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Telegraph.co.uk: Newcastle 0 Man City 1: Raheem Sterling scores to make it 18-in-a-row for Pep Guardiola
Newcastle 0 Man City 1: Raheem Sterling scores to make it 18-in-a-row for Pep Guardiola

The self-styled most competitive league in the world is now reduced to ‘rope-a-dope’ tactics to try and deny the awesome heavyweight challenge of champions-elect Manchester City.

Before winter is out we will be calculating how many points City need to be mathematically certain of claiming the title. But save the sums, it is theirs. They have walked the Premier League before the year is out which is a huge compliment to their brilliance and a damning indictment of their challengers who should have some sobering New Year’s Resolutions.

Newcastle are not one of those challengers and, to an extent, no-one can blame their manager Rafael Benitez for his ultra-negative approach even if this was the most comprehensive 1-0 battering any side has probably ever suffered as City extended their lead at the top of the league to an incredible 15 points.

They raised their goal difference to plus 49 but only scored once – Raheem Sterling’s 13th league goal of the season – although they did strike the frame of the goal three times as they claimed a remarkable 80 per cent of possession.

In winning, City recorded an 18th Premier League victory in a row, meaning that only Guardiola’s Bayern Munich, with 19 wins in 2013-14, have a longer winning streak in the league than them in Europe’s five biggest leagues. Ever. City could equal that record away to Crystal Palace on New Year’s Eve.

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