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Man City can attain a surprise accomplishment under Pep Guardiola against Newcastle United

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Man City can attain a surprise accomplishment under Pep Guardiola against Newcastle United

Manchester City has made a promising start to their Premier League title defence, having won two of their first two games.

If the Blues were concerned after losing to Liverpool in the Community Shield, the first two weeks of the season have completely changed the narrative.

City can go seven points clear of Liverpool if they beat Newcastle on Sunday, with Liverpool visiting Old Trafford the next night.

Winning the first three games of the season may not seem remarkable in a team that has broken a slew of English football records, but it is something that Pep Guardiola is not used to.

In fact, he has only done it once in the Premier League before.

Last season, of course, began with a loss to Tottenham, while the 2020/21 campaign began with a 5-2 thrashing at home to Leicester City, which accelerated the need to sign a defender; Ruben Dias was signed before the next game, and City went on to win the league.

The previous year featured an(other) agonising draw with Tottenham in the first home game, with Gabriel Jesus’ injury-time winner controversially ruled out.

In 2018, City won their first two matches but were held at Molineux by Premier League newcomers Wolves in their third – ironically, the Wolves goal prompted the rule change that disallowed Jesus’ effort against Spurs the following season.

Even during their Centurions campaign, the Blues were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Everton before requiring a late Raheem Sterling winner at Bournemouth to avoid dropping points in two of their first three games.

Their best start under Guardiola coincides with their worst Premier League finish under the manager.

Back in 2016, they defeated Sunderland (2-1), Stoke (3-1) and West Ham (4-1) as part of a honeymoon period that saw City viewed as all-conquering under the new manager before the wheels came off spectacularly.

With three wins and a +6 goal difference from that run, City only need to beat Newcastle on Sunday to match their best start under Guardiola, as they already have +6 after victories over West Ham (2-0) and Bournemouth (4-0).

That won’t guarantee success in May, but it will demonstrate how underappreciated a strong start can be. If City can establish a stronger foundation early in the season, there will be more room for error later on.

With a winter World Cup looming that will impact the season in ways no one can predict, a stronger start to the season will be beneficial. And, if they get three points on Sunday, it will be a first for Guardiola.

Man City can attain a surprise accomplishment under Pep Guardiola against Newcastle United

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