Manchester City consolidated their position at the top of the Premier League with a 5-0 win over Newcastle at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Pep Guardiola’s side bounced back from their Champions League exit on Wednesday with a dominant display, going ahead by two in the first half through Raheem Sterling and Aymeric Laporte, before Rodri, Phil Foden and Sterling added three more goals after the break.
City now only need seven points from their final three games to clinch a second Premier League title on the bounce, after title rivals Liverpool were held to a draw against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, which left the Reds three points adrift of the top spot.
“The margin between us and Liverpool is so tight and goal difference can happen. It was important we win,” Guardiola said.
“It was a perfect afternoon. If some people doubted us they don’t know this team. Three points, nine points to play for, four ahead on goal difference. Another final on Wednesday.”
Newcastle should have gone ahead on eight minutes when Allan Saint-Maximin whipped cross into the box for Chris Wood, who only had Ederson to beat, but the New Zealand striker nodded the ball straight into the goalkeeper.
City then came close twice through Laporte and Joao Cancelo before Sterling opened the scoring on 19 minutes when a superb Ilkay Gundogan cross found Cancelo at the far post, who pulled the ball back for the England striker to nod in from close range.
Newcastle had the ball in the net just five minutes later when Wood bundled the ball over the line from a Jamaal Lascelles header, but the ball hit an offside Bruno Guimaraes in the process.
City doubled their lead on 38 minutes when Kevin de Bruyne’s deep corner found Gundogan on the edge of the penalty area, who fired a shot at goal. Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka could not hold onto the ball and defender Laporte jumped onto the rebound to smash it home from close range.
The hosts continued to dominate in the opening spell of the second half, and were rewarded on 61 minutes when Rodri headed in from a De Brunye corner, before Foden and Sterling sealed the victory late on.
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe has now lost all 10 of his Premier League meetings against Guardiola.
“We can’t be too negative about today. We should view it as a way to come back next season stronger,” Howe said.
Newcastle are 13th with 43 points — an incredible rise considering where they were when Howe took over — and are already looking at strengthening in the summer.
“If we can be smart with what we do in the summer and keep the spirit we have in the squad, the future is very bright for the club. The aim when we came in was to stay in the Premier League at all costs,” Howe added.