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Comeback win puts Manchester City in hot pursuit

Manchester City sent a message to the rest of the Premier League on Saturday evening as they moved into second in the table after their comeback win over Newcastle United.

The Citizens started the game in fine spirits as they opened the scoring through Bernardo Silva's delightful backheel, only for Newcastle to score two quickfire goals to turn the game on its head.

City's defence of their title has not exactly gone to plan, but unlike their poor results towards the end of November and in early December, they found a way to recover and seal all three points.

Oscar Bobb's stoppage-time winner ensured City moved to within two points of league leaders Liverpool and with half the season left, they now seem to be firing on all cylinders once again.

Citizens look dangerous ahead of final push

When Pep Guardiola's side failed to win in four successive Premier League matches earlier this year, alarm bells were ringing.

Three draws in a row against Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham allowed others to move above them in the standings, but at least for Guardiola, his team were being held by teams who are challenging for Europe.

Their 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa in December added further evidence to City's struggles, but thankfully for them, none of their rivals have managed to take full advantage.

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Liverpool were held to draws by Manchester United and Arsenal, while the Gunners have now lost three of their last five in the top flight.

Villa, who beat both City and Arsenal, have since drawn with Sheffield United before losing to the Red Devils.

City have since gone under the radar a little, and they are now unbeaten in nine in all competitions, although they did surrender a 2-0 lead against Crystal Palace in December.

During that time, they won the Club World Cup, and that success seems to have galvanised Guardiola's group ahead of their latest title push.

They are 8/13 to retain their crown ahead of Liverpool, with Jurgen Klopp's men 5/2 to win their second Premier League title.

Returning De Bruyne to boost City's chances

City's turnaround on Saturday was inspired by the return of midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, who scored the equalising goal before then teeing up Bobb for the winner.

The Belgian dribbled his way past several Newcastle players for his goal, but he was only able to play for 20 minutes on his comeback appearance.

De Bruyne featured for the first time since the opening day of the season in August after a hamstring injury, and he made it look effortless as he dragged City over the line.

His reaction to hearing the full-time whistle showed how hungry he is to put City back on top, but he admitted he could not maintain those standards for 90 minutes.

The playmaker will need time to reach peak fitness, but Guardiola must be licking his lips at the prospect of getting him back in the starting XI every week.

As well as De Bruyne, striker Erling Haaland has yet to return from a foot problem, while defender John Stones has also been out on the sidelines.

The trio will add some class to their spine in the coming weeks, and City's rivals will now need to be on notice. City have won six games in a row without their best striker and midfielder in the starting XI, and they should only get stronger as the season draws to a close.

They have nearly two weeks to prepare for their next match, as they travel to London to take on Tottenham in the FA Cup. Guardiola's men are 3/1 to win the competition as they try to defend their crown, having beaten Manchester United 2-1 at Wembley in June.

The Citizens were also handed a favourable draw in the Champions League, with Danish outfit FC Copenhagen their opponents in the last-16 in February.

At 15/8, City are the favourites to win Europe's elite competition and all signs suggest they have a superb chance of winning back-to-back trebles under Guardiola.

If a half-fit De Bruyne can turn City's fortunes around in 20 minutes, it is scary to think how he could improve his team's performances when he is starting week in and week out.

Haaland has sat on the sidelines for a month and is still the Premier League's top scorer, and with those two set to return, we should be in for a blockbuster finish to the campaign.

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