Football News

Man City 4-2 Tottenham: Riyad Mahrez saves Ederson’s blushes in excellent second-half comeback

By Harry Edwards

Published: 22:14, 19 January 2023

Manchester City sparked a remarkable second-half comeback to beat Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 and keep their Premier League title hopes alive.

When the first half looked to be petering out goalless, Tottenham capitalised on Man City defensive errors and went in at the break 2-0 up thanks to goals from Dejan Kulusevski and Emerson Royal.

The Etihad was shocked but less than 10 minutes after half-time, Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland had pulled Man City level before a brace from Riyad Mahrez won it.

Here’s how the players rated at the Etihad:

Manchester City

Ederson – 2 – It was his fault that Man City were 2-0 down at half-time. First he produced a risky and terrible pass to Rodri which led to Kulusevski opening the scoring, before palming Kane’s shot onto Emerson’s head for the second. A bit unfortunate with the second but you’d still hope for a goalkeeper of his supposed calibre to be doing better.

Nathan Ake – 7 – In at left-back ahead of Joao Cancelo, Ake was pushing high up the pitch which ended up leaving big gaps for Tottenham’s winger to break into. But fortunately it wasn’t overly costly, and Ake put in a decent performance especially going forward.

John Stones – 6 – Really didn’t have too much to do as Tottenham lacked a lot in attack, despite scoring twice.

Manuel Akanji – 6 – Like Stones, wasn’t worked too hard, though as a duo they were part of the defence which crumbled after going a goal down.

Rico Lewis – 8 – Moved over to the right, Lewis was playing the Cancelo role, moving central to set up a 3-3-4, and he was brilliant. Both in defence and attack, Lewis didn’t look out of place in Man City’s star-studded line up and it’s hard to see him being left out of the starting XI – especially when he’s putting in crucial blocks like the one on Perisic’s shot that would have put Tottenham 3-2 up.

Jack Grealish – 6 – It was a strange game for Grealish. He looked dangerous with the ball at his feet and pushed Emerson but he was really wasteful in his decision making. He either held onto the ball for too long or made the wrong pass, but maybe we’re being a bit too picky. Should be praised for an excellent recovery tackle to stop Son on the break in the first half.

Rodri – 7 – You cannot blame Rodri for the first Tottenham goal as he was put in trouble by Ederson, but he should have done better for the second. The Spaniard was beaten way too easily by Kane on the touchline, very weak in his challenge. As the game stretched in the second half, Rodri shone.

Ilkay Gundogan – 7 – The game passed Gundogan by slightly in the first half, and he was guilty a few times of not playing the right attacking passes, but the German helped Man City dominate after half-time.

Julian Alvarez – 7 – Playing the supporting role, Alvarez was definitely the busier of Man City’s strikers and got himself involved all over the pitch. Rewarded for his performance with an instinctive finish to start Man City’s comeback finish.

Erling Haaland – 6 – He may have scored Man City’s equaliser with a header from close range, but he couldn’t miss that even when not looking himself. There’s still someone not quite right about Haaland right now, missing a few chances that he would’ve buried earlier in the season. He also seemed to be going down too easily in the box in search of a penalty, on more than one occasion.

Riyad Mahrez – 9 – The man of the night, turning the game on its head in the second half. You won’t get many more perfect performances in the Premier League this season, but he just missed out on the 10 as he was quiet in the first half. Had Perisic on toast for Man City’s first three goals, recording an assist for the second and scoring the third. Got his second in injury-time, not resting on a long ball over the top, and it’s no less than he deserved. Superb.

Substitutes:

Bernardo Silva (for Gundogan 81′) – N/A – A late sub.

Kyle Walker (for Lewis 83′) – N/A – A late sub.

Ruben Dias (for Haaland 90′) – N/A – A late sub.


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Tottenham

Hugo Lloris – 4 – Good stop on a shot from Lewis in the first half, not troubled by a deflection. But fingers will be pointed at him for Man City’s third as he was beaten by Mahrez at his near post. The mistakes keep creeping in.

Ben Davies – 5 – Failed to stop Mahrez for the Algerian’s first goal and wasn’t the rock Tottenham needed to stop the man City onslaught just after half-time. This was a collective failure though.

Eric Dier – 5 – Made a good block on Alvarez’s shot in the first half but really struggled after half-time.

Cristian Romero – 6 – Fantastic tackle on Grealish to stop him from sending a cross into Haaland in the first half. Looked up for a fight at times, which was risky considering he picked up an early booking, but he was far and away Tottenham’s best centre-back – not that it was too hard to be.

Ivan Perisic – 2 – Had three key moments up against Mahrez and was beaten on all three occasions, for Man City’s first three goals. As far as costly mistakes go, you’ll be hard-pushed to find someone have as negative an impact on a game as Perisic here. Could have put Tottenham 3-2 up with a late run into the box but his shot was blocked well. Spared further humiliation by his 69th-minute substitution.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – 4 – Game passed him by.

Rodrigo Bentancur – 7 – A good game on his return from injury, Bentancur perfectly epitomised what Antonio Conte wanted from his midfield in the first half. It was his pressing on Ederson’s pass to Rodri which led to Kulusevski opening the scoring.

Emerson Royal – 6 – Was in the right place at the right time for his goal but it was still a good header and came after a lung-busting run into the box to apply the pressure. Not so great defensively.


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Son Heung-min – 3 – This is not a man playing with confidence. Messed up an opportunity for a breakaway in the first half due to hesitancy, eventually being tackled by Grealish. Really couldn’t get into the game, which is going to be a big problem for Tottenham.

Dejan Kulusevski – 7 – Caused problems moving into the space often left by Ake, it’s just unfortunate that he couldn’t have more of an impact in the second half – let down slightly by his attacking teammates. Read Bentancur’s pressure and Rodri’s pass well before finishing coolly to put Tottenham 1-0 up.

Harry Kane – 6 – Wonderful work for second goal, not giving up on the ball against Rodri on the byline, before firing a difficult ball at Ederson. But he was pretty quiet otherwise.

Substitutes:

Ryan Sessegnon (for Perisic 69′) – 6 – Defensively more solid than the man he replaced and showed some fight going forward.

Yves Bissouma (for Bentancur 75′) – 5 – Added very little.

Richarlison (for Emerson 78′) – 5 – Didn’t make much difference.

Clement Lenglet (for Davies 78′) – 3 – Failure to control a long ball led to Mahrez making it 4-2.

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