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Rafael Benitez defends Newcastle's pragmatism: 'We’re not Liverpool, we’re not Arsenal'

If Liverpool came up with the blueprint to beat Manchester City, Newcastle United looked at it, ripped it up and tossed it in the bin, fully aware they did not have the tools to make it work. The end result was predictable, the outcome never in serious doubt, the sense of drama vanquished. They might have lost a game at last, but City are not going to throw away the title because there are too many Premier League sides who are incapable of competing against them. Their lead – 12 points with 14 games to play – is mathematically vulnerable, but it continues to look unassailable. Having lost for the first time in the Premier League for almost ten months, at Anfield, the previous weekend, Newcastle were ideal opponents for Pep Guardiola’s side to get back into the groove. This was a case of sliding effortlessly into the old routine and you suspect they will face a tougher test, when they rest key players, against Bristol City in the second leg of the Carabao Cup, on Tuesday night, because the Championship side will throw everything at them. Newcastle’s resistance was brave, yet passive. They sat deep, defended their penalty area and allowed City to dictate everything other than when they scored the goals to win the game. The deftest of Sergio Aguero headers broke the Newcastle resistance Credit: Getty Images This City side are not invincible, Liverpool proved that, but Newcastle’s manager Rafa Benitez effectively decided, as far as his team are concerned, they were unbeatable. The Magpies did not try to win the game, they tried to protect their goal difference. It was a non-contest, another damage limitation exercise and the most depressing thing is, you cannot blame the Spaniard. Newcastle have largely kept the same squad that did not exactly dominate the Championship last season, even if they did eventually go up as champions. Benitez’s approach to this game was pragmatic. He spared his players a thrashing and ensured the damage was limited to minus two in terms of the goals against. “If we have the players to attack, we attack,” said Benitez. “But you have to defend against the best team in the country, you have to defend. “We’re not Liverpool, we’re not Arsenal. We don’t have five players who will win a game on their own. Managers have to manage in the way they have to manage. “My first game with Extremadura was against Barcelona – we lost 1-0, but we played 4-4-2, we pressed high, the difference between that and now is massive. The gap between the best teams and the rest is bigger. There is a massive difference between the rest and the top six.” Jacob Murphy's finish was the highlight of Newcastle's day Credit: Reuters In other words, the Premier League is no longer the most competitive league in the world. That is not City’s fault, but they are to blame. Guardiola’s side are too good, too strong. They have too many of the best players and are too adept at finding a way to win. If you merely try to defend against them, it is only a matter of time until they prise you open. Raheem Sterling had already put the ball in the net once, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside, when Sergio Aguero glanced in Kevin De Bruyne’s cross. He scored his second from the penalty spot, after Sterling had made the most of an arm on the shoulder from Javier Manquillo. The Argentinian completed his hat-trick after a wonderful, dancing, twisting dribble from Leroy Sane had put DeAndre Yedlin, Mo Diame and Jamaal Lascelles in a spin. Aguero has now scored 15 goals in 13 games against Newcastle, whose one positive was a very bright performance from their young winger Jacob Murphy, who scored his first goal for the club, running clear and delicately lifting the ball over goalkeeper Ederson. The league leaders are back on track after their loss at Liverpool Credit: AFP As for Guardiola, there was just a smug look of satisfaction; of knowing his team are so obviously superior to the rest. “The dream is to have as much possession as we did [85%] and create even more chances,” he said. “I played like this as a manager in all my career, at Barcelona it happened and the last period in Munich as well, most of the teams defend like this. “It is not easy to attack them. We believe because what do we concede playing that way? Absolutely nothing. One action, two actions, nothing. We analyse the result, but we also have to remember how many shots on target you concede. “When you concede 10 and you win, you have to be worried. We concede one, one and a half. And how many chances do we create? A lot, more than three. That is the basis. I think the players believe in that way. We are safer playing this way than defending our own box.”

Rafael Benitez defends Newcastle's pragmatism: 'We’re not Liverpool, we’re not Arsenal'

If Liverpool came up with the blueprint to beat Manchester City, Newcastle United looked at it, ripped it up and tossed it in the bin, fully aware they did not have the tools to make it work. The end result was predictable, the outcome never in serious doubt, the sense of drama vanquished. They might have lost a game at last, but City are not going to throw away the title because there are too many Premier League sides who are incapable of competing against them. Their lead – 12 points with 14 games to play – is mathematically vulnerable, but it continues to look unassailable. Having lost for the first time in the Premier League for almost ten months, at Anfield, the previous weekend, Newcastle were ideal opponents for Pep Guardiola’s side to get back into the groove. This was a case of sliding effortlessly into the old routine and you suspect they will face a tougher test, when they rest key players, against Bristol City in the second leg of the Carabao Cup, on Tuesday night, because the Championship side will throw everything at them. Newcastle’s resistance was brave, yet passive. They sat deep, defended their penalty area and allowed City to dictate everything other than when they scored the goals to win the game. The deftest of Sergio Aguero headers broke the Newcastle resistance Credit: Getty Images This City side are not invincible, Liverpool proved that, but Newcastle’s manager Rafa Benitez effectively decided, as far as his team are concerned, they were unbeatable. The Magpies did not try to win the game, they tried to protect their goal difference. It was a non-contest, another damage limitation exercise and the most depressing thing is, you cannot blame the Spaniard. Newcastle have largely kept the same squad that did not exactly dominate the Championship last season, even if they did eventually go up as champions. Benitez’s approach to this game was pragmatic. He spared his players a thrashing and ensured the damage was limited to minus two in terms of the goals against. “If we have the players to attack, we attack,” said Benitez. “But you have to defend against the best team in the country, you have to defend. “We’re not Liverpool, we’re not Arsenal. We don’t have five players who will win a game on their own. Managers have to manage in the way they have to manage. “My first game with Extremadura was against Barcelona – we lost 1-0, but we played 4-4-2, we pressed high, the difference between that and now is massive. The gap between the best teams and the rest is bigger. There is a massive difference between the rest and the top six.” Jacob Murphy's finish was the highlight of Newcastle's day Credit: Reuters In other words, the Premier League is no longer the most competitive league in the world. That is not City’s fault, but they are to blame. Guardiola’s side are too good, too strong. They have too many of the best players and are too adept at finding a way to win. If you merely try to defend against them, it is only a matter of time until they prise you open. Raheem Sterling had already put the ball in the net once, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside, when Sergio Aguero glanced in Kevin De Bruyne’s cross. He scored his second from the penalty spot, after Sterling had made the most of an arm on the shoulder from Javier Manquillo. The Argentinian completed his hat-trick after a wonderful, dancing, twisting dribble from Leroy Sane had put DeAndre Yedlin, Mo Diame and Jamaal Lascelles in a spin. Aguero has now scored 15 goals in 13 games against Newcastle, whose one positive was a very bright performance from their young winger Jacob Murphy, who scored his first goal for the club, running clear and delicately lifting the ball over goalkeeper Ederson. The league leaders are back on track after their loss at Liverpool Credit: AFP As for Guardiola, there was just a smug look of satisfaction; of knowing his team are so obviously superior to the rest. “The dream is to have as much possession as we did [85%] and create even more chances,” he said. “I played like this as a manager in all my career, at Barcelona it happened and the last period in Munich as well, most of the teams defend like this. “It is not easy to attack them. We believe because what do we concede playing that way? Absolutely nothing. One action, two actions, nothing. We analyse the result, but we also have to remember how many shots on target you concede. “When you concede 10 and you win, you have to be worried. We concede one, one and a half. And how many chances do we create? A lot, more than three. That is the basis. I think the players believe in that way. We are safer playing this way than defending our own box.”

Rafael Benitez defends Newcastle's pragmatism: 'We’re not Liverpool, we’re not Arsenal'

If Liverpool came up with the blueprint to beat Manchester City, Newcastle United looked at it, ripped it up and tossed it in the bin, fully aware they did not have the tools to make it work. The end result was predictable, the outcome never in serious doubt, the sense of drama vanquished. They might have lost a game at last, but City are not going to throw away the title because there are too many Premier League sides who are incapable of competing against them. Their lead – 12 points with 14 games to play – is mathematically vulnerable, but it continues to look unassailable. Having lost for the first time in the Premier League for almost ten months, at Anfield, the previous weekend, Newcastle were ideal opponents for Pep Guardiola’s side to get back into the groove. This was a case of sliding effortlessly into the old routine and you suspect they will face a tougher test, when they rest key players, against Bristol City in the second leg of the Carabao Cup, on Tuesday night, because the Championship side will throw everything at them. Newcastle’s resistance was brave, yet passive. They sat deep, defended their penalty area and allowed City to dictate everything other than when they scored the goals to win the game. The deftest of Sergio Aguero headers broke the Newcastle resistance Credit: Getty Images This City side are not invincible, Liverpool proved that, but Newcastle’s manager Rafa Benitez effectively decided, as far as his team are concerned, they were unbeatable. The Magpies did not try to win the game, they tried to protect their goal difference. It was a non-contest, another damage limitation exercise and the most depressing thing is, you cannot blame the Spaniard. Newcastle have largely kept the same squad that did not exactly dominate the Championship last season, even if they did eventually go up as champions. Benitez’s approach to this game was pragmatic. He spared his players a thrashing and ensured the damage was limited to minus two in terms of the goals against. “If we have the players to attack, we attack,” said Benitez. “But you have to defend against the best team in the country, you have to defend. “We’re not Liverpool, we’re not Arsenal. We don’t have five players who will win a game on their own. Managers have to manage in the way they have to manage. “My first game with Extremadura was against Barcelona – we lost 1-0, but we played 4-4-2, we pressed high, the difference between that and now is massive. The gap between the best teams and the rest is bigger. There is a massive difference between the rest and the top six.” Jacob Murphy's finish was the highlight of Newcastle's day Credit: Reuters In other words, the Premier League is no longer the most competitive league in the world. That is not City’s fault, but they are to blame. Guardiola’s side are too good, too strong. They have too many of the best players and are too adept at finding a way to win. If you merely try to defend against them, it is only a matter of time until they prise you open. Raheem Sterling had already put the ball in the net once, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside, when Sergio Aguero glanced in Kevin De Bruyne’s cross. He scored his second from the penalty spot, after Sterling had made the most of an arm on the shoulder from Javier Manquillo. The Argentinian completed his hat-trick after a wonderful, dancing, twisting dribble from Leroy Sane had put DeAndre Yedlin, Mo Diame and Jamaal Lascelles in a spin. Aguero has now scored 15 goals in 13 games against Newcastle, whose one positive was a very bright performance from their young winger Jacob Murphy, who scored his first goal for the club, running clear and delicately lifting the ball over goalkeeper Ederson. The league leaders are back on track after their loss at Liverpool Credit: AFP As for Guardiola, there was just a smug look of satisfaction; of knowing his team are so obviously superior to the rest. “The dream is to have as much possession as we did [85%] and create even more chances,” he said. “I played like this as a manager in all my career, at Barcelona it happened and the last period in Munich as well, most of the teams defend like this. “It is not easy to attack them. We believe because what do we concede playing that way? Absolutely nothing. One action, two actions, nothing. We analyse the result, but we also have to remember how many shots on target you concede. “When you concede 10 and you win, you have to be worried. We concede one, one and a half. And how many chances do we create? A lot, more than three. That is the basis. I think the players believe in that way. We are safer playing this way than defending our own box.”

Rafael Benitez defends Newcastle's pragmatism: 'We’re not Liverpool, we’re not Arsenal'

If Liverpool came up with the blueprint to beat Manchester City, Newcastle United looked at it, ripped it up and tossed it in the bin, fully aware they did not have the tools to make it work. The end result was predictable, the outcome never in serious doubt, the sense of drama vanquished. They might have lost a game at last, but City are not going to throw away the title because there are too many Premier League sides who are incapable of competing against them. Their lead – 12 points with 14 games to play – is mathematically vulnerable, but it continues to look unassailable. Having lost for the first time in the Premier League for almost ten months, at Anfield, the previous weekend, Newcastle were ideal opponents for Pep Guardiola’s side to get back into the groove. This was a case of sliding effortlessly into the old routine and you suspect they will face a tougher test, when they rest key players, against Bristol City in the second leg of the Carabao Cup, on Tuesday night, because the Championship side will throw everything at them. Newcastle’s resistance was brave, yet passive. They sat deep, defended their penalty area and allowed City to dictate everything other than when they scored the goals to win the game. The deftest of Sergio Aguero headers broke the Newcastle resistance Credit: Getty Images This City side are not invincible, Liverpool proved that, but Newcastle’s manager Rafa Benitez effectively decided, as far as his team are concerned, they were unbeatable. The Magpies did not try to win the game, they tried to protect their goal difference. It was a non-contest, another damage limitation exercise and the most depressing thing is, you cannot blame the Spaniard. Newcastle have largely kept the same squad that did not exactly dominate the Championship last season, even if they did eventually go up as champions. Benitez’s approach to this game was pragmatic. He spared his players a thrashing and ensured the damage was limited to minus two in terms of the goals against. “If we have the players to attack, we attack,” said Benitez. “But you have to defend against the best team in the country, you have to defend. “We’re not Liverpool, we’re not Arsenal. We don’t have five players who will win a game on their own. Managers have to manage in the way they have to manage. “My first game with Extremadura was against Barcelona – we lost 1-0, but we played 4-4-2, we pressed high, the difference between that and now is massive. The gap between the best teams and the rest is bigger. There is a massive difference between the rest and the top six.” Jacob Murphy's finish was the highlight of Newcastle's day Credit: Reuters In other words, the Premier League is no longer the most competitive league in the world. That is not City’s fault, but they are to blame. Guardiola’s side are too good, too strong. They have too many of the best players and are too adept at finding a way to win. If you merely try to defend against them, it is only a matter of time until they prise you open. Raheem Sterling had already put the ball in the net once, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside, when Sergio Aguero glanced in Kevin De Bruyne’s cross. He scored his second from the penalty spot, after Sterling had made the most of an arm on the shoulder from Javier Manquillo. The Argentinian completed his hat-trick after a wonderful, dancing, twisting dribble from Leroy Sane had put DeAndre Yedlin, Mo Diame and Jamaal Lascelles in a spin. Aguero has now scored 15 goals in 13 games against Newcastle, whose one positive was a very bright performance from their young winger Jacob Murphy, who scored his first goal for the club, running clear and delicately lifting the ball over goalkeeper Ederson. The league leaders are back on track after their loss at Liverpool Credit: AFP As for Guardiola, there was just a smug look of satisfaction; of knowing his team are so obviously superior to the rest. “The dream is to have as much possession as we did [85%] and create even more chances,” he said. “I played like this as a manager in all my career, at Barcelona it happened and the last period in Munich as well, most of the teams defend like this. “It is not easy to attack them. We believe because what do we concede playing that way? Absolutely nothing. One action, two actions, nothing. We analyse the result, but we also have to remember how many shots on target you concede. “When you concede 10 and you win, you have to be worried. We concede one, one and a half. And how many chances do we create? A lot, more than three. That is the basis. I think the players believe in that way. We are safer playing this way than defending our own box.”

Bristol City vs Manchester City: EFL Cup semi-final prediction, TV, live streaming, start time, team news, line-ups, head to head, betting tips and odds

Bristol City vs Manchester City: EFL Cup semi-final prediction, TV, live streaming, start time, team news, line-ups, head to head, betting tips and odds

Manchester City 3 Newcastle 1: Sergio Aguero's perfect hat-trick seals win as City dominate

Manchester City chose to withdraw from the race to sign Alexis Sanchez this week after balking at the spiralling cost of the deal but that blow must have been softened in the knowledge that they still have Sergio Aguero to fall back on. As options go, it isn’t a bad one, is it? Pep Guardiola was hoping for a reaction, not just to City’s first domestic defeat of the season at Anfield last Sunday, but from Aguero, too, in response to the realisation that the responsibility of leading the line will continue to rest heavily on his shoulders. The City manager got both. A hat-trick took Aguero’s total for the season to 22, just 11 short of his highest tally for the club, and we are still in January. Newcastle briefly threatened to make a game of it when Jacob Murphy’s first goal of the season made it 2-1 and, for a moment, the away team showcased an ambition which had hitherto been painfully absent. But then Leroy Sane produced a moment of sublime individual skill to tee up Aguero for his third goal, the gap at the top was back to 12 points, and suddenly that 4-3 defeat to Liverpool and the loss of Sanchez were already starting to feel like a distant memory. “We need 10 more wins to be champions, and we’re going to try by going one by one,” Guardiola said. “We reacted really well after dropping points before. It was an outstanding performance, often against 11 behind the ball, we were patient, and we found the space really well. They crossed the halfway just once and scored.” Aguero gets across his man to open the scoring for Man City Credit: GETTY IMAGES The criticism of Newcastle’s approach at home to City at Christmas had clearly washed over Rafael Benitez. It was clear from his line-up – one bank of four almost sat on a bank of five – that no one, his former player Jamie Carragher included, was going to shame him into altering his ultra-cautious blueprint, especially at the Etihad Stadium where City had not lost for approaching 14 months. The frustration was that it was not until Newcastle were two down that they began to throw caution to the wind and discovered that City’s defence could be got at. The problem was the damage was already done. Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Sure, had Mohamed Diame not been denied by Ederson shortly after Murphy’s goal, Newcastle could have somehow found themselves level but they had ridden their luck on numerous occasions by that stage, fortunate to have only conceded twice, and the game was eventually taken beyond them when City claimed their third. On that goal, it may have brought up Aguero’s hat-trick but special mention should go to the whirling Sane for conjuring with a piece of pure wizardry. Think Ryan Giggs in his pomp, slaloming in and out of defenders at frightening speed, and you get some idea of what Sane did to Diame and DeAndre Yedlin as he turned the pair inside out before having the composure and awareness to look up and find Aguero to fire home left footed. Man City 1 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 34 min) In the 1-0 win at St James’ Park last month, Guardiola claimed it is particularly difficult “when the other team doesn’t want to play”, and while every manager reserves the right to set up and play how they want, the script was the same up until Murphy scoring. Newcastle saw just 18 per cent of the ball in a first half where City, surprisingly, had just Aguero’s header to show for their territorial dominance. Kevin De Bruyne side-stepped Javier Manquillo on City’s left flank and whipped in one of those trademark venomous crosses. Guardiola grew frustrated as Newcastle threatened to get back into the game for a few fleeting moments Credit: PA Ciaran Clark has a distinct height advantage over Aguero but it was the Argentina striker who rose quickest and highest to glance a finely taken header into the corner. Carragher had suggested after City’s victory at Newcastle that the Premier League was becoming “embarrassing” and “a bit of a joke” given the gulf at the top and bottom. Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Jacob Murphy, 67 min) A harsh appraisal? Perhaps, but was it asking too much of Newcastle to expect them to do more than defend with eight or men in and around their own 18-yard box and allow City so much time and space 30 yards out? They proved they could ask questions when Clark sprayed a sliding pass Clark sprayed a sliding pass from just inside his own half in behind Oleksandr Zinchenko for Murphy to race on to and dink a lovely finish over Ederson. Man City vs Newcastle shots on goal Then came Diame’s chance, but they were already facing a huge task by that point after Manquillo had bundled down Raheem Sterling and Aguero done the business from the penalty spot. Benitez called the penalty “very soft” but the damage was done. Aguero’s third merely gave the scoreline the colouring it deserved. “The fact one player comes or doesn’t come is not going to determine his reaction,” Guardiola said of Aguero. “He has a special gift. He hadn’t touched the ball hardly before his first goal then he touches it and… goal.” Sanchez who? 7:45PM Pep Guardiola post-match "Yep, we react really well after drop two points against Crystal Palace. We make outstanding performance, we found spaces, had passion, in the second half unfortunately we had just once cross the half, we're so happy. "Before the first goal he didn't touch the ball and we need his goals, it's so important.  "When you have the ball the opponent has not the ball and to concede a goal the opponent has to get the ball. It's always complicated, we were patient, didn't concede counter-attacks, free-kicks. "A little bit tougher there, the second half we didn't play good. Today they found a goal but even with 2-1, keep going, keep going." 7:32PM Some choice stats 800 passes to 191, 18 corners to 0 and my favourite: Ederson made more passes than Mo Diame. 7:27PM Aguero scores the perfect hat-trick Left foot, right foot and a header!  7:22PM Possession stats Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Man City vs Newcastle   7:21PM FULL TIME Man City were always going to win this one with the way Newcastle set up but were made to work. Newcastle offered a threat when they did go forward and lost anyway. At least the final 15 minutes were decent to watch! Sergio Aguero gets the headlines, Leroy Sane made all the difference.  7:19PM 90 mins +2 Great cross from Shelvey who is able to enjoy the ball in the final third for about the first time all night. He hits off the outside of his right foot from the left and it swerves round to the head of Gayle, who puts it over the bar. 7:17PM 90 mins Diaz goes on a little dribble and beats a defender but then throws himself to the floor. It's clearly not a penalty but he tries anyway. From what I've seen of Diaz, he looks like a really good player or at least has the potential to be pretty special. 7:16PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Brahim Diaz. Otamendi gives the ball away and Murphy runs at goal! Ederson comes off his line and leaves the goal open but Man City recover and are now on the counter-attack themselves.  7:14PM 86 mins Man City are at it now and Newcastle look a little fragile. Sterling is substituted for Bernardo Silva. 7:12PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Absolutely magnificent from Sane. Man City 3 - 1 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 83 min) His close control is unbelievable - here he holds off about three defenders, nutmegs one, speeds past another and that's from running between two of them to get into the box in the first place. His cut back to Aguero gives the forward time to set himself up and score the hat-trick. 7:10PM 82 mins De Bruyne goes close with a bending low shot but puts it just wide of the post. Out: Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Kevin De Bruyne, 81 min)  These last 15 minutes have had more action than the rest of the entire game together. 7:09PM 81 mins Credit: AFP That was Murphy's first Premier League Newcastle goal, incidentally.  7:07PM 80 mins Clark is booked for taking De Bruyne down, with Man City away on goal. A clever tactical foul. Newcastle win a free-kick in the centre-circle and City go with their high line defensive plan. It works and City now have space to attack. Zinchenko loses control and hands possession back to City.  7:04PM 77 mins A Sane corner from left is headed away but only as far as Silva, who takes a touch before pulling an effort wide on the edge of the box. 7:03PM 75 mins City have a corner and De Bruyne loses control of the ball. Newcastle have a break on! It's three on three, made four by Perez's bursting run...  but the ball ahead of Murphy goes straight to the goalkeeper. There's something in this match for Newcastle now.   7:00PM 73 mins Excitement! Wowzers! Diame's momentum carries him forward but he's composed enough to keep control of the ball and hold off defenders. He turns Stones, shoots at Ederson, who saves. But he drops the ball! Diame wins it again and tries another shot at goal which is blocked by the goalkeeper again. 6:59PM 72 mins Sterling hits the post! Brilliant save! Zinchenko's one touch pass to De Bruyne opens up the defence, De Bruyne finds Sane, who drills it low across goal for Sterling, whose first time shot is fired at speed towards the net. Somehow the goalkeeper flings himself at the ball and turns it onto the post! This game is so much better now Newcastle are trying to play football. 6:57PM 70 mins OOoooooohhhh that is close. So close. Aguero takes a corner down, tries to win space on the outside of the defender on the edge of the box and his shot is just wide of the top corner.  Man City appear to have woken up now. 6:55PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! HOW ABOUT THAT?! Newcastle go on the attack and get the rewards immediately! Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Jacob Murphy, 67 min) Jacob Murphy is wide right, Joselu miscontrols and the pass is pinged forwards towards him. Murphy is too quick for Zinchenko and dinks the ball over the goalkeeper. Could that change the game? 6:52PM 65 mins Perez is on for Atsu and encourages his players to get forward. They might as well!    6:51PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLL! Aguero buries the penalty top left, the goalkeeper guesses right but doesn't get close. Man City 2 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 63 min)   6:50PM PENALTY! That might change now. A quick one-two, Sterling goes around the outside of Manquillo and is hauled down. Easy decision. 6:49PM 62 mins Great covering tackle from Hayden as he slides in at the near post to deny a certain Aguero goal. Benitez is about to change things and bring on Ayoze Perez! Has this all been a cunning ruse? Newcastle's gameplan is to bore Man City to sleep and then score while they are lying down with Zs coming out of their mouths? Apparently Atsu is coming off. 6:47PM 61 mins Newcastle fans are still singing  and when the camera cuts to them, they make cocktail shocking gestures towards friendly Man City players, who they know love to make a cocktail. A whisky sour? Well yes please Mr Aguero.  What else is happening then? Ederson HAS TOUCHED THE BALL! That's exciting. He's done so near the centre-circle. Honestly, I can't see him on the camera view I have but if you told me he's sitting down playing on his iPad I'd believe you. 6:45PM 58 mins Imagine you're a Newcastle fan, spending a good chunk of your wage on travelling to Manchester, buying a ticket, having to get back late at night and how much all the pints and food costs, to see your team sit with everyone behind the ball in the hope of maybe getting a draw. It's so boring.  6:43PM 56 mins This is a training exercise. Possession: Man City vs Newcastle  I mean I get it, but come on. These two teams are literally in the same league.  6:40PM 54 mins An aerial clash between Joselu and Fernandinho breaks the play as both go down in pain. Newcastle win the free-kick, which should mean within about 20 seconds, Man City will have the ball back. Fernandinho is receiving extra treatment after that, having taken a knock to his chest. 6:39PM 52 mins It's exactly the same as the first half. A matter of time until the second Man City goal.  Man City vs Newcastle   6:38PM 50 mins Zinchenko overlaps and wins a corner. I think that's the 900th of the game so far.  Manchester City crosses  The corner goes short and is worked to the other side of the pitch but Sane's ball to Sterling is overcooked.  6:35PM 48 mins Newcastle have everyone behind the ball again. It's fair to argue that they don't have the players to match Man City but Bristol City pay their playing staff rather a lot less and nearly came away with a draw against them.  6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 No changes by either side at half time. City start the game. 6:30PM What do Newcastle do next? Does Benitez decide to keep the score at 1-0 and hope Newcastle find space on a freak counter-attack? Or does he try to push Man City back for a bit in pursuit of an equaliser? Maybe a bit of both?  6:16PM HALF TIME Average touch positions (45 + 1 min)  It's basically exactly the same as the lat time these two teams played each other except that Man City have a lead earlier. It's hard to know what to suggest Newcastle should do differently. 6:15PM 45 mins A brief roam forwards comes to an end as Zinchenko wins a throw-in. Newcastle don't seem to really believe they can come away with anything other than a lucky draw here. 6:13PM 43 mins The touch for Aguero's goal is so minimal. It might brush his forehead, or maybe even hair. I'd claim it too to be fair. 6:11PM 41 mins Good save by Darlow! A flowing move allows De Bruyne to get a shot away across the goal but the keeper is equal to it. De Bruyne finds space in behind from the corner but his pass across the six yard box is cleared away. Aguero tries to go all the way around the back five, forces a shot away and wins another corner. 6:09PM 39 mins It's all City still. 279 passes to Newcastle's 33 apparently, which sounds too large a difference to be true. Man City vs Newcastle  The absolute state of that. 6:05PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL And there it is. De Bruyne crosses from the left, puts enough curl on it that it's going into the far post and Aguero claims to have headed it. I think it might be De Bruyne's goal... but it's a goal nonetheless. Will Newcastle come out of their cage now? Man City 1 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 34 min)   6:04PM 34 mins Man City are playing this with the desire of a team who know they're going to win at some point so they don't need to worry too much. Another corner is headed away at the near post. Great chance! Sane swaps wings, hits a long pass to the opposite side and Silva comes in to attack a Zinchenko cut back. City finding space here... 6:02PM 33 mins Gabriel Jesus is in the crowd. BUSTED!  Is that some tomato ketchup I see? He better hope that's from the neighbouring box and not his own. As we all know, it is illegal for footballers to have ketchup.  6:00PM 31 mins Murphy and Manquillo surround Silva as he gets on the end of a one-two and trip him up. The referee spots it and De Bruyne lines up a free-kick on the edge of the left side of the box.  The shot is wild and nowhere close. 5:59PM 30 mins Sane is caught offside as another one-touch move around the Newcastle box is worked towards the German. His cutbacks from near the six yard box are being cut out each time though - the defence looks really organised here. 5:58PM 28 mins Possession: Man City vs Newcastle   5:56PM 26 mins City's tempo is late 90s R.E.M until they get to the box, at which point it picks up to a fairly NOFX-like tip tap, tip tap. They're looking to find Sane in space in behind but he's just not able to get onto a couple of through-balls and are forcing passes into gaps that don't exist. 5:54PM 24 mins Joselu's second job, apart from being a striker on the teamsheet, is to man mark Fernandinho. He arrives late to steal the ball from him and starts a Newcastle counter-attack, which turns into a throw-in, which turns into Man City possession. Newcastle can't get out of their own third. 5:51PM 21 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Newcastle's defensive line is high when they have the ball to deny Man City the chance to press them high up the pitch. The problem is kicking the ball long then turns it into a dice throw as to who wins possession and Man City are getting it back so easily.  Another City corner is headed away. 5:49PM GOOOOAAAAAA- offside Oooooooh that is close. A quick, two-touch move from defence to attack is smashed in by Sterling who is an inch or two the wrong side of the last man. Newcastle have just proven exactly why they don't want to commit men forward. 5:48PM 18 mins Sane nips in behind Manquillo but runs into a wall after a great first touch and could easily go down under the attentions of surrounding defenders. Composed defending from Newcastle. Murphy bursts forward after taking advantage of a mixup in midfield, Newcastle players join in and the ball is given away... Man City have an overload! There's space! 5:45PM 15 mins Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Man City are trying to work the ball around the final third but as with the last game, are being denied space by a defence-committed Newcastle.  5:43PM 13 mins Atsu considers keeping the ball but nobody else on the team wants to help him and he nearly loses out to Silva. A short pass to Lascelles is then passed back to the goalkeeper... who punts it down the other end. Man City build play and push them back, winning a corner. Newcastle defend it well but Man City swarm around whoever gets the ball and win it back. 5:41PM 11 mins Man City are totally in control at the moment. Walker tries a shot from 30 yards but boots it miles over the bar. 5:39PM 9 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES This was the minute's applause for Cyrille Regis from before kick-off.  5:37PM 8 mins Newcastle can't get out of their own defensive third now because they're defending too deep but the plan is to deny space, boot the ball away and step out. It'll just take one Man City goal to undo all the hard work required to make this plan work.  Stones has a shot at the near post bounce back off the advertising boards. Close. Miss: Man City 0 - 0 Newcastle (John Stones, 6 min)   5:36PM 6 mins Manquillo goes down under a challenge from Zinchenko and stays down a while. City don't buy it and move forward, eventually he gets up and joins his defensive teammates back in position. Man City get forward and Newcastle get everyone behind the ball.  5:33PM 4 mins Atsu finds space in behind the defence early on! He hits a high ball to the back post and it takes some decent defending to deny a headed goal. Ederson is strong in the air to catch the second attempt, volleyed into the floor, and City counter-attack quickly but Aguero is blocked out. Newcastle are basically dividing their team into a group of defenders and another of attackers. 5:31PM 2 mins Newcastle are playing a high line from the off, with what looks like a three man defence. That is now a five man defence as Man City get forward. 5:30PM KICK-OFF Newcastle get us started. This time Shelvey doesn't shoot from kick-off. 5:25PM Here come the players Can Man City bounce back? We're about to find out. The players are on the pitch. 5:16PM Benitez says "We have nothing to lose here, everyone thinks oh Man City will win easily but we will see.  "Yeh maybe, they will be more focused but at the same time maybe they will be more nervous. We will see. "We are not thinking [Joselu] he's not scoring goals he's not doing he's job, he's doing his job and playing well." 5:06PM Guardiola says "Always when you drop points the next game is difficult but we did it in the past when we win lots of games, it's one game, we will see.  "We don't know. Will they press high or go forward... we will see. "It's not the first game and [Zinchenko] didn't really well. He's left foot, good mentality, today we decide for him." 5:02PM How will Benitez approach this one? Liverpool, Crystal Palace and uhh Bristol City have all worked out how best to play against Man City and that is to defend deep but to make a front three or four press the buildup players near Man City's goal. Newcastle's teamsheet has two left-footed wingers, which might mean one is an inside forward and the other is a winger, alternating roles from time to time. The focus will probably be on Zinchenko at left-back, who is not a full-back yet and can be caught out positionally. Benitez sat deeper than a Savage Garden record in the last match and could well try the same again, since it nearly worked. The crucial thing to remember is that it didn't work.  4:56PM Some pre-match photographs Credit: GETTY IMAGES  How nice does that look?! Lovely photograph. Credit: REUTERS That's the Newcastle players checking the inside of the stadium out.   4:36PM Team news Team News | How we line-up this evening! Presented by @haysworldwide#cityvnufc#mancitypic.twitter.com/szmTNeAz7x— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 20, 2018 TEAM NEWS: Here's how Newcastle United will line up at @ManCity in the @premierleague this afternoon (kick-off 5:30pm GMT). #NUFCpic.twitter.com/fNi22uuHBq— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 20, 2018 2:08PM Hello! Good evening! Welcome to the latest episode of 'How many points will Man City win the league by?'. Today's guests are Rafa Benitez's Newcastle United, a fine collection of players embroiled in a gripping overarching narrative - who on earth is going to buy the club. And when? Negotiations between Amanda Stavely and Mike Ashley were branded a "waste of time" by the latter last week and that statement has created a great deal of unease in the North East. Benitez could well abandon ship if he isn't given some pennies to sign some new recruits in this current transfer window. Man City don't have any such problems, as Arsene Wenger hinted at during a press conference, and can draw on some of the very best players in the entire league to try and win the three points today. One player we know won't feature is Fabian Delph, who is out for some time with an injury and will be replaced by either Danilo or Oleksandr Zinchenko. David Silva may or may not appear, while Kompany, Foden, Jesus and Mendy will also miss a good few games each. Newcastle don't have any huge injury problems but even then have a far weaker squad than their hosts. Dwight Gayle is doubtful, Mitrovic still can't get a game and Benitez nearly got a point from the last game between these two by sitting ultra deep and clinging onto dear life. Since then, several teams have discovered that taking the play to Man City is the best way to get a result - will we see a change in tactic? Guardiola's team will play the same way they always do. Here's some analysis of that style: The genius of Pep Guardiola: Eight things he has done to make Man City so frighteningly good  The team news will be in at 4:30pm and you can follow all the buildup and action right here in this liveblog.

Manchester City 3 Newcastle 1: Sergio Aguero's perfect hat-trick seals win as City dominate

Manchester City chose to withdraw from the race to sign Alexis Sanchez this week after balking at the spiralling cost of the deal but that blow must have been softened in the knowledge that they still have Sergio Aguero to fall back on. As options go, it isn’t a bad one, is it? Pep Guardiola was hoping for a reaction, not just to City’s first domestic defeat of the season at Anfield last Sunday, but from Aguero, too, in response to the realisation that the responsibility of leading the line will continue to rest heavily on his shoulders. The City manager got both. A hat-trick took Aguero’s total for the season to 22, just 11 short of his highest tally for the club, and we are still in January. Newcastle briefly threatened to make a game of it when Jacob Murphy’s first goal of the season made it 2-1 and, for a moment, the away team showcased an ambition which had hitherto been painfully absent. But then Leroy Sane produced a moment of sublime individual skill to tee up Aguero for his third goal, the gap at the top was back to 12 points, and suddenly that 4-3 defeat to Liverpool and the loss of Sanchez were already starting to feel like a distant memory. “We need 10 more wins to be champions, and we’re going to try by going one by one,” Guardiola said. “We reacted really well after dropping points before. It was an outstanding performance, often against 11 behind the ball, we were patient, and we found the space really well. They crossed the halfway just once and scored.” Aguero gets across his man to open the scoring for Man City Credit: GETTY IMAGES The criticism of Newcastle’s approach at home to City at Christmas had clearly washed over Rafael Benitez. It was clear from his line-up – one bank of four almost sat on a bank of five – that no one, his former player Jamie Carragher included, was going to shame him into altering his ultra-cautious blueprint, especially at the Etihad Stadium where City had not lost for approaching 14 months. The frustration was that it was not until Newcastle were two down that they began to throw caution to the wind and discovered that City’s defence could be got at. The problem was the damage was already done. Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Sure, had Mohamed Diame not been denied by Ederson shortly after Murphy’s goal, Newcastle could have somehow found themselves level but they had ridden their luck on numerous occasions by that stage, fortunate to have only conceded twice, and the game was eventually taken beyond them when City claimed their third. On that goal, it may have brought up Aguero’s hat-trick but special mention should go to the whirling Sane for conjuring with a piece of pure wizardry. Think Ryan Giggs in his pomp, slaloming in and out of defenders at frightening speed, and you get some idea of what Sane did to Diame and DeAndre Yedlin as he turned the pair inside out before having the composure and awareness to look up and find Aguero to fire home left footed. Man City 1 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 34 min) In the 1-0 win at St James’ Park last month, Guardiola claimed it is particularly difficult “when the other team doesn’t want to play”, and while every manager reserves the right to set up and play how they want, the script was the same up until Murphy scoring. Newcastle saw just 18 per cent of the ball in a first half where City, surprisingly, had just Aguero’s header to show for their territorial dominance. Kevin De Bruyne side-stepped Javier Manquillo on City’s left flank and whipped in one of those trademark venomous crosses. Guardiola grew frustrated as Newcastle threatened to get back into the game for a few fleeting moments Credit: PA Ciaran Clark has a distinct height advantage over Aguero but it was the Argentina striker who rose quickest and highest to glance a finely taken header into the corner. Carragher had suggested after City’s victory at Newcastle that the Premier League was becoming “embarrassing” and “a bit of a joke” given the gulf at the top and bottom. Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Jacob Murphy, 67 min) A harsh appraisal? Perhaps, but was it asking too much of Newcastle to expect them to do more than defend with eight or men in and around their own 18-yard box and allow City so much time and space 30 yards out? They proved they could ask questions when Clark sprayed a sliding pass Clark sprayed a sliding pass from just inside his own half in behind Oleksandr Zinchenko for Murphy to race on to and dink a lovely finish over Ederson. Man City vs Newcastle shots on goal Then came Diame’s chance, but they were already facing a huge task by that point after Manquillo had bundled down Raheem Sterling and Aguero done the business from the penalty spot. Benitez called the penalty “very soft” but the damage was done. Aguero’s third merely gave the scoreline the colouring it deserved. “The fact one player comes or doesn’t come is not going to determine his reaction,” Guardiola said of Aguero. “He has a special gift. He hadn’t touched the ball hardly before his first goal then he touches it and… goal.” Sanchez who? 7:45PM Pep Guardiola post-match "Yep, we react really well after drop two points against Crystal Palace. We make outstanding performance, we found spaces, had passion, in the second half unfortunately we had just once cross the half, we're so happy. "Before the first goal he didn't touch the ball and we need his goals, it's so important.  "When you have the ball the opponent has not the ball and to concede a goal the opponent has to get the ball. It's always complicated, we were patient, didn't concede counter-attacks, free-kicks. "A little bit tougher there, the second half we didn't play good. Today they found a goal but even with 2-1, keep going, keep going." 7:32PM Some choice stats 800 passes to 191, 18 corners to 0 and my favourite: Ederson made more passes than Mo Diame. 7:27PM Aguero scores the perfect hat-trick Left foot, right foot and a header!  7:22PM Possession stats Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Man City vs Newcastle   7:21PM FULL TIME Man City were always going to win this one with the way Newcastle set up but were made to work. Newcastle offered a threat when they did go forward and lost anyway. At least the final 15 minutes were decent to watch! Sergio Aguero gets the headlines, Leroy Sane made all the difference.  7:19PM 90 mins +2 Great cross from Shelvey who is able to enjoy the ball in the final third for about the first time all night. He hits off the outside of his right foot from the left and it swerves round to the head of Gayle, who puts it over the bar. 7:17PM 90 mins Diaz goes on a little dribble and beats a defender but then throws himself to the floor. It's clearly not a penalty but he tries anyway. From what I've seen of Diaz, he looks like a really good player or at least has the potential to be pretty special. 7:16PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Brahim Diaz. Otamendi gives the ball away and Murphy runs at goal! Ederson comes off his line and leaves the goal open but Man City recover and are now on the counter-attack themselves.  7:14PM 86 mins Man City are at it now and Newcastle look a little fragile. Sterling is substituted for Bernardo Silva. 7:12PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Absolutely magnificent from Sane. Man City 3 - 1 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 83 min) His close control is unbelievable - here he holds off about three defenders, nutmegs one, speeds past another and that's from running between two of them to get into the box in the first place. His cut back to Aguero gives the forward time to set himself up and score the hat-trick. 7:10PM 82 mins De Bruyne goes close with a bending low shot but puts it just wide of the post. Out: Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Kevin De Bruyne, 81 min)  These last 15 minutes have had more action than the rest of the entire game together. 7:09PM 81 mins Credit: AFP That was Murphy's first Premier League Newcastle goal, incidentally.  7:07PM 80 mins Clark is booked for taking De Bruyne down, with Man City away on goal. A clever tactical foul. Newcastle win a free-kick in the centre-circle and City go with their high line defensive plan. It works and City now have space to attack. Zinchenko loses control and hands possession back to City.  7:04PM 77 mins A Sane corner from left is headed away but only as far as Silva, who takes a touch before pulling an effort wide on the edge of the box. 7:03PM 75 mins City have a corner and De Bruyne loses control of the ball. Newcastle have a break on! It's three on three, made four by Perez's bursting run...  but the ball ahead of Murphy goes straight to the goalkeeper. There's something in this match for Newcastle now.   7:00PM 73 mins Excitement! Wowzers! Diame's momentum carries him forward but he's composed enough to keep control of the ball and hold off defenders. He turns Stones, shoots at Ederson, who saves. But he drops the ball! Diame wins it again and tries another shot at goal which is blocked by the goalkeeper again. 6:59PM 72 mins Sterling hits the post! Brilliant save! Zinchenko's one touch pass to De Bruyne opens up the defence, De Bruyne finds Sane, who drills it low across goal for Sterling, whose first time shot is fired at speed towards the net. Somehow the goalkeeper flings himself at the ball and turns it onto the post! This game is so much better now Newcastle are trying to play football. 6:57PM 70 mins OOoooooohhhh that is close. So close. Aguero takes a corner down, tries to win space on the outside of the defender on the edge of the box and his shot is just wide of the top corner.  Man City appear to have woken up now. 6:55PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! HOW ABOUT THAT?! Newcastle go on the attack and get the rewards immediately! Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Jacob Murphy, 67 min) Jacob Murphy is wide right, Joselu miscontrols and the pass is pinged forwards towards him. Murphy is too quick for Zinchenko and dinks the ball over the goalkeeper. Could that change the game? 6:52PM 65 mins Perez is on for Atsu and encourages his players to get forward. They might as well!    6:51PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLL! Aguero buries the penalty top left, the goalkeeper guesses right but doesn't get close. Man City 2 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 63 min)   6:50PM PENALTY! That might change now. A quick one-two, Sterling goes around the outside of Manquillo and is hauled down. Easy decision. 6:49PM 62 mins Great covering tackle from Hayden as he slides in at the near post to deny a certain Aguero goal. Benitez is about to change things and bring on Ayoze Perez! Has this all been a cunning ruse? Newcastle's gameplan is to bore Man City to sleep and then score while they are lying down with Zs coming out of their mouths? Apparently Atsu is coming off. 6:47PM 61 mins Newcastle fans are still singing  and when the camera cuts to them, they make cocktail shocking gestures towards friendly Man City players, who they know love to make a cocktail. A whisky sour? Well yes please Mr Aguero.  What else is happening then? Ederson HAS TOUCHED THE BALL! That's exciting. He's done so near the centre-circle. Honestly, I can't see him on the camera view I have but if you told me he's sitting down playing on his iPad I'd believe you. 6:45PM 58 mins Imagine you're a Newcastle fan, spending a good chunk of your wage on travelling to Manchester, buying a ticket, having to get back late at night and how much all the pints and food costs, to see your team sit with everyone behind the ball in the hope of maybe getting a draw. It's so boring.  6:43PM 56 mins This is a training exercise. Possession: Man City vs Newcastle  I mean I get it, but come on. These two teams are literally in the same league.  6:40PM 54 mins An aerial clash between Joselu and Fernandinho breaks the play as both go down in pain. Newcastle win the free-kick, which should mean within about 20 seconds, Man City will have the ball back. Fernandinho is receiving extra treatment after that, having taken a knock to his chest. 6:39PM 52 mins It's exactly the same as the first half. A matter of time until the second Man City goal.  Man City vs Newcastle   6:38PM 50 mins Zinchenko overlaps and wins a corner. I think that's the 900th of the game so far.  Manchester City crosses  The corner goes short and is worked to the other side of the pitch but Sane's ball to Sterling is overcooked.  6:35PM 48 mins Newcastle have everyone behind the ball again. It's fair to argue that they don't have the players to match Man City but Bristol City pay their playing staff rather a lot less and nearly came away with a draw against them.  6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 No changes by either side at half time. City start the game. 6:30PM What do Newcastle do next? Does Benitez decide to keep the score at 1-0 and hope Newcastle find space on a freak counter-attack? Or does he try to push Man City back for a bit in pursuit of an equaliser? Maybe a bit of both?  6:16PM HALF TIME Average touch positions (45 + 1 min)  It's basically exactly the same as the lat time these two teams played each other except that Man City have a lead earlier. It's hard to know what to suggest Newcastle should do differently. 6:15PM 45 mins A brief roam forwards comes to an end as Zinchenko wins a throw-in. Newcastle don't seem to really believe they can come away with anything other than a lucky draw here. 6:13PM 43 mins The touch for Aguero's goal is so minimal. It might brush his forehead, or maybe even hair. I'd claim it too to be fair. 6:11PM 41 mins Good save by Darlow! A flowing move allows De Bruyne to get a shot away across the goal but the keeper is equal to it. De Bruyne finds space in behind from the corner but his pass across the six yard box is cleared away. Aguero tries to go all the way around the back five, forces a shot away and wins another corner. 6:09PM 39 mins It's all City still. 279 passes to Newcastle's 33 apparently, which sounds too large a difference to be true. Man City vs Newcastle  The absolute state of that. 6:05PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL And there it is. De Bruyne crosses from the left, puts enough curl on it that it's going into the far post and Aguero claims to have headed it. I think it might be De Bruyne's goal... but it's a goal nonetheless. Will Newcastle come out of their cage now? Man City 1 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 34 min)   6:04PM 34 mins Man City are playing this with the desire of a team who know they're going to win at some point so they don't need to worry too much. Another corner is headed away at the near post. Great chance! Sane swaps wings, hits a long pass to the opposite side and Silva comes in to attack a Zinchenko cut back. City finding space here... 6:02PM 33 mins Gabriel Jesus is in the crowd. BUSTED!  Is that some tomato ketchup I see? He better hope that's from the neighbouring box and not his own. As we all know, it is illegal for footballers to have ketchup.  6:00PM 31 mins Murphy and Manquillo surround Silva as he gets on the end of a one-two and trip him up. The referee spots it and De Bruyne lines up a free-kick on the edge of the left side of the box.  The shot is wild and nowhere close. 5:59PM 30 mins Sane is caught offside as another one-touch move around the Newcastle box is worked towards the German. His cutbacks from near the six yard box are being cut out each time though - the defence looks really organised here. 5:58PM 28 mins Possession: Man City vs Newcastle   5:56PM 26 mins City's tempo is late 90s R.E.M until they get to the box, at which point it picks up to a fairly NOFX-like tip tap, tip tap. They're looking to find Sane in space in behind but he's just not able to get onto a couple of through-balls and are forcing passes into gaps that don't exist. 5:54PM 24 mins Joselu's second job, apart from being a striker on the teamsheet, is to man mark Fernandinho. He arrives late to steal the ball from him and starts a Newcastle counter-attack, which turns into a throw-in, which turns into Man City possession. Newcastle can't get out of their own third. 5:51PM 21 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Newcastle's defensive line is high when they have the ball to deny Man City the chance to press them high up the pitch. The problem is kicking the ball long then turns it into a dice throw as to who wins possession and Man City are getting it back so easily.  Another City corner is headed away. 5:49PM GOOOOAAAAAA- offside Oooooooh that is close. A quick, two-touch move from defence to attack is smashed in by Sterling who is an inch or two the wrong side of the last man. Newcastle have just proven exactly why they don't want to commit men forward. 5:48PM 18 mins Sane nips in behind Manquillo but runs into a wall after a great first touch and could easily go down under the attentions of surrounding defenders. Composed defending from Newcastle. Murphy bursts forward after taking advantage of a mixup in midfield, Newcastle players join in and the ball is given away... Man City have an overload! There's space! 5:45PM 15 mins Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Man City are trying to work the ball around the final third but as with the last game, are being denied space by a defence-committed Newcastle.  5:43PM 13 mins Atsu considers keeping the ball but nobody else on the team wants to help him and he nearly loses out to Silva. A short pass to Lascelles is then passed back to the goalkeeper... who punts it down the other end. Man City build play and push them back, winning a corner. Newcastle defend it well but Man City swarm around whoever gets the ball and win it back. 5:41PM 11 mins Man City are totally in control at the moment. Walker tries a shot from 30 yards but boots it miles over the bar. 5:39PM 9 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES This was the minute's applause for Cyrille Regis from before kick-off.  5:37PM 8 mins Newcastle can't get out of their own defensive third now because they're defending too deep but the plan is to deny space, boot the ball away and step out. It'll just take one Man City goal to undo all the hard work required to make this plan work.  Stones has a shot at the near post bounce back off the advertising boards. Close. Miss: Man City 0 - 0 Newcastle (John Stones, 6 min)   5:36PM 6 mins Manquillo goes down under a challenge from Zinchenko and stays down a while. City don't buy it and move forward, eventually he gets up and joins his defensive teammates back in position. Man City get forward and Newcastle get everyone behind the ball.  5:33PM 4 mins Atsu finds space in behind the defence early on! He hits a high ball to the back post and it takes some decent defending to deny a headed goal. Ederson is strong in the air to catch the second attempt, volleyed into the floor, and City counter-attack quickly but Aguero is blocked out. Newcastle are basically dividing their team into a group of defenders and another of attackers. 5:31PM 2 mins Newcastle are playing a high line from the off, with what looks like a three man defence. That is now a five man defence as Man City get forward. 5:30PM KICK-OFF Newcastle get us started. This time Shelvey doesn't shoot from kick-off. 5:25PM Here come the players Can Man City bounce back? We're about to find out. The players are on the pitch. 5:16PM Benitez says "We have nothing to lose here, everyone thinks oh Man City will win easily but we will see.  "Yeh maybe, they will be more focused but at the same time maybe they will be more nervous. We will see. "We are not thinking [Joselu] he's not scoring goals he's not doing he's job, he's doing his job and playing well." 5:06PM Guardiola says "Always when you drop points the next game is difficult but we did it in the past when we win lots of games, it's one game, we will see.  "We don't know. Will they press high or go forward... we will see. "It's not the first game and [Zinchenko] didn't really well. He's left foot, good mentality, today we decide for him." 5:02PM How will Benitez approach this one? Liverpool, Crystal Palace and uhh Bristol City have all worked out how best to play against Man City and that is to defend deep but to make a front three or four press the buildup players near Man City's goal. Newcastle's teamsheet has two left-footed wingers, which might mean one is an inside forward and the other is a winger, alternating roles from time to time. The focus will probably be on Zinchenko at left-back, who is not a full-back yet and can be caught out positionally. Benitez sat deeper than a Savage Garden record in the last match and could well try the same again, since it nearly worked. The crucial thing to remember is that it didn't work.  4:56PM Some pre-match photographs Credit: GETTY IMAGES  How nice does that look?! Lovely photograph. Credit: REUTERS That's the Newcastle players checking the inside of the stadium out.   4:36PM Team news Team News | How we line-up this evening! Presented by @haysworldwide#cityvnufc#mancitypic.twitter.com/szmTNeAz7x— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 20, 2018 TEAM NEWS: Here's how Newcastle United will line up at @ManCity in the @premierleague this afternoon (kick-off 5:30pm GMT). #NUFCpic.twitter.com/fNi22uuHBq— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 20, 2018 2:08PM Hello! Good evening! Welcome to the latest episode of 'How many points will Man City win the league by?'. Today's guests are Rafa Benitez's Newcastle United, a fine collection of players embroiled in a gripping overarching narrative - who on earth is going to buy the club. And when? Negotiations between Amanda Stavely and Mike Ashley were branded a "waste of time" by the latter last week and that statement has created a great deal of unease in the North East. Benitez could well abandon ship if he isn't given some pennies to sign some new recruits in this current transfer window. Man City don't have any such problems, as Arsene Wenger hinted at during a press conference, and can draw on some of the very best players in the entire league to try and win the three points today. One player we know won't feature is Fabian Delph, who is out for some time with an injury and will be replaced by either Danilo or Oleksandr Zinchenko. David Silva may or may not appear, while Kompany, Foden, Jesus and Mendy will also miss a good few games each. Newcastle don't have any huge injury problems but even then have a far weaker squad than their hosts. Dwight Gayle is doubtful, Mitrovic still can't get a game and Benitez nearly got a point from the last game between these two by sitting ultra deep and clinging onto dear life. Since then, several teams have discovered that taking the play to Man City is the best way to get a result - will we see a change in tactic? Guardiola's team will play the same way they always do. Here's some analysis of that style: The genius of Pep Guardiola: Eight things he has done to make Man City so frighteningly good  The team news will be in at 4:30pm and you can follow all the buildup and action right here in this liveblog.

Manchester City 3 Newcastle 1: Sergio Aguero's perfect hat-trick seals win as City dominate

Manchester City chose to withdraw from the race to sign Alexis Sanchez this week after balking at the spiralling cost of the deal but that blow must have been softened in the knowledge that they still have Sergio Aguero to fall back on. As options go, it isn’t a bad one, is it? Pep Guardiola was hoping for a reaction, not just to City’s first domestic defeat of the season at Anfield last Sunday, but from Aguero, too, in response to the realisation that the responsibility of leading the line will continue to rest heavily on his shoulders. The City manager got both. A hat-trick took Aguero’s total for the season to 22, just 11 short of his highest tally for the club, and we are still in January. Newcastle briefly threatened to make a game of it when Jacob Murphy’s first goal of the season made it 2-1 and, for a moment, the away team showcased an ambition which had hitherto been painfully absent. But then Leroy Sane produced a moment of sublime individual skill to tee up Aguero for his third goal, the gap at the top was back to 12 points, and suddenly that 4-3 defeat to Liverpool and the loss of Sanchez were already starting to feel like a distant memory. “We need 10 more wins to be champions, and we’re going to try by going one by one,” Guardiola said. “We reacted really well after dropping points before. It was an outstanding performance, often against 11 behind the ball, we were patient, and we found the space really well. They crossed the halfway just once and scored.” Aguero gets across his man to open the scoring for Man City Credit: GETTY IMAGES The criticism of Newcastle’s approach at home to City at Christmas had clearly washed over Rafael Benitez. It was clear from his line-up – one bank of four almost sat on a bank of five – that no one, his former player Jamie Carragher included, was going to shame him into altering his ultra-cautious blueprint, especially at the Etihad Stadium where City had not lost for approaching 14 months. The frustration was that it was not until Newcastle were two down that they began to throw caution to the wind and discovered that City’s defence could be got at. The problem was the damage was already done. Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Sure, had Mohamed Diame not been denied by Ederson shortly after Murphy’s goal, Newcastle could have somehow found themselves level but they had ridden their luck on numerous occasions by that stage, fortunate to have only conceded twice, and the game was eventually taken beyond them when City claimed their third. On that goal, it may have brought up Aguero’s hat-trick but special mention should go to the whirling Sane for conjuring with a piece of pure wizardry. Think Ryan Giggs in his pomp, slaloming in and out of defenders at frightening speed, and you get some idea of what Sane did to Diame and DeAndre Yedlin as he turned the pair inside out before having the composure and awareness to look up and find Aguero to fire home left footed. Man City 1 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 34 min) In the 1-0 win at St James’ Park last month, Guardiola claimed it is particularly difficult “when the other team doesn’t want to play”, and while every manager reserves the right to set up and play how they want, the script was the same up until Murphy scoring. Newcastle saw just 18 per cent of the ball in a first half where City, surprisingly, had just Aguero’s header to show for their territorial dominance. Kevin De Bruyne side-stepped Javier Manquillo on City’s left flank and whipped in one of those trademark venomous crosses. Guardiola grew frustrated as Newcastle threatened to get back into the game for a few fleeting moments Credit: PA Ciaran Clark has a distinct height advantage over Aguero but it was the Argentina striker who rose quickest and highest to glance a finely taken header into the corner. Carragher had suggested after City’s victory at Newcastle that the Premier League was becoming “embarrassing” and “a bit of a joke” given the gulf at the top and bottom. Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Jacob Murphy, 67 min) A harsh appraisal? Perhaps, but was it asking too much of Newcastle to expect them to do more than defend with eight or men in and around their own 18-yard box and allow City so much time and space 30 yards out? They proved they could ask questions when Clark sprayed a sliding pass Clark sprayed a sliding pass from just inside his own half in behind Oleksandr Zinchenko for Murphy to race on to and dink a lovely finish over Ederson. Man City vs Newcastle shots on goal Then came Diame’s chance, but they were already facing a huge task by that point after Manquillo had bundled down Raheem Sterling and Aguero done the business from the penalty spot. Benitez called the penalty “very soft” but the damage was done. Aguero’s third merely gave the scoreline the colouring it deserved. “The fact one player comes or doesn’t come is not going to determine his reaction,” Guardiola said of Aguero. “He has a special gift. He hadn’t touched the ball hardly before his first goal then he touches it and… goal.” Sanchez who? 7:45PM Pep Guardiola post-match "Yep, we react really well after drop two points against Crystal Palace. We make outstanding performance, we found spaces, had passion, in the second half unfortunately we had just once cross the half, we're so happy. "Before the first goal he didn't touch the ball and we need his goals, it's so important.  "When you have the ball the opponent has not the ball and to concede a goal the opponent has to get the ball. It's always complicated, we were patient, didn't concede counter-attacks, free-kicks. "A little bit tougher there, the second half we didn't play good. Today they found a goal but even with 2-1, keep going, keep going." 7:32PM Some choice stats 800 passes to 191, 18 corners to 0 and my favourite: Ederson made more passes than Mo Diame. 7:27PM Aguero scores the perfect hat-trick Left foot, right foot and a header!  7:22PM Possession stats Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Man City vs Newcastle   7:21PM FULL TIME Man City were always going to win this one with the way Newcastle set up but were made to work. Newcastle offered a threat when they did go forward and lost anyway. At least the final 15 minutes were decent to watch! Sergio Aguero gets the headlines, Leroy Sane made all the difference.  7:19PM 90 mins +2 Great cross from Shelvey who is able to enjoy the ball in the final third for about the first time all night. He hits off the outside of his right foot from the left and it swerves round to the head of Gayle, who puts it over the bar. 7:17PM 90 mins Diaz goes on a little dribble and beats a defender but then throws himself to the floor. It's clearly not a penalty but he tries anyway. From what I've seen of Diaz, he looks like a really good player or at least has the potential to be pretty special. 7:16PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Brahim Diaz. Otamendi gives the ball away and Murphy runs at goal! Ederson comes off his line and leaves the goal open but Man City recover and are now on the counter-attack themselves.  7:14PM 86 mins Man City are at it now and Newcastle look a little fragile. Sterling is substituted for Bernardo Silva. 7:12PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Absolutely magnificent from Sane. Man City 3 - 1 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 83 min) His close control is unbelievable - here he holds off about three defenders, nutmegs one, speeds past another and that's from running between two of them to get into the box in the first place. His cut back to Aguero gives the forward time to set himself up and score the hat-trick. 7:10PM 82 mins De Bruyne goes close with a bending low shot but puts it just wide of the post. Out: Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Kevin De Bruyne, 81 min)  These last 15 minutes have had more action than the rest of the entire game together. 7:09PM 81 mins Credit: AFP That was Murphy's first Premier League Newcastle goal, incidentally.  7:07PM 80 mins Clark is booked for taking De Bruyne down, with Man City away on goal. A clever tactical foul. Newcastle win a free-kick in the centre-circle and City go with their high line defensive plan. It works and City now have space to attack. Zinchenko loses control and hands possession back to City.  7:04PM 77 mins A Sane corner from left is headed away but only as far as Silva, who takes a touch before pulling an effort wide on the edge of the box. 7:03PM 75 mins City have a corner and De Bruyne loses control of the ball. Newcastle have a break on! It's three on three, made four by Perez's bursting run...  but the ball ahead of Murphy goes straight to the goalkeeper. There's something in this match for Newcastle now.   7:00PM 73 mins Excitement! Wowzers! Diame's momentum carries him forward but he's composed enough to keep control of the ball and hold off defenders. He turns Stones, shoots at Ederson, who saves. But he drops the ball! Diame wins it again and tries another shot at goal which is blocked by the goalkeeper again. 6:59PM 72 mins Sterling hits the post! Brilliant save! Zinchenko's one touch pass to De Bruyne opens up the defence, De Bruyne finds Sane, who drills it low across goal for Sterling, whose first time shot is fired at speed towards the net. Somehow the goalkeeper flings himself at the ball and turns it onto the post! This game is so much better now Newcastle are trying to play football. 6:57PM 70 mins OOoooooohhhh that is close. So close. Aguero takes a corner down, tries to win space on the outside of the defender on the edge of the box and his shot is just wide of the top corner.  Man City appear to have woken up now. 6:55PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! HOW ABOUT THAT?! Newcastle go on the attack and get the rewards immediately! Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Jacob Murphy, 67 min) Jacob Murphy is wide right, Joselu miscontrols and the pass is pinged forwards towards him. Murphy is too quick for Zinchenko and dinks the ball over the goalkeeper. Could that change the game? 6:52PM 65 mins Perez is on for Atsu and encourages his players to get forward. They might as well!    6:51PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLL! Aguero buries the penalty top left, the goalkeeper guesses right but doesn't get close. Man City 2 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 63 min)   6:50PM PENALTY! That might change now. A quick one-two, Sterling goes around the outside of Manquillo and is hauled down. Easy decision. 6:49PM 62 mins Great covering tackle from Hayden as he slides in at the near post to deny a certain Aguero goal. Benitez is about to change things and bring on Ayoze Perez! Has this all been a cunning ruse? Newcastle's gameplan is to bore Man City to sleep and then score while they are lying down with Zs coming out of their mouths? Apparently Atsu is coming off. 6:47PM 61 mins Newcastle fans are still singing  and when the camera cuts to them, they make cocktail shocking gestures towards friendly Man City players, who they know love to make a cocktail. A whisky sour? Well yes please Mr Aguero.  What else is happening then? Ederson HAS TOUCHED THE BALL! That's exciting. He's done so near the centre-circle. Honestly, I can't see him on the camera view I have but if you told me he's sitting down playing on his iPad I'd believe you. 6:45PM 58 mins Imagine you're a Newcastle fan, spending a good chunk of your wage on travelling to Manchester, buying a ticket, having to get back late at night and how much all the pints and food costs, to see your team sit with everyone behind the ball in the hope of maybe getting a draw. It's so boring.  6:43PM 56 mins This is a training exercise. Possession: Man City vs Newcastle  I mean I get it, but come on. These two teams are literally in the same league.  6:40PM 54 mins An aerial clash between Joselu and Fernandinho breaks the play as both go down in pain. Newcastle win the free-kick, which should mean within about 20 seconds, Man City will have the ball back. Fernandinho is receiving extra treatment after that, having taken a knock to his chest. 6:39PM 52 mins It's exactly the same as the first half. A matter of time until the second Man City goal.  Man City vs Newcastle   6:38PM 50 mins Zinchenko overlaps and wins a corner. I think that's the 900th of the game so far.  Manchester City crosses  The corner goes short and is worked to the other side of the pitch but Sane's ball to Sterling is overcooked.  6:35PM 48 mins Newcastle have everyone behind the ball again. It's fair to argue that they don't have the players to match Man City but Bristol City pay their playing staff rather a lot less and nearly came away with a draw against them.  6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 No changes by either side at half time. City start the game. 6:30PM What do Newcastle do next? Does Benitez decide to keep the score at 1-0 and hope Newcastle find space on a freak counter-attack? Or does he try to push Man City back for a bit in pursuit of an equaliser? Maybe a bit of both?  6:16PM HALF TIME Average touch positions (45 + 1 min)  It's basically exactly the same as the lat time these two teams played each other except that Man City have a lead earlier. It's hard to know what to suggest Newcastle should do differently. 6:15PM 45 mins A brief roam forwards comes to an end as Zinchenko wins a throw-in. Newcastle don't seem to really believe they can come away with anything other than a lucky draw here. 6:13PM 43 mins The touch for Aguero's goal is so minimal. It might brush his forehead, or maybe even hair. I'd claim it too to be fair. 6:11PM 41 mins Good save by Darlow! A flowing move allows De Bruyne to get a shot away across the goal but the keeper is equal to it. De Bruyne finds space in behind from the corner but his pass across the six yard box is cleared away. Aguero tries to go all the way around the back five, forces a shot away and wins another corner. 6:09PM 39 mins It's all City still. 279 passes to Newcastle's 33 apparently, which sounds too large a difference to be true. Man City vs Newcastle  The absolute state of that. 6:05PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL And there it is. De Bruyne crosses from the left, puts enough curl on it that it's going into the far post and Aguero claims to have headed it. I think it might be De Bruyne's goal... but it's a goal nonetheless. Will Newcastle come out of their cage now? Man City 1 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 34 min)   6:04PM 34 mins Man City are playing this with the desire of a team who know they're going to win at some point so they don't need to worry too much. Another corner is headed away at the near post. Great chance! Sane swaps wings, hits a long pass to the opposite side and Silva comes in to attack a Zinchenko cut back. City finding space here... 6:02PM 33 mins Gabriel Jesus is in the crowd. BUSTED!  Is that some tomato ketchup I see? He better hope that's from the neighbouring box and not his own. As we all know, it is illegal for footballers to have ketchup.  6:00PM 31 mins Murphy and Manquillo surround Silva as he gets on the end of a one-two and trip him up. The referee spots it and De Bruyne lines up a free-kick on the edge of the left side of the box.  The shot is wild and nowhere close. 5:59PM 30 mins Sane is caught offside as another one-touch move around the Newcastle box is worked towards the German. His cutbacks from near the six yard box are being cut out each time though - the defence looks really organised here. 5:58PM 28 mins Possession: Man City vs Newcastle   5:56PM 26 mins City's tempo is late 90s R.E.M until they get to the box, at which point it picks up to a fairly NOFX-like tip tap, tip tap. They're looking to find Sane in space in behind but he's just not able to get onto a couple of through-balls and are forcing passes into gaps that don't exist. 5:54PM 24 mins Joselu's second job, apart from being a striker on the teamsheet, is to man mark Fernandinho. He arrives late to steal the ball from him and starts a Newcastle counter-attack, which turns into a throw-in, which turns into Man City possession. Newcastle can't get out of their own third. 5:51PM 21 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Newcastle's defensive line is high when they have the ball to deny Man City the chance to press them high up the pitch. The problem is kicking the ball long then turns it into a dice throw as to who wins possession and Man City are getting it back so easily.  Another City corner is headed away. 5:49PM GOOOOAAAAAA- offside Oooooooh that is close. A quick, two-touch move from defence to attack is smashed in by Sterling who is an inch or two the wrong side of the last man. Newcastle have just proven exactly why they don't want to commit men forward. 5:48PM 18 mins Sane nips in behind Manquillo but runs into a wall after a great first touch and could easily go down under the attentions of surrounding defenders. Composed defending from Newcastle. Murphy bursts forward after taking advantage of a mixup in midfield, Newcastle players join in and the ball is given away... Man City have an overload! There's space! 5:45PM 15 mins Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Man City are trying to work the ball around the final third but as with the last game, are being denied space by a defence-committed Newcastle.  5:43PM 13 mins Atsu considers keeping the ball but nobody else on the team wants to help him and he nearly loses out to Silva. A short pass to Lascelles is then passed back to the goalkeeper... who punts it down the other end. Man City build play and push them back, winning a corner. Newcastle defend it well but Man City swarm around whoever gets the ball and win it back. 5:41PM 11 mins Man City are totally in control at the moment. Walker tries a shot from 30 yards but boots it miles over the bar. 5:39PM 9 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES This was the minute's applause for Cyrille Regis from before kick-off.  5:37PM 8 mins Newcastle can't get out of their own defensive third now because they're defending too deep but the plan is to deny space, boot the ball away and step out. It'll just take one Man City goal to undo all the hard work required to make this plan work.  Stones has a shot at the near post bounce back off the advertising boards. Close. Miss: Man City 0 - 0 Newcastle (John Stones, 6 min)   5:36PM 6 mins Manquillo goes down under a challenge from Zinchenko and stays down a while. City don't buy it and move forward, eventually he gets up and joins his defensive teammates back in position. Man City get forward and Newcastle get everyone behind the ball.  5:33PM 4 mins Atsu finds space in behind the defence early on! He hits a high ball to the back post and it takes some decent defending to deny a headed goal. Ederson is strong in the air to catch the second attempt, volleyed into the floor, and City counter-attack quickly but Aguero is blocked out. Newcastle are basically dividing their team into a group of defenders and another of attackers. 5:31PM 2 mins Newcastle are playing a high line from the off, with what looks like a three man defence. That is now a five man defence as Man City get forward. 5:30PM KICK-OFF Newcastle get us started. This time Shelvey doesn't shoot from kick-off. 5:25PM Here come the players Can Man City bounce back? We're about to find out. The players are on the pitch. 5:16PM Benitez says "We have nothing to lose here, everyone thinks oh Man City will win easily but we will see.  "Yeh maybe, they will be more focused but at the same time maybe they will be more nervous. We will see. "We are not thinking [Joselu] he's not scoring goals he's not doing he's job, he's doing his job and playing well." 5:06PM Guardiola says "Always when you drop points the next game is difficult but we did it in the past when we win lots of games, it's one game, we will see.  "We don't know. Will they press high or go forward... we will see. "It's not the first game and [Zinchenko] didn't really well. He's left foot, good mentality, today we decide for him." 5:02PM How will Benitez approach this one? Liverpool, Crystal Palace and uhh Bristol City have all worked out how best to play against Man City and that is to defend deep but to make a front three or four press the buildup players near Man City's goal. Newcastle's teamsheet has two left-footed wingers, which might mean one is an inside forward and the other is a winger, alternating roles from time to time. The focus will probably be on Zinchenko at left-back, who is not a full-back yet and can be caught out positionally. Benitez sat deeper than a Savage Garden record in the last match and could well try the same again, since it nearly worked. The crucial thing to remember is that it didn't work.  4:56PM Some pre-match photographs Credit: GETTY IMAGES  How nice does that look?! Lovely photograph. Credit: REUTERS That's the Newcastle players checking the inside of the stadium out.   4:36PM Team news Team News | How we line-up this evening! Presented by @haysworldwide#cityvnufc#mancitypic.twitter.com/szmTNeAz7x— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 20, 2018 TEAM NEWS: Here's how Newcastle United will line up at @ManCity in the @premierleague this afternoon (kick-off 5:30pm GMT). #NUFCpic.twitter.com/fNi22uuHBq— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 20, 2018 2:08PM Hello! Good evening! Welcome to the latest episode of 'How many points will Man City win the league by?'. Today's guests are Rafa Benitez's Newcastle United, a fine collection of players embroiled in a gripping overarching narrative - who on earth is going to buy the club. And when? Negotiations between Amanda Stavely and Mike Ashley were branded a "waste of time" by the latter last week and that statement has created a great deal of unease in the North East. Benitez could well abandon ship if he isn't given some pennies to sign some new recruits in this current transfer window. Man City don't have any such problems, as Arsene Wenger hinted at during a press conference, and can draw on some of the very best players in the entire league to try and win the three points today. One player we know won't feature is Fabian Delph, who is out for some time with an injury and will be replaced by either Danilo or Oleksandr Zinchenko. David Silva may or may not appear, while Kompany, Foden, Jesus and Mendy will also miss a good few games each. Newcastle don't have any huge injury problems but even then have a far weaker squad than their hosts. Dwight Gayle is doubtful, Mitrovic still can't get a game and Benitez nearly got a point from the last game between these two by sitting ultra deep and clinging onto dear life. Since then, several teams have discovered that taking the play to Man City is the best way to get a result - will we see a change in tactic? Guardiola's team will play the same way they always do. Here's some analysis of that style: The genius of Pep Guardiola: Eight things he has done to make Man City so frighteningly good  The team news will be in at 4:30pm and you can follow all the buildup and action right here in this liveblog.

Manchester City 3 Newcastle 1: Sergio Aguero's perfect hat-trick seals win as City dominate

Manchester City chose to withdraw from the race to sign Alexis Sanchez this week after balking at the spiralling cost of the deal but that blow must have been softened in the knowledge that they still have Sergio Aguero to fall back on. As options go, it isn’t a bad one, is it? Pep Guardiola was hoping for a reaction, not just to City’s first domestic defeat of the season at Anfield last Sunday, but from Aguero, too, in response to the realisation that the responsibility of leading the line will continue to rest heavily on his shoulders. The City manager got both. A hat-trick took Aguero’s total for the season to 22, just 11 short of his highest tally for the club, and we are still in January. Newcastle briefly threatened to make a game of it when Jacob Murphy’s first goal of the season made it 2-1 and, for a moment, the away team showcased an ambition which had hitherto been painfully absent. But then Leroy Sane produced a moment of sublime individual skill to tee up Aguero for his third goal, the gap at the top was back to 12 points, and suddenly that 4-3 defeat to Liverpool and the loss of Sanchez were already starting to feel like a distant memory. “We need 10 more wins to be champions, and we’re going to try by going one by one,” Guardiola said. “We reacted really well after dropping points before. It was an outstanding performance, often against 11 behind the ball, we were patient, and we found the space really well. They crossed the halfway just once and scored.” Aguero gets across his man to open the scoring for Man City Credit: GETTY IMAGES The criticism of Newcastle’s approach at home to City at Christmas had clearly washed over Rafael Benitez. It was clear from his line-up – one bank of four almost sat on a bank of five – that no one, his former player Jamie Carragher included, was going to shame him into altering his ultra-cautious blueprint, especially at the Etihad Stadium where City had not lost for approaching 14 months. The frustration was that it was not until Newcastle were two down that they began to throw caution to the wind and discovered that City’s defence could be got at. The problem was the damage was already done. Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Sure, had Mohamed Diame not been denied by Ederson shortly after Murphy’s goal, Newcastle could have somehow found themselves level but they had ridden their luck on numerous occasions by that stage, fortunate to have only conceded twice, and the game was eventually taken beyond them when City claimed their third. On that goal, it may have brought up Aguero’s hat-trick but special mention should go to the whirling Sane for conjuring with a piece of pure wizardry. Think Ryan Giggs in his pomp, slaloming in and out of defenders at frightening speed, and you get some idea of what Sane did to Diame and DeAndre Yedlin as he turned the pair inside out before having the composure and awareness to look up and find Aguero to fire home left footed. Man City 1 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 34 min) In the 1-0 win at St James’ Park last month, Guardiola claimed it is particularly difficult “when the other team doesn’t want to play”, and while every manager reserves the right to set up and play how they want, the script was the same up until Murphy scoring. Newcastle saw just 18 per cent of the ball in a first half where City, surprisingly, had just Aguero’s header to show for their territorial dominance. Kevin De Bruyne side-stepped Javier Manquillo on City’s left flank and whipped in one of those trademark venomous crosses. Guardiola grew frustrated as Newcastle threatened to get back into the game for a few fleeting moments Credit: PA Ciaran Clark has a distinct height advantage over Aguero but it was the Argentina striker who rose quickest and highest to glance a finely taken header into the corner. Carragher had suggested after City’s victory at Newcastle that the Premier League was becoming “embarrassing” and “a bit of a joke” given the gulf at the top and bottom. Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Jacob Murphy, 67 min) A harsh appraisal? Perhaps, but was it asking too much of Newcastle to expect them to do more than defend with eight or men in and around their own 18-yard box and allow City so much time and space 30 yards out? They proved they could ask questions when Clark sprayed a sliding pass Clark sprayed a sliding pass from just inside his own half in behind Oleksandr Zinchenko for Murphy to race on to and dink a lovely finish over Ederson. Man City vs Newcastle shots on goal Then came Diame’s chance, but they were already facing a huge task by that point after Manquillo had bundled down Raheem Sterling and Aguero done the business from the penalty spot. Benitez called the penalty “very soft” but the damage was done. Aguero’s third merely gave the scoreline the colouring it deserved. “The fact one player comes or doesn’t come is not going to determine his reaction,” Guardiola said of Aguero. “He has a special gift. He hadn’t touched the ball hardly before his first goal then he touches it and… goal.” Sanchez who? 7:45PM Pep Guardiola post-match "Yep, we react really well after drop two points against Crystal Palace. We make outstanding performance, we found spaces, had passion, in the second half unfortunately we had just once cross the half, we're so happy. "Before the first goal he didn't touch the ball and we need his goals, it's so important.  "When you have the ball the opponent has not the ball and to concede a goal the opponent has to get the ball. It's always complicated, we were patient, didn't concede counter-attacks, free-kicks. "A little bit tougher there, the second half we didn't play good. Today they found a goal but even with 2-1, keep going, keep going." 7:32PM Some choice stats 800 passes to 191, 18 corners to 0 and my favourite: Ederson made more passes than Mo Diame. 7:27PM Aguero scores the perfect hat-trick Left foot, right foot and a header!  7:22PM Possession stats Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Man City vs Newcastle   7:21PM FULL TIME Man City were always going to win this one with the way Newcastle set up but were made to work. Newcastle offered a threat when they did go forward and lost anyway. At least the final 15 minutes were decent to watch! Sergio Aguero gets the headlines, Leroy Sane made all the difference.  7:19PM 90 mins +2 Great cross from Shelvey who is able to enjoy the ball in the final third for about the first time all night. He hits off the outside of his right foot from the left and it swerves round to the head of Gayle, who puts it over the bar. 7:17PM 90 mins Diaz goes on a little dribble and beats a defender but then throws himself to the floor. It's clearly not a penalty but he tries anyway. From what I've seen of Diaz, he looks like a really good player or at least has the potential to be pretty special. 7:16PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Brahim Diaz. Otamendi gives the ball away and Murphy runs at goal! Ederson comes off his line and leaves the goal open but Man City recover and are now on the counter-attack themselves.  7:14PM 86 mins Man City are at it now and Newcastle look a little fragile. Sterling is substituted for Bernardo Silva. 7:12PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Absolutely magnificent from Sane. Man City 3 - 1 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 83 min) His close control is unbelievable - here he holds off about three defenders, nutmegs one, speeds past another and that's from running between two of them to get into the box in the first place. His cut back to Aguero gives the forward time to set himself up and score the hat-trick. 7:10PM 82 mins De Bruyne goes close with a bending low shot but puts it just wide of the post. Out: Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Kevin De Bruyne, 81 min)  These last 15 minutes have had more action than the rest of the entire game together. 7:09PM 81 mins Credit: AFP That was Murphy's first Premier League Newcastle goal, incidentally.  7:07PM 80 mins Clark is booked for taking De Bruyne down, with Man City away on goal. A clever tactical foul. Newcastle win a free-kick in the centre-circle and City go with their high line defensive plan. It works and City now have space to attack. Zinchenko loses control and hands possession back to City.  7:04PM 77 mins A Sane corner from left is headed away but only as far as Silva, who takes a touch before pulling an effort wide on the edge of the box. 7:03PM 75 mins City have a corner and De Bruyne loses control of the ball. Newcastle have a break on! It's three on three, made four by Perez's bursting run...  but the ball ahead of Murphy goes straight to the goalkeeper. There's something in this match for Newcastle now.   7:00PM 73 mins Excitement! Wowzers! Diame's momentum carries him forward but he's composed enough to keep control of the ball and hold off defenders. He turns Stones, shoots at Ederson, who saves. But he drops the ball! Diame wins it again and tries another shot at goal which is blocked by the goalkeeper again. 6:59PM 72 mins Sterling hits the post! Brilliant save! Zinchenko's one touch pass to De Bruyne opens up the defence, De Bruyne finds Sane, who drills it low across goal for Sterling, whose first time shot is fired at speed towards the net. Somehow the goalkeeper flings himself at the ball and turns it onto the post! This game is so much better now Newcastle are trying to play football. 6:57PM 70 mins OOoooooohhhh that is close. So close. Aguero takes a corner down, tries to win space on the outside of the defender on the edge of the box and his shot is just wide of the top corner.  Man City appear to have woken up now. 6:55PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! HOW ABOUT THAT?! Newcastle go on the attack and get the rewards immediately! Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Jacob Murphy, 67 min) Jacob Murphy is wide right, Joselu miscontrols and the pass is pinged forwards towards him. Murphy is too quick for Zinchenko and dinks the ball over the goalkeeper. Could that change the game? 6:52PM 65 mins Perez is on for Atsu and encourages his players to get forward. They might as well!    6:51PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLL! Aguero buries the penalty top left, the goalkeeper guesses right but doesn't get close. Man City 2 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 63 min)   6:50PM PENALTY! That might change now. A quick one-two, Sterling goes around the outside of Manquillo and is hauled down. Easy decision. 6:49PM 62 mins Great covering tackle from Hayden as he slides in at the near post to deny a certain Aguero goal. Benitez is about to change things and bring on Ayoze Perez! Has this all been a cunning ruse? Newcastle's gameplan is to bore Man City to sleep and then score while they are lying down with Zs coming out of their mouths? Apparently Atsu is coming off. 6:47PM 61 mins Newcastle fans are still singing  and when the camera cuts to them, they make cocktail shocking gestures towards friendly Man City players, who they know love to make a cocktail. A whisky sour? Well yes please Mr Aguero.  What else is happening then? Ederson HAS TOUCHED THE BALL! That's exciting. He's done so near the centre-circle. Honestly, I can't see him on the camera view I have but if you told me he's sitting down playing on his iPad I'd believe you. 6:45PM 58 mins Imagine you're a Newcastle fan, spending a good chunk of your wage on travelling to Manchester, buying a ticket, having to get back late at night and how much all the pints and food costs, to see your team sit with everyone behind the ball in the hope of maybe getting a draw. It's so boring.  6:43PM 56 mins This is a training exercise. Possession: Man City vs Newcastle  I mean I get it, but come on. These two teams are literally in the same league.  6:40PM 54 mins An aerial clash between Joselu and Fernandinho breaks the play as both go down in pain. Newcastle win the free-kick, which should mean within about 20 seconds, Man City will have the ball back. Fernandinho is receiving extra treatment after that, having taken a knock to his chest. 6:39PM 52 mins It's exactly the same as the first half. A matter of time until the second Man City goal.  Man City vs Newcastle   6:38PM 50 mins Zinchenko overlaps and wins a corner. I think that's the 900th of the game so far.  Manchester City crosses  The corner goes short and is worked to the other side of the pitch but Sane's ball to Sterling is overcooked.  6:35PM 48 mins Newcastle have everyone behind the ball again. It's fair to argue that they don't have the players to match Man City but Bristol City pay their playing staff rather a lot less and nearly came away with a draw against them.  6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 No changes by either side at half time. City start the game. 6:30PM What do Newcastle do next? Does Benitez decide to keep the score at 1-0 and hope Newcastle find space on a freak counter-attack? Or does he try to push Man City back for a bit in pursuit of an equaliser? Maybe a bit of both?  6:16PM HALF TIME Average touch positions (45 + 1 min)  It's basically exactly the same as the lat time these two teams played each other except that Man City have a lead earlier. It's hard to know what to suggest Newcastle should do differently. 6:15PM 45 mins A brief roam forwards comes to an end as Zinchenko wins a throw-in. Newcastle don't seem to really believe they can come away with anything other than a lucky draw here. 6:13PM 43 mins The touch for Aguero's goal is so minimal. It might brush his forehead, or maybe even hair. I'd claim it too to be fair. 6:11PM 41 mins Good save by Darlow! A flowing move allows De Bruyne to get a shot away across the goal but the keeper is equal to it. De Bruyne finds space in behind from the corner but his pass across the six yard box is cleared away. Aguero tries to go all the way around the back five, forces a shot away and wins another corner. 6:09PM 39 mins It's all City still. 279 passes to Newcastle's 33 apparently, which sounds too large a difference to be true. Man City vs Newcastle  The absolute state of that. 6:05PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL And there it is. De Bruyne crosses from the left, puts enough curl on it that it's going into the far post and Aguero claims to have headed it. I think it might be De Bruyne's goal... but it's a goal nonetheless. Will Newcastle come out of their cage now? Man City 1 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 34 min)   6:04PM 34 mins Man City are playing this with the desire of a team who know they're going to win at some point so they don't need to worry too much. Another corner is headed away at the near post. Great chance! Sane swaps wings, hits a long pass to the opposite side and Silva comes in to attack a Zinchenko cut back. City finding space here... 6:02PM 33 mins Gabriel Jesus is in the crowd. BUSTED!  Is that some tomato ketchup I see? He better hope that's from the neighbouring box and not his own. As we all know, it is illegal for footballers to have ketchup.  6:00PM 31 mins Murphy and Manquillo surround Silva as he gets on the end of a one-two and trip him up. The referee spots it and De Bruyne lines up a free-kick on the edge of the left side of the box.  The shot is wild and nowhere close. 5:59PM 30 mins Sane is caught offside as another one-touch move around the Newcastle box is worked towards the German. His cutbacks from near the six yard box are being cut out each time though - the defence looks really organised here. 5:58PM 28 mins Possession: Man City vs Newcastle   5:56PM 26 mins City's tempo is late 90s R.E.M until they get to the box, at which point it picks up to a fairly NOFX-like tip tap, tip tap. They're looking to find Sane in space in behind but he's just not able to get onto a couple of through-balls and are forcing passes into gaps that don't exist. 5:54PM 24 mins Joselu's second job, apart from being a striker on the teamsheet, is to man mark Fernandinho. He arrives late to steal the ball from him and starts a Newcastle counter-attack, which turns into a throw-in, which turns into Man City possession. Newcastle can't get out of their own third. 5:51PM 21 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Newcastle's defensive line is high when they have the ball to deny Man City the chance to press them high up the pitch. The problem is kicking the ball long then turns it into a dice throw as to who wins possession and Man City are getting it back so easily.  Another City corner is headed away. 5:49PM GOOOOAAAAAA- offside Oooooooh that is close. A quick, two-touch move from defence to attack is smashed in by Sterling who is an inch or two the wrong side of the last man. Newcastle have just proven exactly why they don't want to commit men forward. 5:48PM 18 mins Sane nips in behind Manquillo but runs into a wall after a great first touch and could easily go down under the attentions of surrounding defenders. Composed defending from Newcastle. Murphy bursts forward after taking advantage of a mixup in midfield, Newcastle players join in and the ball is given away... Man City have an overload! There's space! 5:45PM 15 mins Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Man City are trying to work the ball around the final third but as with the last game, are being denied space by a defence-committed Newcastle.  5:43PM 13 mins Atsu considers keeping the ball but nobody else on the team wants to help him and he nearly loses out to Silva. A short pass to Lascelles is then passed back to the goalkeeper... who punts it down the other end. Man City build play and push them back, winning a corner. Newcastle defend it well but Man City swarm around whoever gets the ball and win it back. 5:41PM 11 mins Man City are totally in control at the moment. Walker tries a shot from 30 yards but boots it miles over the bar. 5:39PM 9 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES This was the minute's applause for Cyrille Regis from before kick-off.  5:37PM 8 mins Newcastle can't get out of their own defensive third now because they're defending too deep but the plan is to deny space, boot the ball away and step out. It'll just take one Man City goal to undo all the hard work required to make this plan work.  Stones has a shot at the near post bounce back off the advertising boards. Close. Miss: Man City 0 - 0 Newcastle (John Stones, 6 min)   5:36PM 6 mins Manquillo goes down under a challenge from Zinchenko and stays down a while. City don't buy it and move forward, eventually he gets up and joins his defensive teammates back in position. Man City get forward and Newcastle get everyone behind the ball.  5:33PM 4 mins Atsu finds space in behind the defence early on! He hits a high ball to the back post and it takes some decent defending to deny a headed goal. Ederson is strong in the air to catch the second attempt, volleyed into the floor, and City counter-attack quickly but Aguero is blocked out. Newcastle are basically dividing their team into a group of defenders and another of attackers. 5:31PM 2 mins Newcastle are playing a high line from the off, with what looks like a three man defence. That is now a five man defence as Man City get forward. 5:30PM KICK-OFF Newcastle get us started. This time Shelvey doesn't shoot from kick-off. 5:25PM Here come the players Can Man City bounce back? We're about to find out. The players are on the pitch. 5:16PM Benitez says "We have nothing to lose here, everyone thinks oh Man City will win easily but we will see.  "Yeh maybe, they will be more focused but at the same time maybe they will be more nervous. We will see. "We are not thinking [Joselu] he's not scoring goals he's not doing he's job, he's doing his job and playing well." 5:06PM Guardiola says "Always when you drop points the next game is difficult but we did it in the past when we win lots of games, it's one game, we will see.  "We don't know. Will they press high or go forward... we will see. "It's not the first game and [Zinchenko] didn't really well. He's left foot, good mentality, today we decide for him." 5:02PM How will Benitez approach this one? Liverpool, Crystal Palace and uhh Bristol City have all worked out how best to play against Man City and that is to defend deep but to make a front three or four press the buildup players near Man City's goal. Newcastle's teamsheet has two left-footed wingers, which might mean one is an inside forward and the other is a winger, alternating roles from time to time. The focus will probably be on Zinchenko at left-back, who is not a full-back yet and can be caught out positionally. Benitez sat deeper than a Savage Garden record in the last match and could well try the same again, since it nearly worked. The crucial thing to remember is that it didn't work.  4:56PM Some pre-match photographs Credit: GETTY IMAGES  How nice does that look?! Lovely photograph. Credit: REUTERS That's the Newcastle players checking the inside of the stadium out.   4:36PM Team news Team News | How we line-up this evening! Presented by @haysworldwide#cityvnufc#mancitypic.twitter.com/szmTNeAz7x— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 20, 2018 TEAM NEWS: Here's how Newcastle United will line up at @ManCity in the @premierleague this afternoon (kick-off 5:30pm GMT). #NUFCpic.twitter.com/fNi22uuHBq— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 20, 2018 2:08PM Hello! Good evening! Welcome to the latest episode of 'How many points will Man City win the league by?'. Today's guests are Rafa Benitez's Newcastle United, a fine collection of players embroiled in a gripping overarching narrative - who on earth is going to buy the club. And when? Negotiations between Amanda Stavely and Mike Ashley were branded a "waste of time" by the latter last week and that statement has created a great deal of unease in the North East. Benitez could well abandon ship if he isn't given some pennies to sign some new recruits in this current transfer window. Man City don't have any such problems, as Arsene Wenger hinted at during a press conference, and can draw on some of the very best players in the entire league to try and win the three points today. One player we know won't feature is Fabian Delph, who is out for some time with an injury and will be replaced by either Danilo or Oleksandr Zinchenko. David Silva may or may not appear, while Kompany, Foden, Jesus and Mendy will also miss a good few games each. Newcastle don't have any huge injury problems but even then have a far weaker squad than their hosts. Dwight Gayle is doubtful, Mitrovic still can't get a game and Benitez nearly got a point from the last game between these two by sitting ultra deep and clinging onto dear life. Since then, several teams have discovered that taking the play to Man City is the best way to get a result - will we see a change in tactic? Guardiola's team will play the same way they always do. Here's some analysis of that style: The genius of Pep Guardiola: Eight things he has done to make Man City so frighteningly good  The team news will be in at 4:30pm and you can follow all the buildup and action right here in this liveblog.

Manchester City 3 Newcastle 1: Sergio Aguero's perfect hat-trick seals win as City dominate

Manchester City chose to withdraw from the race to sign Alexis Sanchez this week after balking at the spiralling cost of the deal but that blow must have been softened in the knowledge that they still have Sergio Aguero to fall back on. As options go, it isn’t a bad one, is it? Pep Guardiola was hoping for a reaction, not just to City’s first domestic defeat of the season at Anfield last Sunday, but from Aguero, too, in response to the realisation that the responsibility of leading the line will continue to rest heavily on his shoulders. The City manager got both. A hat-trick took Aguero’s total for the season to 22, just 11 short of his highest tally for the club, and we are still in January. Newcastle briefly threatened to make a game of it when Jacob Murphy’s first goal of the season made it 2-1 and, for a moment, the away team showcased an ambition which had hitherto been painfully absent. But then Leroy Sane produced a moment of sublime individual skill to tee up Aguero for his third goal, the gap at the top was back to 12 points, and suddenly that 4-3 defeat to Liverpool and the loss of Sanchez were already starting to feel like a distant memory. “We need 10 more wins to be champions, and we’re going to try by going one by one,” Guardiola said. “We reacted really well after dropping points before. It was an outstanding performance, often against 11 behind the ball, we were patient, and we found the space really well. They crossed the halfway just once and scored.” Aguero gets across his man to open the scoring for Man City Credit: GETTY IMAGES The criticism of Newcastle’s approach at home to City at Christmas had clearly washed over Rafael Benitez. It was clear from his line-up – one bank of four almost sat on a bank of five – that no one, his former player Jamie Carragher included, was going to shame him into altering his ultra-cautious blueprint, especially at the Etihad Stadium where City had not lost for approaching 14 months. The frustration was that it was not until Newcastle were two down that they began to throw caution to the wind and discovered that City’s defence could be got at. The problem was the damage was already done. Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Sure, had Mohamed Diame not been denied by Ederson shortly after Murphy’s goal, Newcastle could have somehow found themselves level but they had ridden their luck on numerous occasions by that stage, fortunate to have only conceded twice, and the game was eventually taken beyond them when City claimed their third. On that goal, it may have brought up Aguero’s hat-trick but special mention should go to the whirling Sane for conjuring with a piece of pure wizardry. Think Ryan Giggs in his pomp, slaloming in and out of defenders at frightening speed, and you get some idea of what Sane did to Diame and DeAndre Yedlin as he turned the pair inside out before having the composure and awareness to look up and find Aguero to fire home left footed. Man City 1 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 34 min) In the 1-0 win at St James’ Park last month, Guardiola claimed it is particularly difficult “when the other team doesn’t want to play”, and while every manager reserves the right to set up and play how they want, the script was the same up until Murphy scoring. Newcastle saw just 18 per cent of the ball in a first half where City, surprisingly, had just Aguero’s header to show for their territorial dominance. Kevin De Bruyne side-stepped Javier Manquillo on City’s left flank and whipped in one of those trademark venomous crosses. Guardiola grew frustrated as Newcastle threatened to get back into the game for a few fleeting moments Credit: PA Ciaran Clark has a distinct height advantage over Aguero but it was the Argentina striker who rose quickest and highest to glance a finely taken header into the corner. Carragher had suggested after City’s victory at Newcastle that the Premier League was becoming “embarrassing” and “a bit of a joke” given the gulf at the top and bottom. Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Jacob Murphy, 67 min) A harsh appraisal? Perhaps, but was it asking too much of Newcastle to expect them to do more than defend with eight or men in and around their own 18-yard box and allow City so much time and space 30 yards out? They proved they could ask questions when Clark sprayed a sliding pass Clark sprayed a sliding pass from just inside his own half in behind Oleksandr Zinchenko for Murphy to race on to and dink a lovely finish over Ederson. Man City vs Newcastle shots on goal Then came Diame’s chance, but they were already facing a huge task by that point after Manquillo had bundled down Raheem Sterling and Aguero done the business from the penalty spot. Benitez called the penalty “very soft” but the damage was done. Aguero’s third merely gave the scoreline the colouring it deserved. “The fact one player comes or doesn’t come is not going to determine his reaction,” Guardiola said of Aguero. “He has a special gift. He hadn’t touched the ball hardly before his first goal then he touches it and… goal.” Sanchez who? 7:45PM Pep Guardiola post-match "Yep, we react really well after drop two points against Crystal Palace. We make outstanding performance, we found spaces, had passion, in the second half unfortunately we had just once cross the half, we're so happy. "Before the first goal he didn't touch the ball and we need his goals, it's so important.  "When you have the ball the opponent has not the ball and to concede a goal the opponent has to get the ball. It's always complicated, we were patient, didn't concede counter-attacks, free-kicks. "A little bit tougher there, the second half we didn't play good. Today they found a goal but even with 2-1, keep going, keep going." 7:32PM Some choice stats 800 passes to 191, 18 corners to 0 and my favourite: Ederson made more passes than Mo Diame. 7:27PM Aguero scores the perfect hat-trick Left foot, right foot and a header!  7:22PM Possession stats Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Man City vs Newcastle   7:21PM FULL TIME Man City were always going to win this one with the way Newcastle set up but were made to work. Newcastle offered a threat when they did go forward and lost anyway. At least the final 15 minutes were decent to watch! Sergio Aguero gets the headlines, Leroy Sane made all the difference.  7:19PM 90 mins +2 Great cross from Shelvey who is able to enjoy the ball in the final third for about the first time all night. He hits off the outside of his right foot from the left and it swerves round to the head of Gayle, who puts it over the bar. 7:17PM 90 mins Diaz goes on a little dribble and beats a defender but then throws himself to the floor. It's clearly not a penalty but he tries anyway. From what I've seen of Diaz, he looks like a really good player or at least has the potential to be pretty special. 7:16PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Brahim Diaz. Otamendi gives the ball away and Murphy runs at goal! Ederson comes off his line and leaves the goal open but Man City recover and are now on the counter-attack themselves.  7:14PM 86 mins Man City are at it now and Newcastle look a little fragile. Sterling is substituted for Bernardo Silva. 7:12PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Absolutely magnificent from Sane. Man City 3 - 1 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 83 min) His close control is unbelievable - here he holds off about three defenders, nutmegs one, speeds past another and that's from running between two of them to get into the box in the first place. His cut back to Aguero gives the forward time to set himself up and score the hat-trick. 7:10PM 82 mins De Bruyne goes close with a bending low shot but puts it just wide of the post. Out: Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Kevin De Bruyne, 81 min)  These last 15 minutes have had more action than the rest of the entire game together. 7:09PM 81 mins Credit: AFP That was Murphy's first Premier League Newcastle goal, incidentally.  7:07PM 80 mins Clark is booked for taking De Bruyne down, with Man City away on goal. A clever tactical foul. Newcastle win a free-kick in the centre-circle and City go with their high line defensive plan. It works and City now have space to attack. Zinchenko loses control and hands possession back to City.  7:04PM 77 mins A Sane corner from left is headed away but only as far as Silva, who takes a touch before pulling an effort wide on the edge of the box. 7:03PM 75 mins City have a corner and De Bruyne loses control of the ball. Newcastle have a break on! It's three on three, made four by Perez's bursting run...  but the ball ahead of Murphy goes straight to the goalkeeper. There's something in this match for Newcastle now.   7:00PM 73 mins Excitement! Wowzers! Diame's momentum carries him forward but he's composed enough to keep control of the ball and hold off defenders. He turns Stones, shoots at Ederson, who saves. But he drops the ball! Diame wins it again and tries another shot at goal which is blocked by the goalkeeper again. 6:59PM 72 mins Sterling hits the post! Brilliant save! Zinchenko's one touch pass to De Bruyne opens up the defence, De Bruyne finds Sane, who drills it low across goal for Sterling, whose first time shot is fired at speed towards the net. Somehow the goalkeeper flings himself at the ball and turns it onto the post! This game is so much better now Newcastle are trying to play football. 6:57PM 70 mins OOoooooohhhh that is close. So close. Aguero takes a corner down, tries to win space on the outside of the defender on the edge of the box and his shot is just wide of the top corner.  Man City appear to have woken up now. 6:55PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! HOW ABOUT THAT?! Newcastle go on the attack and get the rewards immediately! Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Jacob Murphy, 67 min) Jacob Murphy is wide right, Joselu miscontrols and the pass is pinged forwards towards him. Murphy is too quick for Zinchenko and dinks the ball over the goalkeeper. Could that change the game? 6:52PM 65 mins Perez is on for Atsu and encourages his players to get forward. They might as well!    6:51PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLL! Aguero buries the penalty top left, the goalkeeper guesses right but doesn't get close. Man City 2 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 63 min)   6:50PM PENALTY! That might change now. A quick one-two, Sterling goes around the outside of Manquillo and is hauled down. Easy decision. 6:49PM 62 mins Great covering tackle from Hayden as he slides in at the near post to deny a certain Aguero goal. Benitez is about to change things and bring on Ayoze Perez! Has this all been a cunning ruse? Newcastle's gameplan is to bore Man City to sleep and then score while they are lying down with Zs coming out of their mouths? Apparently Atsu is coming off. 6:47PM 61 mins Newcastle fans are still singing  and when the camera cuts to them, they make cocktail shocking gestures towards friendly Man City players, who they know love to make a cocktail. A whisky sour? Well yes please Mr Aguero.  What else is happening then? Ederson HAS TOUCHED THE BALL! That's exciting. He's done so near the centre-circle. Honestly, I can't see him on the camera view I have but if you told me he's sitting down playing on his iPad I'd believe you. 6:45PM 58 mins Imagine you're a Newcastle fan, spending a good chunk of your wage on travelling to Manchester, buying a ticket, having to get back late at night and how much all the pints and food costs, to see your team sit with everyone behind the ball in the hope of maybe getting a draw. It's so boring.  6:43PM 56 mins This is a training exercise. Possession: Man City vs Newcastle  I mean I get it, but come on. These two teams are literally in the same league.  6:40PM 54 mins An aerial clash between Joselu and Fernandinho breaks the play as both go down in pain. Newcastle win the free-kick, which should mean within about 20 seconds, Man City will have the ball back. Fernandinho is receiving extra treatment after that, having taken a knock to his chest. 6:39PM 52 mins It's exactly the same as the first half. A matter of time until the second Man City goal.  Man City vs Newcastle   6:38PM 50 mins Zinchenko overlaps and wins a corner. I think that's the 900th of the game so far.  Manchester City crosses  The corner goes short and is worked to the other side of the pitch but Sane's ball to Sterling is overcooked.  6:35PM 48 mins Newcastle have everyone behind the ball again. It's fair to argue that they don't have the players to match Man City but Bristol City pay their playing staff rather a lot less and nearly came away with a draw against them.  6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 No changes by either side at half time. City start the game. 6:30PM What do Newcastle do next? Does Benitez decide to keep the score at 1-0 and hope Newcastle find space on a freak counter-attack? Or does he try to push Man City back for a bit in pursuit of an equaliser? Maybe a bit of both?  6:16PM HALF TIME Average touch positions (45 + 1 min)  It's basically exactly the same as the lat time these two teams played each other except that Man City have a lead earlier. It's hard to know what to suggest Newcastle should do differently. 6:15PM 45 mins A brief roam forwards comes to an end as Zinchenko wins a throw-in. Newcastle don't seem to really believe they can come away with anything other than a lucky draw here. 6:13PM 43 mins The touch for Aguero's goal is so minimal. It might brush his forehead, or maybe even hair. I'd claim it too to be fair. 6:11PM 41 mins Good save by Darlow! A flowing move allows De Bruyne to get a shot away across the goal but the keeper is equal to it. De Bruyne finds space in behind from the corner but his pass across the six yard box is cleared away. Aguero tries to go all the way around the back five, forces a shot away and wins another corner. 6:09PM 39 mins It's all City still. 279 passes to Newcastle's 33 apparently, which sounds too large a difference to be true. Man City vs Newcastle  The absolute state of that. 6:05PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL And there it is. De Bruyne crosses from the left, puts enough curl on it that it's going into the far post and Aguero claims to have headed it. I think it might be De Bruyne's goal... but it's a goal nonetheless. Will Newcastle come out of their cage now? Man City 1 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 34 min)   6:04PM 34 mins Man City are playing this with the desire of a team who know they're going to win at some point so they don't need to worry too much. Another corner is headed away at the near post. Great chance! Sane swaps wings, hits a long pass to the opposite side and Silva comes in to attack a Zinchenko cut back. City finding space here... 6:02PM 33 mins Gabriel Jesus is in the crowd. BUSTED!  Is that some tomato ketchup I see? He better hope that's from the neighbouring box and not his own. As we all know, it is illegal for footballers to have ketchup.  6:00PM 31 mins Murphy and Manquillo surround Silva as he gets on the end of a one-two and trip him up. The referee spots it and De Bruyne lines up a free-kick on the edge of the left side of the box.  The shot is wild and nowhere close. 5:59PM 30 mins Sane is caught offside as another one-touch move around the Newcastle box is worked towards the German. His cutbacks from near the six yard box are being cut out each time though - the defence looks really organised here. 5:58PM 28 mins Possession: Man City vs Newcastle   5:56PM 26 mins City's tempo is late 90s R.E.M until they get to the box, at which point it picks up to a fairly NOFX-like tip tap, tip tap. They're looking to find Sane in space in behind but he's just not able to get onto a couple of through-balls and are forcing passes into gaps that don't exist. 5:54PM 24 mins Joselu's second job, apart from being a striker on the teamsheet, is to man mark Fernandinho. He arrives late to steal the ball from him and starts a Newcastle counter-attack, which turns into a throw-in, which turns into Man City possession. Newcastle can't get out of their own third. 5:51PM 21 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Newcastle's defensive line is high when they have the ball to deny Man City the chance to press them high up the pitch. The problem is kicking the ball long then turns it into a dice throw as to who wins possession and Man City are getting it back so easily.  Another City corner is headed away. 5:49PM GOOOOAAAAAA- offside Oooooooh that is close. A quick, two-touch move from defence to attack is smashed in by Sterling who is an inch or two the wrong side of the last man. Newcastle have just proven exactly why they don't want to commit men forward. 5:48PM 18 mins Sane nips in behind Manquillo but runs into a wall after a great first touch and could easily go down under the attentions of surrounding defenders. Composed defending from Newcastle. Murphy bursts forward after taking advantage of a mixup in midfield, Newcastle players join in and the ball is given away... Man City have an overload! There's space! 5:45PM 15 mins Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Man City are trying to work the ball around the final third but as with the last game, are being denied space by a defence-committed Newcastle.  5:43PM 13 mins Atsu considers keeping the ball but nobody else on the team wants to help him and he nearly loses out to Silva. A short pass to Lascelles is then passed back to the goalkeeper... who punts it down the other end. Man City build play and push them back, winning a corner. Newcastle defend it well but Man City swarm around whoever gets the ball and win it back. 5:41PM 11 mins Man City are totally in control at the moment. Walker tries a shot from 30 yards but boots it miles over the bar. 5:39PM 9 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES This was the minute's applause for Cyrille Regis from before kick-off.  5:37PM 8 mins Newcastle can't get out of their own defensive third now because they're defending too deep but the plan is to deny space, boot the ball away and step out. It'll just take one Man City goal to undo all the hard work required to make this plan work.  Stones has a shot at the near post bounce back off the advertising boards. Close. Miss: Man City 0 - 0 Newcastle (John Stones, 6 min)   5:36PM 6 mins Manquillo goes down under a challenge from Zinchenko and stays down a while. City don't buy it and move forward, eventually he gets up and joins his defensive teammates back in position. Man City get forward and Newcastle get everyone behind the ball.  5:33PM 4 mins Atsu finds space in behind the defence early on! He hits a high ball to the back post and it takes some decent defending to deny a headed goal. Ederson is strong in the air to catch the second attempt, volleyed into the floor, and City counter-attack quickly but Aguero is blocked out. Newcastle are basically dividing their team into a group of defenders and another of attackers. 5:31PM 2 mins Newcastle are playing a high line from the off, with what looks like a three man defence. That is now a five man defence as Man City get forward. 5:30PM KICK-OFF Newcastle get us started. This time Shelvey doesn't shoot from kick-off. 5:25PM Here come the players Can Man City bounce back? We're about to find out. The players are on the pitch. 5:16PM Benitez says "We have nothing to lose here, everyone thinks oh Man City will win easily but we will see.  "Yeh maybe, they will be more focused but at the same time maybe they will be more nervous. We will see. "We are not thinking [Joselu] he's not scoring goals he's not doing he's job, he's doing his job and playing well." 5:06PM Guardiola says "Always when you drop points the next game is difficult but we did it in the past when we win lots of games, it's one game, we will see.  "We don't know. Will they press high or go forward... we will see. "It's not the first game and [Zinchenko] didn't really well. He's left foot, good mentality, today we decide for him." 5:02PM How will Benitez approach this one? Liverpool, Crystal Palace and uhh Bristol City have all worked out how best to play against Man City and that is to defend deep but to make a front three or four press the buildup players near Man City's goal. Newcastle's teamsheet has two left-footed wingers, which might mean one is an inside forward and the other is a winger, alternating roles from time to time. The focus will probably be on Zinchenko at left-back, who is not a full-back yet and can be caught out positionally. Benitez sat deeper than a Savage Garden record in the last match and could well try the same again, since it nearly worked. The crucial thing to remember is that it didn't work.  4:56PM Some pre-match photographs Credit: GETTY IMAGES  How nice does that look?! Lovely photograph. Credit: REUTERS That's the Newcastle players checking the inside of the stadium out.   4:36PM Team news Team News | How we line-up this evening! Presented by @haysworldwide#cityvnufc#mancitypic.twitter.com/szmTNeAz7x— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 20, 2018 TEAM NEWS: Here's how Newcastle United will line up at @ManCity in the @premierleague this afternoon (kick-off 5:30pm GMT). #NUFCpic.twitter.com/fNi22uuHBq— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 20, 2018 2:08PM Hello! Good evening! Welcome to the latest episode of 'How many points will Man City win the league by?'. Today's guests are Rafa Benitez's Newcastle United, a fine collection of players embroiled in a gripping overarching narrative - who on earth is going to buy the club. And when? Negotiations between Amanda Stavely and Mike Ashley were branded a "waste of time" by the latter last week and that statement has created a great deal of unease in the North East. Benitez could well abandon ship if he isn't given some pennies to sign some new recruits in this current transfer window. Man City don't have any such problems, as Arsene Wenger hinted at during a press conference, and can draw on some of the very best players in the entire league to try and win the three points today. One player we know won't feature is Fabian Delph, who is out for some time with an injury and will be replaced by either Danilo or Oleksandr Zinchenko. David Silva may or may not appear, while Kompany, Foden, Jesus and Mendy will also miss a good few games each. Newcastle don't have any huge injury problems but even then have a far weaker squad than their hosts. Dwight Gayle is doubtful, Mitrovic still can't get a game and Benitez nearly got a point from the last game between these two by sitting ultra deep and clinging onto dear life. Since then, several teams have discovered that taking the play to Man City is the best way to get a result - will we see a change in tactic? Guardiola's team will play the same way they always do. Here's some analysis of that style: The genius of Pep Guardiola: Eight things he has done to make Man City so frighteningly good  The team news will be in at 4:30pm and you can follow all the buildup and action right here in this liveblog.

Manchester City 3 Newcastle 1: Sergio Aguero's perfect hat-trick seals win as City dominate

Manchester City chose to withdraw from the race to sign Alexis Sanchez this week after balking at the spiralling cost of the deal but that blow must have been softened in the knowledge that they still have Sergio Aguero to fall back on. As options go, it isn’t a bad one, is it? Pep Guardiola was hoping for a reaction, not just to City’s first domestic defeat of the season at Anfield last Sunday, but from Aguero, too, in response to the realisation that the responsibility of leading the line will continue to rest heavily on his shoulders. The City manager got both. A hat-trick took Aguero’s total for the season to 22, just 11 short of his highest tally for the club, and we are still in January. Newcastle briefly threatened to make a game of it when Jacob Murphy’s first goal of the season made it 2-1 and, for a moment, the away team showcased an ambition which had hitherto been painfully absent. But then Leroy Sane produced a moment of sublime individual skill to tee up Aguero for his third goal, the gap at the top was back to 12 points, and suddenly that 4-3 defeat to Liverpool and the loss of Sanchez were already starting to feel like a distant memory. “We need 10 more wins to be champions, and we’re going to try by going one by one,” Guardiola said. “We reacted really well after dropping points before. It was an outstanding performance, often against 11 behind the ball, we were patient, and we found the space really well. They crossed the halfway just once and scored.” Aguero gets across his man to open the scoring for Man City Credit: GETTY IMAGES The criticism of Newcastle’s approach at home to City at Christmas had clearly washed over Rafael Benitez. It was clear from his line-up – one bank of four almost sat on a bank of five – that no one, his former player Jamie Carragher included, was going to shame him into altering his ultra-cautious blueprint, especially at the Etihad Stadium where City had not lost for approaching 14 months. The frustration was that it was not until Newcastle were two down that they began to throw caution to the wind and discovered that City’s defence could be got at. The problem was the damage was already done. Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Sure, had Mohamed Diame not been denied by Ederson shortly after Murphy’s goal, Newcastle could have somehow found themselves level but they had ridden their luck on numerous occasions by that stage, fortunate to have only conceded twice, and the game was eventually taken beyond them when City claimed their third. On that goal, it may have brought up Aguero’s hat-trick but special mention should go to the whirling Sane for conjuring with a piece of pure wizardry. Think Ryan Giggs in his pomp, slaloming in and out of defenders at frightening speed, and you get some idea of what Sane did to Diame and DeAndre Yedlin as he turned the pair inside out before having the composure and awareness to look up and find Aguero to fire home left footed. Man City 1 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 34 min) In the 1-0 win at St James’ Park last month, Guardiola claimed it is particularly difficult “when the other team doesn’t want to play”, and while every manager reserves the right to set up and play how they want, the script was the same up until Murphy scoring. Newcastle saw just 18 per cent of the ball in a first half where City, surprisingly, had just Aguero’s header to show for their territorial dominance. Kevin De Bruyne side-stepped Javier Manquillo on City’s left flank and whipped in one of those trademark venomous crosses. Guardiola grew frustrated as Newcastle threatened to get back into the game for a few fleeting moments Credit: PA Ciaran Clark has a distinct height advantage over Aguero but it was the Argentina striker who rose quickest and highest to glance a finely taken header into the corner. Carragher had suggested after City’s victory at Newcastle that the Premier League was becoming “embarrassing” and “a bit of a joke” given the gulf at the top and bottom. Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Jacob Murphy, 67 min) A harsh appraisal? Perhaps, but was it asking too much of Newcastle to expect them to do more than defend with eight or men in and around their own 18-yard box and allow City so much time and space 30 yards out? They proved they could ask questions when Clark sprayed a sliding pass Clark sprayed a sliding pass from just inside his own half in behind Oleksandr Zinchenko for Murphy to race on to and dink a lovely finish over Ederson. Man City vs Newcastle shots on goal Then came Diame’s chance, but they were already facing a huge task by that point after Manquillo had bundled down Raheem Sterling and Aguero done the business from the penalty spot. Benitez called the penalty “very soft” but the damage was done. Aguero’s third merely gave the scoreline the colouring it deserved. “The fact one player comes or doesn’t come is not going to determine his reaction,” Guardiola said of Aguero. “He has a special gift. He hadn’t touched the ball hardly before his first goal then he touches it and… goal.” Sanchez who? 7:45PM Pep Guardiola post-match "Yep, we react really well after drop two points against Crystal Palace. We make outstanding performance, we found spaces, had passion, in the second half unfortunately we had just once cross the half, we're so happy. "Before the first goal he didn't touch the ball and we need his goals, it's so important.  "When you have the ball the opponent has not the ball and to concede a goal the opponent has to get the ball. It's always complicated, we were patient, didn't concede counter-attacks, free-kicks. "A little bit tougher there, the second half we didn't play good. Today they found a goal but even with 2-1, keep going, keep going." 7:32PM Some choice stats 800 passes to 191, 18 corners to 0 and my favourite: Ederson made more passes than Mo Diame. 7:27PM Aguero scores the perfect hat-trick Left foot, right foot and a header!  7:22PM Possession stats Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Man City vs Newcastle   7:21PM FULL TIME Man City were always going to win this one with the way Newcastle set up but were made to work. Newcastle offered a threat when they did go forward and lost anyway. At least the final 15 minutes were decent to watch! Sergio Aguero gets the headlines, Leroy Sane made all the difference.  7:19PM 90 mins +2 Great cross from Shelvey who is able to enjoy the ball in the final third for about the first time all night. He hits off the outside of his right foot from the left and it swerves round to the head of Gayle, who puts it over the bar. 7:17PM 90 mins Diaz goes on a little dribble and beats a defender but then throws himself to the floor. It's clearly not a penalty but he tries anyway. From what I've seen of Diaz, he looks like a really good player or at least has the potential to be pretty special. 7:16PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Brahim Diaz. Otamendi gives the ball away and Murphy runs at goal! Ederson comes off his line and leaves the goal open but Man City recover and are now on the counter-attack themselves.  7:14PM 86 mins Man City are at it now and Newcastle look a little fragile. Sterling is substituted for Bernardo Silva. 7:12PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Absolutely magnificent from Sane. Man City 3 - 1 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 83 min) His close control is unbelievable - here he holds off about three defenders, nutmegs one, speeds past another and that's from running between two of them to get into the box in the first place. His cut back to Aguero gives the forward time to set himself up and score the hat-trick. 7:10PM 82 mins De Bruyne goes close with a bending low shot but puts it just wide of the post. Out: Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Kevin De Bruyne, 81 min)  These last 15 minutes have had more action than the rest of the entire game together. 7:09PM 81 mins Credit: AFP That was Murphy's first Premier League Newcastle goal, incidentally.  7:07PM 80 mins Clark is booked for taking De Bruyne down, with Man City away on goal. A clever tactical foul. Newcastle win a free-kick in the centre-circle and City go with their high line defensive plan. It works and City now have space to attack. Zinchenko loses control and hands possession back to City.  7:04PM 77 mins A Sane corner from left is headed away but only as far as Silva, who takes a touch before pulling an effort wide on the edge of the box. 7:03PM 75 mins City have a corner and De Bruyne loses control of the ball. Newcastle have a break on! It's three on three, made four by Perez's bursting run...  but the ball ahead of Murphy goes straight to the goalkeeper. There's something in this match for Newcastle now.   7:00PM 73 mins Excitement! Wowzers! Diame's momentum carries him forward but he's composed enough to keep control of the ball and hold off defenders. He turns Stones, shoots at Ederson, who saves. But he drops the ball! Diame wins it again and tries another shot at goal which is blocked by the goalkeeper again. 6:59PM 72 mins Sterling hits the post! Brilliant save! Zinchenko's one touch pass to De Bruyne opens up the defence, De Bruyne finds Sane, who drills it low across goal for Sterling, whose first time shot is fired at speed towards the net. Somehow the goalkeeper flings himself at the ball and turns it onto the post! This game is so much better now Newcastle are trying to play football. 6:57PM 70 mins OOoooooohhhh that is close. So close. Aguero takes a corner down, tries to win space on the outside of the defender on the edge of the box and his shot is just wide of the top corner.  Man City appear to have woken up now. 6:55PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! HOW ABOUT THAT?! Newcastle go on the attack and get the rewards immediately! Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Jacob Murphy, 67 min) Jacob Murphy is wide right, Joselu miscontrols and the pass is pinged forwards towards him. Murphy is too quick for Zinchenko and dinks the ball over the goalkeeper. Could that change the game? 6:52PM 65 mins Perez is on for Atsu and encourages his players to get forward. They might as well!    6:51PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLL! Aguero buries the penalty top left, the goalkeeper guesses right but doesn't get close. Man City 2 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 63 min)   6:50PM PENALTY! That might change now. A quick one-two, Sterling goes around the outside of Manquillo and is hauled down. Easy decision. 6:49PM 62 mins Great covering tackle from Hayden as he slides in at the near post to deny a certain Aguero goal. Benitez is about to change things and bring on Ayoze Perez! Has this all been a cunning ruse? Newcastle's gameplan is to bore Man City to sleep and then score while they are lying down with Zs coming out of their mouths? Apparently Atsu is coming off. 6:47PM 61 mins Newcastle fans are still singing  and when the camera cuts to them, they make cocktail shocking gestures towards friendly Man City players, who they know love to make a cocktail. A whisky sour? Well yes please Mr Aguero.  What else is happening then? Ederson HAS TOUCHED THE BALL! That's exciting. He's done so near the centre-circle. Honestly, I can't see him on the camera view I have but if you told me he's sitting down playing on his iPad I'd believe you. 6:45PM 58 mins Imagine you're a Newcastle fan, spending a good chunk of your wage on travelling to Manchester, buying a ticket, having to get back late at night and how much all the pints and food costs, to see your team sit with everyone behind the ball in the hope of maybe getting a draw. It's so boring.  6:43PM 56 mins This is a training exercise. Possession: Man City vs Newcastle  I mean I get it, but come on. These two teams are literally in the same league.  6:40PM 54 mins An aerial clash between Joselu and Fernandinho breaks the play as both go down in pain. Newcastle win the free-kick, which should mean within about 20 seconds, Man City will have the ball back. Fernandinho is receiving extra treatment after that, having taken a knock to his chest. 6:39PM 52 mins It's exactly the same as the first half. A matter of time until the second Man City goal.  Man City vs Newcastle   6:38PM 50 mins Zinchenko overlaps and wins a corner. I think that's the 900th of the game so far.  Manchester City crosses  The corner goes short and is worked to the other side of the pitch but Sane's ball to Sterling is overcooked.  6:35PM 48 mins Newcastle have everyone behind the ball again. It's fair to argue that they don't have the players to match Man City but Bristol City pay their playing staff rather a lot less and nearly came away with a draw against them.  6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 No changes by either side at half time. City start the game. 6:30PM What do Newcastle do next? Does Benitez decide to keep the score at 1-0 and hope Newcastle find space on a freak counter-attack? Or does he try to push Man City back for a bit in pursuit of an equaliser? Maybe a bit of both?  6:16PM HALF TIME Average touch positions (45 + 1 min)  It's basically exactly the same as the lat time these two teams played each other except that Man City have a lead earlier. It's hard to know what to suggest Newcastle should do differently. 6:15PM 45 mins A brief roam forwards comes to an end as Zinchenko wins a throw-in. Newcastle don't seem to really believe they can come away with anything other than a lucky draw here. 6:13PM 43 mins The touch for Aguero's goal is so minimal. It might brush his forehead, or maybe even hair. I'd claim it too to be fair. 6:11PM 41 mins Good save by Darlow! A flowing move allows De Bruyne to get a shot away across the goal but the keeper is equal to it. De Bruyne finds space in behind from the corner but his pass across the six yard box is cleared away. Aguero tries to go all the way around the back five, forces a shot away and wins another corner. 6:09PM 39 mins It's all City still. 279 passes to Newcastle's 33 apparently, which sounds too large a difference to be true. Man City vs Newcastle  The absolute state of that. 6:05PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL And there it is. De Bruyne crosses from the left, puts enough curl on it that it's going into the far post and Aguero claims to have headed it. I think it might be De Bruyne's goal... but it's a goal nonetheless. Will Newcastle come out of their cage now? Man City 1 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 34 min)   6:04PM 34 mins Man City are playing this with the desire of a team who know they're going to win at some point so they don't need to worry too much. Another corner is headed away at the near post. Great chance! Sane swaps wings, hits a long pass to the opposite side and Silva comes in to attack a Zinchenko cut back. City finding space here... 6:02PM 33 mins Gabriel Jesus is in the crowd. BUSTED!  Is that some tomato ketchup I see? He better hope that's from the neighbouring box and not his own. As we all know, it is illegal for footballers to have ketchup.  6:00PM 31 mins Murphy and Manquillo surround Silva as he gets on the end of a one-two and trip him up. The referee spots it and De Bruyne lines up a free-kick on the edge of the left side of the box.  The shot is wild and nowhere close. 5:59PM 30 mins Sane is caught offside as another one-touch move around the Newcastle box is worked towards the German. His cutbacks from near the six yard box are being cut out each time though - the defence looks really organised here. 5:58PM 28 mins Possession: Man City vs Newcastle   5:56PM 26 mins City's tempo is late 90s R.E.M until they get to the box, at which point it picks up to a fairly NOFX-like tip tap, tip tap. They're looking to find Sane in space in behind but he's just not able to get onto a couple of through-balls and are forcing passes into gaps that don't exist. 5:54PM 24 mins Joselu's second job, apart from being a striker on the teamsheet, is to man mark Fernandinho. He arrives late to steal the ball from him and starts a Newcastle counter-attack, which turns into a throw-in, which turns into Man City possession. Newcastle can't get out of their own third. 5:51PM 21 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Newcastle's defensive line is high when they have the ball to deny Man City the chance to press them high up the pitch. The problem is kicking the ball long then turns it into a dice throw as to who wins possession and Man City are getting it back so easily.  Another City corner is headed away. 5:49PM GOOOOAAAAAA- offside Oooooooh that is close. A quick, two-touch move from defence to attack is smashed in by Sterling who is an inch or two the wrong side of the last man. Newcastle have just proven exactly why they don't want to commit men forward. 5:48PM 18 mins Sane nips in behind Manquillo but runs into a wall after a great first touch and could easily go down under the attentions of surrounding defenders. Composed defending from Newcastle. Murphy bursts forward after taking advantage of a mixup in midfield, Newcastle players join in and the ball is given away... Man City have an overload! There's space! 5:45PM 15 mins Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Man City are trying to work the ball around the final third but as with the last game, are being denied space by a defence-committed Newcastle.  5:43PM 13 mins Atsu considers keeping the ball but nobody else on the team wants to help him and he nearly loses out to Silva. A short pass to Lascelles is then passed back to the goalkeeper... who punts it down the other end. Man City build play and push them back, winning a corner. Newcastle defend it well but Man City swarm around whoever gets the ball and win it back. 5:41PM 11 mins Man City are totally in control at the moment. Walker tries a shot from 30 yards but boots it miles over the bar. 5:39PM 9 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES This was the minute's applause for Cyrille Regis from before kick-off.  5:37PM 8 mins Newcastle can't get out of their own defensive third now because they're defending too deep but the plan is to deny space, boot the ball away and step out. It'll just take one Man City goal to undo all the hard work required to make this plan work.  Stones has a shot at the near post bounce back off the advertising boards. Close. Miss: Man City 0 - 0 Newcastle (John Stones, 6 min)   5:36PM 6 mins Manquillo goes down under a challenge from Zinchenko and stays down a while. City don't buy it and move forward, eventually he gets up and joins his defensive teammates back in position. Man City get forward and Newcastle get everyone behind the ball.  5:33PM 4 mins Atsu finds space in behind the defence early on! He hits a high ball to the back post and it takes some decent defending to deny a headed goal. Ederson is strong in the air to catch the second attempt, volleyed into the floor, and City counter-attack quickly but Aguero is blocked out. Newcastle are basically dividing their team into a group of defenders and another of attackers. 5:31PM 2 mins Newcastle are playing a high line from the off, with what looks like a three man defence. That is now a five man defence as Man City get forward. 5:30PM KICK-OFF Newcastle get us started. This time Shelvey doesn't shoot from kick-off. 5:25PM Here come the players Can Man City bounce back? We're about to find out. The players are on the pitch. 5:16PM Benitez says "We have nothing to lose here, everyone thinks oh Man City will win easily but we will see.  "Yeh maybe, they will be more focused but at the same time maybe they will be more nervous. We will see. "We are not thinking [Joselu] he's not scoring goals he's not doing he's job, he's doing his job and playing well." 5:06PM Guardiola says "Always when you drop points the next game is difficult but we did it in the past when we win lots of games, it's one game, we will see.  "We don't know. Will they press high or go forward... we will see. "It's not the first game and [Zinchenko] didn't really well. He's left foot, good mentality, today we decide for him." 5:02PM How will Benitez approach this one? Liverpool, Crystal Palace and uhh Bristol City have all worked out how best to play against Man City and that is to defend deep but to make a front three or four press the buildup players near Man City's goal. Newcastle's teamsheet has two left-footed wingers, which might mean one is an inside forward and the other is a winger, alternating roles from time to time. The focus will probably be on Zinchenko at left-back, who is not a full-back yet and can be caught out positionally. Benitez sat deeper than a Savage Garden record in the last match and could well try the same again, since it nearly worked. The crucial thing to remember is that it didn't work.  4:56PM Some pre-match photographs Credit: GETTY IMAGES  How nice does that look?! Lovely photograph. Credit: REUTERS That's the Newcastle players checking the inside of the stadium out.   4:36PM Team news Team News | How we line-up this evening! Presented by @haysworldwide#cityvnufc#mancitypic.twitter.com/szmTNeAz7x— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 20, 2018 TEAM NEWS: Here's how Newcastle United will line up at @ManCity in the @premierleague this afternoon (kick-off 5:30pm GMT). #NUFCpic.twitter.com/fNi22uuHBq— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 20, 2018 2:08PM Hello! Good evening! Welcome to the latest episode of 'How many points will Man City win the league by?'. Today's guests are Rafa Benitez's Newcastle United, a fine collection of players embroiled in a gripping overarching narrative - who on earth is going to buy the club. And when? Negotiations between Amanda Stavely and Mike Ashley were branded a "waste of time" by the latter last week and that statement has created a great deal of unease in the North East. Benitez could well abandon ship if he isn't given some pennies to sign some new recruits in this current transfer window. Man City don't have any such problems, as Arsene Wenger hinted at during a press conference, and can draw on some of the very best players in the entire league to try and win the three points today. One player we know won't feature is Fabian Delph, who is out for some time with an injury and will be replaced by either Danilo or Oleksandr Zinchenko. David Silva may or may not appear, while Kompany, Foden, Jesus and Mendy will also miss a good few games each. Newcastle don't have any huge injury problems but even then have a far weaker squad than their hosts. Dwight Gayle is doubtful, Mitrovic still can't get a game and Benitez nearly got a point from the last game between these two by sitting ultra deep and clinging onto dear life. Since then, several teams have discovered that taking the play to Man City is the best way to get a result - will we see a change in tactic? Guardiola's team will play the same way they always do. Here's some analysis of that style: The genius of Pep Guardiola: Eight things he has done to make Man City so frighteningly good  The team news will be in at 4:30pm and you can follow all the buildup and action right here in this liveblog.

Manchester City 3 Newcastle 1: Sergio Aguero's perfect hat-trick seals win as City dominate

Manchester City chose to withdraw from the race to sign Alexis Sanchez this week after balking at the spiralling cost of the deal but that blow must have been softened in the knowledge that they still have Sergio Aguero to fall back on. As options go, it isn’t a bad one, is it? Pep Guardiola was hoping for a reaction, not just to City’s first domestic defeat of the season at Anfield last Sunday, but from Aguero, too, in response to the realisation that the responsibility of leading the line will continue to rest heavily on his shoulders. The City manager got both. A hat-trick took Aguero’s total for the season to 22, just 11 short of his highest tally for the club, and we are still in January. Newcastle briefly threatened to make a game of it when Jacob Murphy’s first goal of the season made it 2-1 and, for a moment, the away team showcased an ambition which had hitherto been painfully absent. But then Leroy Sane produced a moment of sublime individual skill to tee up Aguero for his third goal, the gap at the top was back to 12 points, and suddenly that 4-3 defeat to Liverpool and the loss of Sanchez were already starting to feel like a distant memory. “We need 10 more wins to be champions, and we’re going to try by going one by one,” Guardiola said. “We reacted really well after dropping points before. It was an outstanding performance, often against 11 behind the ball, we were patient, and we found the space really well. They crossed the halfway just once and scored.” Aguero gets across his man to open the scoring for Man City Credit: GETTY IMAGES The criticism of Newcastle’s approach at home to City at Christmas had clearly washed over Rafael Benitez. It was clear from his line-up – one bank of four almost sat on a bank of five – that no one, his former player Jamie Carragher included, was going to shame him into altering his ultra-cautious blueprint, especially at the Etihad Stadium where City had not lost for approaching 14 months. The frustration was that it was not until Newcastle were two down that they began to throw caution to the wind and discovered that City’s defence could be got at. The problem was the damage was already done. Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Sure, had Mohamed Diame not been denied by Ederson shortly after Murphy’s goal, Newcastle could have somehow found themselves level but they had ridden their luck on numerous occasions by that stage, fortunate to have only conceded twice, and the game was eventually taken beyond them when City claimed their third. On that goal, it may have brought up Aguero’s hat-trick but special mention should go to the whirling Sane for conjuring with a piece of pure wizardry. Think Ryan Giggs in his pomp, slaloming in and out of defenders at frightening speed, and you get some idea of what Sane did to Diame and DeAndre Yedlin as he turned the pair inside out before having the composure and awareness to look up and find Aguero to fire home left footed. Man City 1 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 34 min) In the 1-0 win at St James’ Park last month, Guardiola claimed it is particularly difficult “when the other team doesn’t want to play”, and while every manager reserves the right to set up and play how they want, the script was the same up until Murphy scoring. Newcastle saw just 18 per cent of the ball in a first half where City, surprisingly, had just Aguero’s header to show for their territorial dominance. Kevin De Bruyne side-stepped Javier Manquillo on City’s left flank and whipped in one of those trademark venomous crosses. Guardiola grew frustrated as Newcastle threatened to get back into the game for a few fleeting moments Credit: PA Ciaran Clark has a distinct height advantage over Aguero but it was the Argentina striker who rose quickest and highest to glance a finely taken header into the corner. Carragher had suggested after City’s victory at Newcastle that the Premier League was becoming “embarrassing” and “a bit of a joke” given the gulf at the top and bottom. Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Jacob Murphy, 67 min) A harsh appraisal? Perhaps, but was it asking too much of Newcastle to expect them to do more than defend with eight or men in and around their own 18-yard box and allow City so much time and space 30 yards out? They proved they could ask questions when Clark sprayed a sliding pass Clark sprayed a sliding pass from just inside his own half in behind Oleksandr Zinchenko for Murphy to race on to and dink a lovely finish over Ederson. Man City vs Newcastle shots on goal Then came Diame’s chance, but they were already facing a huge task by that point after Manquillo had bundled down Raheem Sterling and Aguero done the business from the penalty spot. Benitez called the penalty “very soft” but the damage was done. Aguero’s third merely gave the scoreline the colouring it deserved. “The fact one player comes or doesn’t come is not going to determine his reaction,” Guardiola said of Aguero. “He has a special gift. He hadn’t touched the ball hardly before his first goal then he touches it and… goal.” Sanchez who? 7:45PM Pep Guardiola post-match "Yep, we react really well after drop two points against Crystal Palace. We make outstanding performance, we found spaces, had passion, in the second half unfortunately we had just once cross the half, we're so happy. "Before the first goal he didn't touch the ball and we need his goals, it's so important.  "When you have the ball the opponent has not the ball and to concede a goal the opponent has to get the ball. It's always complicated, we were patient, didn't concede counter-attacks, free-kicks. "A little bit tougher there, the second half we didn't play good. Today they found a goal but even with 2-1, keep going, keep going." 7:32PM Some choice stats 800 passes to 191, 18 corners to 0 and my favourite: Ederson made more passes than Mo Diame. 7:27PM Aguero scores the perfect hat-trick Left foot, right foot and a header!  7:22PM Possession stats Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Man City vs Newcastle   7:21PM FULL TIME Man City were always going to win this one with the way Newcastle set up but were made to work. Newcastle offered a threat when they did go forward and lost anyway. At least the final 15 minutes were decent to watch! Sergio Aguero gets the headlines, Leroy Sane made all the difference.  7:19PM 90 mins +2 Great cross from Shelvey who is able to enjoy the ball in the final third for about the first time all night. He hits off the outside of his right foot from the left and it swerves round to the head of Gayle, who puts it over the bar. 7:17PM 90 mins Diaz goes on a little dribble and beats a defender but then throws himself to the floor. It's clearly not a penalty but he tries anyway. From what I've seen of Diaz, he looks like a really good player or at least has the potential to be pretty special. 7:16PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Brahim Diaz. Otamendi gives the ball away and Murphy runs at goal! Ederson comes off his line and leaves the goal open but Man City recover and are now on the counter-attack themselves.  7:14PM 86 mins Man City are at it now and Newcastle look a little fragile. Sterling is substituted for Bernardo Silva. 7:12PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Absolutely magnificent from Sane. Man City 3 - 1 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 83 min) His close control is unbelievable - here he holds off about three defenders, nutmegs one, speeds past another and that's from running between two of them to get into the box in the first place. His cut back to Aguero gives the forward time to set himself up and score the hat-trick. 7:10PM 82 mins De Bruyne goes close with a bending low shot but puts it just wide of the post. Out: Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Kevin De Bruyne, 81 min)  These last 15 minutes have had more action than the rest of the entire game together. 7:09PM 81 mins Credit: AFP That was Murphy's first Premier League Newcastle goal, incidentally.  7:07PM 80 mins Clark is booked for taking De Bruyne down, with Man City away on goal. A clever tactical foul. Newcastle win a free-kick in the centre-circle and City go with their high line defensive plan. It works and City now have space to attack. Zinchenko loses control and hands possession back to City.  7:04PM 77 mins A Sane corner from left is headed away but only as far as Silva, who takes a touch before pulling an effort wide on the edge of the box. 7:03PM 75 mins City have a corner and De Bruyne loses control of the ball. Newcastle have a break on! It's three on three, made four by Perez's bursting run...  but the ball ahead of Murphy goes straight to the goalkeeper. There's something in this match for Newcastle now.   7:00PM 73 mins Excitement! Wowzers! Diame's momentum carries him forward but he's composed enough to keep control of the ball and hold off defenders. He turns Stones, shoots at Ederson, who saves. But he drops the ball! Diame wins it again and tries another shot at goal which is blocked by the goalkeeper again. 6:59PM 72 mins Sterling hits the post! Brilliant save! Zinchenko's one touch pass to De Bruyne opens up the defence, De Bruyne finds Sane, who drills it low across goal for Sterling, whose first time shot is fired at speed towards the net. Somehow the goalkeeper flings himself at the ball and turns it onto the post! This game is so much better now Newcastle are trying to play football. 6:57PM 70 mins OOoooooohhhh that is close. So close. Aguero takes a corner down, tries to win space on the outside of the defender on the edge of the box and his shot is just wide of the top corner.  Man City appear to have woken up now. 6:55PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! HOW ABOUT THAT?! Newcastle go on the attack and get the rewards immediately! Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Jacob Murphy, 67 min) Jacob Murphy is wide right, Joselu miscontrols and the pass is pinged forwards towards him. Murphy is too quick for Zinchenko and dinks the ball over the goalkeeper. Could that change the game? 6:52PM 65 mins Perez is on for Atsu and encourages his players to get forward. They might as well!    6:51PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLL! Aguero buries the penalty top left, the goalkeeper guesses right but doesn't get close. Man City 2 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 63 min)   6:50PM PENALTY! That might change now. A quick one-two, Sterling goes around the outside of Manquillo and is hauled down. Easy decision. 6:49PM 62 mins Great covering tackle from Hayden as he slides in at the near post to deny a certain Aguero goal. Benitez is about to change things and bring on Ayoze Perez! Has this all been a cunning ruse? Newcastle's gameplan is to bore Man City to sleep and then score while they are lying down with Zs coming out of their mouths? Apparently Atsu is coming off. 6:47PM 61 mins Newcastle fans are still singing  and when the camera cuts to them, they make cocktail shocking gestures towards friendly Man City players, who they know love to make a cocktail. A whisky sour? Well yes please Mr Aguero.  What else is happening then? Ederson HAS TOUCHED THE BALL! That's exciting. He's done so near the centre-circle. Honestly, I can't see him on the camera view I have but if you told me he's sitting down playing on his iPad I'd believe you. 6:45PM 58 mins Imagine you're a Newcastle fan, spending a good chunk of your wage on travelling to Manchester, buying a ticket, having to get back late at night and how much all the pints and food costs, to see your team sit with everyone behind the ball in the hope of maybe getting a draw. It's so boring.  6:43PM 56 mins This is a training exercise. Possession: Man City vs Newcastle  I mean I get it, but come on. These two teams are literally in the same league.  6:40PM 54 mins An aerial clash between Joselu and Fernandinho breaks the play as both go down in pain. Newcastle win the free-kick, which should mean within about 20 seconds, Man City will have the ball back. Fernandinho is receiving extra treatment after that, having taken a knock to his chest. 6:39PM 52 mins It's exactly the same as the first half. A matter of time until the second Man City goal.  Man City vs Newcastle   6:38PM 50 mins Zinchenko overlaps and wins a corner. I think that's the 900th of the game so far.  Manchester City crosses  The corner goes short and is worked to the other side of the pitch but Sane's ball to Sterling is overcooked.  6:35PM 48 mins Newcastle have everyone behind the ball again. It's fair to argue that they don't have the players to match Man City but Bristol City pay their playing staff rather a lot less and nearly came away with a draw against them.  6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 No changes by either side at half time. City start the game. 6:30PM What do Newcastle do next? Does Benitez decide to keep the score at 1-0 and hope Newcastle find space on a freak counter-attack? Or does he try to push Man City back for a bit in pursuit of an equaliser? Maybe a bit of both?  6:16PM HALF TIME Average touch positions (45 + 1 min)  It's basically exactly the same as the lat time these two teams played each other except that Man City have a lead earlier. It's hard to know what to suggest Newcastle should do differently. 6:15PM 45 mins A brief roam forwards comes to an end as Zinchenko wins a throw-in. Newcastle don't seem to really believe they can come away with anything other than a lucky draw here. 6:13PM 43 mins The touch for Aguero's goal is so minimal. It might brush his forehead, or maybe even hair. I'd claim it too to be fair. 6:11PM 41 mins Good save by Darlow! A flowing move allows De Bruyne to get a shot away across the goal but the keeper is equal to it. De Bruyne finds space in behind from the corner but his pass across the six yard box is cleared away. Aguero tries to go all the way around the back five, forces a shot away and wins another corner. 6:09PM 39 mins It's all City still. 279 passes to Newcastle's 33 apparently, which sounds too large a difference to be true. Man City vs Newcastle  The absolute state of that. 6:05PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL And there it is. De Bruyne crosses from the left, puts enough curl on it that it's going into the far post and Aguero claims to have headed it. I think it might be De Bruyne's goal... but it's a goal nonetheless. Will Newcastle come out of their cage now? Man City 1 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 34 min)   6:04PM 34 mins Man City are playing this with the desire of a team who know they're going to win at some point so they don't need to worry too much. Another corner is headed away at the near post. Great chance! Sane swaps wings, hits a long pass to the opposite side and Silva comes in to attack a Zinchenko cut back. City finding space here... 6:02PM 33 mins Gabriel Jesus is in the crowd. BUSTED!  Is that some tomato ketchup I see? He better hope that's from the neighbouring box and not his own. As we all know, it is illegal for footballers to have ketchup.  6:00PM 31 mins Murphy and Manquillo surround Silva as he gets on the end of a one-two and trip him up. The referee spots it and De Bruyne lines up a free-kick on the edge of the left side of the box.  The shot is wild and nowhere close. 5:59PM 30 mins Sane is caught offside as another one-touch move around the Newcastle box is worked towards the German. His cutbacks from near the six yard box are being cut out each time though - the defence looks really organised here. 5:58PM 28 mins Possession: Man City vs Newcastle   5:56PM 26 mins City's tempo is late 90s R.E.M until they get to the box, at which point it picks up to a fairly NOFX-like tip tap, tip tap. They're looking to find Sane in space in behind but he's just not able to get onto a couple of through-balls and are forcing passes into gaps that don't exist. 5:54PM 24 mins Joselu's second job, apart from being a striker on the teamsheet, is to man mark Fernandinho. He arrives late to steal the ball from him and starts a Newcastle counter-attack, which turns into a throw-in, which turns into Man City possession. Newcastle can't get out of their own third. 5:51PM 21 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Newcastle's defensive line is high when they have the ball to deny Man City the chance to press them high up the pitch. The problem is kicking the ball long then turns it into a dice throw as to who wins possession and Man City are getting it back so easily.  Another City corner is headed away. 5:49PM GOOOOAAAAAA- offside Oooooooh that is close. A quick, two-touch move from defence to attack is smashed in by Sterling who is an inch or two the wrong side of the last man. Newcastle have just proven exactly why they don't want to commit men forward. 5:48PM 18 mins Sane nips in behind Manquillo but runs into a wall after a great first touch and could easily go down under the attentions of surrounding defenders. Composed defending from Newcastle. Murphy bursts forward after taking advantage of a mixup in midfield, Newcastle players join in and the ball is given away... Man City have an overload! There's space! 5:45PM 15 mins Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Man City are trying to work the ball around the final third but as with the last game, are being denied space by a defence-committed Newcastle.  5:43PM 13 mins Atsu considers keeping the ball but nobody else on the team wants to help him and he nearly loses out to Silva. A short pass to Lascelles is then passed back to the goalkeeper... who punts it down the other end. Man City build play and push them back, winning a corner. Newcastle defend it well but Man City swarm around whoever gets the ball and win it back. 5:41PM 11 mins Man City are totally in control at the moment. Walker tries a shot from 30 yards but boots it miles over the bar. 5:39PM 9 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES This was the minute's applause for Cyrille Regis from before kick-off.  5:37PM 8 mins Newcastle can't get out of their own defensive third now because they're defending too deep but the plan is to deny space, boot the ball away and step out. It'll just take one Man City goal to undo all the hard work required to make this plan work.  Stones has a shot at the near post bounce back off the advertising boards. Close. Miss: Man City 0 - 0 Newcastle (John Stones, 6 min)   5:36PM 6 mins Manquillo goes down under a challenge from Zinchenko and stays down a while. City don't buy it and move forward, eventually he gets up and joins his defensive teammates back in position. Man City get forward and Newcastle get everyone behind the ball.  5:33PM 4 mins Atsu finds space in behind the defence early on! He hits a high ball to the back post and it takes some decent defending to deny a headed goal. Ederson is strong in the air to catch the second attempt, volleyed into the floor, and City counter-attack quickly but Aguero is blocked out. Newcastle are basically dividing their team into a group of defenders and another of attackers. 5:31PM 2 mins Newcastle are playing a high line from the off, with what looks like a three man defence. That is now a five man defence as Man City get forward. 5:30PM KICK-OFF Newcastle get us started. This time Shelvey doesn't shoot from kick-off. 5:25PM Here come the players Can Man City bounce back? We're about to find out. The players are on the pitch. 5:16PM Benitez says "We have nothing to lose here, everyone thinks oh Man City will win easily but we will see.  "Yeh maybe, they will be more focused but at the same time maybe they will be more nervous. We will see. "We are not thinking [Joselu] he's not scoring goals he's not doing he's job, he's doing his job and playing well." 5:06PM Guardiola says "Always when you drop points the next game is difficult but we did it in the past when we win lots of games, it's one game, we will see.  "We don't know. Will they press high or go forward... we will see. "It's not the first game and [Zinchenko] didn't really well. He's left foot, good mentality, today we decide for him." 5:02PM How will Benitez approach this one? Liverpool, Crystal Palace and uhh Bristol City have all worked out how best to play against Man City and that is to defend deep but to make a front three or four press the buildup players near Man City's goal. Newcastle's teamsheet has two left-footed wingers, which might mean one is an inside forward and the other is a winger, alternating roles from time to time. The focus will probably be on Zinchenko at left-back, who is not a full-back yet and can be caught out positionally. Benitez sat deeper than a Savage Garden record in the last match and could well try the same again, since it nearly worked. The crucial thing to remember is that it didn't work.  4:56PM Some pre-match photographs Credit: GETTY IMAGES  How nice does that look?! Lovely photograph. Credit: REUTERS That's the Newcastle players checking the inside of the stadium out.   4:36PM Team news Team News | How we line-up this evening! Presented by @haysworldwide#cityvnufc#mancitypic.twitter.com/szmTNeAz7x— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 20, 2018 TEAM NEWS: Here's how Newcastle United will line up at @ManCity in the @premierleague this afternoon (kick-off 5:30pm GMT). #NUFCpic.twitter.com/fNi22uuHBq— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 20, 2018 2:08PM Hello! Good evening! Welcome to the latest episode of 'How many points will Man City win the league by?'. Today's guests are Rafa Benitez's Newcastle United, a fine collection of players embroiled in a gripping overarching narrative - who on earth is going to buy the club. And when? Negotiations between Amanda Stavely and Mike Ashley were branded a "waste of time" by the latter last week and that statement has created a great deal of unease in the North East. Benitez could well abandon ship if he isn't given some pennies to sign some new recruits in this current transfer window. Man City don't have any such problems, as Arsene Wenger hinted at during a press conference, and can draw on some of the very best players in the entire league to try and win the three points today. One player we know won't feature is Fabian Delph, who is out for some time with an injury and will be replaced by either Danilo or Oleksandr Zinchenko. David Silva may or may not appear, while Kompany, Foden, Jesus and Mendy will also miss a good few games each. Newcastle don't have any huge injury problems but even then have a far weaker squad than their hosts. Dwight Gayle is doubtful, Mitrovic still can't get a game and Benitez nearly got a point from the last game between these two by sitting ultra deep and clinging onto dear life. Since then, several teams have discovered that taking the play to Man City is the best way to get a result - will we see a change in tactic? Guardiola's team will play the same way they always do. Here's some analysis of that style: The genius of Pep Guardiola: Eight things he has done to make Man City so frighteningly good  The team news will be in at 4:30pm and you can follow all the buildup and action right here in this liveblog.

Manchester City 3 Newcastle 1: Sergio Aguero's perfect hat-trick seals win as City dominate

Manchester City chose to withdraw from the race to sign Alexis Sanchez this week after balking at the spiralling cost of the deal but that blow must have been softened in the knowledge that they still have Sergio Aguero to fall back on. As options go, it isn’t a bad one, is it? Pep Guardiola was hoping for a reaction, not just to City’s first domestic defeat of the season at Anfield last Sunday, but from Aguero, too, in response to the realisation that the responsibility of leading the line will continue to rest heavily on his shoulders. The City manager got both. A hat-trick took Aguero’s total for the season to 22, just 11 short of his highest tally for the club, and we are still in January. Newcastle briefly threatened to make a game of it when Jacob Murphy’s first goal of the season made it 2-1 and, for a moment, the away team showcased an ambition which had hitherto been painfully absent. But then Leroy Sane produced a moment of sublime individual skill to tee up Aguero for his third goal, the gap at the top was back to 12 points, and suddenly that 4-3 defeat to Liverpool and the loss of Sanchez were already starting to feel like a distant memory. “We need 10 more wins to be champions, and we’re going to try by going one by one,” Guardiola said. “We reacted really well after dropping points before. It was an outstanding performance, often against 11 behind the ball, we were patient, and we found the space really well. They crossed the halfway just once and scored.” Aguero gets across his man to open the scoring for Man City Credit: GETTY IMAGES The criticism of Newcastle’s approach at home to City at Christmas had clearly washed over Rafael Benitez. It was clear from his line-up – one bank of four almost sat on a bank of five – that no one, his former player Jamie Carragher included, was going to shame him into altering his ultra-cautious blueprint, especially at the Etihad Stadium where City had not lost for approaching 14 months. The frustration was that it was not until Newcastle were two down that they began to throw caution to the wind and discovered that City’s defence could be got at. The problem was the damage was already done. Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Sure, had Mohamed Diame not been denied by Ederson shortly after Murphy’s goal, Newcastle could have somehow found themselves level but they had ridden their luck on numerous occasions by that stage, fortunate to have only conceded twice, and the game was eventually taken beyond them when City claimed their third. On that goal, it may have brought up Aguero’s hat-trick but special mention should go to the whirling Sane for conjuring with a piece of pure wizardry. Think Ryan Giggs in his pomp, slaloming in and out of defenders at frightening speed, and you get some idea of what Sane did to Diame and DeAndre Yedlin as he turned the pair inside out before having the composure and awareness to look up and find Aguero to fire home left footed. Man City 1 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 34 min) In the 1-0 win at St James’ Park last month, Guardiola claimed it is particularly difficult “when the other team doesn’t want to play”, and while every manager reserves the right to set up and play how they want, the script was the same up until Murphy scoring. Newcastle saw just 18 per cent of the ball in a first half where City, surprisingly, had just Aguero’s header to show for their territorial dominance. Kevin De Bruyne side-stepped Javier Manquillo on City’s left flank and whipped in one of those trademark venomous crosses. Guardiola grew frustrated as Newcastle threatened to get back into the game for a few fleeting moments Credit: PA Ciaran Clark has a distinct height advantage over Aguero but it was the Argentina striker who rose quickest and highest to glance a finely taken header into the corner. Carragher had suggested after City’s victory at Newcastle that the Premier League was becoming “embarrassing” and “a bit of a joke” given the gulf at the top and bottom. Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Jacob Murphy, 67 min) A harsh appraisal? Perhaps, but was it asking too much of Newcastle to expect them to do more than defend with eight or men in and around their own 18-yard box and allow City so much time and space 30 yards out? They proved they could ask questions when Clark sprayed a sliding pass Clark sprayed a sliding pass from just inside his own half in behind Oleksandr Zinchenko for Murphy to race on to and dink a lovely finish over Ederson. Man City vs Newcastle shots on goal Then came Diame’s chance, but they were already facing a huge task by that point after Manquillo had bundled down Raheem Sterling and Aguero done the business from the penalty spot. Benitez called the penalty “very soft” but the damage was done. Aguero’s third merely gave the scoreline the colouring it deserved. “The fact one player comes or doesn’t come is not going to determine his reaction,” Guardiola said of Aguero. “He has a special gift. He hadn’t touched the ball hardly before his first goal then he touches it and… goal.” Sanchez who? 7:45PM Pep Guardiola post-match "Yep, we react really well after drop two points against Crystal Palace. We make outstanding performance, we found spaces, had passion, in the second half unfortunately we had just once cross the half, we're so happy. "Before the first goal he didn't touch the ball and we need his goals, it's so important.  "When you have the ball the opponent has not the ball and to concede a goal the opponent has to get the ball. It's always complicated, we were patient, didn't concede counter-attacks, free-kicks. "A little bit tougher there, the second half we didn't play good. Today they found a goal but even with 2-1, keep going, keep going." 7:32PM Some choice stats 800 passes to 191, 18 corners to 0 and my favourite: Ederson made more passes than Mo Diame. 7:27PM Aguero scores the perfect hat-trick Left foot, right foot and a header!  7:22PM Possession stats Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Man City vs Newcastle   7:21PM FULL TIME Man City were always going to win this one with the way Newcastle set up but were made to work. Newcastle offered a threat when they did go forward and lost anyway. At least the final 15 minutes were decent to watch! Sergio Aguero gets the headlines, Leroy Sane made all the difference.  7:19PM 90 mins +2 Great cross from Shelvey who is able to enjoy the ball in the final third for about the first time all night. He hits off the outside of his right foot from the left and it swerves round to the head of Gayle, who puts it over the bar. 7:17PM 90 mins Diaz goes on a little dribble and beats a defender but then throws himself to the floor. It's clearly not a penalty but he tries anyway. From what I've seen of Diaz, he looks like a really good player or at least has the potential to be pretty special. 7:16PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Brahim Diaz. Otamendi gives the ball away and Murphy runs at goal! Ederson comes off his line and leaves the goal open but Man City recover and are now on the counter-attack themselves.  7:14PM 86 mins Man City are at it now and Newcastle look a little fragile. Sterling is substituted for Bernardo Silva. 7:12PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Absolutely magnificent from Sane. Man City 3 - 1 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 83 min) His close control is unbelievable - here he holds off about three defenders, nutmegs one, speeds past another and that's from running between two of them to get into the box in the first place. His cut back to Aguero gives the forward time to set himself up and score the hat-trick. 7:10PM 82 mins De Bruyne goes close with a bending low shot but puts it just wide of the post. Out: Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Kevin De Bruyne, 81 min)  These last 15 minutes have had more action than the rest of the entire game together. 7:09PM 81 mins Credit: AFP That was Murphy's first Premier League Newcastle goal, incidentally.  7:07PM 80 mins Clark is booked for taking De Bruyne down, with Man City away on goal. A clever tactical foul. Newcastle win a free-kick in the centre-circle and City go with their high line defensive plan. It works and City now have space to attack. Zinchenko loses control and hands possession back to City.  7:04PM 77 mins A Sane corner from left is headed away but only as far as Silva, who takes a touch before pulling an effort wide on the edge of the box. 7:03PM 75 mins City have a corner and De Bruyne loses control of the ball. Newcastle have a break on! It's three on three, made four by Perez's bursting run...  but the ball ahead of Murphy goes straight to the goalkeeper. There's something in this match for Newcastle now.   7:00PM 73 mins Excitement! Wowzers! Diame's momentum carries him forward but he's composed enough to keep control of the ball and hold off defenders. He turns Stones, shoots at Ederson, who saves. But he drops the ball! Diame wins it again and tries another shot at goal which is blocked by the goalkeeper again. 6:59PM 72 mins Sterling hits the post! Brilliant save! Zinchenko's one touch pass to De Bruyne opens up the defence, De Bruyne finds Sane, who drills it low across goal for Sterling, whose first time shot is fired at speed towards the net. Somehow the goalkeeper flings himself at the ball and turns it onto the post! This game is so much better now Newcastle are trying to play football. 6:57PM 70 mins OOoooooohhhh that is close. So close. Aguero takes a corner down, tries to win space on the outside of the defender on the edge of the box and his shot is just wide of the top corner.  Man City appear to have woken up now. 6:55PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! HOW ABOUT THAT?! Newcastle go on the attack and get the rewards immediately! Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Jacob Murphy, 67 min) Jacob Murphy is wide right, Joselu miscontrols and the pass is pinged forwards towards him. Murphy is too quick for Zinchenko and dinks the ball over the goalkeeper. Could that change the game? 6:52PM 65 mins Perez is on for Atsu and encourages his players to get forward. They might as well!    6:51PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLL! Aguero buries the penalty top left, the goalkeeper guesses right but doesn't get close. Man City 2 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 63 min)   6:50PM PENALTY! That might change now. A quick one-two, Sterling goes around the outside of Manquillo and is hauled down. Easy decision. 6:49PM 62 mins Great covering tackle from Hayden as he slides in at the near post to deny a certain Aguero goal. Benitez is about to change things and bring on Ayoze Perez! Has this all been a cunning ruse? Newcastle's gameplan is to bore Man City to sleep and then score while they are lying down with Zs coming out of their mouths? Apparently Atsu is coming off. 6:47PM 61 mins Newcastle fans are still singing  and when the camera cuts to them, they make cocktail shocking gestures towards friendly Man City players, who they know love to make a cocktail. A whisky sour? Well yes please Mr Aguero.  What else is happening then? Ederson HAS TOUCHED THE BALL! That's exciting. He's done so near the centre-circle. Honestly, I can't see him on the camera view I have but if you told me he's sitting down playing on his iPad I'd believe you. 6:45PM 58 mins Imagine you're a Newcastle fan, spending a good chunk of your wage on travelling to Manchester, buying a ticket, having to get back late at night and how much all the pints and food costs, to see your team sit with everyone behind the ball in the hope of maybe getting a draw. It's so boring.  6:43PM 56 mins This is a training exercise. Possession: Man City vs Newcastle  I mean I get it, but come on. These two teams are literally in the same league.  6:40PM 54 mins An aerial clash between Joselu and Fernandinho breaks the play as both go down in pain. Newcastle win the free-kick, which should mean within about 20 seconds, Man City will have the ball back. Fernandinho is receiving extra treatment after that, having taken a knock to his chest. 6:39PM 52 mins It's exactly the same as the first half. A matter of time until the second Man City goal.  Man City vs Newcastle   6:38PM 50 mins Zinchenko overlaps and wins a corner. I think that's the 900th of the game so far.  Manchester City crosses  The corner goes short and is worked to the other side of the pitch but Sane's ball to Sterling is overcooked.  6:35PM 48 mins Newcastle have everyone behind the ball again. It's fair to argue that they don't have the players to match Man City but Bristol City pay their playing staff rather a lot less and nearly came away with a draw against them.  6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 No changes by either side at half time. City start the game. 6:30PM What do Newcastle do next? Does Benitez decide to keep the score at 1-0 and hope Newcastle find space on a freak counter-attack? Or does he try to push Man City back for a bit in pursuit of an equaliser? Maybe a bit of both?  6:16PM HALF TIME Average touch positions (45 + 1 min)  It's basically exactly the same as the lat time these two teams played each other except that Man City have a lead earlier. It's hard to know what to suggest Newcastle should do differently. 6:15PM 45 mins A brief roam forwards comes to an end as Zinchenko wins a throw-in. Newcastle don't seem to really believe they can come away with anything other than a lucky draw here. 6:13PM 43 mins The touch for Aguero's goal is so minimal. It might brush his forehead, or maybe even hair. I'd claim it too to be fair. 6:11PM 41 mins Good save by Darlow! A flowing move allows De Bruyne to get a shot away across the goal but the keeper is equal to it. De Bruyne finds space in behind from the corner but his pass across the six yard box is cleared away. Aguero tries to go all the way around the back five, forces a shot away and wins another corner. 6:09PM 39 mins It's all City still. 279 passes to Newcastle's 33 apparently, which sounds too large a difference to be true. Man City vs Newcastle  The absolute state of that. 6:05PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL And there it is. De Bruyne crosses from the left, puts enough curl on it that it's going into the far post and Aguero claims to have headed it. I think it might be De Bruyne's goal... but it's a goal nonetheless. Will Newcastle come out of their cage now? Man City 1 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 34 min)   6:04PM 34 mins Man City are playing this with the desire of a team who know they're going to win at some point so they don't need to worry too much. Another corner is headed away at the near post. Great chance! Sane swaps wings, hits a long pass to the opposite side and Silva comes in to attack a Zinchenko cut back. City finding space here... 6:02PM 33 mins Gabriel Jesus is in the crowd. BUSTED!  Is that some tomato ketchup I see? He better hope that's from the neighbouring box and not his own. As we all know, it is illegal for footballers to have ketchup.  6:00PM 31 mins Murphy and Manquillo surround Silva as he gets on the end of a one-two and trip him up. The referee spots it and De Bruyne lines up a free-kick on the edge of the left side of the box.  The shot is wild and nowhere close. 5:59PM 30 mins Sane is caught offside as another one-touch move around the Newcastle box is worked towards the German. His cutbacks from near the six yard box are being cut out each time though - the defence looks really organised here. 5:58PM 28 mins Possession: Man City vs Newcastle   5:56PM 26 mins City's tempo is late 90s R.E.M until they get to the box, at which point it picks up to a fairly NOFX-like tip tap, tip tap. They're looking to find Sane in space in behind but he's just not able to get onto a couple of through-balls and are forcing passes into gaps that don't exist. 5:54PM 24 mins Joselu's second job, apart from being a striker on the teamsheet, is to man mark Fernandinho. He arrives late to steal the ball from him and starts a Newcastle counter-attack, which turns into a throw-in, which turns into Man City possession. Newcastle can't get out of their own third. 5:51PM 21 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Newcastle's defensive line is high when they have the ball to deny Man City the chance to press them high up the pitch. The problem is kicking the ball long then turns it into a dice throw as to who wins possession and Man City are getting it back so easily.  Another City corner is headed away. 5:49PM GOOOOAAAAAA- offside Oooooooh that is close. A quick, two-touch move from defence to attack is smashed in by Sterling who is an inch or two the wrong side of the last man. Newcastle have just proven exactly why they don't want to commit men forward. 5:48PM 18 mins Sane nips in behind Manquillo but runs into a wall after a great first touch and could easily go down under the attentions of surrounding defenders. Composed defending from Newcastle. Murphy bursts forward after taking advantage of a mixup in midfield, Newcastle players join in and the ball is given away... Man City have an overload! There's space! 5:45PM 15 mins Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Man City are trying to work the ball around the final third but as with the last game, are being denied space by a defence-committed Newcastle.  5:43PM 13 mins Atsu considers keeping the ball but nobody else on the team wants to help him and he nearly loses out to Silva. A short pass to Lascelles is then passed back to the goalkeeper... who punts it down the other end. Man City build play and push them back, winning a corner. Newcastle defend it well but Man City swarm around whoever gets the ball and win it back. 5:41PM 11 mins Man City are totally in control at the moment. Walker tries a shot from 30 yards but boots it miles over the bar. 5:39PM 9 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES This was the minute's applause for Cyrille Regis from before kick-off.  5:37PM 8 mins Newcastle can't get out of their own defensive third now because they're defending too deep but the plan is to deny space, boot the ball away and step out. It'll just take one Man City goal to undo all the hard work required to make this plan work.  Stones has a shot at the near post bounce back off the advertising boards. Close. Miss: Man City 0 - 0 Newcastle (John Stones, 6 min)   5:36PM 6 mins Manquillo goes down under a challenge from Zinchenko and stays down a while. City don't buy it and move forward, eventually he gets up and joins his defensive teammates back in position. Man City get forward and Newcastle get everyone behind the ball.  5:33PM 4 mins Atsu finds space in behind the defence early on! He hits a high ball to the back post and it takes some decent defending to deny a headed goal. Ederson is strong in the air to catch the second attempt, volleyed into the floor, and City counter-attack quickly but Aguero is blocked out. Newcastle are basically dividing their team into a group of defenders and another of attackers. 5:31PM 2 mins Newcastle are playing a high line from the off, with what looks like a three man defence. That is now a five man defence as Man City get forward. 5:30PM KICK-OFF Newcastle get us started. This time Shelvey doesn't shoot from kick-off. 5:25PM Here come the players Can Man City bounce back? We're about to find out. The players are on the pitch. 5:16PM Benitez says "We have nothing to lose here, everyone thinks oh Man City will win easily but we will see.  "Yeh maybe, they will be more focused but at the same time maybe they will be more nervous. We will see. "We are not thinking [Joselu] he's not scoring goals he's not doing he's job, he's doing his job and playing well." 5:06PM Guardiola says "Always when you drop points the next game is difficult but we did it in the past when we win lots of games, it's one game, we will see.  "We don't know. Will they press high or go forward... we will see. "It's not the first game and [Zinchenko] didn't really well. He's left foot, good mentality, today we decide for him." 5:02PM How will Benitez approach this one? Liverpool, Crystal Palace and uhh Bristol City have all worked out how best to play against Man City and that is to defend deep but to make a front three or four press the buildup players near Man City's goal. Newcastle's teamsheet has two left-footed wingers, which might mean one is an inside forward and the other is a winger, alternating roles from time to time. The focus will probably be on Zinchenko at left-back, who is not a full-back yet and can be caught out positionally. Benitez sat deeper than a Savage Garden record in the last match and could well try the same again, since it nearly worked. The crucial thing to remember is that it didn't work.  4:56PM Some pre-match photographs Credit: GETTY IMAGES  How nice does that look?! Lovely photograph. Credit: REUTERS That's the Newcastle players checking the inside of the stadium out.   4:36PM Team news Team News | How we line-up this evening! Presented by @haysworldwide#cityvnufc#mancitypic.twitter.com/szmTNeAz7x— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 20, 2018 TEAM NEWS: Here's how Newcastle United will line up at @ManCity in the @premierleague this afternoon (kick-off 5:30pm GMT). #NUFCpic.twitter.com/fNi22uuHBq— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 20, 2018 2:08PM Hello! Good evening! Welcome to the latest episode of 'How many points will Man City win the league by?'. Today's guests are Rafa Benitez's Newcastle United, a fine collection of players embroiled in a gripping overarching narrative - who on earth is going to buy the club. And when? Negotiations between Amanda Stavely and Mike Ashley were branded a "waste of time" by the latter last week and that statement has created a great deal of unease in the North East. Benitez could well abandon ship if he isn't given some pennies to sign some new recruits in this current transfer window. Man City don't have any such problems, as Arsene Wenger hinted at during a press conference, and can draw on some of the very best players in the entire league to try and win the three points today. One player we know won't feature is Fabian Delph, who is out for some time with an injury and will be replaced by either Danilo or Oleksandr Zinchenko. David Silva may or may not appear, while Kompany, Foden, Jesus and Mendy will also miss a good few games each. Newcastle don't have any huge injury problems but even then have a far weaker squad than their hosts. Dwight Gayle is doubtful, Mitrovic still can't get a game and Benitez nearly got a point from the last game between these two by sitting ultra deep and clinging onto dear life. Since then, several teams have discovered that taking the play to Man City is the best way to get a result - will we see a change in tactic? Guardiola's team will play the same way they always do. Here's some analysis of that style: The genius of Pep Guardiola: Eight things he has done to make Man City so frighteningly good  The team news will be in at 4:30pm and you can follow all the buildup and action right here in this liveblog.

Manchester City 3 Newcastle 1: Sergio Aguero's perfect hat-trick seals win as City dominate

Manchester City chose to withdraw from the race to sign Alexis Sanchez this week after balking at the spiralling cost of the deal but that blow must have been softened in the knowledge that they still have Sergio Aguero to fall back on. As options go, it isn’t a bad one, is it? Pep Guardiola was hoping for a reaction, not just to City’s first domestic defeat of the season at Anfield last Sunday, but from Aguero, too, in response to the realisation that the responsibility of leading the line will continue to rest heavily on his shoulders. The City manager got both. A hat-trick took Aguero’s total for the season to 22, just 11 short of his highest tally for the club, and we are still in January. Newcastle briefly threatened to make a game of it when Jacob Murphy’s first goal of the season made it 2-1 and, for a moment, the away team showcased an ambition which had hitherto been painfully absent. But then Leroy Sane produced a moment of sublime individual skill to tee up Aguero for his third goal, the gap at the top was back to 12 points, and suddenly that 4-3 defeat to Liverpool and the loss of Sanchez were already starting to feel like a distant memory. “We need 10 more wins to be champions, and we’re going to try by going one by one,” Guardiola said. “We reacted really well after dropping points before. It was an outstanding performance, often against 11 behind the ball, we were patient, and we found the space really well. They crossed the halfway just once and scored.” Aguero gets across his man to open the scoring for Man City Credit: GETTY IMAGES The criticism of Newcastle’s approach at home to City at Christmas had clearly washed over Rafael Benitez. It was clear from his line-up – one bank of four almost sat on a bank of five – that no one, his former player Jamie Carragher included, was going to shame him into altering his ultra-cautious blueprint, especially at the Etihad Stadium where City had not lost for approaching 14 months. The frustration was that it was not until Newcastle were two down that they began to throw caution to the wind and discovered that City’s defence could be got at. The problem was the damage was already done. Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Sure, had Mohamed Diame not been denied by Ederson shortly after Murphy’s goal, Newcastle could have somehow found themselves level but they had ridden their luck on numerous occasions by that stage, fortunate to have only conceded twice, and the game was eventually taken beyond them when City claimed their third. On that goal, it may have brought up Aguero’s hat-trick but special mention should go to the whirling Sane for conjuring with a piece of pure wizardry. Think Ryan Giggs in his pomp, slaloming in and out of defenders at frightening speed, and you get some idea of what Sane did to Diame and DeAndre Yedlin as he turned the pair inside out before having the composure and awareness to look up and find Aguero to fire home left footed. Man City 1 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 34 min) In the 1-0 win at St James’ Park last month, Guardiola claimed it is particularly difficult “when the other team doesn’t want to play”, and while every manager reserves the right to set up and play how they want, the script was the same up until Murphy scoring. Newcastle saw just 18 per cent of the ball in a first half where City, surprisingly, had just Aguero’s header to show for their territorial dominance. Kevin De Bruyne side-stepped Javier Manquillo on City’s left flank and whipped in one of those trademark venomous crosses. Guardiola grew frustrated as Newcastle threatened to get back into the game for a few fleeting moments Credit: PA Ciaran Clark has a distinct height advantage over Aguero but it was the Argentina striker who rose quickest and highest to glance a finely taken header into the corner. Carragher had suggested after City’s victory at Newcastle that the Premier League was becoming “embarrassing” and “a bit of a joke” given the gulf at the top and bottom. Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Jacob Murphy, 67 min) A harsh appraisal? Perhaps, but was it asking too much of Newcastle to expect them to do more than defend with eight or men in and around their own 18-yard box and allow City so much time and space 30 yards out? They proved they could ask questions when Clark sprayed a sliding pass Clark sprayed a sliding pass from just inside his own half in behind Oleksandr Zinchenko for Murphy to race on to and dink a lovely finish over Ederson. Man City vs Newcastle shots on goal Then came Diame’s chance, but they were already facing a huge task by that point after Manquillo had bundled down Raheem Sterling and Aguero done the business from the penalty spot. Benitez called the penalty “very soft” but the damage was done. Aguero’s third merely gave the scoreline the colouring it deserved. “The fact one player comes or doesn’t come is not going to determine his reaction,” Guardiola said of Aguero. “He has a special gift. He hadn’t touched the ball hardly before his first goal then he touches it and… goal.” Sanchez who? 7:45PM Pep Guardiola post-match "Yep, we react really well after drop two points against Crystal Palace. We make outstanding performance, we found spaces, had passion, in the second half unfortunately we had just once cross the half, we're so happy. "Before the first goal he didn't touch the ball and we need his goals, it's so important.  "When you have the ball the opponent has not the ball and to concede a goal the opponent has to get the ball. It's always complicated, we were patient, didn't concede counter-attacks, free-kicks. "A little bit tougher there, the second half we didn't play good. Today they found a goal but even with 2-1, keep going, keep going." 7:32PM Some choice stats 800 passes to 191, 18 corners to 0 and my favourite: Ederson made more passes than Mo Diame. 7:27PM Aguero scores the perfect hat-trick Left foot, right foot and a header!  7:22PM Possession stats Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Man City vs Newcastle   7:21PM FULL TIME Man City were always going to win this one with the way Newcastle set up but were made to work. Newcastle offered a threat when they did go forward and lost anyway. At least the final 15 minutes were decent to watch! Sergio Aguero gets the headlines, Leroy Sane made all the difference.  7:19PM 90 mins +2 Great cross from Shelvey who is able to enjoy the ball in the final third for about the first time all night. He hits off the outside of his right foot from the left and it swerves round to the head of Gayle, who puts it over the bar. 7:17PM 90 mins Diaz goes on a little dribble and beats a defender but then throws himself to the floor. It's clearly not a penalty but he tries anyway. From what I've seen of Diaz, he looks like a really good player or at least has the potential to be pretty special. 7:16PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Brahim Diaz. Otamendi gives the ball away and Murphy runs at goal! Ederson comes off his line and leaves the goal open but Man City recover and are now on the counter-attack themselves.  7:14PM 86 mins Man City are at it now and Newcastle look a little fragile. Sterling is substituted for Bernardo Silva. 7:12PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Absolutely magnificent from Sane. Man City 3 - 1 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 83 min) His close control is unbelievable - here he holds off about three defenders, nutmegs one, speeds past another and that's from running between two of them to get into the box in the first place. His cut back to Aguero gives the forward time to set himself up and score the hat-trick. 7:10PM 82 mins De Bruyne goes close with a bending low shot but puts it just wide of the post. Out: Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Kevin De Bruyne, 81 min)  These last 15 minutes have had more action than the rest of the entire game together. 7:09PM 81 mins Credit: AFP That was Murphy's first Premier League Newcastle goal, incidentally.  7:07PM 80 mins Clark is booked for taking De Bruyne down, with Man City away on goal. A clever tactical foul. Newcastle win a free-kick in the centre-circle and City go with their high line defensive plan. It works and City now have space to attack. Zinchenko loses control and hands possession back to City.  7:04PM 77 mins A Sane corner from left is headed away but only as far as Silva, who takes a touch before pulling an effort wide on the edge of the box. 7:03PM 75 mins City have a corner and De Bruyne loses control of the ball. Newcastle have a break on! It's three on three, made four by Perez's bursting run...  but the ball ahead of Murphy goes straight to the goalkeeper. There's something in this match for Newcastle now.   7:00PM 73 mins Excitement! Wowzers! Diame's momentum carries him forward but he's composed enough to keep control of the ball and hold off defenders. He turns Stones, shoots at Ederson, who saves. But he drops the ball! Diame wins it again and tries another shot at goal which is blocked by the goalkeeper again. 6:59PM 72 mins Sterling hits the post! Brilliant save! Zinchenko's one touch pass to De Bruyne opens up the defence, De Bruyne finds Sane, who drills it low across goal for Sterling, whose first time shot is fired at speed towards the net. Somehow the goalkeeper flings himself at the ball and turns it onto the post! This game is so much better now Newcastle are trying to play football. 6:57PM 70 mins OOoooooohhhh that is close. So close. Aguero takes a corner down, tries to win space on the outside of the defender on the edge of the box and his shot is just wide of the top corner.  Man City appear to have woken up now. 6:55PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! HOW ABOUT THAT?! Newcastle go on the attack and get the rewards immediately! Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle (Jacob Murphy, 67 min) Jacob Murphy is wide right, Joselu miscontrols and the pass is pinged forwards towards him. Murphy is too quick for Zinchenko and dinks the ball over the goalkeeper. Could that change the game? 6:52PM 65 mins Perez is on for Atsu and encourages his players to get forward. They might as well!    6:51PM GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLL! Aguero buries the penalty top left, the goalkeeper guesses right but doesn't get close. Man City 2 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 63 min)   6:50PM PENALTY! That might change now. A quick one-two, Sterling goes around the outside of Manquillo and is hauled down. Easy decision. 6:49PM 62 mins Great covering tackle from Hayden as he slides in at the near post to deny a certain Aguero goal. Benitez is about to change things and bring on Ayoze Perez! Has this all been a cunning ruse? Newcastle's gameplan is to bore Man City to sleep and then score while they are lying down with Zs coming out of their mouths? Apparently Atsu is coming off. 6:47PM 61 mins Newcastle fans are still singing  and when the camera cuts to them, they make cocktail shocking gestures towards friendly Man City players, who they know love to make a cocktail. A whisky sour? Well yes please Mr Aguero.  What else is happening then? Ederson HAS TOUCHED THE BALL! That's exciting. He's done so near the centre-circle. Honestly, I can't see him on the camera view I have but if you told me he's sitting down playing on his iPad I'd believe you. 6:45PM 58 mins Imagine you're a Newcastle fan, spending a good chunk of your wage on travelling to Manchester, buying a ticket, having to get back late at night and how much all the pints and food costs, to see your team sit with everyone behind the ball in the hope of maybe getting a draw. It's so boring.  6:43PM 56 mins This is a training exercise. Possession: Man City vs Newcastle  I mean I get it, but come on. These two teams are literally in the same league.  6:40PM 54 mins An aerial clash between Joselu and Fernandinho breaks the play as both go down in pain. Newcastle win the free-kick, which should mean within about 20 seconds, Man City will have the ball back. Fernandinho is receiving extra treatment after that, having taken a knock to his chest. 6:39PM 52 mins It's exactly the same as the first half. A matter of time until the second Man City goal.  Man City vs Newcastle   6:38PM 50 mins Zinchenko overlaps and wins a corner. I think that's the 900th of the game so far.  Manchester City crosses  The corner goes short and is worked to the other side of the pitch but Sane's ball to Sterling is overcooked.  6:35PM 48 mins Newcastle have everyone behind the ball again. It's fair to argue that they don't have the players to match Man City but Bristol City pay their playing staff rather a lot less and nearly came away with a draw against them.  6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 No changes by either side at half time. City start the game. 6:30PM What do Newcastle do next? Does Benitez decide to keep the score at 1-0 and hope Newcastle find space on a freak counter-attack? Or does he try to push Man City back for a bit in pursuit of an equaliser? Maybe a bit of both?  6:16PM HALF TIME Average touch positions (45 + 1 min)  It's basically exactly the same as the lat time these two teams played each other except that Man City have a lead earlier. It's hard to know what to suggest Newcastle should do differently. 6:15PM 45 mins A brief roam forwards comes to an end as Zinchenko wins a throw-in. Newcastle don't seem to really believe they can come away with anything other than a lucky draw here. 6:13PM 43 mins The touch for Aguero's goal is so minimal. It might brush his forehead, or maybe even hair. I'd claim it too to be fair. 6:11PM 41 mins Good save by Darlow! A flowing move allows De Bruyne to get a shot away across the goal but the keeper is equal to it. De Bruyne finds space in behind from the corner but his pass across the six yard box is cleared away. Aguero tries to go all the way around the back five, forces a shot away and wins another corner. 6:09PM 39 mins It's all City still. 279 passes to Newcastle's 33 apparently, which sounds too large a difference to be true. Man City vs Newcastle  The absolute state of that. 6:05PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL And there it is. De Bruyne crosses from the left, puts enough curl on it that it's going into the far post and Aguero claims to have headed it. I think it might be De Bruyne's goal... but it's a goal nonetheless. Will Newcastle come out of their cage now? Man City 1 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 34 min)   6:04PM 34 mins Man City are playing this with the desire of a team who know they're going to win at some point so they don't need to worry too much. Another corner is headed away at the near post. Great chance! Sane swaps wings, hits a long pass to the opposite side and Silva comes in to attack a Zinchenko cut back. City finding space here... 6:02PM 33 mins Gabriel Jesus is in the crowd. BUSTED!  Is that some tomato ketchup I see? He better hope that's from the neighbouring box and not his own. As we all know, it is illegal for footballers to have ketchup.  6:00PM 31 mins Murphy and Manquillo surround Silva as he gets on the end of a one-two and trip him up. The referee spots it and De Bruyne lines up a free-kick on the edge of the left side of the box.  The shot is wild and nowhere close. 5:59PM 30 mins Sane is caught offside as another one-touch move around the Newcastle box is worked towards the German. His cutbacks from near the six yard box are being cut out each time though - the defence looks really organised here. 5:58PM 28 mins Possession: Man City vs Newcastle   5:56PM 26 mins City's tempo is late 90s R.E.M until they get to the box, at which point it picks up to a fairly NOFX-like tip tap, tip tap. They're looking to find Sane in space in behind but he's just not able to get onto a couple of through-balls and are forcing passes into gaps that don't exist. 5:54PM 24 mins Joselu's second job, apart from being a striker on the teamsheet, is to man mark Fernandinho. He arrives late to steal the ball from him and starts a Newcastle counter-attack, which turns into a throw-in, which turns into Man City possession. Newcastle can't get out of their own third. 5:51PM 21 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Newcastle's defensive line is high when they have the ball to deny Man City the chance to press them high up the pitch. The problem is kicking the ball long then turns it into a dice throw as to who wins possession and Man City are getting it back so easily.  Another City corner is headed away. 5:49PM GOOOOAAAAAA- offside Oooooooh that is close. A quick, two-touch move from defence to attack is smashed in by Sterling who is an inch or two the wrong side of the last man. Newcastle have just proven exactly why they don't want to commit men forward. 5:48PM 18 mins Sane nips in behind Manquillo but runs into a wall after a great first touch and could easily go down under the attentions of surrounding defenders. Composed defending from Newcastle. Murphy bursts forward after taking advantage of a mixup in midfield, Newcastle players join in and the ball is given away... Man City have an overload! There's space! 5:45PM 15 mins Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Man City are trying to work the ball around the final third but as with the last game, are being denied space by a defence-committed Newcastle.  5:43PM 13 mins Atsu considers keeping the ball but nobody else on the team wants to help him and he nearly loses out to Silva. A short pass to Lascelles is then passed back to the goalkeeper... who punts it down the other end. Man City build play and push them back, winning a corner. Newcastle defend it well but Man City swarm around whoever gets the ball and win it back. 5:41PM 11 mins Man City are totally in control at the moment. Walker tries a shot from 30 yards but boots it miles over the bar. 5:39PM 9 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES This was the minute's applause for Cyrille Regis from before kick-off.  5:37PM 8 mins Newcastle can't get out of their own defensive third now because they're defending too deep but the plan is to deny space, boot the ball away and step out. It'll just take one Man City goal to undo all the hard work required to make this plan work.  Stones has a shot at the near post bounce back off the advertising boards. Close. Miss: Man City 0 - 0 Newcastle (John Stones, 6 min)   5:36PM 6 mins Manquillo goes down under a challenge from Zinchenko and stays down a while. City don't buy it and move forward, eventually he gets up and joins his defensive teammates back in position. Man City get forward and Newcastle get everyone behind the ball.  5:33PM 4 mins Atsu finds space in behind the defence early on! He hits a high ball to the back post and it takes some decent defending to deny a headed goal. Ederson is strong in the air to catch the second attempt, volleyed into the floor, and City counter-attack quickly but Aguero is blocked out. Newcastle are basically dividing their team into a group of defenders and another of attackers. 5:31PM 2 mins Newcastle are playing a high line from the off, with what looks like a three man defence. That is now a five man defence as Man City get forward. 5:30PM KICK-OFF Newcastle get us started. This time Shelvey doesn't shoot from kick-off. 5:25PM Here come the players Can Man City bounce back? We're about to find out. The players are on the pitch. 5:16PM Benitez says "We have nothing to lose here, everyone thinks oh Man City will win easily but we will see.  "Yeh maybe, they will be more focused but at the same time maybe they will be more nervous. We will see. "We are not thinking [Joselu] he's not scoring goals he's not doing he's job, he's doing his job and playing well." 5:06PM Guardiola says "Always when you drop points the next game is difficult but we did it in the past when we win lots of games, it's one game, we will see.  "We don't know. Will they press high or go forward... we will see. "It's not the first game and [Zinchenko] didn't really well. He's left foot, good mentality, today we decide for him." 5:02PM How will Benitez approach this one? Liverpool, Crystal Palace and uhh Bristol City have all worked out how best to play against Man City and that is to defend deep but to make a front three or four press the buildup players near Man City's goal. Newcastle's teamsheet has two left-footed wingers, which might mean one is an inside forward and the other is a winger, alternating roles from time to time. The focus will probably be on Zinchenko at left-back, who is not a full-back yet and can be caught out positionally. Benitez sat deeper than a Savage Garden record in the last match and could well try the same again, since it nearly worked. The crucial thing to remember is that it didn't work.  4:56PM Some pre-match photographs Credit: GETTY IMAGES  How nice does that look?! Lovely photograph. Credit: REUTERS That's the Newcastle players checking the inside of the stadium out.   4:36PM Team news Team News | How we line-up this evening! Presented by @haysworldwide#cityvnufc#mancitypic.twitter.com/szmTNeAz7x— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 20, 2018 TEAM NEWS: Here's how Newcastle United will line up at @ManCity in the @premierleague this afternoon (kick-off 5:30pm GMT). #NUFCpic.twitter.com/fNi22uuHBq— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 20, 2018 2:08PM Hello! Good evening! Welcome to the latest episode of 'How many points will Man City win the league by?'. Today's guests are Rafa Benitez's Newcastle United, a fine collection of players embroiled in a gripping overarching narrative - who on earth is going to buy the club. And when? Negotiations between Amanda Stavely and Mike Ashley were branded a "waste of time" by the latter last week and that statement has created a great deal of unease in the North East. Benitez could well abandon ship if he isn't given some pennies to sign some new recruits in this current transfer window. Man City don't have any such problems, as Arsene Wenger hinted at during a press conference, and can draw on some of the very best players in the entire league to try and win the three points today. One player we know won't feature is Fabian Delph, who is out for some time with an injury and will be replaced by either Danilo or Oleksandr Zinchenko. David Silva may or may not appear, while Kompany, Foden, Jesus and Mendy will also miss a good few games each. Newcastle don't have any huge injury problems but even then have a far weaker squad than their hosts. Dwight Gayle is doubtful, Mitrovic still can't get a game and Benitez nearly got a point from the last game between these two by sitting ultra deep and clinging onto dear life. Since then, several teams have discovered that taking the play to Man City is the best way to get a result - will we see a change in tactic? Guardiola's team will play the same way they always do. Here's some analysis of that style: The genius of Pep Guardiola: Eight things he has done to make Man City so frighteningly good  The team news will be in at 4:30pm and you can follow all the buildup and action right here in this liveblog.

Manchester City vs Newcastle, Premier League: live score updates

  6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 No changes by either side at half time. City start the game. 6:30PM What do Newcastle do next? Does Benitez decide to keep the score at 1-0 and hope Newcastle find space on a freak counter-attack? Or does he try to push Man City back for a bit in pursuit of an equaliser? Maybe a bit of both?  6:16PM HALF TIME Average touch positions (45 + 1 min)  It's basically exactly the same as the lat time these two teams played each other except that Man City have a lead earlier. It's hard to know what to suggest Newcastle should do differently. 6:15PM 45 mins A brief roam forwards comes to an end as Zinchenko wins a throw-in. Newcastle don't seem to really believe they can come away with anything other than a lucky draw here. 6:13PM 43 mins The touch for Aguero's goal is so minimal. It might brush his forehead, or maybe even hair. I'd claim it too to be fair. 6:11PM 41 mins Good save by Darlow! A flowing move allows De Bruyne to get a shot away across the goal but the keeper is equal to it. De Bruyne finds space in behind from the corner but his pass across the six yard box is cleared away. Aguero tries to go all the way around the back five, forces a shot away and wins another corner. 6:09PM 39 mins It's all City still. 279 passes to Newcastle's 33 apparently, which sounds too large a difference to be true. Man City vs Newcastle  The absolute state of that. 6:05PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL And there it is. De Bruyne crosses from the left, puts enough curl on it that it's going into the far post and Aguero claims to have headed it. I think it might be De Bruyne's goal... but it's a goal nonetheless. Will Newcastle come out of their cage now? Man City 1 - 0 Newcastle (Sergio Agüero, 34 min)   6:04PM 34 mins Man City are playing this with the desire of a team who know they're going to win at some point so they don't need to worry too much. Another corner is headed away at the near post. Great chance! Sane swaps wings, hits a long pass to the opposite side and Silva comes in to attack a Zinchenko cut back. City finding space here... 6:02PM 33 mins Gabriel Jesus is in the crowd. BUSTED!  Is that some tomato ketchup I see? He better hope that's from the neighbouring box and not his own. As we all know, it is illegal for footballers to have ketchup.  6:00PM 31 mins Murphy and Manquillo surround Silva as he gets on the end of a one-two and trip him up. The referee spots it and De Bruyne lines up a free-kick on the edge of the left side of the box.  The shot is wild and nowhere close. 5:59PM 30 mins Sane is caught offside as another one-touch move around the Newcastle box is worked towards the German. His cutbacks from near the six yard box are being cut out each time though - the defence looks really organised here. 5:58PM 28 mins Possession: Man City vs Newcastle   5:56PM 26 mins City's tempo is late 90s R.E.M until they get to the box, at which point it picks up to a fairly NOFX-like tip tap, tip tap. They're looking to find Sane in space in behind but he's just not able to get onto a couple of through-balls and are forcing passes into gaps that don't exist. 5:54PM 24 mins Joselu's second job, apart from being a striker on the teamsheet, is to man mark Fernandinho. He arrives late to steal the ball from him and starts a Newcastle counter-attack, which turns into a throw-in, which turns into Man City possession. Newcastle can't get out of their own third. 5:51PM 21 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Newcastle's defensive line is high when they have the ball to deny Man City the chance to press them high up the pitch. The problem is kicking the ball long then turns it into a dice throw as to who wins possession and Man City are getting it back so easily.  Another City corner is headed away. 5:49PM GOOOOAAAAAA- offside Oooooooh that is close. A quick, two-touch move from defence to attack is smashed in by Sterling who is an inch or two the wrong side of the last man. Newcastle have just proven exactly why they don't want to commit men forward. 5:48PM 18 mins Sane nips in behind Manquillo but runs into a wall after a great first touch and could easily go down under the attentions of surrounding defenders. Composed defending from Newcastle. Murphy bursts forward after taking advantage of a mixup in midfield, Newcastle players join in and the ball is given away... Man City have an overload! There's space! 5:45PM 15 mins Possession: Man City vs Newcastle Man City are trying to work the ball around the final third but as with the last game, are being denied space by a defence-committed Newcastle.  5:43PM 13 mins Atsu considers keeping the ball but nobody else on the team wants to help him and he nearly loses out to Silva. A short pass to Lascelles is then passed back to the goalkeeper... who punts it down the other end. Man City build play and push them back, winning a corner. Newcastle defend it well but Man City swarm around whoever gets the ball and win it back. 5:41PM 11 mins Man City are totally in control at the moment. Walker tries a shot from 30 yards but boots it miles over the bar. 5:39PM 9 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES This was the minute's applause for Cyrille Regis from before kick-off.  5:37PM 8 mins Newcastle can't get out of their own defensive third now because they're defending too deep but the plan is to deny space, boot the ball away and step out. It'll just take one Man City goal to undo all the hard work required to make this plan work.  Stones has a shot at the near post bounce back off the advertising boards. Close. Miss: Man City 0 - 0 Newcastle (John Stones, 6 min)   5:36PM 6 mins Manquillo goes down under a challenge from Zinchenko and stays down a while. City don't buy it and move forward, eventually he gets up and joins his defensive teammates back in position. Man City get forward and Newcastle get everyone behind the ball.  5:33PM 4 mins Atsu finds space in behind the defence early on! He hits a high ball to the back post and it takes some decent defending to deny a headed goal. Ederson is strong in the air to catch the second attempt, volleyed into the floor, and City counter-attack quickly but Aguero is blocked out. Newcastle are basically dividing their team into a group of defenders and another of attackers. 5:31PM 2 mins Newcastle are playing a high line from the off, with what looks like a three man defence. That is now a five man defence as Man City get forward. 5:30PM KICK-OFF Newcastle get us started. This time Shelvey doesn't shoot from kick-off. 5:25PM Here come the players Can Man City bounce back? We're about to find out. The players are on the pitch. 5:16PM Benitez says "We have nothing to lose here, everyone thinks oh Man City will win easily but we will see.  "Yeh maybe, they will be more focused but at the same time maybe they will be more nervous. We will see. "We are not thinking [Joselu] he's not scoring goals he's not doing he's job, he's doing his job and playing well." 5:06PM Guardiola says "Always when you drop points the next game is difficult but we did it in the past when we win lots of games, it's one game, we will see.  "We don't know. Will they press high or go forward... we will see. "It's not the first game and [Zinchenko] didn't really well. He's left foot, good mentality, today we decide for him." 5:02PM How will Benitez approach this one? Liverpool, Crystal Palace and uhh Bristol City have all worked out how best to play against Man City and that is to defend deep but to make a front three or four press the buildup players near Man City's goal. Newcastle's teamsheet has two left-footed wingers, which might mean one is an inside forward and the other is a winger, alternating roles from time to time. The focus will probably be on Zinchenko at left-back, who is not a full-back yet and can be caught out positionally. Benitez sat deeper than a Savage Garden record in the last match and could well try the same again, since it nearly worked. The crucial thing to remember is that it didn't work.  4:56PM Some pre-match photographs Credit: GETTY IMAGES  How nice does that look?! Lovely photograph. Credit: REUTERS That's the Newcastle players checking the inside of the stadium out.   4:36PM Team news Team News | How we line-up this evening! Presented by @haysworldwide#cityvnufc#mancitypic.twitter.com/szmTNeAz7x— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 20, 2018 TEAM NEWS: Here's how Newcastle United will line up at @ManCity in the @premierleague this afternoon (kick-off 5:30pm GMT). #NUFCpic.twitter.com/fNi22uuHBq— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 20, 2018 2:08PM Hello! Good evening! Welcome to the latest episode of 'How many points will Man City win the league by?'. Today's guests are Rafa Benitez's Newcastle United, a fine collection of players embroiled in a gripping overarching narrative - who on earth is going to buy the club. And when? Negotiations between Amanda Stavely and Mike Ashley were branded a "waste of time" by the latter last week and that statement has created a great deal of unease in the North East. Benitez could well abandon ship if he isn't given some pennies to sign some new recruits in this current transfer window. Man City don't have any such problems, as Arsene Wenger hinted at during a press conference, and can draw on some of the very best players in the entire league to try and win the three points today. One player we know won't feature is Fabian Delph, who is out for some time with an injury and will be replaced by either Danilo or Oleksandr Zinchenko. David Silva may or may not appear, while Kompany, Foden, Jesus and Mendy will also miss a good few games each. Newcastle don't have any huge injury problems but even then have a far weaker squad than their hosts. Dwight Gayle is doubtful, Mitrovic still can't get a game and Benitez nearly got a point from the last game between these two by sitting ultra deep and clinging onto dear life. Since then, several teams have discovered that taking the play to Man City is the best way to get a result - will we see a change in tactic? Guardiola's team will play the same way they always do. Here's some analysis of that style: The genius of Pep Guardiola: Eight things he has done to make Man City so frighteningly good  The team news will be in at 4:30pm and you can follow all the buildup and action right here in this liveblog.

Manchester City vs Newcastle, Premier League: live score updates

  5:39PM 9 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES This was the minute's applause for Cyrille Regis from before kick-off.  5:37PM 8 mins Newcastle can't get out of their own defensive third now because they're defending too deep but the plan is to deny space, boot the ball away and step out. It'll just take one Man City goal to undo all the hard work required to make this plan work.  Stones has a shot at the near post bounce back off the advertising boards. Close. Miss: Man City 0 - 0 Newcastle (John Stones, 6 min)   5:36PM 6 mins Manquillo goes down under a challenge from Zinchenko and stays down a while. City don't buy it and move forward, eventually he gets up and joins his defensive teammates back in position. Man City get forward and Newcastle get everyone behind the ball.  5:33PM 4 mins Atsu finds space in behind the defence early on! He hits a high ball to the back post and it takes some decent defending to deny a headed goal. Ederson is strong in the air to catch the second attempt, volleyed into the floor, and City counter-attack quickly but Aguero is blocked out. Newcastle are basically dividing their team into a group of defenders and another of attackers. 5:31PM 2 mins Newcastle are playing a high line from the off, with what looks like a three man defence. That is now a five man defence as Man City get forward. 5:30PM KICK-OFF Newcastle get us started. This time Shelvey doesn't shoot from kick-off. 5:25PM Here come the players Can Man City bounce back? We're about to find out. The players are on the pitch. 5:16PM Benitez says "We have nothing to lose here, everyone thinks oh Man City will win easily but we will see.  "Yeh maybe, they will be more focused but at the same time maybe they will be more nervous. We will see. "We are not thinking [Joselu] he's not scoring goals he's not doing he's job, he's doing his job and playing well." 5:06PM Guardiola says "Always when you drop points the next game is difficult but we did it in the past when we win lots of games, it's one game, we will see.  "We don't know. Will they press high or go forward... we will see. "It's not the first game and [Zinchenko] didn't really well. He's left foot, good mentality, today we decide for him." 5:02PM How will Benitez approach this one? Liverpool, Crystal Palace and uhh Bristol City have all worked out how best to play against Man City and that is to defend deep but to make a front three or four press the buildup players near Man City's goal. Newcastle's teamsheet has two left-footed wingers, which might mean one is an inside forward and the other is a winger, alternating roles from time to time. The focus will probably be on Zinchenko at left-back, who is not a full-back yet and can be caught out positionally. Benitez sat deeper than a Savage Garden record in the last match and could well try the same again, since it nearly worked. The crucial thing to remember is that it didn't work.  4:56PM Some pre-match photographs Credit: GETTY IMAGES  How nice does that look?! Lovely photograph. Credit: REUTERS That's the Newcastle players checking the inside of the stadium out.   4:36PM Team news Team News | How we line-up this evening! Presented by @haysworldwide#cityvnufc#mancitypic.twitter.com/szmTNeAz7x— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 20, 2018 TEAM NEWS: Here's how Newcastle United will line up at @ManCity in the @premierleague this afternoon (kick-off 5:30pm GMT). #NUFCpic.twitter.com/fNi22uuHBq— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 20, 2018 2:08PM Hello! Good evening! Welcome to the latest episode of 'How many points will Man City win the league by?'. Today's guests are Rafa Benitez's Newcastle United, a fine collection of players embroiled in a gripping overarching narrative - who on earth is going to buy the club. And when? Negotiations between Amanda Stavely and Mike Ashley were branded a "waste of time" by the latter last week and that statement has created a great deal of unease in the North East. Benitez could well abandon ship if he isn't given some pennies to sign some new recruits in this current transfer window. Man City don't have any such problems, as Arsene Wenger hinted at during a press conference, and can draw on some of the very best players in the entire league to try and win the three points today. One player we know won't feature is Fabian Delph, who is out for some time with an injury and will be replaced by either Danilo or Oleksandr Zinchenko. David Silva may or may not appear, while Kompany, Foden, Jesus and Mendy will also miss a good few games each. Newcastle don't have any huge injury problems but even then have a far weaker squad than their hosts. Dwight Gayle is doubtful, Mitrovic still can't get a game and Benitez nearly got a point from the last game between these two by sitting ultra deep and clinging onto dear life. Since then, several teams have discovered that taking the play to Man City is the best way to get a result - will we see a change in tactic? Guardiola's team will play the same way they always do. Here's some analysis of that style: The genius of Pep Guardiola: Eight things he has done to make Man City so frighteningly good  The team news will be in at 4:30pm and you can follow all the buildup and action right here in this liveblog.

Derby County 0 Bristol City 0: Gary Rowett furious as Cameron Jerome denied penalty and booked for diving

Derby County 0 Bristol City 0: Gary Rowett furious as Cameron Jerome denied penalty and booked for diving

It was a decade ago this year when Derby County slipped out of the Premier League amid acute embarrassment and a record low points total. And Derby’s hopes of ending that painful exile were damaged on Friday night by a bewildering refereeing decision which left manager Gary Rowett frustrated. After his emerging team were denied by not one, but two Bristol City goalkeepers, referee Darren England took centre stage three minutes from time by booking Cameron Jerome for simulation. Jerome, a Derby substitute, was clearly fouled by City defender Aden Flint in the penalty area yet was punished for diving to complete an excruciating evening for Rowett’s promotion chasers. Frank Fielding prevented Derby from taking the lead in the first half before a groin injury ensured he was replaced by Luke Steele for the second period, with City’s other goalkeeper helping end a run of five successive defeats for his team with two fine saves. But it was the contentious incident in the 87th minute which riled Rowett, though his team remain in second place. Cameron Jerome goes down in the box Credit: AKY SPORTS “It was a stonewall penalty,” he said. “It’s the most obvious spot-kick you’ll see and I’ve seen it three or four times. “When it’s a game that tight, one thing can define the game. The referee didn’t give it, that’s what it is. He didn’t do it on purpose but reality is that’s cost us.  “I am disappointed and I spoke to the referee afterwards. If you showed it 1,000 people, 1,000 would say it was a penalty.” Derby arguably should have secured their ninth win from the last 12 Championship games long before the pivotal moment. Matej Vydra, their leading scorer, forced a fine save from Fielding after a low free-kick from 25 yards and then from the corner Curtis Davies had a header cleared off the line by Flint. Ten minutes before half-time, Jonny Russell struck the crossbar from a set-piece. Lee Johnson, the City manager, was forced into a tactical reshuffle at half-time, bringing on record signing Famara Diédhiou for his first game since October while Fielding, the goalkeeper, was also replaced due to injury. Fielding’s deputy, Steele, produced an excellent save in the 63rd minute to push Tom Lawrence’s fierce shot over the bar. Steele then frustrated Vydra from close range with another instinctive stop as the City defence were caught out by David Nugent’s clever pass. Rowett introduced Jerome for the final 14 minutes and it was Derby’s new £1.5 million signing who provided the late controversy when he collapsed under Flint’s challenge.  Johnson said: “It did look like a penalty but sometimes you get away with those. My initial reaction was that it’s a dive but I’d be upset if one of my players was booked for that. "You could say we were lucky to get away with a point but we worked very hard. It's a good point for us and it stops the mini rot." Team details Derby County (4-2-3-1) Carson; Wisdom, Keogh, Davies, Forsyth; Thorne, Huddlestone; Russell, Vydra (Jerome 76), Lawrence (Weimann 76); Nugent (Winnall 76). Subs Mitchell (g), Baird, Pearce, Hanson.  Booked Jerome. Bristol City (4-4-2) Fielding (Steele 46); Wright, Flint, Baker (Diedhiou 46), Magnusson; Brownhill, Pack, Smith, Bryan; Paterson, Reid. Subs Kelly, Eliasson, Walsh, Kent, Engvall. Booked Bryan.  Referee Darren England (South Yorkshire). 

Derby County 0 Bristol City 0: Gary Rowett furious as Cameron Jerome denied penalty and booked for diving

It was a decade ago this year when Derby County slipped out of the Premier League amid acute embarrassment and a record low points total. And Derby’s hopes of ending that painful exile were damaged on Friday night by a bewildering refereeing decision which left manager Gary Rowett frustrated. After his emerging team were denied by not one, but two Bristol City goalkeepers, referee Darren England took centre stage three minutes from time by booking Cameron Jerome for simulation. Jerome, a Derby substitute, was clearly fouled by City defender Aden Flint in the penalty area yet was punished for diving to complete an excruciating evening for Rowett’s promotion chasers. Frank Fielding prevented Derby from taking the lead in the first half before a groin injury ensured he was replaced by Luke Steele for the second period, with City’s other goalkeeper helping end a run of five successive defeats for his team with two fine saves. But it was the contentious incident in the 87th minute which riled Rowett, though his team remain in second place. Cameron Jerome goes down in the box Credit: AKY SPORTS “It was a stonewall penalty,” he said. “It’s the most obvious spot-kick you’ll see and I’ve seen it three or four times. “When it’s a game that tight, one thing can define the game. The referee didn’t give it, that’s what it is. He didn’t do it on purpose but reality is that’s cost us.  “I am disappointed and I spoke to the referee afterwards. If you showed it 1,000 people, 1,000 would say it was a penalty.” Derby arguably should have secured their ninth win from the last 12 Championship games long before the pivotal moment. Matej Vydra, their leading scorer, forced a fine save from Fielding after a low free-kick from 25 yards and then from the corner Curtis Davies had a header cleared off the line by Flint. Ten minutes before half-time, Jonny Russell struck the crossbar from a set-piece. Lee Johnson, the City manager, was forced into a tactical reshuffle at half-time, bringing on record signing Famara Diédhiou for his first game since October while Fielding, the goalkeeper, was also replaced due to injury. Fielding’s deputy, Steele, produced an excellent save in the 63rd minute to push Tom Lawrence’s fierce shot over the bar. Steele then frustrated Vydra from close range with another instinctive stop as the City defence were caught out by David Nugent’s clever pass. Rowett introduced Jerome for the final 14 minutes and it was Derby’s new £1.5 million signing who provided the late controversy when he collapsed under Flint’s challenge.  Johnson said: “It did look like a penalty but sometimes you get away with those. My initial reaction was that it’s a dive but I’d be upset if one of my players was booked for that. "You could say we were lucky to get away with a point but we worked very hard. It's a good point for us and it stops the mini rot." Team details Derby County (4-2-3-1) Carson; Wisdom, Keogh, Davies, Forsyth; Thorne, Huddlestone; Russell, Vydra (Jerome 76), Lawrence (Weimann 76); Nugent (Winnall 76). Subs Mitchell (g), Baird, Pearce, Hanson.  Booked Jerome. Bristol City (4-4-2) Fielding (Steele 46); Wright, Flint, Baker (Diedhiou 46), Magnusson; Brownhill, Pack, Smith, Bryan; Paterson, Reid. Subs Kelly, Eliasson, Walsh, Kent, Engvall. Booked Bryan.  Referee Darren England (South Yorkshire). 

Derby County 0 Bristol City 0: Gary Rowett furious as Cameron Jerome denied penalty and booked for diving

Derby County 0 Bristol City 0: Luke Steele comes off the bench to help clinch point in incident-packed match

It was a decade ago this year when Derby County slipped out of the Premier League amid acute embarrassment and a record low points total.  Optimism is building that Gary Rowett can finally end that painful exile, but Derby’s promotion challenge was frustrated here by not one, but two goalkeepers, and the referee.  Frank Fielding denied Derby in the first half before an injury ­ensured he was replaced by Luke Steele for the second period, with Bristol City’s other goalkeeper helping end a run of five successive defeats for his team.  There was also controversy in the 86th minute as referee Darren England booked substitute Cameron Jerome for diving, when it appeared he had been caught by Aden Flint in the area. It was one of those nights for Rowett, though Derby remain in second place. It was the 4-1 defeat at Ashton Gate in September which proved a pivotal moment for Rowett and his squad. That chastening experience, which was also Bristol City’s biggest victory of the season, prompted clear-the-air talks in Derby’s dressing room and a rethink in strategy. Derby have only lost two league games since.  This felt like a significant night for both clubs and it was the visitors who were the more dangerous in the early exchanges. Lee Johnson will face Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on Tuesday, yet automatic promotion in the Championship is still in their sights. Flint’s header was saved by Scott Carson before Jamie Paterson missed the target from eight yards as Derby’s defence dithered.  But Derby improved and Matej Vydra, their leading scorer, forced a fine save from Fielding after a low free-kick from 25 yards. From the corner, Curtis Davies had a header cleared off the line by Flint and, 10 minutes before half-time, Jonny Russell struck the crossbar.  Johnson made a tactical reshuffle at half-time, bringing on record signing Famara Diedhiou for his first game since October while Fielding, the goalkeeper, was also replaced due to injury.  Fielding’s deputy, Steele, produced an excellent save in the 63rd minute to push Tom Lawrence’s fierce shot over the bar. Steele then frustrated Vydra from close range with another instinctive stop as the City defence were caught out by David Nugent’s clever pass.  But Johnson’s tinkering made City far more of an attacking threat and Bobby Reid, the forward, was at the heart of their positive play. In an absorbing contest, Joe Bryan almost found the bottom corner with a volley from outside the area.  Rowett introduced new £1.5 million signing Jerome, Andreas Weimann and Sam Winnall for the final 14 minutes but the two contenders could not be separated. Jerome was also controversially booked late on for an alleged dive in the area, after a challenge from Flint, piling on the frustration for Rowett. Team details Derby County (4-2-3-1) Carson; Wisdom, Keogh, Davies, Forsyth; Thorne, Huddlestone; Russell, Vydra (Jerome 76), Lawrence (Weimann 76); Nugent (Winnall 76). Subs Mitchell (g), Baird, Pearce, Hanson.  Booked Jerome. Bristol City (4-4-2) Fielding (Steele 46); Wright, Flint, Baker (Diedhiou 46), Magnusson; Brownhill, Pack, Smith, Bryan; Paterson, Reid. Subs Kelly, Eliasson, Walsh, Kent, Engvall. Booked Bryan.  Referee Darren England (South Yorkshire). 

Derby County 0 Bristol City 0: Luke Steele comes off the bench to help clinch point in incident-packed match

Derby County 0 Bristol City 0: Penalty controversy in goalless draw

Cameron Jerome was denied a penalty for a seemingly clear trip as Derby County were held 0-0 by EFL Cup semi-finalists Bristol City.

VAR controversy, Chelsea down to nine men and Antonio Conte furious as Blues beat brave Norwich City on penalties

Chelsea spent all evening in search of penalties – and even had two players sent off in demanding them – so it was bitterly ironic that they eventually did prevail, in one of the most extraordinary FA Cup ties of modern-times, from the spot, after extra-time and from a shoot-out. And this was a very modern cup-tie. The spotlight will fall heavily on the VAR – Video Assistant Referee – system. It comes into use for “clear and obvious” errors but that was the only thing clear and obvious in a raucous, chaotic third round replay that was eventually cruel on Norwich City, 13th in the Championship. How and when was the ‘VAR’ system used? No-one could accuse referee Graham Scott of not being decisive as he waved away a series of desperate appeals. He booked Pedro for a ‘dive’. He also booked substitute Alvaro Morata for going over too easily, and he then gave the furious striker a second yellow card for his vehement protests. Adios, senor:  Pedro slumps off after his second yellow Credit: Action Images via Reuters By then Pedro had also received a second booking and was off, for a foul, chopping down Norwich substitute Wes Hoolahan. Scott certainly consulted with the VAR – he was often seen with his finger pressed to his ear – but he also stood his ground. In the technical area Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte was apoplectic – he even drew an imaginary ‘TV’ screen in the air, demanding a referral after one incident (something he is not supposed to do). As did Morata out on the pitch. No shame in this defeat. #ncfc#cfc An incredible moment... part of an incredible effort. pic.twitter.com/iWcGtPhc3M— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) January 17, 2018 There were four dramatic appeals in extra-time alone but whether any of them should have been given was debatable. And was debated, intensely. Morata said he was pulled to the ground twice, Chelsea appealed for handball against Timm Klose and also argued, perhaps with the greatest justification, although even that was not conclusive, that Willian had been fouled by the same defender. Why? Willian, not unreasonably, was baffled by his yellow Credit: Reuters For the record this was actually Chelsea’s fifth draw in a row – after the 2-2 in the Premier League against Arsenal, then three goalless draws, including the fixture away at Carrow Road that forced this replay. It is the first time Chelsea have recorded such a sequence since 1969 even if that was forgotten as substitute Eden Hazard – who had come on as a fourth substitute, permitted in extra-time, rolled in the decisive spot-kick to win 5-3. Norwich missed just one of theirs, with Chelsea’s reserve goalkeeper Willy Caballero, saving well from striker Nelson Oliveira, who had played so well, and while the home side created a host of chances then so to did the visitors who showed huge reserves of belief to come back into this tie. Fly Willy: a fine save from Caballero was the difference in the shootout Credit: AFP/Getty They even struck the frame of the goal twice – with Oliveira’s smart shot, with the outside of his boot, clipping the top of the cross-bar in the first-half and then Josh Murphy hugely unfortunate when his half-volley, from a half-clearance, crashed back off the post. Parting shot? Chelsea's Michy Batshuayi, right, scores Credit: AP It had seemed the story would be about Michy Batshuayi who made a rare start, and played poorly. But on his 50th appearance, he claimed his 17th goal for Chelsea as he side-footed high into the net from close-range, connecting with Kenedy’s precise cross. It may be his last for Chelsea, also, for this season at least. There is an expectation that Batshuayi will leave this month – probably on loan, possibly permanently. �� @willy_caballero#CHENORpic.twitter.com/ZmcumFojQC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 17, 2018 One potential destination is West Ham United with Chelsea keen on their striker Andy Carroll and it was interesting to see their manager, David Moyes, among the crowd not least because his side do not play at Stamford Bridge until April. So Moyes was on a scouting mission. It may have been for Batshuayi but he will have been more impressed by a host of Norwich players, especially youngsters James Maddison, who was denied by Caballero with a fine save, Harrison Reed – on loan from Southampton – and Murphy. There was another, 19-year-old defender Jamal Lewis, who struck Norwich’s late, late equalising goal as he ghosted between David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta – who appeared strangely vulnerable – to flick on a header from Klose’s cross and guide the ball past Caballero and into the goal. Incredibly it came in the 94th minute. It was Lewis’ first senior goal. Last gasp: Norwich City's Jamal Lewis (far right) scored after 120 minutes with a brilliant, floated header Credit: Reuters Norwich also had a chance with the final action of the 120 minutes but Caballero clutched on to Klose’s header. If Chelsea had lost it then, the scenes would have been dramatic given one fan had already ran on to the pitch to try and remonstrate with Scott when he waved away Morata’s second penalty appeal after the Spaniard went down after Klose had put his hands on him. Here's front of tomorrow's @EveningNews - you can see what it meant to @AngusGunn01#ncfcpic.twitter.com/iKAw4kg9qJ— Ian Clarke (@IanClarke41) January 17, 2018 In fairness to Chelsea they had also created chances. In the first 10 minutes alone, which seemed a long time ago by the end of this tie, they could have struck three times before Norwich goalkeeper Angus Gunn saved superbly from Danny Drinkwater, diverting his sweeping 30-yard shot onto the cross-bar. Antonio Conte says VAR has to improve if it is to be used. He highlights the decision not to give Willian a penalty and to quickly book him. He questions why no check first before booking. #CHENOR— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 17, 2018 Gunn, on loan from Manchester City, excelled in extra-time with three more outstanding saves, although Chelsea will class them as misses. Fortunately for the nine-men they made no mistake in the shoot-out, scoring all five of their kicks. 11:05PM Right then Well done Chelsea, hard lines Norwich, who played a full part in one of the most enjoyable matches of the season. Jason Burt's match report will be up presently. From me, Alan Tyers, goodnight. 11:04PM Comedy colossus commiserates Oh well. @NorwichCityFC can hold their head up high. Tremendous performance from everyone. So proud. #OTBC— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) January 17, 2018 11:03PM Literary legend with an arm round the shoulder Bad luck. But great tenacity and spirit. Very well done.— Philip Pullman (@PhilipPullman) January 17, 2018 11:00PM Ref love I love this ref! #CHELSEA v #NORWICH#FACup— Paul Bullion (@PaulBullionLive) January 17, 2018 He was sensational. A bravura performance.  10:59PM Das Gaffer Daniel Farke: “It’s a big disappointment. Some lads have tears in their eyes. I’m proud of them.” #ncfc#cfc— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) January 17, 2018 10:59PM Hero of Sydney speaks I have just seen the second red in the Chelsea match. About time a ref took action against a player for mouthing. We tell kids not to question referees. Great to see it in the top flight. More please— Dean Headley (@deanheadley585) January 17, 2018 10:56PM Chelsea win 5-3 on penalties Danny Drinkwater, Alvaro Morata and Andreas Christensen react after Willian is shown a yellow card for simulation by referee Graham Scott  Credit: Reuters 10:50PM Well played, Norwich Gutted for them, but they should be proud. Enjoyed the benefit of some proper comedy refereeing. You did us proud, boys. ���� #ncfc#cfc City's players go over to thank the travelling support... pic.twitter.com/J5Lbfnf5Qg— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) January 17, 2018 10:50PM Plenty to debate with the VAR Football is the best. All these billions, all this obsession, all these household names, and nobody really seems to know the actual rules. It's not quantum physics, is it? Anyway. We will enjoy the reaction to this. I’d dish out automatic bookings for making an imaginary television with your fingers to ask for VAR. Less of this.— Kristian Walsh (@Kristian_Walsh) January 17, 2018 10:48PM Sympathies with Oliveira It was not a terrible pen, although it was an inviting height. 10:47PM Hazard doing the post match interview "We have a lot of chances. FA Cup, it is not easy to win a game. We had two red cards. This was not our best game of the season but we gave everything and we finished 9 against 11. "We are happy but also sad because we lost two players today." 10:45PM Chelsea win 5-3 on penalties That is hard lines for Norwich, they gave their all but Chelsea were ruthless with those pens. 10:44PM Hazard steps up.... He's done it It's another super spot kick, low and into the corner, Gunn has no chance. 10:44PM Murphy scores: 4-3 to Chelsea       Nicely done, lad. High into the corner. Class. 10:43PM Kante scores: 4-2 to Chelsea      It's N'Golo Kante next, another magnificent spot kick, no saving that.  Murphy has to score to keep this alive.... 10:43PM Vrancic scores: 3-2 to Chelsea     Short run up, just a little lofted wedge. Nicely done. 10:42PM Azpilicueta scores: 3-1 to Chelsea    He's smashed that hard. Unstoppable. Three great pens for Chelsea. 10:41PM Maddison scores: 2-1 to Chelsea   nicely done by the boy Maddison, slotted low. Azpilicueta.... 10:41PM Luiz scores: 2-0 to Chelsea  David Luiz has absolutely battered that. No chance Gunn. 10:40PM Oliveira's effort is saved! Still 1-0 Chelsea Great save, wasn't a bad pen, huge leap 10:40PM Oliveira steps up for Norwich 10:39PM Willian scores: 1-0 to Chelsea Jitter in the run up, sends him the wrong way. Classy pen from a class player. 10:38PM Willian is the man to start us off Come on Angus Gunn, son of Bryan Gunn. This is your moment. 10:38PM It's the original recipe penalties to me, to you etc. Not that ABBA rubbish. 10:36PM Penalties coming up Conte is shouting at the fourth official. Never mind about that mate, focus on preparing your team for the shootout, no? Coming up... 10:34PM Full time: Chelsea 1 Norwich 1 That's it! We will go to penalties. 10:34PM With time all-but up He has given Norwich a freekick, Chelsea thought they should have had the kick themselves, who knows the truth of it by this stage... the ball is lofted in, Klose with the header... straight at the keeper. 10:33PM Chelsea are down to nine men Graham Scott CBE, as he should be. is producing a magnificent display of refereeing. Chelsea's David Luiz (left) and Norwich City's Nelson Oliveira Credit: PA 10:32PM A THIRD CHELSEA PLAYER IS BOOKED FOR DIVING Oh my God this game is too enjoyable. Morata races into the area, Zimmermann has put his hands on the Chelsea players back, but the referee isn't bothered about that. He books Morata for diving! Morata absolutely loses his mind, and either yells at or puts his hands on the ref. The referee has given him the second yellow and Morata is off too! 10:29PM 2nd half of extra time: 14 mins         Frustration showing for Chelsea. Morata falls over and grabs the ball. Er, no, says the ref. I'll do the refereeing, you just worry about not constantly heading it at the keeper from five feet. I speculate. Anyway, the freekick goes against Chelsea. 10:27PM 2nd half of extra time: 13 mins        Pedro sent off!He's gone in late on Hoolihoolihoolihan and, while it was not a vicious challenge, it is a definite yellow. Adios, Pedro! The Spanish international is trudging off with his second yellow, the first for diving. 10:25PM 2nd half of extra time: 11 mins       Pinto is coming off, not exactly at the double. Tettey is the man who will replace him. Hug from Das Gaffer. I make it about four minutes plus change. 10:24PM 2nd half of extra time: 11 mins      Zappacosta has time to pick out his cross, he finds Morata, who is totally unmarked, Zimmers has had a shocker and totally misjudged the flight of it. But Morata heads it straight at the keeper! What has happened to Morata this season? Eight in the first nine games, for a total of 13 in 31 10:23PM Logan is correct Admit it neutrals a goal now feel unsatisfactory. We haven’t waited up this late to be denied penalties.#CHENOR#FACup— Gabby Logan (@GabbyLogan) January 17, 2018 as well as not being a night owl, on this evidence. It's not yet half ten, Gabby! 10:22PM 2nd half of extra time: 8 mins     Norwich have a man down, Pinto the skipper, looks like cramp. These Norwich backs have given their last drop.  10:21PM 2nd half of extra time: 6 mins    Rare moment of relief for Norwich who break and have a chance to play the ball into the box, but it's young Cantwell who cannot quite get there. 10:21PM 2nd half of extra time: 6 mins    Jamal Lewis is having a stormer, I reckon a few PL teams might fancy this lad. Pacy, fearless, tricky, skillful. He bursts down the left and it takes several to stop him. 10:17PM 2nd half of extra time: 3 mins   Horrible inswinging corner nearly beats Gunn, that would have been cruel. He flaps it away. Constant Chelsea pressure.... ball into the NCFC box... they're claiming handball. Klose slides in, the ball hits him in the hip, by the looks of things. Anyhow no pen. Conte going radio rental on the sideline. 10:16PM 2nd half of extra time: 2 mins  Morata is given it by Willian, spins, shoots - Norwich have to shut these guys down quicker than that. Corner. 10:15PM 2nd half of extra time: 1 mins Chelsea continue to to pour on the pressure. The wronged Willian feeds Zappa, who tries a low cross. Blocked by the admirable Zimmermann. 10:14PM Half time in extra time: Chelsea 1 Norwich City 1 That'll do it. Just to clarify, the VAR folks didn't feel it was a bad enough decision to overturn. Shearer: "a shambles. Slowed down, he still doesn't think that is a penalty?!!" Lineker: "a clear and obvious penalty" Zola: "big time" This appealing for VAR with the TV screen gesture will become very, very annoying.— Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) January 17, 2018 10:11PM 14 mins Morata has a chance from close range, parries it and ice-cool Zimmermann heads it back to the keeper. Young Gunn has had a really good match. I used to watch his dad Bryan at Hibs. Yeah, I feel old.  10:10PM 13 mins Willian! Lashes it at the keeper and it's a smart save. 10:09PM 11 mins Norwich are on the front foot for a change, it's Hoolahan who is causing all the problems for the Chelsea backs. Rabona cross, no less! Cleared. 10:07PM ET 9 mins Some bloke called Eden Hazard coming on. I fear for Norwich here. Drinkers is the man coming off. He's been very moderate. 10:05PM 8 mins A rare attack  from NCFC, who have been getting a roasting. It's the kid on debut, Cantwell, pacing it down the left and if he can get a good cross in, there are numbers in the.... ah, shame, Luiz has intercepted the cross. 10:04PM Extra time 6 mins Maddison, with his extra D, chops down Kante. Yellow. 10:02PM Extra time 3 min Klose is sailing klose to the wind here, now he's put his arms around Morata and that player too has gone down in the area. "I've seen them given," says Jermaine Jenas. Interesting hot take. 10:00PM Extra time 1 min He's Pedro, he's slipped the ball to Willian, who is down in the area under challenge from Klose. Credit: BBC The ref blows. It's got to be a penalty, right? No1 He's booked Willian for diving. This is glorious stuff. Totally unfair, poor Willian, that is so out of order. If only there was some system by which they could check if it was a foul or not????? Doesn't seem like they are using VAR. So it stands! Clarification: they used VAR, the ref in the studio or truck or whatever they have told his on-field colleague that there was NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO OVERTURN THE DECISION or words to that effect. An umpire's call, you might say. I think poor Willian should have his yellow overturned at the least. 9:56PM So then! Extra time coming up, 30 minutes thereof, Chelsea must have thought they were home and hosed. But then came Jamal Lewis!! A left wingback by trade, he decided to go and have a go as centre forward, and it paid off. The true magic of the FA Cup ensuring the nation can enjoy this sight live on BBC1 as they tune in for the 10 o’clock news pic.twitter.com/MjdcRFg9XD— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) January 17, 2018 9:54PM Das Gaffer Credit: BBC 9:53PM End of 90 minute: Chelsea 1 Norwich 1 That's just fantastic for Norwich. They have fought like, erm, canaries covered in mustard? Like Delia Smith given a Gordon Ramsay saucepan set? I don't know. Like something anyway. Lovely stuff, Chelsea had numerous opportunities to put them away but they failed, and Norwich have snuck in at the death. 9:52PM GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! NORWICH CITY HAVE DONE IT It's in the last seconds of extra time! It's out on the left, it's a very good cross from big Klose and it's a simply magnificent header from Jamal Lewis, a glorious flicked, arcing header into the corner. Incredible scenes. "Chelsea have only got themselves to blame," says Jermaine Jenas. 9:48PM 90 mins Norwich not going gently into that good night. They battle to win a corner. Comes back out. Maddison drives it in. Repelled again. Into four minutes of injury-time... one last push, boys! #ncfc#cfc CFC 1-0 NCFC (90) pic.twitter.com/3QWhRIQUgo— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) January 17, 2018 9:46PM 88 mins Chelsea really should have wrapped this up. The ball whistles across the area, Morata only has to touch it in but his timing is off. Zappacosta behind him also cannot do the necessary. 9:45PM 87 mins Lovely skills from Pedro, who earlier attempted to cheat a penalty at the expense of a club in the division below, as he drives forward and slides a pass... superbly cut out, in the nick of time, by Klose. 9:43PM 86 mins N'Golo Kante comes on for the last few minutes. Not a bad man to have on the bench, eh? Football is so unfair. Norwich, meanwhile, bring on a fresh-faced kid by the name of T Cantwell, who is making his debut. See previous remark. A big moment for @ToddCantwell_10 as he comes on for his professional debut, replacing Grant Hanley. #ncfc#cfc CFC 1-0 NCFC (86) pic.twitter.com/4efcongl8z— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) January 17, 2018 9:41PM 83 mins Morata's nearly settled this. Drinkwater crosses, the sub heads wide. 9:39PM 81 mins Double Chelsea change on 80 minutes: Batshuayi and Ampadu are replaced by Morata and Christensen. #CHENOR— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 17, 2018 9:38PM 79 mins Alas he cannot beat the last man. Or the first man. Wasted free. 9:36PM 78 mins The game was really good for about 15 minutes after Chelsea scored but it's been dull fare for the last ten or so. Norwich still carrying a puncher's chance. They have a freekick here out on the right. Maddison to take. 9:33PM 75 mins Drinkwater is basically a semi-mobile cannon: wheeled into position to launch 30 yard howitzers at the goal. Hasn't done anything else to speak of. Another one blocked. 9:27PM 69 mins That was a harum-scarum few minutes. Willian, one of my favourites in recent seasons, with an electric run down the left, he's a sight in full flow that fellow. He stops on a dime, cuts it back, and there's Danny Drinkwater to rifle a shot over the bar. 9:24PM 64 mins Chelsea are a ropy old unit right now seeing that they cost about £9802398032234 to assemble. Drinkwater gives it away sloppily, Maddison has a crack and Caballero has to look lively for a good save. An unbelievable save from Willy Caballero denies @Madders10! Chelsea deal with the resultant corner. #ncfc#cfc CFC 1-0 NCFC (65) pic.twitter.com/mwexHfXXQS— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) January 17, 2018 9:22PM 63 mins ... at the other end, Pedro goes down and he absolutely does make a meal of it! A blatant dive, cheating little article, and the ref rightly gives a yellow for diving. Pedro, a cheat Credit: BBC 9:21PM 61 mins Jamal Lewis with a strong run into the area, down under challenge of Zappa but does not make a meal of it. It was not a penalty... 9:18PM 60 mins Norwich are bloody but unbowed, though. Strong response for them. Comedy keeper Caballero dives and is beaten, lucky for him it strikes the post! Ooooh, Josh Murphy. Credit: BBC Close! @joshmurphy65 hits a bouncing ball on the edge of the area and it strikes the post! #ncfc#cfc CFC 1-0 NCFC (61) pic.twitter.com/8zhPkk2Cp0— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) January 17, 2018 9:17PM Man Hanley Chelsea's Pedro speaks with Norwich City's Grant Hanley Credit: Action Images via Reuters  9:12PM GOAL! Chelsea have done it! Kenedy given too much time down the left wing, he's got an age to pick out his cross, and Norwich (having worked hard) have completely stopped playing here. Very poor. There's my pal Batshuayi to tap it in, really don't know what happened with Norwich there but they went to sleep. Chelsea 1 Norwich 0 (Batshuayi 55)  9:09PM 50 mins And sure enough, Metal Michy has just shoved Zimmermann to the floor. Ref keeps the cards dry. Perhaps he is seduced by Michy's hair, which is pretty. 9:08PM 49 mins Batshuayi looks a candidate for a card to me, losing the rag a bit as he fails to win the ball. 9:04PM 47 mins Norwich are allowed to play the ball around among themselves for a minute or more. They are not going anywhere. 9:02PM 46 mins Okay then. Here we go. 9:01PM Football fwends 8:58PM Dion Dublin's tribute to Cyrille Regis from earlier "Cyrille Regis was my hero" Pure emotion from Dion Dublin �� pic.twitter.com/D1aYorEydm— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) January 17, 2018 8:47PM Half time: Chelsea 0 Norwich 0 Not a great half. Chelsea were all over the visitors for the first 15 or so and it looked like they would score two or three without any problem. But Norwich defended pretty well, Chelsea looked like what they are: a team of power, smarts and class who lack  a proper striker. Norwich had their moments on the break, as well. Overall you'd still strongly fancy Chelsea, of course, but you never know. 8:46PM 44 mins Kenedy with an incredible bit of skill, kills the dropping ball on the touchline, switches it to his other foot and nutmegs Pinto. Norwich aren't having that, and Reed shoulder barges him to the ground. Kenedy produces an outrageous piece of skill to get past Pinto before Reed unceremoniously brought him down. #CHENOR— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 17, 2018 Kenedy has a shot a few seconds later, but it is pants. That's him: a frustrating talent. 8:45PM 41 mins Kenedy shoots over. 8:42PM 39 mins Bit of argy and arguably an element of bargy too. Oliveira hauled down Kenedy, who slapped out at him in the least scary way you can imagine. Eubank-Benn it was not. Credit: BBC 8:38PM 37 mins A great ball from Mario Vrancic releases the cantering @joshmurphy65, who sends wide of goal. #ncfc#cfc Better from City! CFC 0-0 NCFC (37) pic.twitter.com/5AcybDhLZF— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) January 17, 2018 Run down the left wing on the break. Norwich are starting to have a say in this game! Murphy rakes his cross across the area. Oliveira needed to be attacking that more. 8:36PM 35 mins Oliveira is beginning to "have a bigger impact" in the words of Jenas, and here is the solid Norwich striking receiving the ball, spinning, and shooting. 8:33PM 32 mins SO CLOSE! Batshuayi has given the ball away in the comedy style. A no-look pass towards his own penalty area. Oliveira toe-pokes a clever snap shot at goal and it flicks the bar as it goes over! 8:31PM 30 mins Chelsea have a freekick. Willian has won the debate about who should take it.  Credit: BBC1 Everyone wishes they hadn't listened to him. Not least of all Willian. Awful set piece floats into row Z. 8:26PM 25 mins Drinkwater! Spanks  a shot from distance, Gunn leaps and tips it onto the crossbar. 8:25PM 23 mins Batshuayi gets the ball and tries to spin away, runs into Hanley. Looks for, but does not get, a penalty. 8:21PM 19 mins Ball looped to Zappacosta, who controls deliciously and fires a shot deflected behind for a corner. Got a sore crack on the foot as he played the ball. 8:19PM 17 mins Batshuayi onto the ball but he is a bit short on confidence and lays it off ineffectually rather than driving at goal. Specials board: roll up for the FA Cup Third Round Replay between Chelsea and Norwich City at Stamford Bridge Credit: Getty 8:16PM 15 mins Chelsea in near-total control here, feels like it is only a matter of time. Credit: PA 8:15PM 12 mins Luiz has a freekick, central, that he gets over the wall but Gunn is there. Norwich make a quick break - sadly the BBC cameras don't show it, they are instead replaying the Luiz free - Caballero comes racing out of the area, ill-advisedly, and has to tackle Murphy with his feet. A David Luiz free-kick goes straight at @AngusGunn01 before his intelligent kick up-field almost releases @joshmurphy65. #ncfc#cfc CFC 0-0 NCFC (14) pic.twitter.com/uu7ojmkUEt— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) January 17, 2018 8:11PM 10 mins Lovely pass forward again, perfectly timed ball over the top, Willian is onto it in a flash and he gets his shot away. Wide. 8:10PM 8 mins Get the feeling that Gunn is going to need a nice lie down after this. He's had to pull off a low save at the near post. That leads to another corner. Kenedy's delivery is good again, Luiz muffs the headser but Chelsea get the break of the ball and stabs it not far wide. Norwich getting a seeing-to so far... 8:08PM 7 mins Batshuayi with an excellent run, tees up Kenedy, shot goes for a corner. 8:08PM 6 mins Nice from Willian as he holds it up, slips it to Drinkwater, but Reed has done well to shepherd the Chelsea player, whose shooting angle is always going wide. 8:06PM 4 mins Murphy with a nice run for NCFC and it just needed a tiny bit more composure and clinical eye at the key moment. "As you go down the leagues that's what you miss," says J Jenas. 8:03PM 2 mins Norwich are full of beans, they have got some pace down that right, looking to push Chelsea back.  Luiz plays it to his Mini Me. 8:02PM 1 mins We are off and running here at Stamford B. 7:58PM Nine changes for Chelsea Credit: BBC 7:56PM Documentary on later tonight about racism in football Tonight on @BBCTwo 11.15pm watch the Cyrille Regis tribute screening: 'Whites v Blacks: How Football Changed a Nation'. There's been an outpouring of tributes for the football legend after his sad passing. Thoughts are with his family & friends. #RIP#CyrilleRegis@sugarfilmsukpic.twitter.com/m3JcP1BDgO— Clear Cut Pictures (@ClearCutPics) January 17, 2018 7:55PM Lovely tribute to Cyrille Regis Credit: BBC Dion Dublin There was something about Cyrille. We looked at those kind of players and said I want to be like you. He was my hero. I used to try to play like him, hold the ball up like him, score goals. He is the reason I became a footballer. Dion starts tearing up. Poor guy. I've gone a bit as well. Dion seems such a decent bloke. Wor Sir Alan Shearer gives him a sympathetic slap on the thigh. Devastated,Sad,Gutted and totally Shocked by the news that Cyrille Regis has died. He was my ALL TIME footballing hero and idol...... and the main reason why I wanted to be a Centre Forward,just like him! #LEGEND I’m gonna miss you my FRIEND! RIP Big C pic.twitter.com/9VBJ9EcDGs— Dion Dublin (@DionDublinsDube) January 15, 2018 7:52PM Fry's in Good luck @NorwichCityFC#ChelseaVNorwichpic.twitter.com/8t5CAaL2eV— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) January 17, 2018 7:47PM VAR VAR VAR enemy of the poor decision VAR VAR VAR corrector of injustice VAR VAR VAR harbinger of boring and confusing interlude while it all gets figured out Referee Mike prepares to do a VAR Credit: BBC  7:42PM Those teams again Chelsea: Caballero, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Ampadu, Zappacosta,  Drinkwater, Bakayoko, Kenedy, Willian, Batshuayi, Pedro. Subs:  Kante, Morata, Hazard, Musonda, Christensen, Eduardo, Sterling.  Norwich: Gunn, Hanley, Zimmermann, Klose, Ivo Pinto, Reed,  Vrancic, Lewis, Maddison, Oliveira, Murphy. Subs: Husband,  Hoolahan, Stiepermann, Raggett, Tettey, McGovern, Cantwell. Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)  7:41PM Franco Zola with some lovely football-ese "if you had 11 Azpilicuetas you would win every league in the world to be fair". 7:40PM One of the great lost double acts Big Dion Dublin and Ickle Gianfranco Zola. Zola says that Conte is very highly rated and everyone wants him to come to the national side. Talking about Chelsea's struggles, Dion: "you hear whisperings, training ground bust-ups, bad feeling" 7:39PM Antonio Conte "I think VAR is a good option for football, useful to solve some strange situations, if the referee has made some big mistakes." 7:35PM Mascots Credit: BBC1 7:33PM Norwich might play like this  Credit: BBC1 7:30PM Right then What's Mr Gary Lineker got to say for himself? Credit: BBC 7:27PM Tell you what I hope they don't extend The One Show to fill the airtime. It's a dry old do, The One Show. Just been an interminable segment with some old giffer in a garden. 7:21PM BREAKING NEWS! The match is delayed by 15 minutes due to a defective train on the District Line. Non-Londoners: that's the line that goes to near Stamford Bridge. By the way, the match is on BBC1. 7:13PM What is a VAR? And can it hurt me? Learn more here. Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system monitors are in place again tonight. Here's a reminder of how they work... #CHENORpic.twitter.com/AgSvCVa6NP— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 17, 2018 6:56PM Junior Luiz David's lad: Ethan Ampadu of Chelsea arrives Credit: Getty 6:49PM Chelsea team Chelsea team tonight: Caballero; Azpilicueta (c), David Luiz, Ampadu; Zappacosta, Bakayoko, Drinkwater, Kenedy; Willian, Batshuayi, Pedro. #CHENORpic.twitter.com/dXQbnOAodw— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 17, 2018 Chelsea subs: Eduardo, Christensen, Sterling, Kante, Musonda, Hazard, Morata. #CHENOR— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 17, 2018 6:48PM Norwich team XI �� #ncfc#cfc Subs �� McGovern (GK), Husband, Hoolahan, Stiepermann, Raggett, Tettey, Cantwell. Blog �� https://t.co/q503Y3i6RNpic.twitter.com/xHVoYHnRXn— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) January 17, 2018 6:48PM Here be the teams On the ball, City. 6:22PM Live blog coming up Hi everyone, Tyers here, It's just gone 6pm and the match is due to start at 7.45pm. So roll up, roll up for the fixture that literally nobody is calling The Chris Sutton Derby. Norwich gamely held the wealthy West Londoners to a 0-0 draw over in Carrow Road ten days or so ago. Can they go again in this visit to the capital? It's been a while since Norwich had any sort of Cup run: they have fallen at this third round stage for four seasons in a row. The Canaries don't tend to let in many goals - only 31 in the Championship this season - and they have four clean sheets out of the last five appearances.  They have won four out of the last five: last time out, they travelled to Bristol City and defeated the conquerors of mighty Manchester United. Obviously quite a task on their hands this evening, but who knows? Searching just now on news wires for advance team news via the search term "Norwich", I came up empty, bar THIS from the South West News Service A motorist who was clocked driving at 90mph with his one-year-old child in the back claimed he was in a hurry - as he needed to change his baby's nappy. The driver was spotted by a traffic cop who recorded him travelling at more than 20mph over the speed limit on the A47 near Norwich. The @EmiratesFACup stage is set. #ncfc#cfcpic.twitter.com/HJipAMeHBG— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) January 17, 2018 You have to go back to 1993 for the last time Norwich beat Chelsea, thanks to goals from the aforementioned Chris Sutton and the legend that is Cruel Fox. Be great if Norwich could pull something like that off tonight. Team news as to the men who might pull off such a heist coming up soon.

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