In years to come, if Newcastle is contending for Premier League and Champions League titles as widely expected, the Saudi-funded team might look back on this game as the one when it truly arrived as a force in soccer.
Few opponents have given Manchester City the kind of battering Newcastle dished out in the first half of a rip-roaring 3-3 draw on Sunday.
And when Kieran Trippier curled a stunning free kick into the top corner to put a rampant Newcastle 3-1 ahead in the 54th minute, it looked as if City was going to slump to one of its heaviest Premier League losses under Pep Guardiola.
However, City is the champion for a reason and goals in the 60th by Erling Haaland and the 64th by Bernardo Silva — following a wondrous pass from Kevin De Bruyne — salvaged a point that will be gratefully accepted by Guardiola.
Still, this was a warning served by one of European soccer’s growing forces nearly a year into the reign of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which has invited accusations of sportswashing.
After two transfer windows of the new era, Newcastle is a team transformed. Even compared to a few months ago, with City having swept aside Eddie Howe’s team 5-0 as recently as May on the way to clinching the title last season.
City went ahead through Ilkay Gundogan in the fifth minute, only to be pummeled by wave after wave of Newcastle attacks that led to goals from Miguel Almiron and Callum Wilson before halftime.
Both teams remained unbeaten after three games, with City dropping points for the first time. The champions will likely be happy to escape from St. James’ Park with a point.
AMERICANS POWERING LEEDS
With its contingent of Americans, Leeds is proving to be one of the big early-season surprises in the Premier League.
Chelsea certainly couldn’t handle them on Sunday.
Leeds gained from a bad mistake from Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to take a 33rd-minute lead through U.S. winger Brenden Aaronson and went on to win 3-0 at Elland Road.
Rodrigo, with his league-high fourth goal of the season, and Jack Harrison set each other up for the second and third goals, respectively.
The team coached by Jesse Marsch is up to third place on seven points from a possible nine having already beaten Wolverhampton and drawn at Southampton, where it squandered a 2-0 lead.
WEST HAM STRUGGLING
After two better-than-expected Premier League campaigns under David Moyes, West Ham might be a set for tough season this time.
A 2-0 home loss to Brighton condemned West Ham to a third straight defeat to open the season. Perhaps it was to be expected, given Brighton has never lost this fixture in 10 previous Premier League meetings between the teams.
West Ham, which finished sixth in 2020-21 and seventh last season, has now lost 2-0 to Man City and 1-0 at Nottingham Forest and is in last place.
It was a tough full debut for defender Thilo Kehrer, recently signed from Paris Saint-Germain. His Premier League career started inauspiciously when he brought down Danny Welbeck to concede a penalty converted by Alexis Mac Allister.
Leandro Trossard scored the other goal.
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