SHAMBOLIC Newcastle United were humiliated by Manchester City this evening.
Manuel Pellegrini’s Premier League champions ran out 5-0 winners – and the scoreline could have been worse.
David Silva struck two goals at the Etihad Stadium, with Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri and Edin Dzeko also finding the net.
The embarrassing result saw City close the gap on Premier League leaders Chelsea to five points.
Injury-hit United remain 11th in the table with 12 games left to play.
To make matters worse, Newcastle midfielder Jack Colback picked up a two-match ban for after being shown his 10th yellow card of the campaign.
The game was watched by former Olympique Lyonnais manager Remi Garde.
Garde – who was working for French TV – held talks with United about succeeding Alan Pardew last month.
As it was, John Carver, pictured, was appointed head coach until the end of the campaign.
And Newcastle’s result – and performance – at the Etihad Stadium will have done little to improve his standing with some fans.
The game started badly, and got worse.
A bad touch from Vurnon Anita, preferred to Mehdi Abeid in the starting XI, saw the midfielder get into trouble, and he brought down Dzeko with just 28 seconds on the clock.
Aguero stroked home the resulting penalty past a stunned Tim Krul to set City on their way.
The goals kept on coming, with Nasri doubling the home side’s advantage in the 12th minute after a left-wing cross from Dzeko, who netted the third himself after chesting down a lovely pass forward from Silva nine minutes later.
Colback needlessly picked up his 10th booking of the season as the half-hour mark approached for throwing the ball away in frustration.
The midfielder will now miss the home games against Aston Villa and Manchester United.
Newcastle managed to get to the break without conceding another goal, but City – and Silva in particular – got back to work after an interval which saw Abeid replace Anita.
Nasri found Silva in the 50th minute, and the forward stroked the ball past Krul.
And Silva struck a wonderful first-time shot three minutes later, this time assisted by Aguero, who made way for City’s new signing Wilfried Bony later in the half.
The sight of fit-again Ryan Taylor back in a black and white shirt in the 71st minute – he replaced Daryl Janmaat – briefly roused United’s 2,000-strong following.
Krul stopped a shot from Bony in the 75th minute.
And the game petered out, with City happy to conserve their energy ahead of next week’s Champions League fixture against Barcelona.
European football, however, is only a dream for Newcastle’s supporters these days.
MANCHESTER CITY: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Mangala, Kolarov, Nasri (Lampard, 70), Fernandinho, Toure, Silva (Navas, 59), Dzeko, Aguero (Bony, 60). Subs not used: Caballero, Demichelis, Clichy, Fernando.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Krul; Janmaat (R Taylor, 71), Coloccini, Williamson, Haidara; Sissoko, Anita (Abeid, 46), Colback; Perez, Cisse, Gouffran (Obertan, 86). Subs not used: Woodman, Ameobi, Armstrong, Riviere.
Goals: Aguero 2, Nasri 12, Dzeko 21, Silva 50, 53
Bookings: Anita 1, Colback 29, Kompany 37, Toure 39
Referee: Chris Foy (St Helens)