Premier League 2022-23, Manchester City trump Spurs 4-2: Key stats
Manchester City produced a stunning second half comeback to beat Tottenham 4-2 and prevent a potential fatal blow to their Premier League title defence on Thursday.
LONDON: After four Premier League titles in five years, Pep Guardiola publicly questioned Manchester City's credentials to win another this season, even after cutting Arsenal's lead at the top to five points.
A rousing second-half fightback on Thursday saw the defending champion score four goals to beat Tottenham 4-2 at the Etihad Stadium.
It was a performance that lifted the mood among City fans, who had jeered the team as it trailed 2-0 at halftime. For Guardiola, however, it was evidence that his players may have lost their edge after so much success.
"I'm incredibly happy with the result, I'll sleep like a baby tonight, but it's not about that," Guardiola said afterward.
"In 14 years, I won 11 league titles, that's a lot so it means every day I see things you cannot see because you're not there.
"I want a reaction for all the club, the whole organization — not just the players, the staff and everyone. We're a happy flowers team ... I don't want to be a happy flower. I want to beat Arsenal. But if we play in that way Arsenal will destroy us. Arsenal will beat us. I want to see my team." It was an impassioned reaction from Guardiola after seeing his team avoid another blow to its title challenge.
After the derby loss to Manchester United last weekend, City watched Arsenal open up an eight-point advantage at the top of the standings and risked losing further ground as Tottenham raced into a commanding first-half lead through goals from Dejan Kulusevski and Emerson Royal.
But City came back to score three times in 12 minutes after the break through Julian Alvarez, Erling Haaland and Riyadh Mahrez.
Mahrez then killed off any chance of a late twist when breaking away to score again in the 90th minute.
"We are far away from the team we had in previous seasons. Do you think this comeback will happen every time? It won't," Guardiola said. "Do you think we are going to chase the gap to Arsenal the way we are playing? No way." Despite Guardiola's frustration, a win against Wolverhampton on Sunday will see City move to within two points of Arsenal before the Londoners host Man United at Emirates Stadium later that day.
City's win against Tottenham ended a run of two straight losses against Southampton in the League Cup and United in the league.
Haaland's mini-drought of three games without a goal was also noteworthy and even prompted debate over whether the Norwegian should be dropped, despite scoring 27 in 23 appearances going into the game.
If such talk felt like an overreaction, Guardiola was sufficiently concerned about his team's form that he made a host of changes.
Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva, Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo were all dropped to the bench.
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