Sometimes in football, you need to forget about favourites, underdogs and any storyline associated with who is expected to win. In place of that you need to consider the possibility that on any given day, there’s a chance for an upset – regardless of how big or small it may seem. Last night we saw one of the biggest ‘upsets’ of the season by the simplest of definitions, as Newcastle United managed to defeat reigning Premier League champions Manchester City to give Liverpool a huge boost in the title race.
Shaking things up
Many of us have been conditioned to believe that it’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish. In this instance that couldn’t have been more accurate, as Sergio Aguero managed to hook the ball into the back of the net with less than half a minute gone on the clock. The Argentine seems to be rediscovering the form that made him a cult favourite at the Etihad, and he almost made it two in quick succession by scoring again – but it was disallowed as Kevin De Bruyne had taken the prior free kick before he was instructed to do so.
From that point on it just felt like a lot of the belief within the City side faded away, and while they did manage to ride out their lead until half time fairly comfortably, it wasn’t enough. They went into the break with a 1-0 advantage, but from that, the Magpies just grew in confidence as they realised they were very much still in this game.
St James’ Park finally came unglued when they equalised in the 66th minute, courtesy of a nice instinct-based finish from the often criticised Salomon Rondon. Just over ten minutes later Newcastle were awarded a penalty due to a foul from Fernandinho, with Matt Ritchie having a long time to think about where he was going to put it before the whistle was blown. Eventually he stepped up, before slotting it into the back of the net to give Newcastle the goal that earned them an unlikely three points.
Rafa Benitez’s men will attempt to keep this unlikely surge of momentum going against Tottenham this weekend, whereas City face a must win game against Arsenal.
Newcastle: Dubravka (6.5), Ritchie (7.5), Lejeune (7.5), Lascelles (6.5), Schar (7), Yedlin (6.5), Atsu (6), Longstaff (7), Hayden (7), Perez (6.5), Rondon (7.5), Manquillo (6), Kenedy (6)
Man City: Ederson (5.5), Walker (6.5), Stones (6.5), Laporte (6.5), Danilo (6), De Bruyne (7), Fernandinho (5.5), Silva (7.5), Sterling (6), Aguero (7.5), Sane (6.5), Silva (6), Gundogan (6.5), Jesus (6)
Referee: Paul Tierney
Goals: Rondon, Ritchie :: Aguero
Yellow Cards: Schar, Perez, Laporte, De Bruyne, Sterling
Red Cards: N/A
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