Man City’s title hopes take huge hit after failing to see off Newcastle United

Newcastle vs Manchester City

Saturday’s early Premier League clash saw Newcastle United hosting Manchester City.

City began the weekend’s action nine points adrift of league leaders Liverpool.

And with the Merseyside powerhouse hosting Brighton later today, Man City really needed a victory over Newcastle to stay somewhat in the title race.

As for Newcastle, the Magpies had been in pretty decent form in recent weeks, but their last outing did see them comprehensively beaten 2-0 by Aston Villa.

Steve Bruce’s side began the day 14th in the PL, but a win would have seen them, temporarily at least, move up to 9th in the table.

The starting XI’s

Man City’s starting line-up was pretty standard, with the only real big change coming in the form of Gabriel Jesus starting up top for the injured Sergio Aguero.

Newcastle’s line-up was also as expected, with Sean Longstaff back on the bench.

Man City’s lack of intensity

The opening exchanges were rather unsurprisingly dominated by Manchester City.

City’s first half-chance came 16 minutes in, with Jesus backheeling it towards Riyad Mahrez inside the Newcastle six-yard box, but the Magpies were able to deal with it.

Newcastle’s first real chance came 20 minutes in, as Jonjo Shelvey curled a free-kick wide of the post.

But City’s dominance was eventually rewarded as Raheem Sterling latched onto a loose ball in the Newcastle box to fire Pep Guardiola’s side in front.

Sterling had previously gone four ties across all competitions without a goal for Man City, which was quite a goal drought for the English international.

But Sterling stepped up in the absence of Aguero to ease the pressure on his side.

Prior to facing Newcastle, City had not lost a PL clash this term after taking the lead, showing just how pivotal Sterling’s opener was.

However, that record looked to be in jeopardy as Newcastle hit back 25 minutes in, with a superb finish from full-back Jetro Willems.

After Newcastle’s equaliser, City lacked any real intensity in their build-up play, which made it fairly easy for the North East outfit to keep the Premier League champions at arm’s length.

The first 45 drew to a close with Guardiola cutting a rather frustrated figure on the sidelines.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 30: Jetro Willems of Newcastle United celebrates with teammates Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron of Newcastle United after scoring his team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester City at St. James Park on November 30, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Man City’s title hopes take a huge hit

But Guardiola’s words at half-time seemed to have very little impact on his side, as they came out for the second 45 at St James’ Park with the same methodical, slow style.

Man City’s first decent chance after the interval came 57 minutes in, when David Silva floated a cross towards Jesus, who couldn’t head it goalward.

City then had another big chance 10 minutes later, as Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva combined to play a lovely ball through to Jesus, who smashed it straight at the goalkeeper.

Shortly after Jesus’ huge miss, Guardiola made his first changes of the day, as the experienced David Silva made way for Phil Foden, and Bernardo Silva came on for Mahrez.

City’s double change had somewhat of an impact on their display, but it would be a moment of magic from KDB that put City back in front.

The ball was cleared to the edge of the Newcastle box, before the Belgian controlled and volleyed it into the Newcastle net.

De Bruyne’s thunderbolt looked set to earn Man City all three points on Saturday, but Jonjo Shelvey would respond for Newcastle with a wonder-strike of his own.

Sterling then had a glorious chance to win it for City in injury time, when De Bruyne floated in a sensational ball to the winger, but he didn’t put enough power into his effort, making it a routine save for the Martin Dubravka.

Now, with Liverpool playing Brighton later today, the European champions have the chance to extend their lead atop the Premier League to 11 points.

See also: Southampton vs Watford betting tips: Premier League match preview and predictions

Liverpool vs Brighton betting tips: Premier League preview & predictions

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