Classy City get back on track
Manchester City bounced back from last week's derby defeat in perfect style by producing an impressive performance to beat Newcastle United 3-1 at St James' Park.
The Premier League champions did their best to live up to Roberto Mancini's assertion that City are still a better team than their local rivals as first-half goals from Sergio Aguero and Javi Garcia put the visitors in command.
Demba Ba's header early in the second half gave an improved Newcastle side a glimmer of hope until Yaya Toure's goal ensured the Magpies were consigned to a sixth league defeat in seven games.
Newcastle were almost in front inside the opening two minutes when Papiss Cisse's first-time shot produced an excellent save on the stretch from Joe Hart, but it was City who struck first on 10 minutes.
An exquisite pass from Yaya Toure split the Newcastle defence and played in Samir Nasri, who unselfishly squared for the unmarked Aguero to roll the ball into an empty net.
The goal invigorated City as the champions' beguiling pass-and-move football perplexed Newcastle, who needed keeper Tim Krul to save with his legs from Carlos Tevez before Mike Williamson blocked Aguero's shot after Nasri had struck the post.
The hosts were largely a threat from set-pieces in the first half as Williamson's volley forced another low save out of Hart before Aguero shot wide at the opposite end following another mesmerising move from City.
Krul's outstretched foot diverted a Tevez shot wide before City grabbed a second on 39 minutes when Garcia met David Silva's corner and Davide Santon made a hash of trying to clear the Spaniard's header off the line.
A half-time interval was just what Newcastle needed and Alan Pardew's men were quickly out of the blocks as Santon came close to atoning for his error by drilling into the side-netting.
On 51 minutes, City were punished for some slack defending as Fabricio Coloccini hooked the ball back into the penalty area and Ba was left unmarked to head past Hart, who was stranded in no man's land.
An equaliser almost arrived two minutes later after Cisse's clever touch created a yard of space, but the Senegal striker's shot flashed over the crossbar.
Newcastle's second-half approach carried a far greater tempo and purpose, but their hopes of completing the comeback were dashed with 12 minutes to go when Yaya Toure scored from close range after a neat build-up involving Silva and Pablo Zabaleta. The Magpies tried to offer another response as Ba's powerful drive flew over and substitute Shola Ameobi saw a header comfortably saved by Hart.
But City could easily have increased their advantage late on as Aguero arced one effort just wide of the post before the Argentinian's dinked attempt over Krul drifted away from goal.