Clinical Manchester City look to lock in Newcastle Arsenal
Manchester City banked on their luck to close the gap on Arsenal at the top of the Premier League with a 2-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday.
Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva scored for the defending champions, who were let off the hook by a spectacular mistake from the visitors at the Etihad.
Sean Longstaff, Callum Wilson and Joelinton were all guilty which did not force Ederson to make a save as Newcastle suffered another blow to their hopes of a top-four finish.
City have shown flashes of their best form in recent weeks but relied on two moments of inspiration to grab the vital three points from an isolated performance.
Foden struggled for form and fitness following the World Cup, but the England international has looked more and more like his old self over the past week.
The 22-year-old Ghost overcame four Newcastle challenges and scored his fourth goal in three games with an assist from Sven Bottmann to beat Nick Pope on 15 minutes.
The first full season under Saudi ownership that showed so much promise is beginning to fade for Newcastle.
Eddie Howe’s men missed out on the club’s first major trophy for 54 years when they lost the League Cup final to Manchester United last weekend.
One win in eight league games since 26 December has left them four points behind Tottenham in the race for next season’s Champions League place.
The Magpies were made to pay for a familiar lack of power up front.
Longstaff should have scored on the counterattack almost immediately, but the midfielder delayed a second to allow Nathan Ake to make a superb last-ditch block.
Wilson’s poor form reflected in Newcastle’s return of only one goal in their last eight league games, after which he failed to connect on Kieran Trippier’s cross.
At the other end, Erling Haaland also failed to score for the sixth time in eight matches.
The Norwegian’s best chance to extend his lead in the battle for the Premier League’s Golden Boot came just before the break when he headed home Kevin De Bruyne’s cross.
A treble conversion by Howe at the start of the second half almost had the desired effect as Newcastle pinned City in their own half.
Substitute Joe Willock broke down the right and his low cross was just begging for a finishing touch by Joelinton, who instead missed his kick.
Moments later, another change, Alexander Isak’s penalty appeal was turned down as he was fouled by Ederson after Ruben Dias had blocked the Swede’s first effort.
Pep Guardiola introduced Silva for De Bruyne to stem Newcastle’s flow through the City midfield.
The Portuguese had an immediate impact with a goal that calmed the city’s nerves.
Haaland laid the ball into the path of Silva on the edge of the box and fired past Pope, virtually with his first touch.
The second goal took the wind out of Newcastle’s sails as City were able to see out the final quarter comfortably and even add to their lead when Pope saved low to his right from Foden.
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