Manchester City opened up a three-point gap in the Premier League title race with an empathic 5-0 home win over Newcastle United this afternoon.
Pep Guardiola’s men witnessed championship rivals Liverpool drop two points against Tottenham at Anfield on Saturday evening, thus giving them an opportunity to increase their lead with three matches remaining.
All eyes were on City, who came into this game on the back off being sensationally denied a place in the Champions League final by Real Madrid. Any hangover thoughts were quickly put to one side when Raheem Sterling nodded home João Cancelo’s headed pass from close range in the 19th minute.
It was a landmark strike for the English international, who became the second City player to net at least 50 league goals at the Etihad Stadium after Sergio Aguero (who managed 106). As for Cancelo, he becomes the fourth City player to register 10 assists this season. The defending English champions are the only team across Europe’s big five leagues to have four or more different players reach 10 assists in all competitions.
Once the deadlock was broken, Guardiola’s champions did not look back. They went into the break 2-0 up with Aymeric Laporte registering his fourth goal in the Premier League this season. With goal-difference potentially a factor, City never relented and Rodri popped up to score their third of the game. He’s now scored six league goals this season, a personal best for his career and more than big-name forwards such as Roberto Firmino (five), Timo Werner, Marcus Rashford and Alexandre Lacazette (all four).
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It was another effort created by the influential Kevin De Bruyne, the Belgian playmaker has now been involved in 16 goals across his last 17 Premier League appearances (nine goals and seven assists).
Rodri converted a De Bruyne corner. His and Aymeric Laporte’s strikes were City’s 19th and 20th goals from set-piece situations this season in the Premier League (excluding penalties). Guardiola’s side have conceded only once themselves in this manner, making their +19 differential from set pieces the best figure recorded in a single season in the competition (2006/07 onwards).
But they were not done yet. Just as Real broke City’s hearts, second-half substitute Phil Foden and Sterling — with his second of the game — netted in the 90th- and 93rd-minute respectively. Once the full-time whistle blew it became evident how well City have been performing in the league. Since drawing with Liverpool, they’ve conceded just once and scored 17 times in just four games.
If Liverpool win their remaining three games, City need at least seven points from nine available. Next up for them is a visit to Wolves before rounding off this campaign against West Ham (away) and Aston Villa (home). Villa, of course, are these days managed by legendary former Reds skipper Steven Gerrard.