Manchester City’s hopes of defending their Premier League title were dealt another blow when Jonjo Shelvey’s stunning late equaliser earned Newcastle a point at St James’ Park.
Pep Guardiola must have thought his side had won it when Kevin de Bruyne found the net in the 82nd minute with a brilliant long-range effort which went in off the crossbar.
But with two minutes of normal time remaining substitute Christian Atsu pulled the ball back for his team-mate Shelvey, who beat the dive of Ederson with his strike.
That is now 13 points dropped by Pep Guardiola’s side who are eight behind Liverpool before the leaders host Brighton at 15:00 GMT.
It all began well for City when they took the lead after an early period of dominance.
David Silva, sorely missed by the champions in their recent defeat against Liverpool, highlighted his worth with a deft backheel to find Raheem Sterling, who curled in for his 15th goal this season.
However, before City could assert their dominance the Magpies equalised through full-back Jetro Willems, who received a square pass from Miguel Almiron before calmly slotting past the Brazilian keeper.
That was the Dutch loan signing’s second of the season and the eighth Magpies goal in the last 10 scored by a defender.
City’s Gabriel Jesus and De Bruyne were thwarted by Martin Dubravka after the break before substitute Bernardo Silva pulled a shot wide from eight yards. And in stoppage time Sterling’s shot from six yards lacked venom which allowed Dubravka to make an easy save.
Up next is a trip to Burnley for Guardiola’s side, who now cannot afford any more slip-ups.
City’s defensive shortcomings exposed
Despite the proverbial bus being parked on the edge of the Magpies’ area, Guardiola’s side still managed 24 efforts on goal.
Had it not for Dubravka’s saves and the late misses by Bernardo Silva and Sterling, this would have been a deserved win.
The attack played their part, but at times City’s defensive structure left a lot to be desired.
They made their intentions known as early as the first minute when they pressed high up, with right-back Kyle Walker coming inside to provide almost a second playmaker role.
It was a confident move, but also left them exposed to the pace of Newcastle down the wings, particularly Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almiron and Willems.
Manchester City’s defence should have made notes in the art of closing down from their Newcastle counterparts as both Willems and Shelvey were given too much time and space to hit their targets.
Shelvey and Newcastle offer perfect response
Newcastle’s ability to surprise has been a feature this season.
On Monday they were woeful against Aston Villa, allowing Jack Grealish to run the show.
But against City they produced a disciplined defensive display while also making the most of the few attacking opportunities they had.
Almiron and Shelvey, whose performances on Monday prompted groans from the Newcastle section, played major parts in the fightback.
Almiron, without a goal or assist since joining earlier this year, again worked tirelessly across the pitch and provided a clever ball for Willems.
When Shelvey’s late strike resulted in the loudest cheer of the match, the midfielder ran over to the dugout to milk the applause.
It was the perfect response from both him and his team to the 2-0 defeat at Villa.
Man of the match – Miguel Almiron (Newcastle)
Shelvey’s joy from long range – the stats
- Newcastle are unbeaten in their past four home league games against reigning top-flight champions.
- Manchester City have scored in their past 22 league games against Newcastle – their joint-longest run in the competition.
- No Premier League player has scored more goals in all competitions this season than Raheem Sterling. His 15 goals is level with Raul Jimenez.
- Kevin de Bruyne has been involved in six goals in six Premier League games against Newcastle, scoring two and assisting four.
- Miguel Almiron registered his first assist in his 24th Premier League appearance, with the 23rd chance he has created for a team-mate.
- Of players with at least 15 Premier League goals, only David Ginola (66.7%) and Laurent Robert (65.2%) have scored a higher ratio from outside the box than Jonjo Shelvey (64.7%).
- Eight of Newcastle’s 13 Premier League goals this season have been scored by defenders – the highest ratio in the competition (62%).
Manchester City travel to face Burnley on Tuesday (20:15 GMT), while Newcastle are away to Sheffield United on Thursday (19:30 GMT).