Not to mention the Bernabéu. Traveling Newcastle supporters did, though it seemed they had gotten away with it. For Manchester City, it was all about trying to move on. The wounds from last Wednesday’s Champions League horror show at Real Madrid, when they relinquished a two-goal aggregate lead in stoppage time before exiting, may never fully heal.

It is about learning to live with them, about entering a new reality and it is the one that Pep Guardiola intends to gild with a fourth Premier League title in five seasons. Competition is the truest measure of a team over the course of a season and if City were able to pull it off, again, how could they feel empty? Right?

City had taken a breather from the Fates on Saturday night when Tottenham drew with Liverpool at Anfield. It meant that City had room for a draw in their clash, but no one at the club wanted anything other than a win here over a Newcastle side that has been reinvigorated by Eddie Howe.

Inspired by Kevin De Bruyne, they succeeded. There were some nerves at first, but City soon picked up the pace, Raheem Sterling scoring the opening goal and Aymeric Laporte benefiting after a handling error by Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.

The second half would be a procession. Rodri got the third and, with Jack Grealish in the lead, City would increase their goal difference in the end, with substitute Phil Foden and Sterling coming back into the picture.

The City players had warmed up with the 10 shirt ”,Aguero” on the numbers, a nod towards the imminent celebration of the 10th anniversary of the most famous moment in the history of the club. But it was about writing a new chapter.

Guardiola had said beforehand that the mood at the club was much better than Saturday, which was also better than Friday, although what happened at Anfield was clearly more healing than time. The idea was that Liverpool’s slip-up would have a liberating effect on City, giving them some much-needed breathing space, but what Guardiola’s side really wanted was an early goal. They got it, although there would be some nerves before that.

Laporte took advantage of a presentable chance when he volleyed from a De Bruyne corner and João Cancelo did the same from a similar position when another cross from the Belgian hit the far post. And earlier, Newcastle should have opened the scoring.

When Allan Saint-Maximin collected the ball down the right after a quick counter-attack, he had Joelinton on yards of space in the box, so much so that it felt incongruous. He could not work the cross. But he would do it moments later and Chris Wood was only there for the header. He pointed it uselessly at Ederson.

City’s advance came in the 19th minute and was created by Ilkay Gündogan, whose center cut to the far post made it the measure of Cancelo. The winger headed square and Sterling got there first to nod.

Raheem Sterling turns around after scoring Manchester City's first goal against Newcastle
Raheem Sterling turns after scoring Manchester City’s first goal against Newcastle. Photograph: Matt West/Shutterstock

City came to control the first half, with De Bruyne wanting to prevail. He drove with the ball at his feet, leaving black and white jerseys in his wake, while his passes were the classic blend of fizz and precision.

Newcastle blinked again in the 24th minute when Jamal Lascelles headed a corner towards goal and saw the ball hit Bruno Guimarães, who was offside. Wood rammed the loose ball past Ederson, but the flag would go against Guimarães.

City turned the screw. Sterling beat Matt Targett to bring on Cancelo, who was denied by Dubravka at the near post; De Bruyne chose Gabriel Jesus, who he couldn’t control, and Oleksandr Zinchenko almost connected with Jesus after further goading from De Bruyne. Jesús would stretch again in first-half stoppage time for a De Bruyne cross but again could not convert.

City’s second was a disaster for Dubravka. He couldn’t hold off a Gundogan volley from the edge of the box after a De Bruyne corner and, although it came through the crowd, he had to do better. He nearly redeemed himself by clawing the fumble away from Rubén Dias, but it was broken to Laporte, who had a tap-in.

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Two goals up and in control. What could go wrong? Nothing, as it turned out. City set the tone for the sleeper control they put into the second half by gorging themselves on 99% of possession in the first eight minutes.

They secured the result over the hour mark when Rodri timed his run to the near post to deflect De Bruyne’s corner kick. It was not a goal that the visitors will enjoy looking back on. Between the lockdowns and screens inside the box, Rodri was allowed to find space too easily.

Guardiola led the cheers for Jesús when he came on for him, urging the crowd to acknowledge the striker, just as they had in the 33rd minute when Gündogan chased down Saint-Maximin.

Howe introduced Callum Wilson and Kieran Trippier after lengthy injury layoffs and both looked rusty. Wilson missed a one-on-one with Ederson in the 83rd minute and Trippier was easily beaten by Grealish for City’s fourth goal. As Grealish backed away, Zinchenko’s cross shot was deflected by Foden.

City saved the best for last. Grealish again gained ground down the left and, after Foden returned a beautiful move, he ushered Sterling past, who fired home. Two goals in the 90th minute. This time, City could enjoy them.

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