Guardiola sees future threat to Man City from Newcastle

A first full season under Saudi ownership that promised so much is beginning to fade for Newcastle

By AFP
March 04, 2023
 Guardiola was impressed by the way Newcastle imposed themselves on his side —  AFP 

Pep Guardiola warned of the threat Newcastle will pose to Manchester City´s grip on the Premier League title in the coming years despite seeing off the Magpies 2-0 on Saturday.

Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva scored for the defending champions, who were let off the hook at the Etihad by a series of glaring misses from the visitors.

Sean Longstaff, Callum Wilson and Joelinton were all guilty of not even forcing Ederson into a save as Newcastle suffered another blow to their hopes of a top-four finish.

A first full season under Saudi ownership that promised so much is beginning to fade for Newcastle.

Eddie Howe´s men missed out on the club´s first major trophy for 54 years in losing the League Cup final to Manchester United last weekend.

A run of one win in eight league games since December 26 has also seen them fall four points behind Tottenham in the race for a place in next season´s Champions League.

But Guardiola was impressed by the way Newcastle imposed themselves on his side for long spells and sees similarities in City´s rise after an Abu Dhabi-backed takeover 15 years ago.

City took four years to win their first title of the Abu Dhabi era, but have won six in the past 11 seasons.

"This team and this club in the next few years will be a threat for the title," said Guardiola. "You can sense the ambition of the club. In a short time, because the takeover was only last season, and immediately they are there. If they start to rise and increase and increase they will be there."

City have shown flickers of their best form in recent weeks but relied on two moments of inspiration to claim a vital three points from a disjointed performance.

Foden struggled for form and fitness following the World Cup, but the England international has looked more like his old self over the past week.

The 22-year-old ghosted past four Newcastle challenges to score his fourth goal in three games thanks to a deflection off Sven Botman to beat Nick Pope on 15 minutes.

Longstaff should have struck back almost immediately, but the midfielder delayed too long to allow Nathan Ake to produce a brilliant last-ditch block.

Wilson´s barren run explains Newcastle´s return of just one goal in their last eight league games and he then failed to connect with Kieran Trippier´s cross.

A triple change by Howe early in the second half nearly had the desired effect as Newcastle pinned City inside their own half.

One of the substitutes Joe Willock broke down the right and his low cross was just begging for the finishing touch by Joelinton, who instead missed his kick.

Moments later, another of the changes, Alexander Isak had a penalty appeal turned down as he was wiped out by Ederson after Ruben Dias blocked the Swede´s first effort.

"We were competitive, had our chances, but we didn´t take them and Manchester City did," said Howe.

"I back the players over long term that we will start scoring again."

Guardiola introduced Silva for De Bruyne in a bid to stem Newcastle´s flow through the City midfield.

The Portuguese had an immediate impact with the goal that settled City´s nerves.

Haaland laid the ball into Silva´s path on the edge of the box and with virtually his first touch he fired low past Pope.

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