MANCHESTER CITY’S Sorceror showed his young apprentice he still has a bit to learn.
David Silva – the man known as “Merlin” by the Etihad faithful – scored the goal of the night with a stunning late free-kick.
The Spanish World Cup winner also created two more – meaning he has now been directly involved in 151 goals in his outstanding Etihad career.
Meanwhile young Phil Foden, the man who will replace him in Pep Guardiola’s midfield next season, could have walked away with the match ball – but left empty handed.
The England youngster has scored four goals since the Premier League re-started but wasted three golden chances here.
And he was watching from the bench by the time Silva showed him how it should be done – curling home a set-piece from 20 yards with that wand of a left peg.
Silva was cheekily nicknamed “the Spanish Foden” by the club’s official twitter feed as they announced the goal.
Perhaps the 20-year-old had felt a bit sorry for Newcastle – after all they must dread the very thought of coming here.
While the Toon have had some joy against City at St James’ recently it has been a very different story at the Etihad.
City have won the last 11 meetings – racking up 29 goals in the last seven of those.
And the only surprise here was that it was not more than five.
Guardiola made five changes from the team which was surprisingly beaten at Southampton – restoring Kevin de Bruyne and Foden to the starting line-up.
But Steve Bruce also rang the changes – leaving out flair players Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint Maximim to go for a more solid look.
As usual when they come here though,it was a torrid start.
Riyad Mahrez was the first to try his luck, weaving his way in from the right before curling a shot which was saved by a relieved Martin Dubravka.
Yet it was only a temporary reprieve for the visitors though as City took a stylish lead.
Skipper Silva found some space on the left and his low cross was turned in casually by Jesus for his first goal in nine matches.
To be fair the Brazilian’s last one wasn’t a bad one – the leveller in the Bernabeu way back at the end of February.
But this one should do him the power of good with Sergio Aguero sidelined until next month at least.
Foden has proved he is ready for a regular start next season – and maybe even a step up to the England senior squad.
But only he will know how he did not add to his tally here.
The youngster skipped around Federico Fernandez but flashed a shot across goal and just wide of the far post.
Foden did however have a hand in the second goal as he and Silva sent de Bruyne away down the left and his low cross was despatched by Mahrez.
It was a 18th assist of the season for the Belgian who has had a wonderful campaign despite City finishing so far short of Liverpool.
The words from KDB’s agent stating he will stay at the Etihad no matter what the result of next week’s appeal against a Champions League ban will come as a huge relief to City.
Newcastle’s only sight of goal was a header from Fernandez which went straight at Ederson.
So it was proving a gentle run out for John Stones to make his return to the first team looking to prove he has a future at the club.
The only question really now was how many City would score.
Foden played a one two with Jesus after some sloppy play by Jonjo Shelvey but then somehow flashed his effort wide.
If that looked a straight-forward chance, he had an even simpler one soon after the restart.
De Bruyne hoisted a ball to the back post and Foden somehow rolled his shot back across the face of goal with the goal at his mercy.
Newcastle do not need to do the hosts any favours when they come here – yet they gifted City number three just before the hour.
Jesus drove into the box but ran into Matt Ritchie who could only look on as it bounced off Fernandez and bobbled into the net.
Guardiola had made a raft of substitutions knowing the points were safe and one of them – Raheem Sterling won a free-kick on the edge of the box.
Any number of players could have taken it – but the old stager Silva stepped up and nonchalantly curled a left footed free-kick over the wall and past a static Dubravka.
What a shame nobody will be around to see the Spaniard bring down the curtain on his glittering ten-year City career next month.
Silva deserves a huge send off for his outstanding decade of service and this was just another one for them to remember him by.
He could have added another soon afterwards as De Bruyne rolled the ball back and the Spaniard’s shot was superbly saved by Dubravka.
There was a proud moment for young Tommy Doyle and his family late on as he made his Premier League bow from the bench.
The midfielder is the grandson of TWO City legends in Glyn Pardoe and Mike Doyle.
In stoppage time more awful Toon defending saw Silva play in Sterling who easily beat Dubravka to make it a five star performance for a second successive home game.