Manchester City overpowered Tottenham with a stunning comeback at Etihad Stadium to close the gap on Premier League leaders Arsenal to five points.
Spurs looked to be doing bitter north London rivals Arsenal a huge favour when they scored twice in the closing moments of the first half to leave Pep Guardiola’s side staring at a third successive loss.
Dejan Kulusevski gave Spurs the lead seconds before the break after Rodrigo Bentancur robbed Rodri following Ederson’s poor clearance, then Emerson Royal headed a second after the City keeper could only push out Harry Kane’s shot.
Most inside the Etihad Stadium were frustrated but City, inspired by the outstanding Riyad Mahrez, came flying out after the interval to turn the game on its head with three goals in 12 minutes.
Julian Alvarez scored from close range after Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris could not claim Mahrez’s cross in the 51st minute, then Erling Haaland headed in from close range two minutes later to draw City level.
Spurs almost regained the lead when Ivan Perisic’s shot was deflected onto the woodwork by Rico Lewis before Mahrez completed City’s comeback, winning a challenge before beating Lloris at his near post.
France veteran Lloris was at fault once again after his own goal set Arsenal on their way to victory in the derby on Sunday.
Mahrez completed a brilliant individual display when he raced clear in stoppage time to lift a clever finish over the keeper for City’s fourth.
City show champion class
Manchester City left the pitch at half-time with heads bowed and their jeering supporters frustrated, mainly by what they felt was referee Simon Hooper’s failure to punish Spurs for a succession of fouls as well as a two-goal deficit.
What followed was a devastating show of power from City, who came out after the break and simply refused to be denied as Spurs were unable to cope with their attacking variety.
Mahrez was magnificent, scoring two goals and being involved in the others and he continues his rich vein of form.
City have also uncovered another gem in 18-year-old Rico Lewis, who was heavily involved before and after the double strike from Spurs that made Etihad Stadium such an anxious place during the interval.
History tells us that City, as they were in that decisive title victory against Aston Villa on the final day of last season and against Crystal Palace here earlier this season, can never be counted out at two goals down and Alvarez’s strike so early in the second half had a galvanizing effect on the champions and a demoralising impact on Spurs.
Time running out for Lloris?
A World Cup winner with France in 2018, Lloris has been a fine servant for Spurs since signing from Lyon – but it is looking increasingly like time for change.
The 36-year-old has been at Spurs for more than a decade but now looks increasingly fallible, his game increasingly error-ridden and uncertain.
Lloris was badly at fault when he fumbled Bukayo Saka’s cross into his own net for Arsenal’s opening goal in Spurs’ north London derby defeat on Sunday, and he blundered again as they subsided against rampant City.
He did not show enough conviction when trying to claim Mahrez’s cross for City’s first goal – the ball dropping for Alvarez to score – then he was badly beaten at his near post as Spurs went behind for the first time in the game. Mahrez’s shot carried power but Lloris had to do better.
Spurs have been linked with Brentford keeper David Raya and Everton’s Jordan Pickford, which comes as no surprise as this position looks increasingly like a problem manager Antonio Conte will have to address as a matter of urgency.