Tottenham’s first-half blues traded halves as Manchester City roared back from a two-goal deficit to beat Spurs 4-2 at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.
Riyad Mahrez scored twice and set up another goal to join Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland on the score sheet as Man City erased a 2-0 halftime mark to win by two over Antonio Conte’s bitter Spurs.
Antonio Conte’s Tottenham will really be struggling for confidence after their defeat at home against north London rivals Arsenal on Sunday was followed up by a blown two-goal lead away to the Premier League champions.
Man City’s onto 42 points, five off Arsenal who has a match-in-hand, while Tottenham remains on 33 points in fifth place.
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Man City comeback shatters fragile Tottenham
The one benefit to having a manager like Pep Guardiola constantly saying his team played well and deserved to win — even when that’s not the case — is that it can feed directly into a team and become its life blood.
Man City can play out of sorts at times, it’s true, but it’s very difficult to find halves where the team looks like it lacks belief that a comeback is possible.
From the moment City came out of the halftime team talk, it looked like the game was 0-0 not 2-0. Riyad Mahrez was buzzing around the pitch and his finishing the game with a goal and an assist is fitting for a 31-year-old star who hasn’t started to act his age.
Erling Haaland got back on the score board and it was all started by Julian Alvarez, the World Cup hero ready to show Pep Guardiola that playing alongside Haaland in a striker-heavy formation is no problem.
- Could this be a red herring? Sure, they did go down 2-0 on a pair of quickfire goals at the end of the first half and Guardiola will rue everything about both goals.
- Is it possible that this is the wake-up call we see from powerful clubs that lead to double-digit winning streaks? Oh, very much so.
Let’s see what happens next.
Where do Antonio Conte’s Spurs go from here?
There’s a feeling inside this particular writer that wonders if Spurs have broken the unbreakable.
Antonio Conte is a genius of the game. But Tottemham fans may want to start hoping his successes are more Phil Jackson than anything else, because otherwise the club may have broken one of the all-time winners of this era.
Something’s very very wrong in North London. Are Spurs going to give Conte the tools to fix it, or do they believe another boss should start fresh? Fabio Paratici is very interested in their vibe.
Stars of the Show
Manchester City hosts Wolves at 9am ET Sunday in what will be a tasty tie that sees Julen Lopetegui cooking something up for a City side that rested Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, and several others.
Tottenham gets one further day’s rest before visiting Fulham at 3pm ET Monday.
Pep Guardiola reaction
What happened at halftime, Pep was asked? He didn’t opt for positivity.
“There was nothing from the stomach,” Guardiola said. “We were lucky. We needed to change.”
So what was missing?
“Passion, fire, and desire to win from minute one. Even our fans had a silent 45 minutes. They booed because we were losing but maybe it’s the same like our team. Maybe we were so comfortable winning four titles in five years.”
Is that what’s hurting Man City?
“Definitely. Otherwise we wouldn’t concede the goals we conceded every game. We gave them. They scored them: Congratulations. But we gave them.”
So how did he fix it? And how does he fix it?
“It’s my duty, my job. I want my fans back, here. Not my away fans. My away fans are the best.”
Dejan Kulusevski goal video: Man City 0-1 Spurs
Emerson Royal goal video: Man City 0-2 Spurs
Julian Alvarez goal video: Man City 1-2 Spurs
Erling Haaland goal video: Man City 2-2 Spurs
Riyad Mahrez goal videos: Man City 3-2 Spurs, Man City 4-2 Spurs
How to watch Tottenham vs Manchester City live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 3pm ET, Thursday
TV Channel: Peacock
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium
Key storylines & in-form players to watch
Erling Haaland has gone three games without a goal in all competitions, while Kevin de Bruyne is doing his best to carry City and did superbly to set up Jack Grealish’s goal at Manchester United. City look suspect defensively as full backs Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo are struggling to contain wingers from getting in-behind. Rodri continues to be a baller.
Harry Kane is trying to do it all on his own for Spurs, while Heung-min Son is bang out of form and Hugo Lloris made a huge error against Arsenal in the NLD. At least Tottenham have Richarlison, Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur back fit and that will give them extra quality in the final third. Also, this is worth noting: Tottenham have won four of their last five PL games against Manchester City.
Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options
John Stones is back and he starts, while Ruben Dias is on the bench which is a boost. Jack Grealish and Julian Alvarez both start, while Rico Lewis also comes back in at right back. Kevin de Bruyne is on the bench after missing some training this week due to what Pep Guardiola called a personal issue.
🔵 𝐓𝐄𝐀𝐌 𝐍𝐄𝐖𝐒 🔵
XI | Ederson, Lewis, Stones, Akanji, Ake, Rodrigo, Gundogan (C), Grealish, Mahrez, Alvarez, Haaland
— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 19, 2023
Tottenham team news, injuries, lineup
Bentancur is back, which is a huge boost, while Lucas Moura is the only injury issue for Tottenham. With a full squad to choose from, Antonio Conte has gone for a more attacking lineup against City with Ivan Perisic at left wing-back and Emerson Royal at right wing-back.
Here's how we line-up! 👇
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 19, 2023