Mahrez double seals breathtaking victory
Guardiola’s men came back from a two-goal deficit to clinch all three points on what turned out to be a crazy Premier League Day 7. Spurs went home empty-handed despite valiant efforts.
Both teams entered this one in similar form – City having lost their last two (first to Southampton in the EFL Cup and then on the road to Manchester United in the derby), and Tottenham had matched that against Villa and Arsenal. . As a result, both were desperate to get back to form in what promised to be a tough test for both sets of players.
City street missed opportunities
Guardiola had clearly instilled a sense of urgency in his players before going out as they were immediately on the front foot, keeping Spurs rooted in their own half for most of the opening period. The relentless pressure from Pep’s side is something we’ve grown all too accustomed to in recent seasons, as pushing their opponents into submission has contributed to their recent dominance in English football.
And that tactic served them well most of the time in the top forty, as they looked menacing whenever Grealish or Mahrez were freed from their shackles in midfield. The latter had a few free-kicks to try his luck, but most of his contributions came from repeated corners which City were unable to benefit from.
However, Tottenham were not going to go unchallenged and came out on top in the first half. Conte’s men initially took the lead after a defensive error City won’t want to see again – Rodri was stripped after a pass from Ederson and Kulusevski calmly headed home from the edge of the box.
That lead was soon doubled after England captain Harry Kane harassed the right flank and managed to get a shot. Ederson initially blocked his effort as Emerson Royal waited to drive him home. The opposing team’s smash-and-grab had changed the game in the blink of an eye as Spurs tried their luck against an arguably dominant City.
City on a mission
The home side were desperate to regain the form they had shown throughout the first game and they did so in abundance. As quickly as Tottenham had found the lead, City had come back. The first was the turn of recent World Cup winner Julian Alavarez, who gobbled up a fairly easy chance after a messy defensive effort from Spurs. Before the home fans had time to sit down, Haaland had leveled things up. The Norwegian came in at the far post to head home with a close range chance and end his recent goal drought.
Guardiola’s side were, as expected, not happy with the idea of securing a single point tie, and they relentlessly pursued their search for a third. Sooner or later their comeback was complete, this time courtesy of Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian danced into the box on the right wing and continued despite calls for a cross. He then proved his worth with a clinical goal buried in the bottom corner from a tight angle, sending the home fans into delirium.
City’s energy going forward was still maintained even after the third, with Spurs only managing to get a few mediocre free-kicks. Despite the away side desperate to salvage something from their journey north, Guardiola proved his worth and his team remained solid defensively, balancing that with attacks when they had possession.
Conte’s men indeed insisted on going for the point, which ultimately left them open at the back, much to City’s delight. Late in the day, Mahrez found himself in an unscored goal, and all that was left to do was pick it up from a charge from Lloris for 4-2 to complete an incredible second-half performance. “A game of two halves” has never been more applicable than for this one.
The result means City remain second, while Spurs find themselves fifth. Next up for Cityzens is another draw at home to Wolves, while Spurs are set to travel to Fulham.