Manchester City recovered from two goals down at half-time to defeat Tottenham 4-2 at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday and close the gap on Premier League leaders Arsenal.
Spurs took advantage of some poor City defending – with Ederson in particular at fault – through goals from Dejan Kulusevski and Ederson Royal just before the interval.
But City’s response was just as swift as they were level eight minutes into the second half thanks to Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland, who ended his mini goal drought.
City survived a scare when Perisic hit the post, but Riyad Mahrez put them ahead and added another late on to move his side within five points of Arsenal, who have a game in hand.
5 – Manchester City have now avoided defeat in each of the last five Premier League matches in which they have fallen 2+ goals behind (W3 D2), the longest such run by any side in the competition’s history. Toying. pic.twitter.com/hDbByiWdaa
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 19, 2023
Like he did in Spurs’ 3-2 win here last year, Kulusevski opened the scoring after Rodri poked the ball into his path when put under pressure following Ederson’s poor pass.
Emerson headed in a second for Spurs moments later after Kane won a tackle against Rodri and had an angled drive pushed back into danger by Ederson.
Guardiola opted against making any changes at the break, but his side’s response was instant, with Alvarez firing home a loose ball after Riyad Mahrez’s cross was not dealt with.
City, who left Kevin De Bruyne on the bench all match, were on level terms two minutes later through Haaland’s close-range header after Mahrez headed the ball back across goal.
Ivan Perisic had a shot blocked right in front of goal by Rico Lewis, with the loose ball hitting the post, and that would prove a big moment as Mahrez completed the comeback.
Mahrez first fired a low, hard shot past Lloris at the Spurs keeper’s near post, before capitalising on Clement Lenglet’s poor touch to race in and double his tally at the death.
What does it mean? City stage remarkable recovery
City were staring a third defeat in a row in all competitions in the face for the first time since April 2018 at the midway stage, at which point their fans booed them off the pitch.
Spurs’ two goals came in the space of two minutes and eight seconds; City’s quickfire double the other side of half-time in two minutes and nine seconds.
Star man Mahrez completed the turnaround, meaning Spurs lost a game they led by two-or-more goals at half-time in the league for the first time in 72 occasions since 2009.
Riyad rallies City
Guardiola’s decision to not make any changes at half-time was somewhat surprising, especially with De Bruyne among the substitutes, but a minor tweak made a big difference.
Mahrez was clearly told to get at Spurs’ defence more often and he had a storming second half, scoring once, assisting twice and playing a big part in the other goal.
He has now been involved in more Premier League goals against Spurs than he has against any other opponent (11), with the Algeria winger scoring seven and assisting four.
Day to forget for the keepers
Ederson was certainly at fault for the first of Tottenham’s goals and arguably the second, yet it was opposite number Lloris whose error proved most costly.
The Spurs keeper, who was also at fault for one of Arsenal’s goals in last weekend’s 2-0 loss, let Mahrez beat him far too easily for City’s third goal.
Key Opta Facts:
– City have won their past two Premier League games in which they have been two-or-more goals behind at half-time (also versus Crystal Palace in August). They had not won any of their first 53 such games in the competition (D2 L51).
– Thirty-one goals conceded after 20 Premier League games is Tottenham’s highest at this stage of a season since 2007-08 (36).
– Haaland scored his 22nd Premier League goal of the season – the most by a City player in a single league season under Guardiola.
– Kulusevski is the only player to open the scoring in two different Premier League away games against Guardiola’s City, with today the first time Tottenham have lost a Premier League game in which the Sweden forward has scored (W5).
– All four of Alvarez’s Premier League goals this season have come at the Etihad Stadium, the joint-most goals scored with 100 per cent of them coming at home so far this season (level with Kieffer Moore and Leon Bailey).
City will look to build on this victory when they welcome Wolves to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, while Tottenham have a London derby at Fulham the following day.
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