Manchester City’s title hopes were severely dented after a 2-1 defeat to Newcastle United. The result leaves City four points adrift of Premier League leaders Liverpool, who now have a game in hand.
What happened? City were ahead after 24 seconds – the quickest goal in the Premier League this season - when Sergio Aguero pounced on David Silva’s header back across goal to finish from close range on the volley, the latest example of his instincts inside the area. It was the Argentine’s 15th goal in 13 Premier League appearances against Newcastle and his 17th of the season so far. It was a start that suggested City were in the mood to extend our 22-game unbeaten run against Newcastle, but our play for much of the match was disjointed and insipid. Aguero had the ball in the net again after 17 minutes, flicking home brilliantly from Kevin De Bruyne’s inch-perfect free-kick – but it was ruled out by the referee, Paul Tierney, because the Belgian had taken it before the whistle had been blown. David Silva should have doubled City’s lead just before half-time, but his header was cleared off the line by Florian Lejeune, and Sterling was inches away from converting Leroy Sane’s cross moments after the break. But With City still struggling to produce fluent, free-flowing football, Newcastle were becoming more expressive, and on 66 minutes Salomon Rondon levelled, hooking the ball past Ederson after City failed to deal with a lopping ball into the box. And 15 minutes later, disaster struck. Fernandinho, unaware of Sean Longstaff behind him, turned into trouble and brought down the 21-year-old. Tierney immediately awarded a penalty, and Matt Ritchie made no mistake from the spot.
What it means City stay four points behind Liverpool in the race for the Premier League title - but Jurgen Klopp’s side could move seven clear tomorrow evening when they take on Leicester City at Anfield. The Blues have now dropped 16 points so far this season, two more than we managed throughout the whole of the last campaign.
Next up City host Arsenal on Sunday in another key Premier League encounter. That game kicks off at 4.30pm.