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Dec 27, 2017 at 7.45pm UK
NewcastleNewcastle United
0-1
Man CityManchester City
 
FT(HT: 0-1)
Sterling (31')
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Live Commentary: Newcastle United 0-1 Manchester City - as it happened

:Headline: Live Commentary: Newcastle United 0-1 Manchester City - as it happened:
Relive Sports Mole's live coverage of Manchester City's 1-0 victory over Newcastle United, as Raheem Sterling helped his side to an 18th successive win.

Raheem Sterling scored the only goal of the game as Manchester City beat Newcastle United 1-0 at St James' Park to move 15 points clear at the top of the table.

The visitors dominated proceedings pretty much throughout, hitting the frame of the goal three times and seeing opposition keeper Rob Elliot produce a couple of big stops.

In the end Sterling's volley just over half an hour in proved the difference, ensuring that City left the North-East with an 18th-successive league win under their belt.

Relive how the 90 minutes of action unfolded with Sports Mole's live text coverage below.

Hello and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the Premier League meeting between Newcastle United and Manchester City at St James' Park. The Magpies ended their nine-game wait for a win last time out to just about remain afloat of the relegation zone at the midway stage in the campaign, while the Citizens are a massive 14 points clear at the summit with this game in hand to play.
The title race appears to be a formality despite still being in December, as Man City quite simply look unstoppable at this moment in time. For now the Citizens are just looking to tick off each match as it comes, seemingly breaking a new record with each passing week. There is another record in sight for them this evening, more on which a little later, but for now let us check out some confirmed team news...
NEWCASTLE UNITED TEAM NEWS!

STARTING XI: Elliot; Yedlin, Lascelles, Mbemba, Dummett, Manquillo; Murphy, Diame, Shelvey; Aarons, Joselu

SUBS: Darlow, Clark, Merino, Atsu, Ritchie, Perez, Gayle

Starting with a look at the home team, manager Rafael Benitez was expected to have some big calls to make in midfield this evening. Neither Isaac Hayden nor Mikel Merino have fully recovered from knocks in time to feature, however, so Jonjo Shelvey will provide the energy in the middle of the park after making his return from suspension. Mohamed Diame, less of a fringe player these days, is also included, as is Jacob Murphy.
Shelvey is one of five players to be brought back into the side from the 3-2 win at West Ham United four days ago, including a first Premier League start of the season for Rolando Aarons and a return for Chancel Mbemba in what is essentially a five-man backline. There is also a welcome return for Paul Dummett at the back, having watched on from the bench at the London Stadium at the weekend.
Murphy is another who did not feature in East London, but he is preferred to Christian Atsu tonight on the opposite side to Aarons, who fills in for Matt Ritchie. Of the Magpies' three goalscorers against West Ham, Diame is the only one to retain his place in the side, likely providing some support for lone striker Joselu through the middle. Merino does at least make the bench for the hosts, meanwhile, which is more than can be said of Aleksandar Mitrovic.
MANCHESTER CITY TEAM NEWS!

STARTING XI: Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Danilo; Fernandinho, Bernardo; De Bruyne, Gundogan, Sterling; Aguero

SUBS: Bravo, Mangala, Sane, Adarabioyo, Jesus, Toure, Diaz

Visiting side Man City make three changes from their comfortable 4-0 home win over Bournemouth, as Danilo, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan all come into the fold. Leroy Sane, Fabian Delph and David Silva are all rested for this match, with the latter two being left out of the squad entirely. Rotation the order of the day for boss Pep Guardiola, then, though his starting lineup looks as strong as ever.
The official line is that Delph misses out on squad selection tonight due to a minor injury, so Danilo will operate down the left-hand side and Kyle Walker - no longer the world's most-expensive defender - is used on the right. Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan will operate in midfield positions, meanwhile, with the former used in a more advanced area of the field, aiming to make the most of his fifth league start.
The introduction of Danilo aside, the back four remains unchanged from last time out, meaning that skipper Vincent Kompany is clearly ready to start two games in the space of four days. Eliaquim Mangala was expected to come back into the side and partner Nicolas Otamendi, with John Stones still absent for another week or two, but Guardiola has instead decided to give the Belgian defender the nod.
Sergio Aguero retains his place up top for Manchester City, who make three alterations from the weekend win over Bournemouth. The Argentina international boasts a good record against tonight's opponents, scoring nine goals in his last five Premier League meetings with Newcastle United, including five in a 6-1 win at the Etihad Stadium in October 2015.
Newcastle, looking a little different tonight with starts for Aarons and Dummett, find themselves in 15th place in the table and one point above the relegation zone. The Magpies dropped into the dropzone at one point following a dire run of form that saw them go winless for nine matches, but they were able to put an end to that with their 3-2 triumph at the London Stadium last weekend - a truly massive victory.
One point from 27 was all Newcastle had to show from their fixtures between October 21 and December 23, in fact, though it is fair to say that the pressure did not exactly build on Benitez. It is rare to see a manager so highly regarded by supporters when results are as abysmal as they had been, but those in the stands know that that the Spaniard was hardly to blame for the string of defeats and draws.
Newcastle had been eyeing a top-eight finish in the early stages of the season when putting together three wins on the bounce, but just two victories from the last 14 have followed and they are now very much in the relegation mix. There are just three points between Bournemouth in 18th and Stoke City in 13th, though United can potentially climb into 12th place - and just four points off the top half - if they pick up an improbable win here.
This is the first of a double-header at St James' Park in the coming days for Newcastle, as they also play host to Brighton & Hove Albion, who they pipped to the Championship title in May. Then comes a trip to Stoke City, themselves in relegation danger, so the next week really is vital to the Magpies' hopes of not just staying up but possible climbing back up the division. With backing, a top-eight finish should not be completely ruled out.
The FA Cup third round is also on the horizon and supporters in these parts dream of a cup run. Luton Town travel here early next month, offering what should be a route through to round four, though the Magpies have learned over the years that you cannot rule out a shock result against lower-league opposition. Simply avoiding the drop does appear to be Benitez's target for now, though, with his side three places above the dotted line.
DID YOU KNOW? Newcastle United have lost their last four home matches - they have not fared worse at St James' Park since a six-match streak in October 1953. Magpies boss Rafael Benitez is unbeaten in all eight Premier League home matches as a manager against Manchester City, however, winning the first four and drawing the most recent four.
Benitez spoke this week about needing funds in January to significantly strengthen his squad, though takeover talk has gone a little quiet over the last week or two. Amanda Staveley, of PCP Capital Partners, is in the process of carrying out due diligence checks and, all going to plan, there is real hope that an agreement can be reached early in the New Year. That, though, will almost certainly be after the transfer window closes on January 31.
Newcastle United have fallen way down the Premier League table in recent weeks following a nine-game winless run, which ended with victory at West Ham United last time out. That result lifted the Magpies back away from the relegation zone, though ahead of a home double-header against Manchester City and Brighton & Hove Albion they sit just a point above the dotted line.

The Citizens are currently top of the Premier League, in case you hadn't heard, and are looking good value to completely run away with the title. The gap between the top two was the biggest it has been in English top-flight history at Christmas, and it could get even bigger if City earn an 18th-successive victory this evening. Manchester United in second yet again slipped up yesterday, dropping two points at home to surprise package Burnley.
If they continue at this rate then the Citizens will break just about every record possible en route to lifting the title in the spring. The statistics from the first half of the campaign really are staggering, the main one being that they have won a record 17 matches in a row, including against each of their fellow top-six rivals, and have that 12-point gap at the top with a game in hand to play.
Guardiola's men recently went through a phase of scoring goals late on in games to keep their winning streak intact, and they also went down to Shakhtar Donetsk with a weakened squad in a European dead rubber, but since then they have defeated closest challengers Man United, as well as Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur and Bournemouth, scoring exactly four goals in the last three of those.
They have 60 league goals to their name in all this season, which is quite considerably the best return in the division - 14 more than Liverpool, who have themselves been heralded as boasting the best front four on the continent right now. Twelve goals against is a league low, too, keeping nine clean sheets in their 19 fixtures to date. Whether it is attacking or defending, nobody comes close to matching Guardiola's charges.
City have a nice run of fixtures to come over the New Year period, following up this trip to the North-East with games against Crystal Palace (a) and Watford (h) over the next six days. Having lost just one of their 18 matches in all competitions this season - and even that has an asterisk next to it as they had little to play for against Shakhtar - you would back City to pick up nine points from nine.
Their winning run has seen them through to the last 16 of the Champions League with ease, 12 points clear in the Premier League and through to the semi-finals of the EFL Cup, where they will face Bristol City over two legs. The fixture list may have been gruelling up to this point, and will continue to be so, but the Citizens have yet to show any signs of a wobble and a blip just does not look likely to happen anytime soon.
The next target in sight for City is to win 19 games in a row, matching the record set by Bayern Munich a few years ago when Guardiola was in charge at the Allianz Stadium. They could also equal the English top-flight record of 11-consecutive away wins tonight, set by Chelsea between April and December 2008. In terms of goals, they need just six more to surpass the record set by Liverpool in 1982 when scoring 106 in a calendar year.
PREVIOUS MEETINGS! Newcastle United have gone 19 Premier League matches without a win in this fixture since coming out on top 1-0 here in 2005, drawing three and losing 16 since then. The Citizens could set a new club-record of 20 matches unbeaten against a single opponent if they avoid defeat tonight, having previously gone 19 against Barnsley between 1898 and 1987.
It is worth pointing out that Newcastle did beat City in an EFL Cup tie at the Etihad Stadium three years ago, however, so they have had the odd positive moment in this fixture down the years. A major upset is required for them to take anything out of this game, though, particularly when their opponents can boast scoring two or more goals in each of their last 12 matches.
With kickoff at St James' Park now less than five minutes away, let us check out some pre-match thoughts from both camps.

Rafael Benitez: "We have been on a bad run but we have kept working hard and maintained belief. The victory has given us a big boost in confidence, and it will be good if we can now back that result up against City."

Pep Guardiola: "We must do what we have done until now - that is what we have to do, and focus on Newcastle. Focus on what we have to do on the pitch - defensively, offensively, individually, as a group."

Benitez admits that Newcastle were given a "big boost" with their win at West Ham, which ended that barren run of form. They could have done with a nicer fixture tonight to push on, with this no doubt seen as a bonus fixture of sorts by the Spanish boss. Opposite number Guardiola just wants his players to remain "focused", meanwhile, as they attempt to pick up an 18th-successive top-flight win - a truly staggering figure.
KICKOFF! Newcastle United get us up under way at St James' Park in this latest festive fixture. A reminder of the team news for you - the Magpies show five changes from their last outing; Manchester City three from the 4-0 win over Bournemouth.

Quite a bizarre start to the game, as Shelvey had an attempt straight from kickoff that Ederson was alert to. Simple stop, but one of the earliest shots on target you are likely to see all season. Great atmosphere inside the ground tonight.
Newcastle essentially going with five across the back, as expected, so it might be a tough evening ahead of City's string pullers. That said, this is not the first time they have come up against defensive opposition during their winning run.
OFF THE POST! First chance of the match for Aguero, who could only divert Fernandinho's deep pass against the outside of the post. A decent opening at the back stick, but he was perhaps put off a little by keeper Rob Elliot.
City already finding a fair bit of space to play in, creating that one decent opening inside seven minutes. Newcastle sitting extremely deep at the moment, unwilling to really get the ball forward and create any attacks of their own.
SHOT! The tactics do not appear to be working all that well for Newcastle at the moment, as a loose ball is picked up by De Bruyne in space on the edge of the box. The Belgian blasted it over the bar from a position he so often scores from.
MANCHESTER CITY SUB! An early blow for City, as skipper Vincent Kompany has hobbled off. I did say before the match that it was surprising to see him involved from the off - even more surprising is that Jesus, and not Mangala, is on in his place.
The Citizens are having plenty of joy, with Jesus getting in behind on this occasion but seeing his close-range shot blocked behind. The visitors knocking on the door for an opener, despite their opponents essentially playing with 10 centre-backs!
Murphy with a really bad challenge on Gundogan, which he is very fortunate to escape without a booking. Could even be argued that it was worthy of a red card, and the referee did see it as a free kick has been awarded to the visitors.
SAVE! Impressive stop by Elliot, who reacted well to push Aguero's glanced header over the crossbar. De Bruyne swung in the ball from the free kick and the Argentina international got to it first, but he could not beat Elliot.
Seen a few replays of that Murphy challenge and it does appear as though he seriously got away with one there - that was worthy of a red card. A quarter of the match played and league leaders Man City are completely dominating the match.
Newcastle with all 11 players in the final third of the field in this one-sided contest. City full-back Danilo decides to take matters into his own hands by trying his luck, sending the ball into the stands with his attempt from 25 yards.
SAVE! Good work from Sergio Aguero out on the right, bringing the ball infield and then slotting it through to Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian got a foot to it but Elliot was quickly out and turned it behind for a corner kick.
SHOT! Pretty incredible that, even with 10 men behind the ball, Newcastle are still giving City's most dangerous player plenty of time on the ball. De Bruyne again has a go from 20 yards; again he fails to find the target.
OFF THE POST! Aguero hits the post for the second time tonight, getting between two men 25 yards from goal and sending the ball swerving through the air towards the far corner. It looked like all the world as though the net would ripple, but it instead clipped the upright.
GOAL! NEWCASTLE UNITED 0-1 MANCHESTER CITY (RAHEEM STERLING)
Another Sterling goal and another De Bruyne assist. To say this has been coming would be an understatement as, after 30 minutes of dominance, De Bruyne lifted the ball over the top for his teammate to volley past Elliot at his near post.
OFF THE LINE! Incredible. Newcastle finally get the ball forward and it causes panic in the City box. Walker slips and Aarons lofts it over Ederson, but Otamendi headed off the line before Joselu could help it on its way.
Following the most negative opening half an hour of football you will see this season, Newcastle are finally starting to show a little more about themselves. In turn, that has got the home crowd right behind them for the first time tonight.
City not looking all that comfortable at the back. The ball again comes forward and neither Walker nor Ederson could deal with it, though all the hosts got out of it was a corner kick. Not quite as one-sided a contest now at St James' Park.
BLOCK! Man City counter and Kevin De Bruyne picks out Aguero at the back post, and the Argentina international's shot appeared to be heading for the back of the net if not for a big block from Mohamed Diame in front of goal.
De Bruyne is running the show at the moment, being given far too much space around 40 yards from goal to pick out pass after pass. His latest one causes danger, but Aguero is eventually flagged for offside and the attack comes to an end.
Half time now just a minute or two away at St James' Park, where Man City are cruising at the moment. Still just the one goal to show for their first-half efforts, though, so this one is not quite over as the midway point approaches.
HALF TIME: NEWCASTLE UNITED 0-1 MANCHESTER CITY
The whistle goes for half time, meaning that Man City will take a one-goal lead into the interval. Raheem Sterling was the man to bag the only goal of the half, volleying a fine De Bruyne pass past Elliot to give his side a deserved advantage.
Newcastle's tactics were clear to see right from the off, putting all 10 outfield players behind the ball yet still giving City's main man Kevin De Bruyne plenty of room to operate in. De Bruyne's quality did not take too long to shine through, though his shooting range was a little off as he sent two attempts over the bar from outside the box.
Sergio Aguero came a little closer, clipping the outside of the post seven minutes in when spotted by Fernandinho and doing so again later in the half through a long-range attempt. The upright came to Newcastle's rescue on those occasions but Rob Elliot was also required, producing a big save to keep out the Argentina international's glanced header.
City were forced into a first-half change when skipper Vincent Kompany hobbled off, and the man who replaced him also saw a chance to open the scoring come and go, as Gabriel Jesus was thwarted by Elliot at his near post. There was to be no keeping out Raheem Sterling soon after, however, with the in-form winger volleying past Elliot once picked out by a lofted De Bruyne pass.
A Jonjo Shelvey shot from kickoff aside, Newcastle did not impose themselves on the game until 34 minutes in when Rolando Aarons - handed his first Premier League start of the season - lobbed Ederson but saw the ball kept off the line by Nicolas Otamendi. Newcastle boss Benitez will surely change things around at the interval, with his side very much second best so far.

NEWCASTLE UNITED SUBS: Darlow, Clark, Merino, Atsu, Ritchie, Perez, Gayle

MANCHESTER CITY SUBS: Bravo, Mangala, Sane, Adarabioyo, Toure, Diaz

RESTART! We are back up and running at St James' Park, where neither manager has made a change at the interval. City have already been forced to bring one player on, having lost skipper Vincent Kompany to injury early on.
City looking as comfortable as they did in the first half, though with just a one-goal advantage they cannot get overconfident. Guardiola will hope to see the second arrive before the hour mark, when he will likely make another change.
CLOSE! Great play from in-form Raheem Sterling, as he gets between two Newcastle players and sends the ball curling towards the bottom corner. Not quite on target, though, and Sergio Aguero could not help it home with his touch.
United are still more than happy to sit back and soak up as much pressure as they can. Just wonder at what point they plan on attacking their opponents, as at this rate they will concede a second before they muster a serious shot on goal.
SAVE! Gundogan with options either side and a big gap to aim for, and he opts for the latter by sending a shot on target for Elliot to keep out. Not the greatest of efforts, in truth, and no City player could meet the rebound.
CHANCE! This is so unlike Kevin De Bruyne, as he mishits his shot from close range. Completely sliced it behind for a goal kick after being slotted through by Gabriel Jesus, who did well to spot the run when off balance.
The second half is very similar to the first, in a sense that Newcastle are being overly-defensive yet still giving their opponents too much space to operate in. Newcastle need to think about changing things around now, with a little over half an hour to go.
Benitez appears ready to bring on Gayle, so maybe City will have one or two questions to answer in the final half an hour of the match. Sterling's first-half goal, via a volley, is still the difference between the two sides here.
NEWCASTLE UNITED SUB! Dwight Gayle is indeed introduced by Rafael Benitez, taking over from Joselu who has had so very little to feed off tonight. Benitez may have been tempted to go with two up top, but that is not the case.
Very little goalmouth action since the restart, with league leaders Man City under very little threat as they sit on this one-goal advantage. A slender lead, but Newcastle are still offering absolutely nothing in terms of an attacking threat.
OFF THE POST! De Bruyne with an absolute bullet of a strike from 25 yards out that cannons back off the post. Aguero took a touch and helped the rebound over the line, but the offside flag cut his celebrations short.
Surely - surely! - that near-miss will spring Newcastle into life. Sterling concedes a needless free kick but the home side fail to make the most of it. Up the other end, an Aguero attempt is off target as the game opens up a little more.
NEWCASTLE UNITED SUB! Christian Atsu, who looked lively at the London Stadium last week, is finally introduced in place of Ronaldo Aarons. Exactly 20 minutes left to play at St James' Park, where there is still just the one goal in it.
PENALTY APPEAL! Dwight Gayle is shown the game's first yellow card following a coming together in the box. The striker initially looked to have been sent to ground by Danilo, but replays show the ref was spot on - Gayle was looking for the contact, which did not arrive.
Certainly a warning for Man City, though, as this one-goal lead is very slim. Visiting boss Guardiola must be tempted to make a change or two now, with his side potentially having to defend far more in the final quarter of the contest.
MANCHESTER CITY SUB! Mangala is on for Aguero, meaning that City will operate with two recognised centre-backs once again. A 4-3-3 setup to see this one through, having lost their rhythm over the last 20 minutes or so.
NEWCASTLE UNITED SUB! Mikel Merino is the second player to be introduced for the visitors, taking over from Chancel Mbemba. A loose ball falls nicely to Jesus six yards out, but he cannot quite get his boot on the end of it.
Near enough Newcastle's best moment of the match, as Atsu weaves his way into the box. The sub looked to pick out Shelvey on the penalty spot, but the ball was cut out. Still, that has certainly got the home fans out of their seats.
Newcastle supporters urging their side on now - they know that it is now or never. No shame in conceding a second, with just eight minutes now left to play at st James' Park. City on the brink of an 18th-successive league victory.
MANCHESTER CITY SUB! Bernardo Silva has been taken off and Leroy Sane brought on in his place. Man City will likely be given plenty of chances to hit their opponents on the counter in the closing stage of the contest.
Man City not prepared to sit back and defend this one-goal lead - they would rather seek a second. That ploy is working well, because Newcastle have not been able to get out of their own final third over the last few minutes.
Twenty-one attempts from City tonight, six of which have been on target, but still just the one goal to show for it. Guardiola really will be fuming if his players fail to see this one through, with two minutes of normal time to go.
CLOSE! Well that would have been quite something! Atsu gets the ball into the box and Gayle is the first player to it, heading the ball inches wide of the visiting goal with Ederson unable to get there. United finally building some momentum.
Just three minutes of added on time here, so City very much on the brink of an 18th-successive league win now. Too little, too late from Newcastle's perspective - a 1-0 loss in this fixture is a credible result, but they perhaps could have offered more.
FULL TIME: NEWCASTLE UNITED 0-1 MANCHESTER CITY
Raheem Sterling with the only goal of the game as Manchester City beat Newcastle United 1-0 at St James' Park to move 15 points clear at the top of the table. The visitors dominated proceedings pretty much throughout, hitting the frame of the goal three times and seeing opposition keeper Rob Elliot produce a couple of big stops, and in the end Sterling's volley just over half an hour in would prove to be the difference.
That concludes Sports Mole's live text coverage of events at St James' Park. An on-the-whistle report can be found by clicking here, while reaction will be available elsewhere on the site in the next 30 minutes or so. Thanks for joining!
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