Manchester City passed a huge test of its Premier League title credentials by beating Newcastle 2-0 on Saturday.
Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva struck as Manchester City maintained their pursuit of Premier League leaders Arsenal with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Newcastle.
Foden opened the scoring at the Etihad Stadium after a superb run before Silva came off the bench to secure the points from a feisty encounter in the second half.
Foden’s brilliant 15th-minute effort, albeit coming with the aid of a deflection, gave the champions a deserved interval lead.
However, Newcastle, looking to get back to winning ways after a poor run, fought back.
The Magpies were the dominant side in the early period of the second half and it took the arrival of Silva, who scored within moments of coming on, to settle City’s nerves in the 67th minute.
De Bruyne´s replacement, Bernardo Silva, scored with one of his first touches, poking the ball past Pope from 15 meters in the 67th after collecting a flick from Erling Haaland.
His strike took the sting out of Newcastle’s game and what has been a fine campaign continues to look like it is running out of steam.
As well as losing last week’s Carabao Cup final, Eddie Howe’s side have now gone five Premier League games without a win.
By becoming just the second team – after Liverpool – to defeat Newcastle in the league this season, second-place City kept the pressure on leader Arsenal.
The teams came into the weekend separated by five points.
It was another blow to Newcastle whose league form has dipped in recent weeks.
The northeast team has dropped out of the top four in its bid to qualify the Champions League and stayed four points behind fourth-place Tottenham, which has played one game more.
There was a political element to the match, with the teams owned by Abu Dhabi (City) and Saudi Arabia (Newcastle), respectively, making headlines off the field.
City is currently fighting more than 100 charges by the Premier League of alleged breaches of financial rules, an explosive development that emerged last month and leaves the champions at risk of severe punishment.
Newcastle, meanwhile, came under scrutiny this week after new questions were raised about the Saudi Arabian investment in the club.
The Premier League has been urged to review a legally binding promise made by the club´s majority owners – Saudi´s sovereign wealth fund – in 2021 that it is separate from the country´s government.
Given their wealth, the two clubs are expected to be among the dominant forces in English soccer for years to come but City currently is a level above.
This win extended its unbeaten run over Newcastle to nine games, and it was City’s fourth victory in its last five matches in the league.
Newcastle will rue three big chances when the score was 1-0.
Sean Longstaff hesitated when through on goal and had a shot blocked by Nathan Ake, Callum Wilson mis-hit a shot from close range and Joelinton saw the ball go through his legs as he attempted to convert a cross from the right.
Newcastle has still never won a league game at Etihad Stadium.
Newcastle’s frustration after what had been a period in the ascendancy soon became evident as a melee broke out after Dan Burn hauled down Grealish.
Burn and Haaland were both booked for their involvement but City had weathered the storm and comfortably held on for victory.