Newcastle played host to the blues, as Manchester City dropped points at St James’ Park. A good game for the neutral with goals galore, and entertaining end to Super Sunday.
No so entertaining for the blues however, as they had to watch City struggle to contain Newcastle’s counter attacks in the first half.
A different line up for the blues whilst Ruben Dias was benched for a John Stones return, JAck Grealish stayed home after a knock against Bournemouth, which opened up a space for Bernardo Silva on the right wing.
Manchester City took the lead early through a Ilkay Gundogan goal after the ball was whipped into the box from the right. The skipper took it down with a skilful first touch and slotted it past Pope.
There were a couple of brilliant chances not long after the first, with Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne coming close, and Erling Haaland making some fantastic runs.
The Magpies had been threatening to even the score as their counter attacks full of pace troubled City’s back two; Stones and Nathan Ake.
During one of the counters that weren’t dealt with effectively, Ake made a clearance, despite the raised offside flag, which seemed to have caused him to overstretch and come off the field limping and replaced by Dias.
That’s when it all went Pete Tong. With Kyle Walker inverted into the midfield, there was a gaping space right down the right wing for Allan Saint-Maximin to flutter into at will.
The space, typically occupied by Walker was left unmanned throughout the first half and with Maximins’ pace, it was exploited repeatedly and effectively as they pulled back the equaliser.
Defenders backing off from the Newcastle attack seemed to be the theme of the first half, which allowed Miguel Almiron, ASM and Callum Wilson charge directly towards and into the penalty area.
The same issues again led to Newcastle’s second goal, which took them ahead on Manchester City. By the time the half-time whistle blew, City looked defeated and out of sorts.
Sloppy passing, lack of awareness, and sluggish in midfield, it gave Newcastle the courage and confidence to run wild – “it should have been 10”, okay, so I felt dramatic after that first half.
Mere minutes into the second half, Stones gave away a free kick just outside of the penalty area – perfect distance for Kieran Trippier. NO ONE: surprised when the former City prospect scored to take Newcastle 2 ahead.
Despite the rough start to the second half for Manchester City, they did manage to regain some form of control which was more familiar to fans.
As the saying around the Etihad goes, “we fight until the end”. Haaland managed to pull one back after a quick short corner caused all kinds of madness in the Newcastle defence.
It was 3-2, when a beautiful, inspired De Bruyne pass in behind the defence to Silva who bagged the equaliser. Incredible spirit from the current Champions to savour a point.
It seemed that both teams were happy to settle for the point after a game which seemed to wind Manchester City. Excellent plan from Howe, executed brilliantly by the Newcastle team.
With Crystal Palace at the Etihad next, let’s hope for a more alert and controlled performance from the Premier League champions.