|Erling Haaland scores to level matters at the Etihad against Tottenham on Thursday. City won 4-2. (Photo credit: Sky Sports)|
Manchester City swerved from mediocrity to sheer brilliance in a game of two halves on Thursday night at the Etihad after coming back from two goals down to beat Tottenham 4-2.
Pep Guardiola raised eyebrows with his selection; Rico Lewis at right back and Nathan Ake at the other end, the trio of Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, and Joao Cancelo all benched and none of them saw a single minute with Guardiola seeking to make a statement.
Spurs were on the defensive throughout the first half as City attacked relentlessly but against the run of play, the visitors struck. Two late first-half goals, first from Dejan Kulusevski and then the other from Emerson Royale sent the visitors to dreamland.
At halftime, the champions were eight points off Arsenal having played a game more, and whatever it was that Guardiola told his boys worked. City came out smoking in the second half; in a twelve minutes spell, the champions were back on top.
Julian Alvarez scored the first just six minutes after the restart, then the inevitability of Erling Haaland followed before Riyad Mahrez squeezed one in at Hugo Lloris’s near post, leaving many wondering if it’s time for the most capped French international to rest his gloves.
Ivan Perisic came close to getting the visitors back on track with his point-blank effort hitting the woodwork but it was City that scored again. Clement Lenglet misjudged an Ederson long ball and it fell fortuitously to Mahrez who gently lobbed the goalkeeper.
Guardiola was visibly angry after the game, he couldn’t hide it. "We concede four fouls and we don't react," Guardiola told Sky Sports. "There was nothing from the stomach and the guts, we were lucky but if we don't change sooner or later we're going to drop points”.
"The passion, fire, desire to win from minute one [was missing]. It's the same as our fans, they are silent for 45 minutes.