MANCHESTER, England ( Associated Press) — Julian Alvarez scored as Manchester City rebounded to beat Tottenham 4-2 in the Premier League to extend their lead to five points over Arsenal.
The defending champions suffered yet another disappointing defeat. He was 2–0 down at half-time and heard whistles and abuse from his own supporters.
A goal from Argentine Alvarez, another from Erling Haaland and a double from Riyad Mahrez defined an exciting match at the Etihad Stadium.
After losing to Manchester United in the weekend’s derby, City saw themselves slip eight points clear of Arsenal in place of honour. The Nationals were in danger of losing further ground after Tottenham took a first-half lead with goals from Dejan Kulusevski and Emerson Royal.
But the response after the break included three goals in 12 minutes.
Mahrez had given the hosts the lead in the 63rd minute and broke away to score again in the 90th minute, taking away any chance for Spurs to react.
City take on Wolverhampton on Sunday and host London at the Emirates Stadium before United could move to within two points of Arsenal.
Even the return did not please manager Pep Guardiola, who publicly questioned his team’s credentials in what would have been their fifth Premiership title in six years.
“I am incredibly happy with the result. Tonight I will sleep like a baby, but the most important thing is not”, admitted the Spaniard. “In 14 years, I have won 11 league titles. That’s a lot, and it means that every day I see things that some don’t see because they’re not there.
“I want feedback from the whole club, the whole organisation, not just the players, staff and others. We are a team that looks very satisfied… I don’t want that. I want to beat Arsenal. But if we Arsenal will destroy us if we play like this. I want to see my team.”
For now, the city was spared a blow that would have been devastating.
“We are far from the team we were last season. Do you think this comeback will always happen? No,” said Guardiola. “Do you think the way we are playing, we are going to reduce Arsenal’s advantage? no way”.
City ended the season on a run of two defeats, against Southampton and in the League Cup and against United in the Premiership.
Haaland ended a mini-drought of three games without a goal, which also generated a debate about whether the Norwegian should leave the starting lineup, despite scoring 27 goals in 23 appearances.
If this sounds like an exaggeration, Guardiola was worried enough about his team’s form to make a number of changes.
Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva, Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo were all sent to the bench.
Kulusevski opened the scoring after 4 minutes and Emerson scored with a header in stoppage time.
Alvarez brought Guardiola’s side close to 51 with a precise shot, and Haaland equalized two minutes later with a header in front of goal, raising his tally to 28 goals in the campaign.