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City stops rot but Haaland injury uncertainty clouds win

Updated: 2023-12-12 10:08
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Brazilian striker Richarlison celebrates scoring Tottenham's second goal against Newcastle United in London on Sunday. A 4-1 victory earned Spurs their first win in six matches. AFP

LONDON — Manchester City survived a scare at Luton Town to end a four-match winless run in the Premier League with a 2-1 victory, while Chelsea's problems mounted with a 2-0 defeat at Everton on Sunday.

Tottenham Hotspur won for the first time in six matches as Richarlison's double inspired a 4-1 rout of dismal Newcastle United.

With star striker Erling Haaland absent due to injury, City trailed to Elijah Adebayo's goal late in the first half at Kenilworth Road.

But, after squandering a host of chances, Pep Guardiola's side finally clicked into gear with two goals in three minutes after the break.

Bernardo Silva equalized and Jack Grealish bagged the winner to give City a much-needed first victory in five league matches.

After its lethargic 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa on Wednesday, which followed draws with Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham, City was in danger of falling out of the title race.

Liverpool's win at Crystal Palace on Saturday had moved the leader seven points clear of City.

But fourth-placed City responded with a gritty display to close the gap on Liverpool to four points.

City still has work to do to regain control of its bid for an unprecedented fourth successive top-flight title and Haaland's fitness scare could not have come at a worse time.

Haaland, who had started all of City's league matches this season, was sidelined with a foot injury that could impact his availability for the team's hectic Christmas schedule.

"A bone stress reaction in his feet," Guardiola told Sky Sports ahead of Sunday's kickoff when asked why Haaland was not in the squad.

Asked about the severity of the injury, Guardiola added: "I don't know. Week by week, day by day, we'll see what happens."

The Spaniard continued: "The most important thing to change the dynamic is winning games. That helps a lot. We didn't get results sometimes when we deserved, but that's what it is. Today was a good test."

'We need to improve'

Everton continued to shrug off the impact of a 10-point deduction as victory over Chelsea took the Toffees four points clear of the relegation zone.

Abdoulaye Doucoure opened the scoring at Goodison Park before Lewis Dobbin's goal imposed another damaging defeat on Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Without the penalty for breaching financial rules, Everton would be four points above Chelsea in mid-table.

Pochettino shuffled his pack after a dreadful display in losing 2-1 at Manchester United in midweek.

But the Argentine is struggling to solve his side's lack of a clinical edge, despite the club having spent 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) on players in the past three transfer windows.

"This was a game to win. It's a problem we need to check. We need to talk and to try and improve in the next transfer market," Pochettino said.

Since topping the Premier League after beating Crystal Palace on Oct 27, Tottenham had lost four of its next five games to squander the momentum from its blistering start to the season.

Ange Postecoglou's attacking tactics were branded naive during that losing run, but the Australian stuck to his guns on Sunday and was rewarded with a goal spree at Newcastle's expense.

Destiny Udogie put Tottenham ahead in the first half in north London and Brazil striker Richarlison doubled the lead before the break.

Richarlison netted again in the second half and Son Heung-min converted a late penalty as fifth-placed Spurs moved within three points of fourth-placed City.

Joelinton's goal in the final seconds was no consolation for outclassed Newcastle.

"Our attacking play was as good as it has been for a while. You can see Newcastle are running on fumes. We've gone through that and hopefully we are coming out the other side," Postecoglou said.

Fulham ran riot for the second time in a week as it thrashed West Ham 5-0 at Craven Cottage.

Just four days after Fulham beat Nottingham Forest by the same scoreline, Marco Silva's side turned on the style again.

Raul Jimenez opened the scoring to take his personal tally to four in five games. Willian and Tosin Adarabioyo netted before the interval, with Harry Wilson and Carlos Vinicius completing the demolition.


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