Manchester City 2 – 0 Newcastle

Ilkay Gundogan and Ferran Torres scored as City defeat Newcastle 2 – 0. The triumph was City’s 12th in a row in this particular fixture. Manchester City secured their customary home win over Newcastle as Ilkay Gundogan and Ferran Torres scored the goals that moved them up to fifth in the Premier League.

And the margin of victory could have been far more as Newcastle keeper Karl Darlow produced two excellent first-half saves to deny Kevin de Bruyne, then an even better one to repel a close range shot from substitute Sergio Aguero near the end.

In addition, John Stones and Raheem Sterling both wasted glorious chances after the break and Bernardo Silva hit a post from an acute angle.

However, City had far too much for their visitors and after a difficult start to the season have now moved into a position from which they can mount a title challenge, having previously only been in the top five for a paltry one day and five hours all season.

For Newcastle, it felt like an exercise in damage limitation on a grim night weather-wise. The Magpies had 24% possession and just two shots on target as manager Steve Bruce opted not to risk top scorer Callum Wilson at the end of a difficult 10 days which has seen his team collect a single point from three league games and exit the Carabao Cup at the hands of Championship outfit Brentford.

Torres the star striker
Although both sides lost two players to coronavirus related issues, the damage to Newcastle caused by the loss of Allan Saint-Maximin and captain Jamaal Lascelles was far more significant than that inflicted on City by the positive tests for Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus revealed on Christmas Day.

Even without Jesus, Pep Guardiola could afford to leave Sergio Aguero on the bench as the City boss preferring to use Torres in the centre-forward role instead. The decision was vindicated, both by the result and Torres’ seventh goal of the season.

It was not the hardest of finishes. Federico Fernandez slid in to block Joao Cancelo’s low cross but succeeded only in providing Torres with a clear sight of goal from eight yards.

That goal doubled the advantage given to City by Gundogan, who capitalised on Raheem Sterling’s 14th-minute cut-back. Remarkably, the goal allowed City to equal the Premier League record of a side scoring in 24 consecutive games against the same club.

But it may well be of concern to Guardiola that his side failed to increase their tally. They have still only scored more than twice in a single home game in the Premier League this season, although this was their fourth clean sheet in that run.

Source – BBC News