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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Scott Murray

Manchester City 4-2 Tottenham: Premier League – as it happened

Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez celebrates scoring his side's third goal with teammates.
And the crowd goes wild! Photograph: Dave Howarth/CameraSport/Getty Images

Guardiola speaks!

Jonathan Liew on City's comeback

The post-match interviews were almost as entertaining as the match itself. Expect more drama down the line. Meanwhile a reminder that David Hytner’s report is in. Here it is! Thanks for reading this MBM. Nighty night.

Antonio Conte isn’t that much happier. “In the last game, last season, City dominated the game for most of it. We were really good to score three goals. In the same time, we didn’t concede many. Today we played a good game, we played with personality. We put a lot of pressure on them. At the same time, I’m disappointed because this is the first time in my career that my team have conceded four goals in one half. We have to continue to work and improve this group of players. We have to reduce the gap and the process has just started. We have to work technically and tactically. We have to manage situations like today. The second half we conceded after a few minutes. Then the second goal after two minutes. You have to be calm and find a solution. You have to be a bit lucky and we were unlucky, after 2-2 we had a massive chance to score again and go up. If that had happened, I don’t know the reaction of Manchester City. But instead we conceded two goals. We need time to create something important for this team. I am disappointed for this loss, because I hate loss. To concede four in 45 minutes, we have to improve a lot. With more focus, we are good.”

Sky’s Patrick Davidson then again bravely prods the bear. “So what do the club need to do next, yourself, everyone else involved, to close that gap between Tottenham and the other top clubs?”

Conte responds: “This is not a question for me, this is a question for the club.”

Sky’s Patrick Davidson is earning his corn tonight all right, because his opening gambit to Pep Guardiola is met with a steely stare.

PD: “What did you say at half time? Because whatever it was, it worked.”
[Pinteresque pause]
Pep: “Do you believe that?”
PD: “It’s a question.”
Pep: “You have to prepare better.”
PD: “People keep telling me that.”

Then the meat of the interview, and unlike Pádraic Súilleabháin in the Banshees of Inisherin, Pep’s not a happy lad. “We are far away from the team that we were. There are many things that we are far away, far away. We play because ‘my manager told me to do this and this’, but there is nothing from the stomach, the guts. We were lucky, and if we don’t change, sooner or later we are going to drop points. No passion, fire, desire to win from minute one. It’s the same from our fans. They were silent for 45 minutes. They booed because we were losing, but not because we played bad. We played good. We were better. They booed because we were losing, but maybe it’s like our team. Maybe they’re too comfortable because we have won four Premier Leagues in five years. After we scored a goal they react, but tsch, that is not the point.”

Has the fire gone out of everything, asks Davidson. “Definitely. Otherwise we don’t concede the goals we do every game. We give them. We give them. Today we were lucky but the day after we will not be lucky.” How do you get it back? “It is my duty, my job. I want my fans back. Not my away fans, my away fans is the best. My fans here. We have to do it. But everyone is relaxed. The Premier League don’t wait. Arsenal have the fire. Everything is so comfortable, but opponents don’t wait. Of course I’m not happy. I don’t recognise my team! My team always had passion, desire, they ran and everything.”

The final flourish, as Davidson asks whether Pep told his players all of this in the dressing room. Another look of utter disdain.

Pep: “I’m not going to tell you what I said.”
PD: “Aw come on, tell us.”
Pep [shoving past]: “No, absolutely not.”

That was worth the price of admission alone.


Managerial chat to come, so don’t leave us yet. In the meantime, David Hytner’s report has landed, and here it is. Open up another tab, and enjoy.

Jack Grealish is always good value in the post-match interviews, and there’s an amusing moment when he’s asked by Sky’s Patrick Davidson to reminisce about his crunching first-half tackle on Son. Davidson describes it as his “highlight of your game”, and Grealish, laughing out loud, responds: “It’s never a good sign when that’s the highlight of a winger’s match! I put in a tackle and anything could have happened but luckily I won the ball.” Interviewer and interviewee hug, and Grealish departs in good spirits, having the final word: “Horrible, that!”

Jack Grealish speaks to Sky Sports. “I thought we actually did alright in the first half. We had the better chances. It obviously wasn’t the best dressing room at half time. It was silent for a while. But the manager gave us some encouragement and I thought we were brilliant in the second half. We weren’t thinking about the table, we were just thinking about the game. Since I’ve been here we’ve lost both games against Spurs, and I thought that might be the case [again] at half time. But Riyad was on fire!”

Man-of-the-match Riyad Mahrez adds: “We played good in the first half. We were frustrated at half time. The manager spoke to us and we knew, we’ve done it before, that we can come back from two goals behind. We played so good in the second half. We showed what we are. We deserved the win. It’s very good and we have to keep going. We were more direct and aggressive with the ball. The second half was top.”

Fans of Spurs and league leaders Arsenal will understandably demur, for their own differing reasons, but that was such a lot of fun. It may prove a huge turning point in the title race, too. At the break, City were staring down the barrel of an eight-point deficit at the top, Arsenal with one game in hand. But their sensational second-half switcheroo means they snap their two-game losing streak and cut the gap to five points. Confidence very much restored … and all done without Kevin De Bruyne as well, who got a nice rest. Given City still have to play the Gunners twice, this title race is very much ON. If this is anything to go by, the second half of the season could be quite the ride.

Pos Team P GD Pts
1 Arsenal 18 28 47
2 Man City 19 30 42
3 Man Utd 19 8 39
4 Newcastle 19 22 38
5 Tottenham Hotspur 20 8 33

FULL TIME: Manchester City 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur

City aren’t booed off the pitch this time! A huge roar greets the final whistle. What a second-half turnaround! Can this fixture be played every week?

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola celebrates after the final whistle.
The final whistle brings joy for Guardiola. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images/Reuters
Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane looks dejected after his side’s 4-2 defeat to Manchester City.
Whilst there’s disappointment for Spur's Harry Kane. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images/Reuters


90 min +3: Son slides Richarlison into space down the right. Richarlison has an opportunity to find Kane in the middle, where he’d surely sidefoot home from ten yards. But the low cross clanks into the first man. No consolation third for Spurs.

90 min +2: Grealish strides down the middle with Mahrez, on a hat-trick, to his right. He opts to feed Alvarez to his left instead. Alvarez slashes a hysterical shot high and wide. No hat-trick for Mahrez, but he has been named man of the match. He’s been quite outstanding in this second half.

90 min +1: In the first of four added minutes, Haaland makes way for Dias.

GOAL! Manchester City 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur (Mahrez 90)

It’s all over! Ederson launches long. Lenglet miscontrols, 30 yards out. Mahrez latches onto the loose ball, reaches the edge of the Spurs box, draws Lloris, and dinks home to secure a sensational comeback win for the champions of England!

Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City scores the 4-2 goal against Tottenham Hotspur.
Riyad Mahrez bags a brace. Photograph: Andrew Yates/EPA
Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez celebrates scoring their fourth goal against Tottenham Hotspur.
And then celebrates. Photograph: Molly Darlington/Reuters
Tottenham Hotspur players look dejected after Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City scores a goal to make the score 4-2.
Tottenham Hotspur players look gobsmacked, they’ve gone from 2 goals up to losing 4-2 in the space of less than 45 minutes. Photograph: Paul Currie/Shutterstock


89 min: Kane chases after a long pass down the right and whips into the middle for Son. Ederson makes the catch, but only at the second swipe. For a nanosecond, it looked as though the City keeper was going to gift another goal to Spurs.

87 min: A big few minutes coming up, and the game suddenly takes on the rhythm of a basketball match. Proper end-to-end hectic fun. City attack. Spurs counter. Hojbjerg makes a nuisance of himself to the left of the City six-yard box but can’t get the ball under control for a shot, and his eventual cutback goes to nobody.

85 min: Haaland nearly bursts clear down the middle but can’t power his way past Romero, who stands firm and refuses to concede the space required for a shot. Haaland falls over instead, and half-heartedly claims for a penalty. City are certainly not getting this one.

83 min: The superb Rico Lewis makes way for Walker. “The virtue of patience in football is overrated. Confirmation bias kicks in because the better teams usually enjoy more possession and, when they eventually do convert it into goals (as they should), their patience is lauded. But nobody counts the goals impatience would have brought. City have looked more impatient in this half than at any time in weeks and far better for it in terms of outcomes and entertainment.” Professor Gary Naylor there, providing some analysis for your edification.

82 min: The corner’s swung long. Rodri rises at the far post and heads back across goal. Richarlison jumps with his arm out. The ball hits that arm, but from close range, and with his back turned. You’ve seen them given, but though VAR takes a look, there’s no interest in awarding a penalty this time. Spurs get away with one there.

81 min: Haaland, Mahrez and Alvarez race en masse towards the Spurs box. They overplay and can’t get a shot away, but settle for a corner. Mahrez to take from the right.

80 min: City make their first change of the evening, swapping out Gundogan for Bernardo Silva.

78 min: A double change for Spurs, as Davies and Emerson make way for Lenglet and Richarlison. “Does Jonathan Wilson also have an insight into Spurs conceding goals in bursts?” wonders Matthieu de Vallavieille.

77 min: Grealish and Ake combine crisply down the left. Haaland races into the box, screaming for a high cross to head home. Ake instead cuts back to nobody in particular.

75 min: Bissouma comes on for Bentancur. “Don’t know why Paul Romney is saying oops,” begins Richard Hirst, setting himself up for the punchline. “He was right: business as usual - for both City and Spurs.”

74 min: With Kane screaming for the ball in the middle, and City light at the back, Son and Emerson take an age to combine down the right wing and get a cross away. When one eventually comes in, the ball breaks back to Romero, who lashes a woeful effort miles over the bar. Son so ponderous, so obviously drained of confidence right now.

72 min: Son shovels the free kick down the inside-right channel. Kane makes a superb diagonal run out of the pack to meet the ball, 12 yards out, just to the right of goal. If he brings it down properly, he’s got a clear shot at goal. But the ball clanks up onto his hand, and although he still manages to get a shot away, it’s no good, and the whistle soon goes for the handball anyway.

71 min: Gundogan goes over in the vicinity of Romero, and demands a free kick. The referee quite rightly doesn’t award one. Spurs counter. Gundogan, incensed, races back and skittles Bentancur. Now that’s a free kick. Spurs load the box.

69 min: Perisic, who came so close to retaking the lead for Spurs, makes way for Sessegnon. The margins between success and failure are tissue-paper thin in the Premier League.

67 min: Spurs look utterly shell-shocked. On the touchline, Antonio Conte quietly seethes. You’d pay to witness his full-time dressing-room debrief if this result stays the same, wouldn’t you. “Oops!” adds Spurs fan and half-time correspondent Paul Romney.

65 min: Lloris should have saved that. There was a slight deflection on Mahrez’s shot, off Davies, but even so, it shouldn’t have slipped through such a small gap with the keeper in situ at the near post. It took City a mere 18 minutes to turn this match around the full 180!

Tottenham Hotspur's Hugo Lloris looks dejected after Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez scored their third goal.
Tottenham Hotspur's keeper Hugo Lloris looks dejected after picking the ball out the net for the third time tonight. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images/Reuters


GOAL! Manchester City 3-2 Tottenham Hotspur (Mahrez 63)

Rodri passes towards Mahrez on the right wing. Perisic should intercept, but he misses the ball altogether. Mahrez romps into the box, drops a shoulder to get past Davies, and sends a screamer past Lloris at his near post! What a turnaround! That’s why they’re champions.

Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez scores their third goal past Tottenham Hotspur's Hugo Lloris.
Riyad Mahrez thumps Manchester City into the lead. Photograph: Molly Darlington/Reuters


62 min: Kulusevski with space down the right yet again. He reaches the edge of the box and rolls across to Kane, who drags an uncharacteristically wild shot miles right of the target. The scoring in this match is surely not over.

60 min: Kulusevski romps down the right wing, sent clear by Kane’s cute reverse pass. He strides into acres and reaches the byline. He cuts back for Son, but the ball flies behind him and through to Perisic instead. Spurs surely must score! But Perisic’s low drive is deflected up off Lewis, bravely throwing himself in its road, onto the bar, and away! Spurs so close to retaking the lead!

58 min: Ake comes sliding in on Kulusevski. He’s not out of control, but he is clumsy, and he catches his man on the ankle. A sore one, but the Spurs winger is good to continue, and it’s a chance for Spurs to catch a breath and attempt to regroup. “To bring some relief to Matt Dony, we ain’t weighing this result against Arsenal’s title ambitions now,” writes Yash Gupta. “Up against our own defenders though!”

56 min: Now Mahrez sends a screamer inches wide of the right-hand post. You wouldn’t think Pep possesses a hairdryer. Not to look at him. But looks like he turned one on, full blast, at half time!

55 min: City are absolutely rampant! Grealish shimmies and shakes his way down the left and into the box. He makes just enough space to shoot from a tight angle but opts to cross instead. Poor decision, as his low fizzer is hacked clear by Hojbjerg.

GOAL! Manchester City 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur (Haaland 53)

City may concede goals in batches. They also score them in batches too! Mahrez slips a pass infield from the right for Rodri, who shovels it down the channel. Mahrez has kept running, and wins a header on the right-hand edge of the six-yard box. He sends the ball across to Haaland, who can’t miss with a header from close range! What a game this is! What a comeback!

Erling Haaland heads past Tottenham Hotspur’s keeper Hugo Lloris to score and put Manchester City level at 2-2.
Erling Haaland heads past Tottenham Hotspur’s keeper Hugo Lloris to restore parity at the Etihad Stadium. Photograph: Molly Darlington/Reuters
Manchester City’s Erling Haaland celebrates scoring the team’s second goal and put them level against Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium.
Haaland celebrates his goal. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images


GOAL! Manchester City 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur (Alvarez 51)

City haven’t exactly flown out of the blocks at the start of the second half. So Lewis takes things into his own hands, moving through the gears down the right. Having picked up City’s pace, the hosts strike. Mahrez drops a shoulder to skate past Perisic down the right and stands one up. Lloris can’t clear. Gundogan can’t get a header goalwards. The ball drops to Alvarez, who sweeps home from eight yards. The comeback’s on!

Manchester City's Julian Alvarez slots the ball home from close range to get the home side back in the game.
Manchester City's Julian Alvarez slots the ball home from close range to get the home side back in the game. Photograph: Molly Darlington/Reuters
Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez celebrates scoring the team’s first goal against Tottenham Hotspur.
Alvarez celebrates. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images


49 min: Emerson goes down to get some treatment for an ankle knock. He’s up again soon enough. The City fans don’t appreciate the break in play. Meanwhile here’s Matt Dony: “Delirious Spurs fans everywhere weighing up this potential result against the fact that it helps Arsenal inch closer to the League title. Football. You beautiful, heartless enigma.”

48 min: Alvarez spins down the inside-right channel and looks for the bottom-left corner from distance. Lloris ushers a tame effort out for a goal kick.

46 min: Mahrez launches long down the right wing. Davies calmly heads back to Lloris.

City get the second half underway. Somewhat surprisingly, there have been no changes. How long until Kevin De Bruyne is sent on?

Meanwhile in the Sky studio, City legend Micah Richards is fuming, not so much at the scoreline, more the booing that rang around the Etihad when the half-time whistle sounded. “That’s not acceptable. City have brought joy for years now. They’ve won four leagues out of five! You can’t be booing. I’m always with the fans, but you can’t be booing the players after that.” To be fair to the City supporters, it wasn’t the entire stadium, so let’s not tar everyone. A loud minority. But more than loud enough to be notable, and also startle co-commentator Gary Neville, who reacted with no little surprise.

Half-time postbag. “It is remarkable how true Jonathan Wilson’s insight into Guardiola teams conceding goals in bursts holds, years and years after he first made it. Surely Guardiola has thought about this too, and yet here we are” – Kári Tulinius

“Haaland is wasted at City. He’s not being best used waiting for pass 105 after five minutes of slow robotic possession. He should be running riot, tearing defenders a new one. An agent of chaos. Over Guardiola’s dead body. It’s a big mistake” – Brendan Murphy

“It’s business as usual” – Paul Romney

HALF TIME: Manchester City 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur

The reigning champions are booed off! Tough crowd.

GOAL! Manchester City 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur (Emerson 45+2)

Kane nearly bursts clear down the middle but can’t get past Stones. The ball pings off to the right flank. Kulusevski advances it into the box. Kane block tackles Rodri near the byline to the right of goal and gets up. He hits a fierce cross-cum-shot that Ederson can only parry at his near post. The ball pings up to Emerson, who neatly nuts a header into the net from close range! Wow!

Tottenham Hotspur’s Emerson Royal heads home their second goal.
Tottenham Hotspur’s Emerson Royal heads home their second goal. Photograph: Molly Darlington/Reuters
Tottenham Hotspur’s Emerson Royal heads home their second goal.
Here’s a view of the finish from behind the goal. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA


45 min: On the touchline, Pep Guardiola drops to his haunches and stares at the floor awhile, before springing back up and spinning around in frustration. And he’ll be doubly annoyed now, because …

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola looks dejected after Tottenham Hotspur's Dejan Kulusevski opened the scoring.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola looks dejected after Tottenham Hotspur's Dejan Kulusevski opened the scoring. Photograph: Molly Darlington/Reuters


GOAL! Manchester City 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur (Kulusevski 44)

Disaster for Ederson! His careless pass out from the back towards Rodri puts his team-mate under all sorts of pressure. Rodri pokes the ball to his right, with Bentancur lurking. It rolls straight to Kulusevski, who takes a touch before dispatching a low drive across the clumsy keeper and into the bottom left! Spurs lead! Great news for Arsenal!

Dejan Kulusevski of Tottenham fires the ball past Manchester City keeper Ederson to open the scoring.
Dejan Kulusevski of Tottenham fires the ball past Manchester City keeper Ederson to open the scoring. Photograph: Andrew Yates/EPA


43 min: Haaland suddenly comes to life. First up, Ake wedges a long pass down the left channel. Haaland is free, but can’t round Lloris, who blocks then punches the loose ball clear. Then Rodri curls in from the right. Lloris comes out but doesn’t get to the ball. Haaland rises in the middle, but loops his header over the bar. The best chance of the match so far. Frustration written all across Haaland’s face.

Manchester City's Erling Haaland heads at goal but can’t the ball down and it sails over the bar.
Manchester City's Erling Haaland heads at goal but can’t the ball down and it sails over the bar. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images/Reuters


41 min: Kulusevski probes down the right only to lose out in a tussle with Gundogan. He wants a free kick. Gundogan isn’t best pleased that Kulusevski has gone to ground. Nobody happy. We move on.

39 min: … so having said that, City go up the other end and nearly open the scoring, Lewis buying a ticket for the raffle from 25 yards, his low drive nearly bagatelling its way into the bottom right. Lloris gets down well to block with a strong hand.

38 min: Haaland heads the corner clear. Some blessed relief for City, who haven’t been on the rack exactly, but are having a few questions asked of them.

37 min: Palpable anxiety spreads through the Etihad as Spurs continue to pin City back. Another corner won on the right. The visitors load the box. Perisic to take.

36 min: Spurs are growing into this game. Davies makes good down the left and stands one up to the far post. Son rises but his header, intended for the top right, flicks off Ake and becomes easy pickings for Ederson.

35 min: Mahrez’s careless pass infield nearly gives Kane a chance to race clear down the left channel. Lewis reads the danger, sticking out a telescopic leg to guide the ball back to his keeper. But Spurs soon come again, Emerson winning a corner down the right. Perisic swings it in. Ederson comes for it and fumbles, but eventually the loose ball is battered clear.

33 min: Kane crosses from the right. Son rises but can’t guide a header goalwards. Stones gets in the road and the ball deflects out for a goal kick. There’s an enjoyable intensity to this.

31 min: Hojbjerg chases Lewis through the centre circle. Lewis falls, then Hojbjerg lands awkwardly on the young City star, studding his leg. Accidental or not? The referee shows a yellow, so make of that what you will.

30 min: Both teams are giving everything. Bentancur crashes into Lewis and is slightly fortunate not to go into the book. Then Grealish scampers down the left and makes it into the box, only to be denied by a perfectly timed Romero tackle. That took some nerve, given it was in the box and he’s already on a booking. Nothing comes of the resulting corner.

29 min: A corner on the right leads to a corner on the left. Mahrez swings it towards the near post, where Emerson volleys spectacularly clear. “I’m just catching up and am horrified to see nobody corrected you on your assertion that no team has ever beaten a Pep Guardiola side three times in a row,” writes Ciarán Leinster. “I refer you to Liverpool’s 9-4 victory over 3 legs in the league and Champions League in early 2018. Shall we assume you meant league games and all get on with our lives?”

28 min: Haaland wins a header in the Spurs box, but can only send it backwards. The ball is half cleared. Rodri picks it up and sends a screamer through a crowded box. The shot deflects wide right for a corner.

26 min: Perisic curls a delicious ball into the City box from the left. At the far post, Kane cocks his leg back with the intention of shooting, only for Ake to eyebrow the dropping ball away just in time. That’s saved a certain goal! Nothing comes of the resulting corner.

25 min: Spurs break upfield from a City corner. Son romps after a long pass down the left. He’s got Kane totally free in the middle, in acres, but can’t get the ball under control. Having hesitated, he’s soon tackled heartily by Grealish, and the danger is gone. The crowd enjoyed that.

23 min: … but he does now, as Akanji is hit by a late Romero tackle. There wasn’t too much in it, but a Spurs booking seemed inevitable given the events of the last few minutes.

22 min: The impressive Lewis spins Bentancur and is clipped to the floor. The home crowd want a booking, but the referee doesn’t comply.

21 min: Spurs launch an immediate counter through Kulusevski, who is in flight down the right when he’s brought down by Mahrez. The City winger goes into the book.

20 min: Grealish dribbles his way down the left and wins City a corner. Mahrez takes. Romero bashes a header clear but Gundogan reclaims possession and sends Grealish off down the left again. His low cross is met by Alvarez, who bangs a first-time shot goalwards from 12 yards. Dier does extremely well to spread himself and block.

18 min: Ake crosses from the left. Perisic rises on the edge of his box and heads backwards towards Lloris. There’s just enough height on the looping header to allow Lloris to pluck it from the sky under pressure from Alvarez. City come again soon after, Gundogan looking for Haaland down the inside-left channel. Haaland crashes over as he strides into the box, claiming a clip by Romero, but the referee’s not interested and waves play on.

Tottenham Hotspur's keeper Hugo Lloris grabs the ball whilst under pressure from Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez.
Tottenham Hotspur's keeper Hugo Lloris grabs the ball whilst under pressure from Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images/Reuters


16 min: Bentancur rolls a clever ball down the inside-right channel to release Kane into the City box. Kane lashes his shot into the side netting, but it doesn’t matter, the flag popping up for a clear offside soon after.


15 min: Kulusevski gives Emerson too much to do with a pass down the right flank. Emerson gives chase anyway, and is unceremoniously crunch-tackled by Ake for his trouble. Both teams are in Full Commitment mode tonight.

14 min: Rodri cheekily runs his boot down the back of Hojbjerg’s leg. Just a free kick, but there’s another player who can consider himself slightly fortunate not to go into the referee’s notebook early doors.

13 min: Mahrez belts the free kick straight into the Spurs wall. A massive disappointment for the home fans, who groan accordingly.

12 min: Rodri tries to release Mahrez down the right but is clattered mid-pass by Davies. The referee gets his yellow card out, but decides against booking the Spurs defender. It’s a free kick, though, 25 yards out, just to the right of centre.

10 min: Alvarez makes good down the right and earns the first corner of the evening. All eyes on Haaland, lurking on the penalty spot. Mahrez curls it long. Haaland, having made a clever run towards the far stick, attempts to cushion a sidefoot into the net from a tight angle. A strangely careful effort is deflected out for another corner, from which nothing happens.

8 min: Lewis makes a nuisance of himself 30 yards from goal, then lays off to Gundogan, who nearly releases Haaland into the box with a delicate wedge forward. Just a bit too much juice on the pass. A nice feel to this game, with both teams appearing to be in the mood.

6 min: Spurs have enjoyed 58 percent possession during these early exchanges, outCitying City. Conte will be pleased with his team’s start.

Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane surges forward as Manchester City's Julian Alvarez and Manuel Akanji look on.
Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane surges forward as Manchester City's Julian Alvarez and Manuel Akanji look on. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images/Reuters


5 min: Lewis crosses from the right. Haaland rises highest, six yards out, but can’t get his head on the ball, which sails out for a goal kick. A couple of inches lower, and Spurs were in a world of pain.

4 min: City stroke it around the middle patiently, asserting some home dominance.

2 min: Kulusevski pushes right up on Ederson, but the City keeper doesn’t panic with the ball at his feet and clears his lines. City hearts in mouths for a nanosecond there.

Spurs – who are looking to become the first team to win three matches in a row against a Pep Guardiola side – get the ball rolling. They pass it around the back for a bit, then Son and Perisic nearly make some ground down the left with a crisp one-two. Throw to City, but some very early proactive play from Spurs.

The teams are out. City wear their sky blue, while Spurs sport lily white. The visitors also wear black armbands in memory of their former player Anton Walkes, who passed away after a boating accident this week.

A quick reminder of how this fixture panned out last season. Forget astonishing. Forget sensational. It was truly psychedelic. More, please, City! More, please, Spurs!

Antonio Conte talks, gnomically, to Sky Sports. “Rodrigo [Bentancur] is an important player for us, with [Pierre-Emile] Hojbjerg. They do not play many games together, but they always give good performances. We must start to win, and then we will see what happens.”

Pre-match positivity: the Tottenham Hotspur way. “I laughed at this tweet back when it was first posted,” begins Yash Gupta …

“… and so far it’s been the only saving grace of this season. It is hilarious every time I read it. This season so far has been extremely disappointing, from starting with thinking Conte is nothing like Mourinho to realising Conte is a Poundland Mourinho. Anyway, if Spurs win Arsenal become favourites, and if Spurs lose Conte might leave. Looking forward to a 3-0 win for Tottenham with 15% possession. Bring it on!”

Alexandra Ashton adds: “I’m surprised both Lloris and Son start today. Lloris’ performance against Arsenal had Forster nailed to start (I had thought), and Son has been so poor for this entire season that Richarlison deserves a start. Kane isn’t dropping deep into that midfield role as he was wont to do last season, and Son is really suffering for it, being unable to latch onto through balls from deep. It would certainly be representative of our season so far if we beat City home and away, handing Arsenal the title. Bizarre inconsistency with flashes of good performances.”

That’s the spirit, folks. All aboard the emotional rollercoaster! Dissatisfaction guaranteed!

Pep Guardiola – who turned 52 yesterday and gets a belated happy birthday to you 🎶 – speaks to Sky Sports. “Even if we had won at Old Trafford this would be important. Last season we dropped six points against Spurs. Rico Lewis has played really well, he reads the positions, and that’s why he is selected. It’s a big responsibility, he’ll play against Son, Kulusevski, Kane, but it’s the perfect choice tonight. We have some patterns of play that we need to reignite again. The solution is not to do something that we have not done in seven years, because we have won four Premier Leagues in five years. If I think we should do something different, I would be stupid, because it works! So you have to try to do it again. Sometimes you forget. It is up to me to find the patterns!”

Manchester City make five changes to the side that started the 2-1 derby defeat by United. Julian Alvaraez makes only his second start in the Premier League for City. He’s in along with Rico Lewis, John Stones, Ilkay Gundogan and Jack Grealish. Some big stars drop to the bench: Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Kevin de Bruyne, Phil Foden.

Tottenham Hotspur are also coming off the back of a derby loss, having been comprehensively beaten 2-0 by Arsenal. Ivan Perisic, Rodrigo Bentancur, Ben Davies and Emerson Royal are back, as Clement Lenglet, Ryan Sessegnon, Pape Matar Sarr and Matt Doherty drop to the bench.


The teams

Manchester City: Ederson, Lewis, Stones, Akanji, Ake, Rodrigo, Gundogan, Grealish, Mahrez, Alvarez, Haaland.
Subs: Ortega Moreno, Walker, Dias, Phillips, Cancelo, Laporte, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Foden.

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Emerson, Dier, Romero, Davies, Hojbjerg, Perisic, Bentancur, Son, Kane, Kulusevski.
Subs: Forster, Sanchez, Doherty, Sessegnon, Tanganga, Matar Sarr, Lenglet, Bissouma, Richarlison.



Manchester City have lost their last two games. As a result, they’re out of the League Cup and eight points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal. Pep Guardiola has been kidding on that he doesn’t care any more, everything all gone, but come off it and come on. He’ll still be desperate to add City’s name to an elite list of three-in-a-row champions alongside Huddersfield Town, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United.

Three points tonight and it’s back on, especially as Arsenal have to deal with in-form United at the weekend. On the face of it, you’d expect City to ease past troubled Tottenham, who are sputtering along in fifth spot, somehow hanging onto the fringes of the top-four race despite a series of unconvincing displays. But some teams just have your number, and Spurs have made a habit in recent years of upsetting City, not least last season when they did the double over them. This could be fun, then, one way or another. Kick off is at 8pm GMT. It’s on!

Pos Team P GD Pts
1 Arsenal 18 28 47
2 Man City 18 28 39
3 Man Utd 19 8 39
4 Newcastle 19 22 38
5 Tottenham Hotspur 19 10 33
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