Newcastle 0-1 Manchester City: Raheem Sterling makes it 18 in a row
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 28/12/17 8:13am
Manchester City moved 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League after a dominant 1-0 win over Newcastle on Wednesday.
City were in complete control throughout at St James' Park and should have secured their 18th straight league win by a more convincing scoreline.
Sergio Aguero hit the post twice and Kevin De Bruyne also struck the woodwork, but in the end Sterling's 31st-minute finish was enough for all three points.
Newcastle had just 22 per cent possession and only threatened on a couple of occasions, with Rolando Aarons going closest when his chipped effort was headed off the line in the first half.
Newcastle: Elliot (6), Mbemba (5), Lascelles (5), Dummett (5), Yedlin (5), Shelvey (4), Diame (4), Manquillo (4), Murphy (4), Aarons (5), Joselu (4)
Subs: Gayle (5), Merino (5), Atsu (5)
Manchester City: Ederson (6), Walker (6), Kompany (4), Otamendi (7), Danilo (7), De Bruyne (8), Fernandinho (7), Gundogan (7), Bernardo Silva (7), Sterling (8), Aguero (6)
Subs: Jesus (5), Mangala (6), Sane (5)
Man of the match: Kevin De Bruyne
Dwight Gayle also headed wide late in the game, but otherwise Manchester City were untroubled as they moved a step closer to equalling the 19-game winning streak of Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich in 2013/14, which is the record in Europe's five major leagues.
City created chances from the start as Aguero volleyed against the post from close range and De Bruyne fired over from the edge of the box.
Such was City's dominance that Gabriel Jesus came on after 11 minutes to replace defender Vincent Kompany, who looked to have suffered another injury.
Rob Elliot made a brilliant reaction save to tip over a header from Aguero, who shortly afterwards hit the post again with a strike from 25 yards. But Newcastle's resistance was eventually broken when Sterling finished from De Bruyne's excellent pass over the top.
Newcastle almost snatched a surprise equaliser as Nicolas Otamendi headed off the line from Aarons' chipped shot, but City otherwise remained in control and Aguero and Sterling went close to a second goal.
Mbemba, Dummett, Murphy, Shelvey and Aarons started for the hosts, with Clark, Atsu, Saivet, Ritchie and Gayle making way. Man City made three changes as Danilo, Bernardo Silva and Gundogan replaced Delph, David Silva and Sane
Aguero and De Bruyne missed good chances at the start of the second half and the latter then fired against the post in the 66th minute.
City continued to dominate but were almost caught out in the final few minutes as substitute Gayle headed just past the post.
- Manchester City have now won 11 consecutive away Premier League games - a joint top-flight record (also 11 wins in a row by Chelsea between April and December 2008).
- Newcastle United have lost five consecutive home league matches for the first time since October 1953.
- Nicolas Otamendi completed 122 passes for Man City in this match - seven more than all the outfield players of Newcastle managed combined (115).
- Rafael Benitez has now lost six of his last 10 home Premier League matches - he had lost six of his previous 110 before this run; 38 per cent of Benitez's total home Premier League defeats have come this season (six of 16).
- Since his Premier League debut for Manchester City, Kevin De Bruyne has 36 assists - four more than any other player.
- This was Pep Guardiola's 42nd Premier League victory for Manchester City but only his second 1-0 win (also 1-0 against Chelsea in September).
Man of the match - Kevin De Bruyne
Sterling might have got the winning goal, but De Bruyne was at the heart of everything City did in the final third. The Belgium international had four shots, including one which hit the post, and made five key passes, including a perfectly-weighted pass over the top for the goal.
Rafael Benitez: "I think we knew it was a difficult game, and we needed to work really hard to get something. It was a pity we conceded and I thought we could have done better.
"After they had a couple of chances and then we had some chances at the end.
"You were expecting that they would have the ball and we would have to counter-attack, and we did it well for a while."
Pep Guardiola: "I would like the opponent to play, for football itself and for the spectator, for everybody. But every manager can decide whatever he wants.
"You have to find and search for a way to attack them when they defend with 11 players in the box, when a striker goes with our holding midfielder, and there are nine or ten players there waiting for a throw-in or free-kick or corner.
"I cannot judge them. But I think attacking in that situation would create enough chances to score a lot of goals."
Newcastle are at home again on Saturday as they welcome former manager Chris Hughton's Brighton back to St James' Park. They then go to Stoke on New Year's Day. Manchester City travel to Crystal Palace on Sunday, December 31 and then host Watford on Tuesday, January 2.