The Guardian: LONDON, England, By Jamie Jackson – Manchester City’s tilt at a remarkable second consecutive treble continues. Pep Guardiola’s team are 180 minutes away from completing the FA Cup part of the feat and though Ederson and Kevin De Bruyne were missing due to injury, this professional dispatching of Newcastle again illustrated how the Catalan genius is a master of plotting a route to victory.

Guardiola has now guided City to seven FA Cup semi-finals in his eight seasons in charge, and his achievement of six in a row is a record.

Jérémy Doku dribbles past Anthony Gordon.

He said: “It sounds really good. I know we play to win the finals, but to win it, you have to win the earlier rounds. We won four Carabao Cup finals in a row and now we’re in six FA Cup semi-finals in a row. To run and play the way they did is incredible, congratulations to the team, no one has done that before.”

Guardiola says being in contention to repeat the treble is invigorating. “We [have] won the treble, five titles [in the past], and [now] coming back from the last international break for the last one or two months to be in contention means a lot. This club has something special.”

Could Newcastle be better than they were in the last round? Could they be any worse was a more pertinent question because, on a cold night at Ewood Park, Eddie Howe’s men had scraped past Blackburn on penalties in what was, to characterise it politely, an underwhelming performance. Then, they were the Premier League big boys expected to play through the Championship side and were shown up as lacking ideas. Here they were the definite second-favourites so a tie of chasing those in blue around was expected.

This is what occurred, as the holders’ pitter-patter passing moved the visitors about and, as is so often the case, presaged a goal. City moved upfield and Rodri slid the ball to Bernardo Silva on the right inside Newcastle’s area. His finish beat Martin Dubravka, the goalkeeper helpless because of a deflection off Dan Burn.

In several jet-heeled thrusts Jérémy Doku went close to wiping out the whole zebra-striped defence, one foray causing Jamaal Lascelles to yank him down and be booked. City’s next attack ended in their second goal as, again, a hapless teammate defeated the unfortunate Dubravka. Kyle Walker fed Silva in a near-identical zone to his opener and his shot went in via the head of Sven Botman.

Bernardo Silva is congratulated by his teammates after his second goal for Manchester City against Newcastle.
Bernardo Silva is congratulated by his teammates after his second goal for Manchester City against Newcastle – Dave Thompson/AP

Newcastle’s response featured a swinging Jacob Murphy cross that became a Burn nod-down to Alexander Isak, whose effort was saved smartly by Stefan Ortega, low to his left. Here was a message to City to be careful, so Phil Foden decided to turn on the skill. Receiving from Josko Gvardiol, an impish backheel left Fabian Schär a statue and as City’s attacker zoomed in Bruno Guimarães was required to close him down.

As the interval approached, City went close to burying Newcastle. After more speedster stuff from Doku he unloaded at Dubravka, who tipped the ball away. At the resulting corner, the Slovak clutched a Rúben Dias header when, from close-range, the centre-back should have made it 3-0.

Doku was in torment-mode, a bearer of ill tidings for Newcastle whenever the fancy took him. Gvardiol tapped the ball to the Belgian and in a flash a one-two with Foden allowed him to power at goal, only Dubravka’s fingertips denying him.

Now Erling Haaland decided he would like a gallop at Newcastle. Dropping into his own half to take Mateo Kovacic’s delivery, the No 9 swivelled and headed straight down the middle, scattering the rearguard. As Walker yelled for it along the right, City’s top scorer blazed at the target, missing narrowly to Dubravka’s right.

This drew Guardiola’s applause for what appeared a tactic given to his men during the half-time chat as, moments later, Ortega found Haaland with a clearance. This time, though, the 23-year-old’s touch was awry and the threat fizzled out.

On 60 minutes, after Dubravka cut out a Walker chip, Howe made a quadruple change. Off went Burn plus the anonymous Anthony Gordon, Joe Willock and Sean Longstaff. On came Miguel Almirón, Lewis Hall, Elliot Anderson and Lewis Miley. Almirón’s opening salvo was a run down the left but the door was shut to him by back-pedalling home defenders. Then, a collector’s item: Silva dawdled badly and was mugged, and Almirón zipped in centrally. Isak received the ball and a corner was claimed, but City escaped.

    They then continued to snuff Newcastle out and did so by threading the ball to each other, demoralising their opponents. Whoever they draw in the last four should not relish facing them.

    Howe batted away a question about another trophyless season. “It is but I don’t think we can feel sorry for ourselves.”