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EPL: Manchester City put Newcastle to sword, consolidate top spot

Defending champions Manchester City crushed Newcastle 4-0 to confirm their position at the top of the table at Christmas. Eddie Howe’s side shot themselves in…

Defending champions Manchester City crushed Newcastle 4-0 to confirm their position at the top of the table at Christmas.

Eddie Howe’s side shot themselves in the foot in just the fifth minute, when calamitous defending handed Manchester City the lead after goalkeeper Martin Dubravka had carelessly conceded a corner.

The defence only half-cleared and Joao Cancelo hooked the ball back into the six-yard box.

Newcastle appeared to be in little danger but Ciaran Clark inexplicably chose not to make a simple headed clearance and Ruben Dias headed the loose ball into the net.

The home side rallied and Joelinton went close to equalising with a stinging shot from a distance that flew just wide of Ederson’s right-hand post.

But Manchester City silenced the passionate crowd at St James’s Park shortly before the half-hour, when Cancelo jinked his way past Joe Willock and Isaac Hayden before smashing a right-footed shot past the helpless Dubravka from the edge of the area.

Manchester City maintained their firm grip on the match in the second half, with Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling doubling their lead.

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City have now won eight league games in a row to move four points clear of second-placed Liverpool, who are in action at Tottenham later on Sunday.

But relegation-threatened Newcastle remain three points from safety having now played two games more than Watford, who are just outside the drop zone.

The Magpies’ wealthy new Saudi-backed owners have indicated they will invest significantly in the squad but before the January transfer window opens they have fixtures against Manchester United and Everton.

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