MANCHESTER City are not just intent on preserving their status as Premier League top dogs at Manchester United’s expense, it seems they want to claim the title as comeback kings as well.
Manchester City - Aguero (65), Dzeko (88)
Tottenham Hotspur - Caulker (21)
Less than 24 hours after United had roared back from two goals down to win at Aston Villa, City recovered from a half-time deficit to complete a 2-1 win over Tottenham. And just as Javier Hernandez has become the Red Devils’ super-sub with his exploits off the bench, so Edin Dzeko has done the same for City, scoring an 88th-minute winner today after Sergio Aguero had levelled Steven Caulker’s opener.
“If there is a comparable situation to this one, it is Javier Hernandez yesterday,” acknowledged Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas. “In the last three games he has scored six times. He has come on and made a difference.
“Today, Dzeko made the difference with the ambition to show he deserves to be in the final XI.”
Amazingly, whilst United have come from behind to win eight times this season in all competitions, City have done it four times in the Premier League.
It moved them back to within two points of leaders United and extended their unbeaten home record in the Premier League to 35 games.
Not bad for a team said to be in crisis after another disappointing Champions League experience against Ajax in midweek. “We are not playing to answer questions,” said City coach David Platt. “We are playing to win football matches. That is what our focus is. We don’t get motivated because people want to say things outside our camp.
“There is a football match to win that gets us three points.”
Dzeko has now scored seven goals this season, six of which have come from the bench.
City’s shaky defence was exposed again in the 21st minute when a straightforward free-kick delivered from the touchline by Tom Huddlestone found Caulker, who had been given too much room to make his run. The header should still have been stopped. This time, goalkeeper Joe Hart, so often City’s saviour, only managed to shovel it in.
On a day when little seemed to be going right for the hosts, they profited from a couple of fortunate bounces, allowing Yaya Toure to get on the end of Silva’s pass, then Aguero to collect possession inside the Spurs box turn and dispatch a precise shot into the bottom corner. From that moment on, there only seemed likely to be one winner.
Tottenham were creaking and when Silva found Dzeko in the box three minutes from time, the Bosnian kept his nerve to complete another memorable comeback.
Villas-Boas added that Kyle Walker will be assessed by the England medical staff after experiencing a tight hamstring.