LONDON, Dec 16 — Manchester City got back on track as the Premier League champions swept to a 3-0 win against woeful Arsenal, while Tottenham maintained their revival under Jose Mourinho with a dramatic 2-1 victory at Wolves yesterday.
City’s masterclass in north London and Jan Vertonghen’s last-gasp winner for Tottenham shared the spotlight on a day when Manchester United’s teenage striker Mason Greenwood rescued a 1-1 draw against Everton.
Kevin De Bruyne scored twice and teed up Raheem Sterling for City’s other goal as Arsenal crumbled to another humiliating home defeat.
Victory sees City close the gap on runaway leaders Liverpool back to 14 points and edge to within four of second-placed Leicester, who they host next weekend.
Arsenal, on the other hand, remain ninth on the back of just one win in their last 12 games in all competitions.
City struck in the second minute when Gabriel Jesus’s low cross picked out De Bruyne to fire into the roof of the net.
Pep Guardiola’s men had been ruthlessly cut apart on the counter-attack in losing to Manchester United last weekend.
But the visitors doubled their lead just 15 minutes in with De Bruyne the creator as he carried the ball forward before squaring for Sterling to slot home his 16th goal of the season.
De Bruyne showed his superior quality to any other player on the pitch again five minutes before half-time as this time he curled into the bottom corner from outside the box.
“We made an incredible result but the way we played against Manchester United was better in many, many things,” Guardiola said.
“We sometimes played much better than today and lost. I know we are judged on the result but I have a duty to judge the performance, not just the result.”
At Molineux, Mourinho’s men had to dig deep against in-form Wolves to inflict the hosts’ first league defeat in 12 games.
Adama Traore’s spectacular strike had cancelled out Tottenham winger Lucas Moura’s early opener before Vertonghen stooped to guide home Christan Eriksen’s corner in stoppage-time.
Spurs on the rise
Spurs can now move into the top four before Christmas if they beat Chelsea at home next weekend and Mourinho has his sights of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
“We went about a year without winning a Premier League game away and we’ve managed two in a short amount of time,” Mourinho added.
“Now we are not looking to the bottom of table, we’re looking higher up. This game is a special game because the opponent is a special opponent.”
United are one point behind Tottenham in sixth place after the momentum from their impressive recent run stalled in the Everton draw.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side fell behind to Victor Lindelof’s controversial first half own-goal after United’s appeals for a foul on David de Gea were ignored by VAR.
“It was a clear foul but there’s no point me complaining. It (VAR) will be better next year. They’ll have to look at it,” Solskjaer said.
But Greenwood, introduced in the second half, underlined his vast potential with a clinical strike 13 minutes from full-time.
The 18-year-old is the third youngest player to score a Premier League goal at Old Trafford after former United forwards Federico Macheda and Danny Welbeck.
Bradford-born Greenwood, a product of United’s youth academy, now has seven goals in his breakthrough season after netting twice in his previous appearance against Alkmaar in the Europa League on Thursday.
It was fitting that Greenwood scored in the 4,000th senior match in succession in which at least one youth graduate was represented in United’s first-team or matchday squad, an extraordinary record stretching back over nine decades.
For Duncan Ferguson, Everton’s caretaker manager, this spirited performance built on the momentum from last weekend’s win over Chelsea.
But Ferguson, a popular club legend, insisted he isn’t the right man to lead the Toffees in the long-term.
“I think it’s buying them a bit of time until they can get the right man in. That’s what a couple of results does, so we can make that process more diligent,” he said. — AFP