NEWCASTLE UNITED 2, MAN CITY 2
Manchester City’s dream of completing a hat-trick of Premier League titles was dealt another major setback after they were held to a draw at lowly Newcastle United.
It was a result that left Liverpool at the end of November holding a commanding 11-point lead over City at the top of the table.
And with little over one third of the season completed, City have already dropped 13 points – three defeats and two losses.
It looked as though City, who were far from their best, had got out of jail when Kevin De Bruyne put them 2-1 ahead in the 82nd minute with a spectacular strike.
But an equally stunning effort from Jonjo Shelvey two minutes from time earned the Magpies a point.http://gty.im/1185690439
It left City manager Pep Guardiola frustrated.
He said: “We played at a good level. It was not easy because they defended deep. We scored two goals but we also let two in which is disappointing.
“With substitutions sometimes players forget positions. We found a way to get through but unfortunately at the end we conceded a goal. There are teams that defend deeper like this, it happens all season.
“We do the same work we have done over the last few seasons. We tried to score more goals but it did not happen.”
It all began well for City when they took the lead after an early period of dominance.
David Silva, sorely missed by the champions in their recent defeat by Liverpool, highlighted his worth with a deft backheel to find Raheem Sterling, who curled in for his 15th goal this season.
However, before City could assert their dominance, the Magpies equalised through full-back Jetro Willems, who received a square pass from Miguel Almiron before calmly slotting home.
That was the Dutch loan signing’s second goal of the season and the eighth Magpies goal in the past 10 scored by a defender.
City’s Gabriel Jesus and De Bruyne were thwarted by Martin Dubravka after the break before substitute Bernardo Silva pulled a shot wide from eight yards.
In stoppage time, Sterling’s shot from six yards lacked venom and allowed Dubravka to make an easy save.
City were left to reflect on further points which were squandered.
Despite Newcastle effectively parking the bus, City still managed 24 goal attempts.
Had it not been for Dubravka’s saves and late misses by Bernardo Silva and Sterling, City would have posted a deserved win on the balance of play.