In what was another Premier League thriller from the Etihad on Thursday night, Manchester City mounted a stunning second-half comeback as they claimed a 4-2 victory against Tottenham.
Heading into the half-time break met by a section of boos as Dejan Kulusevski and Emerson Royal bagged a stunning late brace, Pep Guardiola’s men had to produce another iconic second-half flurry on home soil.
Producing a remarkable turnaround and bagging three strikes in the space of just 12 minutes as Julian Alvarez, Erling Haaland and Riyad Mahrez ran rampant in Manchester, Spurs will still be stunned by a woeful collapse on the road.
With Mahrez eventually clinching what could be a crucial victory for the defending champions after bagging his second of the night in the dying moments, the pressure is now firmly on Antonio Conte’s shoulders.
In what was another thriller from the Etihad on Thursday, we have taken a look at the main talking points.
City show their Championship resolve
Left heartbroken at Old Trafford last weekend after eventually slumping to a controversial 2-1 loss in the Manchester derby, Guardiola was more than aware that his side faced a must-win showdown on Thursday night.
While the former Barcelona boss might have shocked many with his team selection at the Etihad, City’s second-half romp only underlines the champions mentality that they have within their squad.
Met by a chorus of boos at the half-time whistle and heading down the tunnel stunned by Spurs’ quickfire brace, Guardiola will be excited by the way that his side performed when their backs were against the wall.
Knowing that another Premier League defeat here would hand Arsenal the chance to widen their buffer to double digits, the Sky Blues will be desperate to use their second-half display as a blueprint going forward.
Glad to see attacking talisman Erling Haaland finally open his 2023 account, fans around the Etihad will now be calling on their side to find some top-flight stability during the second-half of the season.
While Guardiola might still have a headache over his side’s extended defensive struggles on either side of the World Cup break, City have claimed some crucial momentum.
Where next for Conte?
Heading into the half-time break with that stunning 2-0 lead, it appeared that Tottenham’s visit to the Etihad might have been a real turning point for Conte’s tenure at Tottenham.
However, coming under more scrutiny last weekend after suffering a deserved 2-0 loss at home against north London rivals Arsenal, the one-time Chelsea boss knows his side face a real uphill struggle in 2023.
Opening the New Year with another nightmare display in the capital as they were hit with a 2-0 defeat against Aston Villa, Spurs are now tipped as an outside pick to secure back-to-back top-four finishes.
Despite claiming a much-needed 4-0 romp away at Crystal Palace on January 4th, it looks like that might have just been a minor boost for Conte and his downbeat squad.
Stealing all of the headlines following their woeful second-half collapse on Thursday night, Tottenham have won just a trio of their last 10 Premier League appearances – a run that stems all the way back to October 15th.
Showing a string of defensive issues on either side of the World Cup break, some sections of Spurs’ fanbase are desperate for a change in the dugout.
Mahrez is the man
While Guardiola would have been relieved to see Haaland draw a line under his mini-drought at the Etihad, it was Mahrez who once again underlined his value to City’s squad.
Although the ex-Leicester star might have initially struggled to find a regular spot under Guardiola during the opening weeks of the season, the 31-year-old is enjoying another free-scoring flurry.
Putting in a real Man of the Match display on Thursday night, the Algerian international will undoubtedly have a key role to play if City are to defend their Premier League crown this season.
Bagging another brace as the Sky Blues claimed a thumping 4-0 FA Cup romp against Chelsea on January 8th, Mahrez has now notched six strikes since returning from the World Cup break.
Now appearing to be one of Guardiola’s first choices to join Haaland in attack, Mahrez will be looking to extend on his eye-catching purple patch when Wolves come to town on Sunday afternoon.
Manchester City: Ederson, Lewis, Stones, Akanji, Ake, Rodri, Gundogan, Mahrez, Alvarez, Grealish, Haaland
Subs: Walker, Dias, Silva
Tottenham: Lloris, Romero, Dier, Davies, Perisic, Bentancur, Hojberg, Emerson, Son, Kulusevski, Kane
Subs: Richarlison, Sessegnon, Lenglet, Bissouma
Goals: Manchester City: Alvarez (51′), Haaland (53′), Mahrez (63′, 90′) – Tottenham: Kulusevski (44′), Emerson (45+2′)
Yellow Cards: Manchester City: Mahrez – Tottenham: Hojberg, Romero
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Simon Hooper
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