Manchester City can sniff silverware after moving three points clear of Liverpool at the Premier League summit with a ruthless 5-0 win over Newcastle United.
Raheem Sterling started and ended this rout, with Aymeric Laporte, Rodri and Phil Foden also on the scoresheet as City made no mistake at the Etihad Stadium.
Rocked by snatching defeat from the jaws of victory against Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday, City did not play as though they were nursing a hangover from that bitter blow.
Pep Guardiola said the Madrid game was sure to be on his players’ minds, but a welcome distraction arrived when title rivals Liverpool were held by Tottenham on Saturday, a major blow to the Reds’ hopes. On this evidence, City should be celebrating a successful title defence back at this stadium in two weeks’ time.
Newcastle’s Chris Wood missed a glorious chance after eight minutes when he put a tame header straight at Ederson from Allan Saint-Maximin’s cross, and from a corner moments later at the other end Laporte skied a close-range shot.
Joao Cancelo smashed wastefully wide after Kevin De Bruyne’s cross from the left, but City were soon ahead. The opener came in the 19th minute when Ilkay Gundogan’s floated pass was headed across goal by Cancelo for Sterling to nod in from close range.
Wood had the ball in the City net, but his close-range finish was disallowed for an offside against Bruno Guimaraes, and the hosts doubled their lead in the 38th minute when Martin Dubravka spilled Gundogan’s 20-yard volley from a corner routine and Laporte bundled in.
Rodri made it 3-0 on the hour when De Bruyne’s corner from the left found him at the near post, and the midfielder’s header pinged low past Dubravka.
Oleksandr Zinchenko had a fierce drive tipped over by Dubravka as City looked to boost their goal difference.
They grabbed a fourth in the 90th minute when Foden converted from close range after Jack Grealish and Zinchenko combined on the left, and Grealish fed Sterling to drive home a fifth to rub it in for both Newcastle and Liverpool.