Newcastle were beaten 3-2 at St James’ Park on Saturday as Manchester City arrived late to the show to give the Premier League Champions all three points.
It was a game with low expectation considering the terrible run of form the Magpies had been on in the lead-up to the new year. But a morale-boosting 3-0 win over rivals Sunderland would have given Eddie Howe’s side a much-needed confidence boost.
That confidence looked to be soaring as were superb in the first half, tearing into Pep Guardiola’s City side. They played with speed on the counterattack and but the story surrounding Newcastle is getting frustratingly repetitive.
With 11 players missing, Newcastle were unable to sustain their quality play and the lack of depth was telling in the second half as the starting XI soon began to tire.
They’ve conceded late goals to Paris St Germain in the Champions League, Chelsea in the League Cup which knocked them out of both competitions and it was no difference here against a side oozing with quality.
Newcastle were an angry swarm of wasps in the first half and the aggression and intensity was just the tonic. Alexander Isak and Anthony Gordon gave the Magpies the lead after Bernardo Silva had put City 1-0 up against the run of play.
But the intensity could not last. Kevin De Bruyne’s introduction as a substitute was a reminder of his quality and just what City have been missing, and maybe exactly what Newcastle need.
Where do Newcastle go from here?
This latest defeat means Newcastle have won just two games since the start of December, picking up six points from a possible 24.
Whilst the defeat was to the Premier League champions, any aspiration of a top four push have disappeared over the disastrous Christmas period.
Couple that with a lack of transfer activity so far in January, plotting where Howe goes next with this side is almost impossible.