Joao Cancelo scored and set up another as Manchester City dispatched Newcastle 4-0 at St James’ Park to extend their Premier League winning run to eight games.
Cancelo plundered his first league goal of the season in fantastic style, dribbling towards the box with purpose before smashing into the left side of the net from the edge of the area.
His compatriot Ruben Dias had previously put City ahead early on, with Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling adding further gloss to the scoreline after the interval.
The victory ensured City will be top at Christmas, with the side topping the tree at this stage of the season having gone on to win the title in nine of the last 12 seasons.
Cancelo played a key role in City’s fifth-minute opener, stretching to connect with a ball over the top and cushion a volleyed cross onto Dias, who capitalised on a mix-up between Ciaran Clark and Martin Dubravka to head in unmarked.
The full-back doubled City’s advantage in stunning fashion 12 minutes later, jinking past two players before lashing a ferocious shot into the top-left corner that left Dubravka with no chance.
City got lucky as Ederson brought down Ryan Fraser in the box, but no penalty was awarded even after a VAR check.
Dubravka kept his side from going 3-0 down with a tremendous reflex save from Gabriel Jesus’ close-range header.
The Newcastle goalkeeper could do nothing to prevent Mahrez firing in on the volley, however, after the winger timed his run to perfection to meet Oleksandr Zinchenko’s cross, with his 50th goal for City awarded after the VAR overturned the linesman’s initial offside call.
Jesus turned provider for Sterling to tuck in late on, as City provided Pep Guardiola with an ideal early Christmas gift.
What does it mean? City set new record for top-flight wins
City’s victory over Newcastle means the reigning Premier League champions have now set a new top-flight record for most wins in a single calendar year with 34.
They have also broken their own record of 104 goals scored in a Premier League season in a single calendar year, with the four goals scored at St James’ Park taking them to 106. It is the most scored by a top-tier side in a single year since 1982 (Liverpool – 106).
Joao wows in the Toon
Cancelo has now been directly involved in 10 goals for City in all competitions this season (three goals, seven assists) – the first time a defender has reached double figures in a single season for a Guardiola side since David Alaba for Bayern Munich in 2013-14.
His wonder-strike was his first goal of the Premier League season, coming from his 38th shot in 2021-22. Before this game, he had taken the most shots without scoring of any player in Europe’s top five leagues.
City continue to haunt Howe
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has now lost all 11 of his Premier League games against City – the worst 100 per cent losing record any manager has against a specific opponent in the competition’s history.
Key Opta facts
– City will sit top of the tree on Christmas Day, something Liverpool had done in each of the last three seasons.
– Newcastle have won just 10 points in the Premier League this season – of the 13 previous instances of a team having 10 or fewer points after 18 games of a season, 11 of them have been relegated from the Premier League.
– Newcastle have now conceded 79 goals in the Premier League during 2021; the joint-most by a team in the competition in a calendar year, along with Ipswich Town in 1994.
– Cancelo has been directly involved in 10 goals in all competitions this season for Manchester City (three goals, seven assists), already surpassing his tally from the entirety of last season (eight – three goals, five assists).
– After scoring just once in his first 67 matches in all competitions for City, Dias has now scored two times across his last six matches.