Newcastle began the first half very positively, but City soon stopped their momentum. For most of the first half, the Citizens shredded through the Toon defense with brutal precision, scoring two goals but threatening many more times.
The home side began the second half with unforeseen vigor and even got a goal back through the in-form Demba Ba, but their relatively brief period of dominance was not fruitful enough. Manchester City eventually grew back into the game and put the score out of reach with a late goal from Yaya Toure.
Let's look at six things we learned from a very entertaining encounter.
Once again, we were reminded of just how important Yaya Toure is to Manchester City. When he leaves for the African Cup of Nations this winter, the richest club in the world will struggle to replace him.
His all-around excellence drove City to victory. The physical presence he brings to midfield helped the Citizens defensively, and he kept them humming with the ball at his feet.
Toure's pass to spring the first goal was sublime. He found Samir Nasri on the edge of the box from the center circle with a perfectly weighted ball, catching Newcastle sleeping and allowing Sergio Aguero to score.
The instinctive movement and awareness he displayed to set up his own goal is seldom seen in players of his position. But he deftly flicked Pablo Zabaleta's low cross into the back of the net, capping a performance worthy of Manchester City's most valuable player.
Anyone who watched this game can tell you that Manchester City were, bar a couple of periods, clearly the superior side.
Yet, as is often the case, the statistics do not illustrate this.
According to ESPN FC's match report, Newcastle actually had the majority of the ball, retaining possession for 54 percent of the game. However, most of those periods were not especially threatening, and City appeared to dominate throughout.
And take the ever-misleading "shots" stat: Both teams had an equal amount of shots, but the winning team threatened many more times, scoring three times the goals.
Once again, we learned that stats can be, in football at least, extremely misleading.
Ever since coming to Newcastle on a free transfer in the summer of 2011, Demba Ba has lit up St. James' Park.
The Senegalese was, by far, the Magpies' top scorer last season, and his thumping header against Manchester City brings him up to 10 Premier League goals during this campaign.
It was plain to see that Ba was Newcastle's best player on the day, playing a part in many of Newcastle's best chances and, of course, outsmarting the entire Manchester City defence to head the ball into the back of the net.
However, Ba reportedly has a £7.5 million release clause in his contract, which is pocket change for anyone good enough to be interested in a player of his quality. If Arsenal or Liverpool are interested, as has been rumored, the Toon Army won't get to see Ba for much longer.
At times, it was stunning to see how easily Newcastle were torn apart at the back.
Especially down the left, their defense was in shambles for much of the first half. Davide Santon was often nowhere to be found, and the likes of David Silva and Sergio Aguero ruthlessly sliced through Newcastle.
With all their striking and midfield talent, it is clear that the heart of the Magpies' troubles this year lie in defense.
While Fabricio Coloccini was his usual sturdy self, Alan Pardew will have to seriously evaluate his options if Newcastle want to climb up the table.
Manchester United might have kept pace with their bitter crosstown rivals with a 3-1 victory of their own, but it is clear that this year’s title race will be quite interesting.
It would be even more so if City beat United last week. But with the football the Sky Blues are playing at the moment, they will be incredibly hard to stop.
After all, despite their oddly low league position, Newcastle aren’t that bad a team. And City absolutely thumped them at one of the most difficult places to play in the Premier League, playing some of the most fluid and incisive football on the planet.
That is a side that can run with United.
As Roberto Mancini said after the game (via The Sun), Manchester City could have won by three, four, five or even six goals. Mancini had nothing to complain about, but he knows that his team cannot keep missing those golden chances in the future.
Too many times, someone (mostly Carlos Tevez) would play a threatening ball across goal with either no one there to meet it or Newcastle’s desperation paying off. Such was City’s dominance; it was surprising that the Toon even had the opportunity to get into the game during the second half.
While Manchester City certainly have enough talent and depth to win the Premier League most years, they will need to capitalize on more opportunities, which are often scarce, in order to keep up with Manchester United.
Because, in the end, champions are made by a lot of luck.