Newcastle United 0 Manchester City 1: Sterling extends lead to 15 points

Manchester City moved 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League with its 18th win in a row, courtesy of a Raheem Sterling goal.

Raheem Sterling celebrates after scoring in Manchester City's 1-0 win over Newcastle United on Wednesday.   -  Getty Images

Manchester City made it 18 wins in a row in the Premier League with a 1-0 procession against Newcastle United on Wednesday.

Raheem Sterling's 13th league goal of the season secured the result for Pep Guardiola's side and sent it 15 points clear of Manchester United at the top.

The only negative for the visitors was the loss of captain Vincent Kompany to injury early in the first half, the centre-back going off with a suspected calf problem.


The slender scoreline belied what was one of City's most comfortable victories of an astounding campaign, with Newcastle United offering almost no resistance despite having lost its previous four league matches at home.

Rafa Benitez made five changes to the side that beat West Ham last time out, with his line-up including Rolando Aarons – who had not started in the league all season – and Paul Dummett, making his first appearance in the top flight since the opening day loss to Tottenham.

READ: Newcastle didn't want to play, says Guardiola

Sergio Aguero twice hit the post before Sterling at last made City's dominance count in the 31st minute, but despite its total control of the game from then on the side could not add to the scoreline.

Newcastle barely threatened in the closing stages, meaning it remains just a point outside the relegation zone in 15th, while City tightened its grip on the title and is one victory short of matching Bayern Munich's record for Europe's top divisions of 19 wins in succession.

Jonjo Shelvey tried a shot straight from kick-off, before the whole Newcastle side dropped into its defensive third to stem the expected early tide of City attacks.

Aguero could have scored after only six minutes, turning Fernandinho's cross onto the outside of the right-hand post, and the fact Guardiola introduced Gabriel Jesus for the injured Kompany 11 minutes in highlighted the lack of ambition from the home side.

Despite the defensive blow for City, Newcastle continued to draw every player back towards its penalty area in a bid to frustrate the visitor, but Rob Elliot had to make a brilliant reaction save to keep out an Aguero header before the Argentine rattled the woodwork again with a strike from the edge of the area.

The resistance did not last much longer. Kevin De Bruyne sent a sublime pass over the top of the home defence and into the path of Raheem Sterling, who prodded the ball in off the left-hand post past the helpless Elliot.

ALSO READ: Records not on Sterling's mind as Manchester City keeps on winning

The goal temporarily sparked Newcastle into life and it took a timely header off the line from Nicolas Otamendi to keep out Aarons' chip, but Sterling would have added a second goal prior to the break were it not for another good Elliot save.

Indeed, City enjoyed 83.4 per cent possession in the first half and its monopoly of the ball continued after the break, with Sterling fashioning an opening before bending a shot just wide, while De Bruyne made a mess of a one-on-one.

The Belgian then blasted a low shot off the post from 25 yards and Aguero turned in the rebound, only for the offside flag to deny him a goal.

Substitute Dwight Gayle was booked for a dive when he threatened to race clear on Ederson's goal and sent an 89th-minute header wide as Newcastle made late attempts to equalise, but the side could not stop City taking another step towards a title triumph that is beginning to look like a foregone conclusion.


Key Opta stats:

- Manchester City has now won 11 consecutive away Premier League games – a joint top-flight record (Chelsea managed the feat between April and December 2008).
- Newcastle United has 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 combined (115).
- Rafa Benitez has now lost six of his last 10 home Premier League matches – he had lost six of his previous 110 before this run.
- Raheem Sterling has scored 13 Premier League goals this season – the same number he managed in his first two City campaigns combined.


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