Man City vs Newcastle United result, highlights and anaylsis as Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva seal vital win

ETIHAD STADIUM, MANCHESTER — Phil Foden scored a superb solo goal before Bernardo Silva came off the bench to give Manchester City a hard-fought and potentially vital 2-0 Premier League win over Newcastle United.

Arsenal won their game in hand on the defending champions when they thrashed relegation-threatened Everton 4-0 in midweek, extending the lead at the summit to five points.

City started in nervy fashion against last weekend’s defeated Carabao Cup finalists but Foden darted inside Dan Burn in the 15th minute to cause havoc in the Newcastle box and send home a deflected finish via Sven Botman.

Callum Wilson and Joelinton both should have equalised for Newcastle before Silva, on for the underwhelming Kevin De Bruyne, made an instant impact by converting Erling Haaland’s pass in the 67th minute..

City captain Ilkay Gundogan wasted a first-minute header, although the fact that chance arrived on the counter-attack gave an indication of how Newcastle would approach matters on the front foot.

A dicey Kyle Walker pass towards his own goal almost let in Callum Wilson and it required a touch of genius from Foden to steady City’s nerves.

There appeared to be little on when he collected a pass from Rodri in the inside right position but the England attacker darted inside Burn, sped away from Anthony Gordon and made light of other close attention before seeing the prone Botman divert his shot home.

Nathan Ake made a last-ditch challenge to deny Sean Longstaff before Wilson botched a glorious chance from Kieran Trippier’s knockdown and there were more scares to come for City after the interval.

Eddie Howe made a triple substitution after the hour and one of the new men, Joe Willock, soon made his presence felt, crossing for Joelinton to miss his kick with the goal at his mercy.  Another of the subs, Alexander Isak, was denied by a pair of brave challenges from Ruben Dias and Ederson.

Silva trumped them both for instant impact. With typical tenacity, the Portugal midfielder hurried Pope into a poor clearance. Jack Grealish picked up the pieces and found Erling Haaland, whose pass was steered unerringly home by Silva.

Phil Foden is back

There was nothing to separate the two sides before halftime other than Foden’s special talent. From a purely aesthetic point of view, the deflection off Botman was disappointing because everything prior to that was jet-heeled perfection. That made it four goals in three appearances this week for Foden, with struggles for form and fitness behind him. He should be one of Guardiola’s go-to men once again for the run-in because City will need a few more moments of magic like that if they are to overhaul Arsenal.

What is Man City’s best defence?

Newcastle’s blend of creativity and physicality saw Guardiola ditch his hybrid fullback gambit. With Miguel Almiron and the Grealish narrative in town, this was no time for Silva to be playing left-back. Kyle Walker, Manuel Akanji, Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake certainly represent City’s most robust back four at the moment, especially when considering John Stones’ and Aymeric Laporte’s fitness struggles.

There was some trademark “over my dead body” work in their own penalty area from Dias and Ake, the latter of whom is having a quietly excellent season. However, the quartet’s shortcoming in possession compared to Stones, Laporte and teenager Rico Lewis means more of that sort of defending has to be done because the ball keeps coming back in dangerous areas. Against quality opposition, this conundrum and how he deals with it might define Guardiola’s season at home and abroad.

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