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Dublin: 5°C Wednesday 3 March 2021

Five-star Man City crush Newcastle while Burnley leave West Ham in relegation trouble

Jesus ends City goal drought and Rodriguez scores all-important winner for Burnley.

Raheem Sterling and Bernardo celebrate the former's late goal.
Raheem Sterling and Bernardo celebrate the former's late goal.
Image: Oli Scarff/NMC Pool/PA Wire

GABRIEL JESUS ENDED his Manchester City goal drought as the Brazil striker netted for the first time in 10 games to spark a 5-0 rout of Newcastle.

With City’s record goalscorer Sergio Aguero a long-term absentee after knee surgery, Pep Guardiola needs Jesus to start firing on all cylinders — and he finally stepped up to the plate with a first-half strike at the Etihad Stadium.

It was Jesus’s 19th goal of the season, but just his second in his last 12 Premier League matches, banishing a nine-game barren run in all competitions.

Riyad Mahrez increased City’s lead and Federico Fernandez’s own goal was followed by David Silva’s free-kick and a late Raheem Sterling strike. 

Guardiola’s side have only pride to play for in the remainder of the Premier League season after Liverpool took the title.

But second-placed City, who won the League Cup in March, still have silverware in their sights as they await the result of their appeal against a two-season ban from European competition.

They face an FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal on 18 July and the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie against Real Madrid in August, with City holding a 2-1 lead.

After losing two of their last three league games, Guardiola had warned his players to cut out the mistakes that have blighted their season.

With that in mind, Guardiola will be encouraged by the ruthless way they put Newcastle to the sword.

Having beaten Newcastle in their last 10 meetings in Manchester, while also knocking them out of the FA Cup quarter-finals on Tyneside recently, City might have hand-picked the Magpies as their ideal opponents to get back on track.

Guardiola made five changes to the side beaten at Southampton as Kevin De Bruyne returned to the starting line-up, while John Stones started for the first time since the coronavirus hiatus.

City were quickly on top and Mahrez cut inside to test Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka with a low drive from the edge of the area.

- Class act -

Guardiola insisted this week that Jesus had produced “one of his best performances of this season” in Sunday’s defeat at Southampton.

The 23-year-old repaid Guardiola’s faith in the 10th minute, meeting Silva’s pass with a close-range finish for his first goal since netting at Real Madrid in February.

City midfielder Phil Foden dragged his shot wide from a tight angle after a dangerous burst into the Newcastle area.

Guardiola’s men were in complete control and doubled their lead in the 21st minute.

Foden sent De Bruyne away down the left side of the Newcastle area and the Belgian’s cut-back was slotted home by Mahrez for his 12th goal of the season.

De Bruyne’s 18th league assist of the season was testament to the remarkable consistency that makes him a contender for Player of the Year honours.

Foden should have made it three, but the 20-year-old shot wide from six yards out before missing with a close-range header from De Bruyne’s cross.

City’s relentless pressure produced a third goal in the 58th minute when Jesus’s raid panicked Matt Ritchie into a desperate clearance that cannoned off Fernandez into his own net.

In the final months of his last season with City, Silva remains a class act and the Spanish playmaker made it four with a fine free-kick that left Dubravka rooted to the spot in the 65th minute.

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Sterling’s 90th minute tap-in made it 17 goals for City in their four home games since the restart. 

© – AFP 2020

west-ham-united-v-burnley-premier-league-london-stadium Jay Rodriguez celebrates scoring. Source: PA

Elsewhere, West Ham missed the chance to climb further away from relegation trouble after Jay Rodriguez fired Burnley to a 1-0 Premier League victory.

Rodriguez’s first-half goal, a bullet header in off the underside of the crossbar, boosted Burnley’s hopes of a place in Europe next season.

The Hammers could not find a way through a resolute Clarets defence after the interval and remain four points clear of the bottom three.

Visitors Burnley should have taken the lead when Matej Vydra collected Charlie Taylor’s cross on the six-yard line and laid the ball off to Erik Pieters, but the Dutchman blazed over.

Vydra then met Ashley Westwood’s free-kick with a glancing header which flew straight into the arms of Lukasz Fabianski.

West Ham began to look threatening, though, and Nick Pope had to block a volley from Tomas Soucek and keep out Michail Antonio’s angled drive with his feet.

So it was against the run of play when Burnley took the lead in the 39th minute, Rodriguez darting in front of Aaron Cresswell and meeting Taylor’s cross with a fine header for his 10th goal of the season.

The ball bounced down off the underside of the crossbar twice before finally spinning away from the flailing Fabianski and rolling over the line.

Antonio had the chance to equalise immediately but blasted his shot into the sidenetting before Pope saved from Andriy Yarmolenko low down at his near post.

James Tarkowski could count himself lucky to stay on the pitch early in the second half after planting his studs into the thigh of Jarrod Bowen.

It was a similarly ugly challenge to the one which saw Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah sent off 24 hours earlier, but referee Michael Oliver showed only a yellow card and the VAR chose not to intervene.

Hammers boss David Moyes sent on West Ham’s record signing Sebastien Haller, fit again after a hip injury which had kept him out since the restart.

Within seconds the French striker had a glorious opportunity to equalise, but showed his ring rust with a weak finish too close to Pope.

Burnley had the ball in the net again when Chris Wood slid in Phil Bardsley’s cross but he was flagged offside.

West Ham poured forward in search of an equaliser but Burnley held firm to stay on the fringes of the European places and keep the Hammers sweating for a little longer at least.

- Press Association

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