Manchester City dominated the pitch from start to finish against an overmatched Newcastle squad, defeating the Magpies 4-0 to get three points in the Premier League table.
Playing before a raucous crowd, the Sky Blues took their lead late in the first half. Carlos Tevez knocked a shot through from close range in the 41st minute, and David Silva followed him up with a left-footed strike inside the box in extra time to give Manchester City a dominating advantage.
However, the overarching story on Saturday was the return of Vincent Kompany. The 26-year-old captain was in the lineup for the first time versus Newcastle since January, when he went down with a calf injury in FA Cup play.
Kompany's presence was the talk of the town heading into the match, and Manchester City made sure he returned in style. Taking a beautiful assist, Kompany knocked through a goal in the 56th minute to give his side a 3-0 lead.
The defensive stud was not done. Kompany nearly scored his second goal of the match with a header from the center box three minutes later, but the attempt barely missed. He left in the 73rd minute for Javi Garcia, receiving a rousing reception from the Etihad Stadium crowd.
Manchester City's fourth and final goal came just prior to Kompany's exit, as Newcastle's James Perch conceded an own goal—a frustrating end to a match filled with utter evisceration for the Magpies.
From the opening pitch, there was no question about this match. Manchester City held possession, getting into the Newcastle's zone with relative ease and peppering goalkeeper Robert Elliot with an endless barrage of shots. The Sky Blues finished Saturday's match with 63 percent of possession and 20 shot attempts (eight on goal).
Newcastle, meanwhile, had only one shot on goal, as they were continually unable to get past Manchester City's midfield. Papiss Demba Cisse was perhaps the closest to scoring for Newcastle, knocking a shot off the woodwork in the 24th minute.
Other than that, this match went as expected. Newcastle is still very much in the relegation conversation, with their 33 points putting them in 13th place heading into Saturday. They will likely avoid the distinction thanks to some timely wins, but they were no match for Manchester City's top-notch talent.
The Sky Blues look up at just one team in the Premier League table—the utterly dominant Manchester United. The two will face off again on April 8, and based on Saturday's results, it could be an epic matchup.
Vincent Kompany, Manchester City: A
It's hard to look any better than Kompany did after his long layoff. That's unsurprising from the Manchester City captain, but it had to give solace to Roberto Mancini that his star will be in fine form going forward.
A goal is usually the easiest calling card to an "A" grade, and what Kompany means to his side is the clinching factor. It will be interesting to see how he looks on short rest, though.
Carlos Tevez, Manchester City: A
It took Manchester City a while to actually get themselves on the board, and Tevez was the man to do it. No one knew at the time Manchester City would wind up piling on toward the end, so his help was critical.
Now a double-digit goalscorer this season, Tevez is once again having a fine campaign.
Robert Elliot, Newcastle United: D
It's hard to fault Elliot completely when his defense failed him so much, but allowing four goals is never an acceptable outcome. Elliot has been only intermittently effective when in the lineup this season, and Saturday will not ingratiate him with Newcastle fans.
David Silva, Manchester City: A
Silva was extremely active even outside of his goalscoring on Saturday, drawing fouls and pushing the attack forward to create opportunities. Once his shot went through the net, Silva had sealed his fate with a top-honors performance.
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