Late drama as Man City held to draw at Newcastle

Joe Prince-Wright

Manchester City drew 2-2 at Newcastle United on Saturday as their hopes of winning the Premier League title took another big blow.

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After Raheem Sterling put Man City ahead, Jetro Willems made it 1-1 and that’s how it stayed until two early Christmas crackers arrived late on.

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Kevin De Bruyne smashed home an incredible strike in the 82nd minute as City thought they had won it, but Jonjo Shelvey curled home an amazing goal of his own in the 88th minute to grab a point for the Magpies.

With the draw Man City could now fall 11 points behind leaders Liverpool, while Newcastle have 16 points.

3 things we learned

1. Subdued Man City fall further behind: Man City didn’t look at it from the start as they were once again subdued. They drew against Shakhtar and narrowly beat Chelsea over the past few days and Pep Guardiola‘s side have looked tired. They lacked energy against Newcastle and struggled to break them down, as their title hopes look all but over and we aren’t even in December yet.

2. Almiron finally delivers: There was a huge smile on the face of a Paraguayan international at St James’ and it masked a lot of his relief. Almiron delivered his first assist in the Premier League to set up Newcastle’s opener and after a tough run since his arrival in England in January, the former Atlanta United star finally delivered. Steve Bruce praised Almiron and his strike partners this week despite their struggles in front of goal and Almiron stood tall, worked hard and finally delivered a telling bit of quality in the final third.

3. Aguero’s movement missed: These are the type of games where Sergio Aguero makes a massive difference. Newcastle put 10 men behind the ball and Man City just couldn’t break them down. Gabriel Jesus had four players around him whenever he got the ball and if Aguero wasn’t injured, you feel like he would have found a way to sneak in-behind this watertight Newcastle defense. City have been hit hard by injuries to key players this season and Aguero is the latest, as his absence has put another severe dent in their title hopes.

Man of the Match: Kevin de Bruyne – He tried to drive Man City on and scored a stunner, put in plenty of top quality crosses and made some fantastic runs. The Belgian wizard didn’t deserve to not win this game.

Man City dominated the early stages as Riyad Mahrez was looking dangerous as Kevin de Bruyne set up Gabriel Jesus who played in Mahrez but Newcastle’s defense stood firm.

Fernandinho powered a header over as City pinned Newcastle back throughout the first half, with Jonjo Shelvey’s low free kick as close as the hosts came.

Sterling scored his 15th goal of the season in all competitions to set City on their way as the ball ricocheted off a few challenges before David Silva back-heeled it to Sterling to slot home.

But just as it looked like Man City would kick on, Newcastle equalized as the much-maligned Miguel Almiron cut in from the left and teed up Willems to finish. 1-1. Game on, as Almiron had his first assist since joining Newcastle in January.

Sterling tested Martin Dubravka before the break as Man City struggled to get back on top in the game.

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In the second half City labored as De Bruyne smashed a shot over and Newcastle were content to sit deep and spring counter attacks when they could.

Silva crossed for Jesus who nodded just wide and Dubravka denied De Bruyne’s low effort as City piled on the pressure. Dubravka then denied Jesus and De Bruyne in quick succession as City clicked through the gears.

De Bruyne then delivered a stunning strike from distance which hit the bar and went in to make it 2-1 late on, but City were pegged back again as Shelvey curled home a stunner to send St James’ Park wild.

Sterling then squandered a great chance in stoppage as Dubravka saved as Man City’s faint title hopes are hanging by a thread.

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