Manchester City completed a sensational second-half comeback to beat Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 after being down 0-2 at halftime, with Pep Guardiola calling for more passion from his team and home support following the game’s conclusion in an attempt to stir up a reaction from the organisation after appearing too comfortable with recent success.
Guardiola named an unusual starting 11 against Spurs as the home side looked to close the gap to league leaders Arsenal.
Ederson remained in goal, but Rico Lewis, John Stones, Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake made up the back line as Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo, and Aymeric Laporte started on the bench. Rodri remained in the midfield, and Ilkay Gundogan got his first Premier League start since Chelsea on January 5th. Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez started out wide, with Julian Alvarez just behind Erling Haaland.
The first chance of the game came in the 9th minute after a corner from Mahrez found Haaland, but the Norwegian hesitated to lace the ball and cause any real threat to Hugo Lloris.
Well into the first half, Harry Kane almost had a golden opportunity after a cross into the box was headered away by Ake just before reaching the Englishman.
Academy graduate Lewis was highly impressive and comfortable on the ball throughout and played his position tucked into the midfield very well in the first half.
Lewis almost broke the deadlock after a shot from range was deflected, but Lloris did well to get a hand to it.
In the 42nd minute, Haaland had a perfect opportunity on the edge of the six-yard box after Lloris rushed out, but his header from Rodri’s cross went just over the bar.
In the 44th minute, Spurs made it 0-1 against the run of play. Ederson made a poor decision to pass it short to Rodri, who lost the ball and ended in Kulusevski tucking the ball into the back of the net with his left foot.
Only minutes later, Spurs doubled their lead with Emerson Royal. Kane did exceptionally well to retain possession, which ended in a diving header from the Brazilian after the England captain’s shot was parried by Ederson.
It was an awful end to the first half but a polar-opposite start to the second half.
It only took five minutes for the Blues to get one back, with Alvarez calmly slotting home after a scrappy piece of play in the box.
Haaland returned to his usual ways, as only two minutes after Alvarez’s goal, the Premier League’s leading goalscorer nodded the ball past Lloris after Mahrez headed across the box after the Algerian latched onto a Rodri dink into the area.
Just beyond the hour mark, Mahrez slotted the ball past Lloris at the goalkeeper’s near post after aggressively driving into the box to complete an emphatic comeback.
City continued the game very strongly, and Spurs were unable to regain the rhythm they had gained from the end of the first half.
City completed their impressive comeback as Mahrez grabbed his second goal of the game in the 89th minute. A delivery from Ederson went through substitute Clement Lenglet and found the winger, who was able to chip it over Lloris.
A fantastic way to get back to winning ways after an inconsistent run of form since the season started after the World Cup, although Guardiola will be looking for a greater reaction from his side and home support following fiery post-match interviews in which he criticised the lack of fire in his side.
Man of the Match
Riyad Mahrez, without a doubt, earned the Man of the Match award after a fantastic second half. The Algerian created four chances, had three shots, grabbed a brace for himself and picked up one assist and was at the heart of a fantastic second half for City.
Ederson - 4
Lewis - 8
Stones - 8
Akanji - 7
Ake - 8
Rodri - 7
Gundogan - 7
Mahrez - 10
Grealish - 8
Alvarez - 8
Haaland - 8
Substitutions: Silva - 7, Walker - N/A
Written by: @CharlieTate02
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