Manchester City 2-0 Newcastle United
Goals early in both halves from Gundogan and Torres would be more than enough to see City comfortably home without breaking a sweat against a poor Newcastle United side.
A half decent early start for Newcastle would be thrown away on the 15 minute mark. A lovely through ball by Cancelo would allow Sterling to get in behind in the inside right slot (again) before cutting inside his defender and taking his time before finding Gundogan who slotted home with ease.
Two good saves from Darlow, both from De Bruyne, would keep his team in the game in the first half as City continued their total dominance of the game.
Ten minutes into the second half and City would get their second. Another comedy of errors at the back with first Almiron failing to clear and then Fernandez trying to clear but only dropping the ball onto the foot of the unmarked Torres.
City seeing the game out with ease with only Darlow coming between the Citizens and an even bigger scoreline.
Steve Bruce took his beleaguered Newcastle side to the Etihad on Saturday night with the pressure building from the fans, if not from the Board or the press, after a string of horrid performances culminating in the Quarter Final loss to Brentford last week.
A total lack of optimism, amongst further rumours of unrest at the club with Almiron holding his head in his hands after being dragged off last time out, whilst Lascelles and Saint-Maximin continue to be conspicuous by their absence. The latter taking to Insta to confirm he was 'ok' after the club said he was suffering from Long COVID. Something certainly isn't right behind the scenes.
City themselves would have COVID issues, with Walker and Jesus ruled out on Christmas Eve for this one.
Bruce would rest his main striker, with Wilson benched meaning Joelinton would be the target man up front. There would also be a rare start for Matty Longstaff. See the FACTFILE at the foot of this page for key match stats and teams.
Opting to play 5 there would be a little bit of early progress forward for the Magpies. One ball over the top for Almiron in particular would wake up the City back line and ensure that the home side were kept honest in the early stages.
A slide-rule ball at the other end would see Sterling played in at the wide right position, his cross having to be sliced over his own bar to ensure the ball didn't fall into the path of the unmarked Torres.
Not a bad start for the black and whites in the opening 10 minutes, but City would soon be in their groove.
15 minutes would all it would take, with Cancelo threading another pinpoint ball into the same channel Sterling had already raced into earlier in the game. This time Sterling would cut back onto his left, composing himself, before picking out Gundogan who side footed home for City.
Darlow would then be called into action to claw a DeBruyne effort away from just under his bar. Whether of not it was meant as a cross or a shot is up for debate, but an excellent save nonetheless.
When Newcastle did managed to get the ball back form their hosts the lack of quality and intent was there for all to see. On almost every occasion given to a fullback before being popped back to Darlow and then lumped back to City who would start to build again. Predictably pointless!
On 35 minute Newcastle did push a few more forward, only to find one ball would cut them open and allow DeBruyne to race clear but with two men totally unmarked to his left and only Darlow to beat, he decided to go himself only to find Darlow unbending in the United goal to save his team once more.
A late first half corner for Newcastle the only moment of note for the visitors with Joelinton almost making something of a flick on into the path of the arriving Schar from the recycled ball.
Half time called with City one to the good and barely out of first gear. Sterling a constant threat and the home side looking a constant threat even without either of their first choice strikers on the pitch.
Into the second half and a delicious free kick from De Bruyne would be right on the forehead of Stone only for the centre half to inexplicably head back across goal instead of at it when totally unmarked.
The second goal was always going to be the killer, Newcastle needing to hang on as long as possible as an early second half doubling of the lead would almost certainly drain the life right out of United.
So of course it wouldn't take more than 10 second half minutes for City to double their lead. Almiron failing to clear a ball which was crossed into the Newcastle area. Fernandez would only managed to cut out the cross directly into the path of an unmarked Torres who would make no mistake.
Moments later and it should have been three for City. Both Sterling and Silva failing to convert with the latter smashing the upright as the Newcastle back line crumbled.
Newcastle would make a rare foray up field with just over ten minutes remaining that would allow Jacob Murphy to strike a decent curling effort on target that was pushed to safety by Ederson.
Moments later substitute Aguero was only denied by another fantastic save by Darlow.
Another day, another pointless performance from a clueless side and an even more clueless manager!