Man City ride Newcastle storm to go top
Manchester City took over at the top of the Premier League table after winning 2-0 against Newcastle United in a tempestuous encounter at St James' Park on Sunday.
Edin Dzeko and Alvaro Negredo claimed City's goals, but the match's defining incident occurred mid-way through the first half when Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote had a goal contentiously ruled out for offside.
Referee Mike Jones decided that Yoan Gouffran had impeded City goalkeeper Joe Hart as Tiote's shot flashed past him, but the home fans jeered the decision and Newcastle manager Alan Pardew harangued Jones at half-time.
It was City's sixth consecutive league win and lifted them above Chelsea at the summit, although they will lose their hold on first place if Arsenal win at Aston Villa on Monday.
"It was a very difficult game and it's a very big result as we know it's a tough place to come and win," said City manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Pellegrini played down a touchline row between himself and Pardew following Tiote's disallowed goal and said that Jones had made the correct call.
"Nothing important was said on the touchline between me and Alan Pardew, but I think it's impossible for the referee to handle a game when every time he gave a decision against Newcastle there were complaints," he said.
"It was an offside goal as they were interfering with Joe Hart and the referee made that call."
Pardew, whose side remain in eighth place, said that Jones had not adequately explained his decision not to give Tiote's goal.
"I'm not thrilled with the referee's answer when I've asked for an explanation as I don't quite get how he can disallow a goal of that quality on the technical point he is using," he said.
"Joe Hart is nowhere near it. It goes through a crowd of City players who are impairing his view. It's a massive call on a very technical point."
Bidding to avenge a 4-0 defeat at City on the season's opening day, Newcastle began at a high tempo, but it took the visitors less than eight minutes to make the breakthrough.
David Silva released Aleksandar Kolarov with an incisive pass down the inside-left channel and the Serbian left-back delivered a low cross that was clipped home by Dzeko.
The controversy arrived in the 34th minute, when Tiote thrashed a superb shot past Hart from the edge of the box, only for Jones to rule the goal out for offside after speaking to his assistant Stephen Child.
Gouffran, hovering in front of goal as Tiote shot, did not appear to have been interfering with play, and the angry mood in the ground was almost worsened when Silva volleyed narrowly wide from a corner.
Pellegrini bolstered his midfield by introducing Jesus Navas in place of Dzeko early in the second half, as dissent from Newcastle's fans continued to rain down on the match officials.
After Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul kept his side in the game with a point-blank save to repel a header from Negredo, the hosts began to push their visitors back.
Yohan Cabaye saw one long-range strike saved by City goalkeeper Hart and another whistle over the bar, before Hart produced a smart save with his legs to foil Loic Remy.
The game's unforgiving intensity claimed a late victim when City midfielder Samir Nasri had to be stretchered off, apparently in tears, after a wild, knee-high foul by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
After Fernandinho had hit the bar with a header, Negredo sealed victory for City in the fifth minute of stoppage time when he ran the ball into the net after seeing an initial attempt blocked by Krul.
Liverpool visit Stoke City later on Sunday, where victory for Brendan Rodgers's side would take them back into the top four at the expense of city rivals Everton.