Manchester City dropped another vital point to a stubborn and resilient Newcastle United in the early kick-off of EPL matchday 14 on Saturday. The Citizens were held 2 all by the home side at the Saint James’ Park. Twice City took the lead, Raheem Sterling(22′) & K.De Bruyne(82′), Twice the Magpies hit back, Jetro Willems(25′) & Jojo Shelvey(88′).
It is one thing to successfully defend a title(2 titles in a row), a remarkable feat that Manchester City achieved when they piped Liverpool to the league title last season. However, it is another feat to defend a title back-to-back(3 titles in a row), an extraordinary feat that now seems some miles away from City’s grasp. Since the English league football was formed in 1888, only an elite group of 4 clubs have managed to win the league 3 times in a row, that includes Huddersfield Town(1923/24 – 25/26), Arsenal(1932/33 – 34/35), Liverpool(1981/82 – 83/84) and Manchester United(1998/99 – 2000/01 & 2006/07 – 2008/09).
Manchester City’s fading title charge might have been self-inflicted. The Citizens arrogantly refused to replace the retired long-serving defender Vincent Kompany in the summer transfer window and few weeks into the season, they were hit with injuries to 2 key defenders John Stones and Aymeric Laporte. The ripple effects are City’s inability to hold onto a lead which has already cost them 3 losses and 2 draws in just 14 league fixtures.
Newcastle is known as one of the boogie team in the league, they turn on when one least expect them to, especially against the traditional top 4-6 teams. The Magpies with all their inconsistencies this season had defeated Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United and on Saturday against Manchester City proved to be a hard nut to crack.
Steve Bruce’s tactic(5-4-1) on the day showed Newcastle’s intent of keeping City at bay. City still dominated the match proceedings with 77% of the possession, they fired 24 total shots(9 on target), a stark contrast to Newcastle’s 6 total shots(3 on target).
The draw means Manchester City(29 pts) is now 11 points adrift of rival and log leader Liverpool( who defeated Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 to hold onto top spot). City could found themselves in 3rd place(3 pts behind Leicester City ) if The Foxes win her matchday 14 fixture against Everton on Sunday.
Many may find it too early to write Manchester City off, however, with Liverpool grinding out wins week in, week out plus VAR calls seemingly going in their favour, it’s hard to see them relinquish the 11-point haul to City. If Manchester City does recover and close up the 11-point gap, it will be some story at the end of the season.
Thank you all for your time.