Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has admitted that Newcastle are a threat to his side’s bid to win the Premier League for a third season in a row.
City have lost just one of their opening 12 Premier League games – to rivals Liverpool – and have already scored a whopping 37 goals.
Erling Haaland has been responsible for scoring 17 of those, taking to life in the Premier League like a duck to water, but City aren’t yet top of the table because of Arsenal’s electric start to the season.
They’ve also lost just once under Mikel Arteta, winning ten out of their other 11 games, and Eddie Howe’s Newcastle have tasted defeat on just one occasion too – they are up into the top four after picking up 16 points from a possible 18 during an incredible October.
The Magpies are in a rich vein of goalscoring form – Miguel Almiron particularly impressing in that department in recent weeks – and a new found solidity in defence has made them a tough nut to crack.
Speaking ahead of City’s clash with Fulham at the Etihad, Guardiola revealed his admiration for how Newcastle are playing, and admitted that he expects them to stick around at the business end of the table for many years to come.
“Newcastle have a good manager and top-class players,” the Spaniard said. “I imagine they are going to stay there for a long time.
“They have physicality in the middle, box-to-box transitions and their intensity without the ball is impressive. Also, they are not playing in Europe, which is a big advantage because when you arrive in the last months you have energy.”
Newcastle’s standout players in recent weeks have included Almiron, Callum Wilson and Kieran Trippier, but the emergence of Bruno Guimaraes as an all-conquering central midfielder has laid the foundations for their recent success – the Brazilian one of six players shortlisted for October’s PFA Premier League Fans’ Player of the Month award.