Manchester City were made to work very hard for their third Premier League win of the season.
Pep Guardiola’s men steamrolled their way to the title last season, and after initial 2-0 and 6-1 wins over Arsenal and Huddersfield respectively, one could be forgiven for expecting the same.
That may still come to pass, but City’s encounters against Wolves last week and Newcastle today suggest that they’ll have a fight on their hands to do so.
City started off as they always do at home – with complete domination of possession and territory.
Newcastle parked the proverbial bus against Chelsea last week, at home no less, and were forced to do so here again. They were unable to keep out a fine Raheem Sterling strike within the first eight minutes though, with Benjamin Mendy providing his third assist of the campaign already.
City couldn’t add to their tally, and were made to pay on the half hour mark by the lightning-quick DeAndre Yedlin. The American powered into the City box for what was a rare visit, and beat Gabriel Jesus to the ball to beat Ederson in the goal.
That it was left to Jesus to defend the counter illustrates how City are yet to find their best defensive form.
But it was their full-backs that won the game for them at the other end of the pitch. Mendy’s attacking influence is well-renowned, but Kyle Walker was the one to put City back in the lead.
Sergio Aguero set up the Englishman for his first City goal, and it was worth the wait.
The home side had to endure a comfortable but nervy last 40 minutes, running out 2-1 winners in the end.
They move up to third in the table, two points behind Liverpool and Chelsea, but in the knowledge that they must improve if they are to retain their title.