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Football London
Football London
Sam Hill

'Collapse of epic proportions' - National media reacts as Tottenham suffer defeat at Man City

Tottenham suffered a devastating 4-2 defeat against Manchester City on Thursday night after leading 2-0 at half-time at the Etihad Stadium. Spurs have now lost back-to-back games in the Premier League and risk falling further away from the top four.

Dejan Kulusevski opened the scoring for the visitors in his second match after returning from injury. Emerson Royal doubled the Lilywhites' lead just minutes later after nodding the ball home from close range over his Brazilian compatriot Ederson in the City goal.

Spurs were in control heading into the second half but Pep Guardiola's side turned the game on it's head within 18 minutes as goals from Julian Alvarez, Erling Haaland and Riyad Mahrez put the hosts ahead. Mahrez secured the three points for City with a fourth goal before the full-time whistle on a disappointing night for Spurs, who endured a second half collapse in Manchester.

READ MORE: Antonio Conte's telling post-match comment as Man City expose Tottenham's greatest problem takes a look at how the national media reacted to the devastating defeat for Antonio Conte's side.

The Mirror

Manchester City closed the gap on Premier League leaders Arsenal to just five points with a gutsy 4-2 win over Tottenham after a sensational second-half comeback. Pep Guardiola's side dominated large spells of the first half but it was Spurs who took the lead after Ederson's mistake allowed Dejan Kulusevski to coolly slot home from 12 yards.

Moments later, Tottenham doubled their advantage through Emerson Royal, who headed home from close-range following Harry Kane's saved shot. It was a shock to the system for City, who must have had a stern talking to by Guardiola at half-time as they came out a completely different outfit and produced a remarkable 12-minute turnaround.

Julian Alvarez, Erling Haaland and Riyad Mahrez all struck for City as they shell shocked Spurs within a short period. Tottenham had chances to level and came close through Heung min-Son but his effort hit the post via a deflection.

City wrapped up the points with a couple of minutes to go, however, as Mahrez ran through on goal before clipping the ball over a despairing Hugo Lloris.

The Guardian

Tottenham have not really done first halves over the past few months. In 14 previous games in all competitions, they had scored only once before the interval. But what was this? Antonio Conte’s team were 2-0 up when the half-time whistle sounded, the Etihad Stadium in a state of uproar, Manchester City’s players departing to jeers, Pep Guardiola looking as if he might combust.

City had needed a response to their derby defeat at Manchester United, to a sequence of two wins in five Premier League matches that had allowed Arsenal to lengthen their stride at the top of the table. Now they really needed one. Spurs’ goals had been scored at the end of the half by Dejan Kulusevski and Emerson Royal – a startling one-two punch – and they could scent a repeat of their victory here from last season, the one that ignited their successful push for the top four.

After all of their recent difficulties, the frustrating results (three league wins in nine), the continuing saga over Conte’s intentions post the end of the season, it was shaping up as another turning point. Yet Guardiola would get his response. It was Riyad Mahrez who decided that enough was enough. It was time for somebody in sky blue to impose themselves and that somebody was him.

It was not entirely a one-man mission to eviscerate Tottenham's defensive structure, especially the left side of it – manned principally by Ivan Perisic – but it was not far off. In a wild period after the restart, Mahrez was at the heart of City’s first two goals, the ones that restored parity and got the home crowd firmly back onside.

Daily Mail

For the best part of an hour here at the Etihad, it looked like being a good night for Tottenham and an even better one for Arsenal. Spurs led 2-0 against the run of play and Manchester City’s hopes of catching the Gunners at the top of the Premier League appeared to be fading fast.

Five days after losing the Manchester derby, Pep Guardiola was on his knees and staring at three defeats in a row for only the third time in his managerial career. Antonio Conte’s side, on the other hand, had bounced back from their comprehensive defeat to Arsenal in the North London derby and were suddenly on course for an unlikely win thanks to goals from Dejan Kulusevski and Emerson Royal.

Even by Tottenham’s standards, however, what came next was a collapse of epic proportions. Heaven knows what Guardiola said – or did – during the half-time interval with the opprobrium of the home fans still ringing in his ears, but City came out for the second half like a team possessed.

Julian Alvarez pulled one back and Erling Haaland ended a run of three games without a goal by heading City level from Riyad Mahrez’s assist. Mahrez then completed a stunning turnaround by scoring a third goal in the space of 13 minutes before sealing victory with the fourth goal late on.

While Guardiola celebrated on the touchline, Conte wore a look of utter resignation after a sixth defeat in 10 league games. The only consolation for Tottenham fans is that it has turned up the pressure on Arsenal in the title race.

The leaders’ advantage is down to five points – albeit with a game in hand – and that could be cut to two by the time Arsenal face Manchester United at the Emirates on Sunday if City beat Wolves earlier in the day. It was quite clear from this performance that the champions won’t give up their crown without a hell of a fight, even though they simply cannot afford to be as careless as this too often in the second half of the season.

Still, it made for an entertaining night when the defending was hardly top drawer and neither goalkeeper covered himself in glory. Hugo Lloris provided his critics with more ammunition and Ederson wasn’t much better.

When substitute Clement Lenglet miscontrolled Ederson’s long punt late on, Mahrez was in again to clip in his second goal and City’s fourth. You could almost hear Arsenal’s bubble burst. City are back in the race. Game on.


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