Riyad Mahrez celebrates scoring for Manchester City against Chelsea
London (AFP) - Manchester City kept Premier League leaders Liverpool in their sights on Saturday after battling back to beat Chelsea as Jose Mourinho ended Tottenham’s away-day woes in his first game in charge.
Leicester saw off Brighton 2-0 to stay in second place, eight points behind Jurgen Klopp’s men, while struggling Arsenal needed a stoppage-time goal to draw 2-2 with lowly Southampton.
Liverpool’s hard-fought 2-1 win at Crystal Palace meant defending champions City went into their evening match against high-flying Chelsea 12 points behind the pacesetters.
N’Golo Kante gave the visitors a deserved lead midway through the first half at the Etihad but City hit back with a deflected shot from Kevin De Bruyne and a trademark Riyad Mahrez strike to win 2-1.
Pep Guardiola’s men were never entirely comfortable with a one-goal lead but their margin of victory could have been greater as Raheem Sterling found the bottom corner deep into stoppage time, only for VAR to rule the goal out for offside.
City’s possession figure of 46.74 percent is the lowest recorded by a side managed by Pep Guardiola in any of his 381 top-flight matches in charge.
“It was a top game against a top side,” Guardiola told Sky Sports. “Chelsea have been big quality for the past 20 years. When they went ahead in the best moments they had we scored through Kevin De Bruyne. Then we missed a lot of chances.”
Guardiola sounded the alarm over all-time top-scorer Sergio Aguero, who limped off in the second half, saying he feared his injury could be “bad”.
- Liverpool late show -
Roberto Firmino kept Liverpool eight points clear with a late winner
Earlier, Liverpool once again demonstrated their knack for scoring last-gasp winners, with Roberto Firmino finishing from close range following a goalmouth scramble.
Liverpool had looked set to drop points for just the second time this season after Wilfried Zaha cancelled out Sadio Mane’s opener in the 82nd minute.
The European champions, chasing their first league title for 30 years, have now won 12 of their 13 Premier League matches this season and are unbeaten in 30 league games.
“We are not out there to show we invented football. We have a job to do to get results. We did that again,” said Klopp.
“I have no problem that we were not brilliant today. You just have to make sure you are ready to fight for the result and we were that from the first minute.”
Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester kept up their dogged pursuit of the leaders, with second-half goals from Ayoze Perez and Jamie Vardy giving them a fifth successive league win.
- Mourinho effect -
Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho started his reign at the club with a 3-2 victory at West Ham
In the early kick-off at the London Stadium, Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane were on the scoresheet for Tottenham as Mourinho won his first game in charge 3-2, days after replacing the sacked Mauricio Pochettino.
Spurs’ first away league victory since January will help to endear Mourinho to sceptical supporters, who were sad to see Pochettino dismissed less than six months after leading the club to a first-ever Champions League final.
“It was very, very important. Eleven months without music in the away dressing room, without a smile, without happiness and they did it,” said the former Chelsea and Manchester United boss.
“That’s where I belong (on the touchline), that is my natural habitat. I just love it. When things go in your direction, winning is the best feeling.”
Arsenal manager Unai Emery is under increasing pressure after another limp display that leaves them winless in five Premier League matches.
Arsenal manager Unai Emery is under pressure after a poor run in the Premier League
Southampton took an early lead at the Emirates through Danny Ings only for Alexandre Lacazette to level.
James Ward-Prowse restored Southampton’s lead in the second half but Lacazette saved Emery’s blushes with a goal deep into stoppage time.
In-form Wolves won 2-1 at 10-man Bournemouth courtesy of a Joao Moutinho free-kick and Raul Jimenez’s goal to climb to fifth in the table.
Norwich lifted themselves off the bottom with a 2-0 victory away to Everton while Burnley won 3-0 at Watford, who are now bottom.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United face Sheffield United on Sunday with a chance to move into fifth place.