City looked sharp from the off against Newcastle, looking to press high and force errors from the visitors.
Yet the first real opportunity came for Newcastle on 12 minutes when Allan Saint-Maximin’s cross into the middle found Chris Wood and Joelinton free at the far post but Wood’s tame header from five yards was easily saved by Ederson.
After the Magpies saw a goal ruled out for offside, Gundogan came close with a 25-yard drive that went just wide.
City continued to create chances and finally doubled the lead on 39 minutes.
The Blues began the second-half with Fernandinho replacing Dias – hopefully the Portuguese was taken off as a precaution more than anything else.
The opening 15 minutes were all about control, with Newcastle chasing shadows as City knocked the ball around – until the third goal arrived and, inevitably, De Bruyne was involved again.
The Belgian whipped in a corner towards the near post and Rodrigo arrived on cue to head powerfully past Dubravka to make it 3-0.
That wasn’t the end of the end of the scoring, with the excellent Oleks Zinchenko laying on a fourth for Phil Foden to sweep home in the final minute to leave the Etihad jubilant.
It was masterful stuff from the Blues and, as ever, De Bruyne in particular.
What it means...
City go three points clear of Liverpool with three games to play.
City's goal difference is also four better than the Merseysiders after this win.
City travel down the M6 to face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday night.
Kick-off at Molineux is 20:15 (UK).
GOALS SO VITAL
Those two late strikes takes our goal difference to +4 better than Liverpool.
That could be a crucial factor if the title were to be decided on goal difference.
The bottom line is that the Blues need seven points from three games to guarantee a fourth Premier League title in five years.
"I am very pleased. (It was a) perfect afternoon. Before the start of the game I felt in our crowd that they were disappointed, but not sad about who we are as a team and what we have done in the last five years every three days.
"Three more points. Three games left and one competition to play and big problems behind because we have just three defenders for these three games.
"We are going to try and do it. Now after what happened with Liverpool and with us today, Wednesday became a final.
"It is an absolute final and I am pretty sure we will prepare well to try and beat them."
- City have scored five or more goals in the Premier League for the 30th time under Pep Guardiola – more than Liverpool (14) and Spurs (13).
- City have lost just one of the past 29 league games against Newcastle (W24, D4).
- City became the only team in Europe’s big five leagues to have four or more different players reach 10 assists in all competitions this season with Joao Cancelo (10) joining Kevin de Bruyne (13), Phil Foden (11) and Jesus (11).
- Newcastle have never won a league match at the Etihad Stadium (D2, L15), losing each of their last 13 visits to the stadium.
- The reigning champions have scored 20 Premier League goals from set-pieces this season (excluding penalties), the most of any side.
- Kevin De Bruyne has been involved in 16 goals in his last 17 Premier League appearances, scoring nine and assisting seven.
- Rodrigo has scored six goals in30 Premier League appearances this term, equalling his combined total in his two previous seasons across 69 games.
- Eddie Howe has lost all 12 of his Premier League meetings with Manchester City, the longest 100% losing record a manager has recorded against a single opponent.
- Ten of those defeats have come against Pep Guardiola - also the longest 100% losing record one manager has against another in the Premier League.
Newcastle: Dubravka, Krafth (Trippier 68), Lascelles, Burn, Targett, Guimarães, S Longstaff, Joelinton, Almirón, Wood (Wilson 68), Saint-Maximin
Star Man: Kevin De Bruyne
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