5 takeaways from Manchester City's win over Newcastle United
Manchester City went 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League with their 18th successive win, beating Newcastle United 1-0 at St James’ Park on Wednesday night. Raheem Sterling’s impressive form in front of goal continued as his first-half strike proved the difference.
Newcastle, on the other hand, were brought back down to earth after victory over West Ham this past weekend, and in truth, the margin of victory could have been much greater. But with crucial games against relegation rivals on the horizon, the Magpies have bigger fish to fry in the coming weeks.
Here are five talking points from a freezing night on Tyneside.
#1 Newcastle didn’t allow themselves a foothold in the game early enough
It was hardly a shock that Rafa Benitez parked the bus, because his Newcastle side are defence-minded at the best of times. Their lack of quality has been well documented this season, so going toe-to-toe with City was never really an option from the start. But it wasn’t until after Sterling opened the scoring on the half-hour mark that the Magpies pushed on and had a chance themselves; Rolando Aarons attempted to chip Ederson after Kyle Walker slipped, but Nicolas Otamendi headed off the line.
From then, the crowd were able to get in on the action, and once they raised their voices, Newcastle raised their game a little more. Most, if not all, Premier League sides sit deep against City; early on they were able to pick off any attempt the home side made to get forward.
When they did push on, particularly when they got set pieces, Newcastle were left a little exposed, but they were still unable to stop the Guardiola’s men pushing through at ease in the first half, with 15 attempts on goal registered. Without Dwight Gayle, Christian Atsu and Matt Ritchie, all heroes in the win over West Ham, on the bench, there was little cutting edge for Newcastle.