Manchester City cut the gap to Premier League leaders Arsenal back down to two points – for a couple of hours at least – with a 2-0 win over Newcastle United at the Etihad.
Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva struck either side of the half-time whistle for the champions, who withstood a 10-minute period of pressure from Eddie Howe’s men but were otherwise untroubled en route to a straightforward success.
A chance in the first minute for Ilkay Gundogan would certainly set the tone for the first half, as the Germany midfielder’s header from Jack Grealish’s cross landed on the roof of the net in an early warning for the Magpies – one which they did not heed.
With 15 minutes on the clock, Rodri sprayed a long pass out to Foden on the right, and the 22-year-old cut inside before driving into space vacated by Newcastle defenders, whose last-ditch attempts to stop his advance proved fruitless.
Foden surged into the box, evaded a sea of black and white shirts and got his shot away, which took a fortunate deflection off Sven Botman and flashed past Nick Pope into the back of the net.
In doing so, the revitalised Foden became the youngest player in Man City history to reach 50 Premier League goal involvements (33 strikes, 17 assists), and Newcastle’s attempts to find an immediate response were futile.
Having been largely starved of service in the opening half-hour, Erling Braut Haaland should have done better from Kevin De Bruyne’s pinpoint cross in the 34th minute, rising highest but sending his header harmlessly wide.
Missing that gilt-edged chance could and should have come back to haunt Haaland a few minutes later, as Callum Wilson found himself in a brilliant position to equalise from Miguel Almiron’s header across the box, but the Magpies striker horribly miskicked and the chance was wasted.
Nevertheless, Newcastle would consistently threaten the City goal in the early stages of the second half – much to the delight of their fans – but their brief period of hope was extinguished in the 67th minute.
City won the ball back high up the field, and a neat flick from Haaland on the edge of the box found substitute Silva, who swept home into the side of the net just two minutes and 12 seconds after coming on.
Silva’s strike evidently sucked the life out of Newcastle, whose failure to make their short-lived wave of pressure pay proved costly, and they were indebted to Pope for denying Foden his second in the 86th minute, saving down low from the City attacker following a beautiful passing move from the champions.
A last-gasp Kieran Trippier free kick sailed into the arms of Ederson, as City made it 14 top-flight home wins in a row against Newcastle – equalling the record for the most successive Premier League home victories against a single opponent, previously set by Everton against Fulham.
A trip to Crystal Palace on March 11 is next up for Man City, while Newcastle – who remain fifth and at risk of dropping out of the top seven – host Wolverhampton Wanderers next Sunday.