Why Newcastle United 3-3 Manchester City Was The Best Football Match From This Season

Published on 7 June 2023 at 13:00

When you break down football to its pure fundamentals, one that’s free of things like xG stats and uncontrollable player egos, there’s nothing better than 90 minutes of end-to-end high-quality football


This past season served up plenty of that drama and then some: from an exhilarating World Cup (easily the best of the 21st century in terms of on-pitch quality) and tense title races across Europe, it’s hard to narrow down just what was the best game of football to take place this season.


But for my money, the best football game to take place this season occurred at almost the very beginning, and potentially surpassed everything that came after it. I’m of course talking about Newcastle United’s 3-3 draw vs Manchester City.


Manchester City, fresh off winning back-to-back Premier League titles, had acquired Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, and were looking more ferocious than we’ve ever seen them under Pep Guardiola. 

Newcastle United had also strengthened, bringing in major defensive reinforcements like Nick Pope, Dan Burn and Sven Botman to help form what became the joint best defence in the league. 


Man City went into the game, just the third of the 22/23 campaign for both teams, nervous about what lay ahead at St James Park. In the past, Sergio Aguero in particular had turned the stadium into his own playground, but over recent seasons, the results were getting closer and closer, with the Magpies almost derailing City’s 18/19 title win entirely with a 2-1 win under Rafa Benitez. Facing perhaps the strongest Newcastle team in over a decade was going to be no easy feat, even for this supposed City super team.


The Magpies meanwhile, a team and entire region revitalised since the November 2021 takeover had been heavily tipped to finish in a European spot for the first time since 2012.  Almost City-esque in their earlier win vs Nottingham Forest on the opening day of the season, Newcastle were determined to show that they weren’t there to play nice football or marginally improve upon the past, but they were there to win and upset the status quo even further. 


Kick off came, and it looked like business as usual for City, the ever-reliable Ilkay Gundogan given too much time and space in the box to poke one past Pope, and gave the visitors a deserved lead. 


As we would come to expect from this Newcastle for much of this past Premier League this season, they would be either enthralling or embarrassing in the opening portions of games: quite simply no in-between, and to the horror of Magpie fans everywhere, it had looked like it was going to be an embarrassing one all over again. 

Momentum gradually began to shift into the home team’s favour, with Allan Saint-Maximin dazzling on the left flank against Kyle Walker, captivating the attention of the capacity crowd like only he could (and leaving Pep Guardiola with his head in his hands and his knees on the floor).


Saint-Maximin’s magic finally produced a result when his swinging cross was turned in by Miguel Almiron! Half an hour gone, and Newcastle had recovered from their initial slump and had the champions reeling. The game only got better from there, as Saint-Maximin continued to pose a threat to the City defence, feeding Callum Wilson to give the home team a surprising 2-1 lead heading into the break. 


Once play resumed, so did Newcastle’s surge in momentum. Ex-City academy player Kieran Trippier curled a particularly brilliant free kick from 25 yards out to make it 3-1, leaving the reigning champions on the ropes.


Naturally, City rebounded like only they can, with Erling Haaland and Bernardo Silva levelling this tense affair in the second half:  Pep Guardiola’s sides have always played some of their very best football in times of great desperation, and it takes some truly special opposition to even get them into such a position. 


The drama didn’t end when the goals slowly dried up: Trippier’s questionable challenge on Kevin De Bruyne was initially called for a red card, before a VAR overruling kept the England international on the pitch to see out a highly-contested match, in what was a true litmus test for Newcastle and their quality in this ‘new era’ for the North East outfit.


Imagine you had a checklist for great Premier League fixtures, you might find these on there:

  • A Stunning Set Piece 
  • A Comeback Performance 
  • Goals Galore 
  • Intense Atmosphere  
  • Drama Towards The End


This match between Newcastle United and Manchester City truly had it all: an enthralling experience for fans and neutrals alike, it raised the bar early on in the season, and almost no game even matched it for its entertainment value, quality of football, and end-to-end action. 

Constantly questioning who would come out on top, and boasting some star-making performances from the likes of Saint-Maximin, this frantic afternoon on Tyneside was something truly special.


There’s no doubt in some minds that this was the very best football match to take place this season. What do you think was the best game of football to take place this season? Let us know in the comments below and over on our official social media channels!




Jaspar Shepherdson

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