LONDON (AFP) – Manchester City provisionally trimmed Manchester United’s lead at the top of the Premier League table to three points with a 3-1 win at Newcastle United on Saturday.
City lost 3-2 to their cross-town rivals in a fiery Manchester derby last weekend but the champions showed no ill-effects in the early stages at St James’ Park and took the lead in the 10th minute with a beautifully crafted goal.
Stand-in captain Yaya Toure split the home defence with a delicately weighted pass down the inside-right channel and Samir Nasri showed excellent awareness to roll the ball square for Sergio Aguero to tap into an empty net.
Javi Garcia claimed City’s second in the 39th minute with a header from a left-wing corner, although Newcastle full-back Davide Santon made a complete hash of his attempt to clear the ball.
Newcastle hit back six minutes into the second half, Demba Ba beating City goalkeeper Joe Hart to Fabio Coloccini’s hooked cross to head home, but Toure touched in Pablo Zabaleta’s 78th-minute centre to make the points safe.
“The performance against (Manchester) United was fantastic,” said City manager Roberto Mancini.
“We were disappointed by the result but today was difficult because after the defeat against United, we needed to restart quickly.
“We had a very difficult game against Newcastle but I think the guys today were really, really good.
“It could have been six or seven — I don’t know how many chances we missed.”
Manchester United can restore their six-point advantage if they win at home to Sunderland later on Saturday.
Liverpool will go in search of a third consecutive victory at home to Aston Villa, having closed to within four points of the Champions League places following last weekend’s 3-2 win at West Ham United.
Fourth-place Everton visit Stoke City and Norwich City host Wigan Athletic, while bottom club Queens Park Rangers’ quest for a first win of the campaign continues at home to Fulham.