Damilola Aina, Abuja
Daily Courier – Man City bounced back from the midweek disappointment against Real Madrid to thrash Newcastle United 5-0 and move three points clear of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League.
First-half goals from Raheem Sterling and Aymeric Laporte put the Blues firmly in command against lively opposition.
Rodrigo bagged the third on the hour, before crucial late goals from Phil Foden and Sterling wrapped up a wonderful afternoon the defending champions who now move within seven points of the title.
City looked sharp from the off against Newcastle, looking to press high and force errors from the visitors.
Yet the first real opportunity came for Newcastle on 12 minutes when Allan Saint-Maximin’s cross into the middle found Chris Wood and Joelinton free at the far post but Wood’s tame header from five yards was easily saved by Ederson.
Shortly after, Kevin De Bruyne’s corner fell to Aymeric Laporte who blasted over from eight yards out with a clear shot on goal.
The breakthrough came on 19 minutes, when Ilkay Gundogan’s floated cross to the far post found Joao Cancelo who headed across the six-yard box for Raheem Sterling to nod past Martin Dubravka.
City continued to create chances and finally doubled the lead on 39 minutes.
De Bruyne’s deep corner found Gundogan on the edge of the box and his volley was spilled by Dubravka who kept out Ruben Dias’ close range prod but could do nothing about Laporte’s follow-up.
Rodri got City’s third after the break before Phil Foden and Sterling struck in stoppage time as they stormed back to the top of the table.
The result means city are now three points clear of Liverpool, with three games left for both teams. Guardiola’s men hold a goal difference four better than the Reds.
Quadruple chasing Liverpool are next in action at Aston Villa on Tuesday, while City head to Wolves 24 hours later.
Meanwhile, Eddie Nketiah netted twice in the first 10 minutes at the Emirates Stadium as Mikel Arteta’s side earned their fourth successive win.
Leeds had skipper Luke Ayling sent off and, although Diego Llorente got one back in the 66th minute, it was too little, too late for Jesse Marsch’s strugglers.
Fourth placed Arsenal are four points clear of fifth placed Tottenham, with three games left for both teams in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League via a top four finish.