Premier League talking points: Man City fail to shake off Spurs hoodoo
Spurs seem to up their game whenever they play Man City
London — In the past couple of seasons Manchester City have swept the opposition aside as Pep Guardiola’s team collected trophies with ease. But one team has refused to be swept aside and that is Tottenham Hotspur, who seem to up their game whenever they play Man City.
This past weekend was no different as Spurs left the Etihad with a point after a six-goal thriller. This and other talking points from the 14th round of the Premier League season.
Spurs continue to frustrate Man City: Tottenham Hotspur, even with a depleted squad and on a run of three successive Premier League defeats, continue to be something of a bogey team for Manchester City after the two sides drew 3-3 in a thriller on Sunday.
Guardiola’s City side have beaten the north Londoners only twice in their last nine league encounters, with Spurs scoring eight goals on their last three visits to the Etihad. The return fixture shows an even worse record for City, with the champions having lost all five of their visits to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in all competitions.
It is an interesting quirk for a struggling Spurs side to be a consistent thorn in the side of last season’s treble winners and Guardiola, for whom Tottenham are the team he has the worst record against as City coach. The Spaniard will have to wait until April to try to break the hold Spurs have on his side in the league.
United’s Rashford draws criticism: Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford was the target of criticism for his apparent disinterest in their lackadaisical 1-0 loss at Newcastle on Saturday.
In one of his worst games of a rough season, Rashford barely touched the ball on the right wing and did not bother to track back before he was subbed off for Antony after an hour. His performance prompted scathing comments on social media.
“I will talk to him and not the media,” United manager Erik ten Hag told TNT Sports after the game.
Rashford has two league goals this term and one of those came after captain Bruno Fernandes handed him the ball to take a penalty in the recent 3-0 win at Everton to help his confidence.
“Marcus had an unbelievable season last season. This season, it hasn’t clicked for him,” United defender Harry Maguire said. “He’s working hard. Everyone in that dressing room knows what he’s about.”
Villa look like top-four gatecrashers: Few pundits would have tipped Aston Villa to be contesting for a spot in the Champions League when making their preseason predictions but Sunday’s draw at Bournemouth shows they mean business when it comes to challenging in the top four.
They had much to be discontented about — a goal chalked off for a marginal offside, a possible sending-off for their hosts that never materialised — but they never lost sight of the task in a second half that proved to be an uphill struggle.
Their persistence paid off when Ollie Watkins scored a late equaliser to grab a point that ensures Villa remain in fourth spot, having showed that despite the obstacles they have what it takes to keep pace with the leading pack.
Burnley out of the gloom for now: Burnley’s 2-1 defeat by visiting West Ham United last week engulfed the Lancashire club in gloom, leaving them as the only team in the top four divisions without a home point. A week later their 5-0 thrashing of fellow strugglers Sheffield United has brightened the mood considerably.
Goals from Jay Rodriguez, Jacob Bruun Larsen, Zeki Amdouni, Luca Koleosho and Josh Brownhill at Turf Moor gave Burnley their biggest Premier League victory.
Manager Vincent Kompany said the win had been long overdue and could prove to be a turning point in Burnley's campaign.
“I think the guys have deserved it. They have performed well for a while,” Kompany told the BBC. “It’s only a win but it’s an important moment... I think the team can progress a lot. The players are constantly getting better.”
Everton show they are not a bottom-three side: The crumb of comfort for beleaguered Everton fans is that they showed again they are not a bottom-three team despite being thrust into a third relegation battle in as many seasons by their 10-point deduction this term.
Had Everton not been sanctioned for breaching Premier League profitability and sustainability rules they would be in 12th place after Saturday’s 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest. They have won seven of their last 11 games in all competitions and six of their last eight away from home. That is not the form of a bottom-three side.
But though their position may be false in terms of points earned on the pitch, the Toffees are where they are and cannot let their momentum fade with home matches to come this week against Newcastle United and Chelsea.
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