Manchester City held off Newcastle on Saturday thanks to Phil Foden’s mazy run and finish and substitute Bernardo Silva’s clinical strike to stay within touching distance of Premier League leaders Arsenal.
England winger Foden cut in from the right and burst into the box to net a superb solo effort. The Etihad was nervy for part of the second half but Silva’s precise finish extinguished any hopes of a comeback from the visitors.
The result puts City back within two points off league leaders Arsenal, who are in action later on Saturday against Bournemouth, while Newcastle will hope Wolves can take points off Tottenham in the top four race.
City nearly opened the scoring in the opening minute but Ilkay Gundogan could only nod over Jack Grealish’s cross. The hosts punctuated flowing moves with the odd uncharacteristic sloppy pass before Foden netted his fourth goal in three games.
The 22-year-old forward left Dan Burn in a daze, easily drifting past the lanky left back and into the box. Foden then held off Bruno Guimaraes and squeezed the ball over Nick Pope via a deflection off Sven Botman.
Erling Haaland was well dealt with by Jamaal Lascelles during the first half and Anthony Gordon provided a few moments of positivity for the visitors as they stayed in contest.
The sides traded big chances in space of three minutes in the lead-up to half time. Haaland found space to attack Kevin De Bruyne’s cross but could only steer a header wide before Callum Wilson missed a gilt-edged opportunity to equalise.
The England striker was teed up by a Kieran Tripper header centrally in the box but completely miscued his effort as City cleared their lines to preserve the 1-0 scoreline at the break.
Grealish curled a long-range effort high and wide in the early throws of the second period but City’s play was somewhat ragged in comparison to previous goal-laden displays. They couldn’t make openings for Haaland, who sent an ambitious half-volley clear of the bar around the hour mark.
Substitute Joe Willock conjured up a great chance moments after his introduction, swinging a cross in from the right for the arriving Joelinton. However, the Brazilian couldn’t take the ball in stride and City cleared.
Eddie Howe and his side were made to pay for that miss as City secured the points. Grealish drove at Newcastle’s defence before Haaland fed Silva. The Portugal international took a chance and smashed a drive past the helpless Pope.
Any attacking spark from Newcastle seemed to have been snuffed out by that second goal, with City seeing out the game during the final 20 minutes with little threat of conceding.
GK: Ederson – 4/10 – Couple of hairy passes throughout the game which added to the tension around the Etihad.
RB: Kyle Walker – 5/10 – Another City player culpable of some sloppiness throughout but used his pace to full effect.
CB: Manuel Akanji – 5/10 – A bit ropy in some one-v-one scenarios, including when got rinsed on the byline by Isak. A clean sheet’s a clean sheet, mind.
CB: Ruben Dias – 7/10 – Much more assured than most of his defensive colleagues, stepping up to win loose ball well.
LB: Nathan Ake – 7/10 – Good sliding block denied Longstaff from close range. A badly mistimed attempted header saw Ake clatter into the same Longstaff for a booking.
CM: Rodri – 7/10 – Sprayed the ball out wide before Foden opened the scoring. Retained possession excellently in some tough spots.
CM: Ilkay Gundogan – 7/10 – Headed over very early on and might feel he should have scored. Generally keot City ticking over and looked to get into the box.
RW: Phil Foden – 8/10 – Wonderful footwork and balance helped Foden breeze past Burn and Guimaraes and net again. Glided around the pitch at times, linking play to the delight of the Etihad.
AM: Kevin De Bruyne – 6/10 – Not at his sauntering best in what was a disjointed City display before his substitution.
LW: Jack Grealish – 7/10 – Always looked to drive forward, including in the build-up to that second goal.
ST: Erling Haaland – 7/10 – Not the most efficient of afternoons in front of goal but Haaland showed good presence of mind to set up Silva for the second goal.
Bernardo Silva (65′ for De Bruyne) – 7/10 – Netted just minutes after coming on, wrapping up the points with a fierce strike from Haaland’s pass.
Pep Guardiola – 6/10 – Reverted back to a more traditional formation but there this was more of an efficient display than a statement of intent from City.
GK: Nick Pope – 5/10 – Got down smartly to keep out a Foden strike but was left flapping by both goals.
RB: Kieran Trippier – 5/10 – Some smart crosses in the attacking but lost the ball sloppily for City’s second. Made three fouls.
CB: Jamaal Lascelles – 5/10 – Held off Haaland when the Norwegian threatened to run in behind. Got more rattled as the game got away from Newcastle.
CB: Sven Botman – 6/10 – Nearly blocked Foden’s goal but instead diverted it past Pope. Pretty good positionally.
LB: Dan Burn – 4/10 – Turned like a truck every time the fleet-footed Foden knocked the ball past him. Involved in some late scuffling which saw him booked.
CM: Sean Longstaff – 5/10 – Decent chance that was well blocked by Ake. Didn’t see too much of the ball, instead covering ground as City’s midfield dictated play.
CM: Bruno Guimaraes – 6/10 – Appeared to take a knock which dented his movement in the first half. Looked bright in moments but didn’t dictate.
CM: Joelinton – 4/10 – Picked up a booking which rules him out of Newcastle’s next two league games. Missed a golden chance just before City grabbed their second.
RW: Miguel Almiron – 5/10 – Lost the Grealish vs Almiron battle with no chances to shoot on the break.
ST: Callum Wilson – 4/10 – Messed up a golden opportunity to equalise, totally scuffing his effort. May lose his starting XI spot as Isak impressed during a brief cameo.
LW: Anthony Gordon – 6/10 – Got in some barging shoulders and niggly challenges while helping out in defence but more will be expected in attack.
Allan Saint-Maximin (62′ for Gordon) – 5/10 – Arrived on the end of one or two attacks with no end product.
Alexander Isak (62′ for Wilson) – 6/10 – Had a shot well blocked and worked his way into the box beautifully by turning Akanji.
Joe Willock (62′ for Longstaff) – 6/10 – Whipped in a wonderful cross which Joelinton couldn’t make contact with.
Jacob Murphy (77′ for Almiron) – N/A
Matt Targett (87′ for Burn) – N/A
Eddie Howe – 4/10 – Newcastle were resolute in patches and stayed in the game but weren’t clinical with their best openings. It’s a recurring theme and one Howe needs to put a stop to.
Player of the Match – Phil Foden (Manchester City)
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