These are ominous festive signs at both ends of the table after this Tyneside stroll for Manchester City.
City top the Prem on Christmas Day for the third time, and so far that has only meant one thing.
Roberto Mancini’s heroes saw the job through in 2011/12, as did Pep Guardiola’s 17/18 vintage in his second season.
This wasn’t vintage City but they really didn’t need to get out of second gear to see off sinking Newcastle.
An eighth straight win leaves them four points ahead of Liverpool and six in front of stuttering Chelsea.
Ruben Dias got them up and running thanks to some of the worst defending you’ll see this – or any – season.
Joao Cancelo then took advantage of some more comical Toon play before unleashing a rocket.
Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling then wrapped up this cakewalk in the second-half to leave the Citizens in pole position to land their fourth title in five years.
Most read in Football
IN THE REDDIES
Supercomputer predicts final Prem table with Man Utd clawing into top four
IN THE REDDIES
Newcastle’s Sean Longstaff wanted by Forest in loan transfer after Howe snub
Leeds want £20m transfer for Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie in survival fight
Leeds fan arrested for alleged racism as Gunners told not to celebrate Saka goal
IS your downtime as epic as it could be?
You can get 50 free spins at PokerStars Casino. Boom.
Click HERE for all the details.
T&Cs apply. 18+ Play responsibly. BeGambleAware.org
FREE BETS: GET OVER £2,000 IN NEW CUSTOMER DEALS
For Newcastle, it’s the first time they will spend Christmas Day in the bottom three in Prem history.
They are still three points off safety but Watford in 17th have two games in hand.
And there are two more games – Covid permitting – for Eddie Howe to navigate before the Saudi billions can be pumped in next month.
His record now stands at: P7 W1 D2 L4 since replacing Steve Bruce.
A horrible week against Liverpool and City has left them with an aggregate score of 7-1 – though some will see that as some sort of success, so bad things have become.
As old news as it is, they really are well and truly doomed unless they can find a defender or four in January.
Act fast and they still have a chance – if not, trips to Luton and Blackpool can already be pencilled in.
Allan Saint-Maximin was the most notable absentee as Howe made five changes after Thursday’s 3-1 defeat at Anfield though Callum Wilson was reinstalled up top.
For City, Cancelo, Sterling and Jesus were in for John Stones, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden following their 7-0 thrashing of Leeds.
They have lost just once at St James’ Park in 15 years – to Bruce’s side in 2019 – and it became another formality after just five minutes.
Not that the visitors had to work for it, so shocking was the defending.
Where to even start?
First up was one of the softest corners conceded as Dubravka showed all the composure you’d expect from a keeper not comfortable using his feet, misplacing a simple pass to Jamaal Lascelles.
Toon managed to clear the corner but when it came to Oleksandr Zinchenko 30 yards out, things went from bad to catastrophic.
Cancelo did well to hook the Ukranian’s ball in from the right byline, but the cross would have been meat and drink for an U9s side.
Either Dubravka should have taken charge and caught it or Clark should have headed clear.
But in ludicrous scenes, neither happened as Clark left it and watched as it dropped to the shocked Dias three yards out to nod home.
It was Clark’s first involvement since he cost Newcastle with an early red card against Norwich last month – and with January looming, he’ll be doing well to get another game in the black and white.
Cancelo then made it two with a sensational strike from 22 yards, but the defending was, unsurprisingly, abject once again.
The full-back picked it up and skipped past Joe Willock as if he wasn’t there.
Isaac Hayden was then on the Portuguese as he drove to the box, but just like that slipped on his arse and Cancelo was lining the shot up.
And what a hit it was – his first of the season – giving Dubravka no chance as it arrowed into the top corner.
Believe it or not, other than the two goals, Newcastle played okay and caused City the odd problem.
And ref Martin Atkinsin hardly helped their cause, waving away a great penalty shout after Ederson wiped out Ryan Fraser.
Cancelo may well have been in control with Fraser a yard or two behind, but you can’t just fly out and clatter an attacker like that, with VAR conspicuous by its absence.
Saint-Maximin replaced Willock at the break but it was still all City, who were only denied a third by an outrageous Dubravka save.
Bernardo Silva nodded Cancelo’s deep ball back across goal to Jesus, who had to score – only for the Slovakian to redeem himself from earlier with a miraculous one-handed save to tip the Brazilian’s header over.
But it was 3-0 and game over – if it wasn’t already – 64 minutes in when Mahrez stroked home Zinchenko’s ball in from the left.
The Algerian was initially flagged offside but replays showed Lascelles was playing him on, bringing up Mahrez’s 50th in all competitions.
The travelling City fans were loving life up in the gods of St James’ Park, rubbing it in for the Geordies with a chant of, ‘You’ve seen the champions, now f**k off home’.
The Toon Army resorted to, ‘Fuck off Man City, we’re richer than you’.
They stayed with their side and were only denied a consolation goal by Ederson, who flung himself to his left to tip over Lascelles’ bullet header.
But it was 4-0 soon after via Sterling’s sitter at the back post.
Jesus roasted Jacob Murphy down the left, drove to the byline and squared it to the unmarked Sterling to bundle home.
⚽ Read our Football news live blog for the very latest rumours, gossip and done deals
Source: Read Full Article