, Stones, Rúben Dias, Aké; Rodri (Fernandinho, 57’), De Bruyne, Gündogan (Foden, 90’); Bernardo Silva, Sterling, Ferran Torres (Agüero, 77’)
Newcastle (0): Darlow; Yedlin, Schär, Fede Fernández, Clark, Ritchie (Lewis, 66’); Hayden, Longstaff, Murphy, Almirón; Joelinton (Carroll, 71’)
Goals: 1-0, Gündogan (14’), 2-0, Ferran Torres (55’)
Referee: Andre Marriner. Bookings: Rodri (34’), Ritchie (64’), Schär (80’), Cancelo (88’)