Manchester City’s stunning comeback victory over Tottenham Hotspur is the focus of our latest Scout Notes piece.
The numbers you see in this article are taken from our Premium Members Area, where you can access Opta player and team data for every single Premier League fixture.
An inspired Riyad Mahrez (£7.5m) continued his rich vein of form on Thursday, scoring two second-half goals.
The Algerian added an assist and maximum bonus, leaving his small army of owners (4.2%) jumping for joy with a whopping 17-point haul.
Starting his fourth league match since the Gameweek 17 restart, Mahrez has now totalled 39 points in that time, 10 more than Erling Haaland (£12.2m) and 18 more than Kevin De Bruyne (£12.6m).
“Riyad Mahrez, what a player. Before the World Cup, he was on holiday. Now he has realised, ‘Oh!’” – Pep Guardiola
Haaland, meanwhile, ended his mini-drought with a goal, as he powered a header past Hugo Lloris (£5.5m).
As a result, the Norwegian finishes Double Gameweek 20 on eight points.
It is probably a bit below expectation, given that he had scored 14 goals in nine home matches leading up to the double, but some comfort can at least be found from the fact he did not blank, especially for triple captainers.
PEP EXPLAINS LEWIS AND ALVAREZ STARTS
Pep Guardiola responded to Saturday’s derby defeat by making five changes to his starting XI, which saw Kyle Walker (£4.8m), Joao Cancelo (£7.2m), De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva (£6.8m) and Phil Foden (£8.2m) drop out.
Rico Lewis (£3.9m) and Julian Alvarez (£6.0m) were among those who came in, with the latter providing more support to Haaland.
Explaining his decision prior to kick-off, Guardiola said:
“We need a bit more presence in the final third. Close to Erling, players like attacking midfielders to be close to them and we try to, his energy, his movements, his sense of goal, and that’s why he’s in my side.” – Pep Guardiola on Julian Alvarez
“Because the games he played he played really well. We wanted an extra man in the middle and he reads really well his positions, that’s why he’s selected. I know how he plays, he makes his teammates better. I know it’s a big responsibility, playing against Son, Kulusevski, Kane, they’re big stars that they have but he has had brilliant games against Chelsea and Liverpool, we want to attack today and we thought he was perfect for tonight.” – Pep Guardiola on Rico Lewis
Lewis was excellent, it must be said, with Guardiola praising both his full-backs after full time:
“Without Nathan [Ake] right now we cannot play good.
Rico [Lewis], 18 years old, was amazing in the Carabao Cup [and] against Leeds, the most aggressive team in the Premier League. He was in the small spaces, tap tap tap. At Chelsea at Stamford Bridge after one minute, he changed the game.” – Pep Guardiola
De Bruyne’s benching, meanwhile, was tactical according to Guardiola.
Man City have now kept just three clean sheets in their last 12 outings in all competitions, all coming against Chelsea.
On Thursday, it was another howler by Ederson (£5.4m) that gifted Spurs their opener, with Lloris later at fault (again) for the first of Mahrez’s goals.
“We have to prepare better, I cannot deny how happy we are but we are far away from the team that we were. Not in terms of play, we played good, but there are many things like competitiveness. We gave them the first goal, and then the second goal is ridiculous. There’s nothing from the stomach, from the guts and we were lucky but if we don’t change we will drop points.” – Pep Guardiola
“Definitely, otherwise we wouldn’t have conceded any of those goals that we have conceded in any of these games.” – Pep Guardiola when asked if a little bit of fire has gone out
As for Spurs, they have conceded two or more goals in 12 Premier League fixtures this season – no team has a worse record.
“Compared to last season we are conceding a lot more goals. A lot, a lot. It’s not good and to concede four goals in one half, the second half. This is the first time in my career that one of my teams has conceded so many goals. For sure this is a period we are not so lucky because we are making many, many mistakes, many mistakes, but football is this.
When we concede four goals the first person responsible is the coach. Then the players because I don’t put the mistakes on my players. The mistake first of all is mine because it means that maybe we have to work defensively more to be more compact, like the whole team not only the defenders because when we concede a goal it means the whole team not only the defenders, the keeper or a single player.
If you can see the stats about the goals we conceded this season then you can see that we have conceded a lot of goals. We have continued to score goals but the difference is a big difference. We have to try to find more solidity but when you concede a goal the whole team has to defend much better.” – Antonio Conte
City were on top for the vast majority of the first half but were sucker punched by two Spurs goals just before the break.
Dejan Kulusevski (£7.9m) netted the first, his seventh attacking return in only 10 starts in 2022/23.
He was close to adding an assist, too, when his low ball across the area found Ivan Perisic (£5.5m), who hit the bar after Lewis got between the ball and the goal.
In his last two matches, Kulusevski has racked up four shots and created five chances for his teammates.
Harry Kane (£11.7m), meanwhile, was belatedly awarded the assist for Emerson Royal’s (£4.9m) strike, when he fired a cross-shot at Ederson which the City ‘keeper could only parry, with the Brazilian scoring from the rebound.