Steven Bergwijn scored a superb volley on his debut as Tottenham earned a 2-0 victory over Manchester City, who dominated possession but missed a penalty and had Oleksandr Zinchenko sent off.

Pep Guardiola's men were perhaps guilty of overplaying in front of goal across the course of a game that exploded into life when Hugo Lloris saved an Ilkay Gundogan spot-kick in a frenetic climax a tense first half at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The champions remained on top until Zinchenko received a second booking and his marching orders, leaving Spurs to capitalise on their man advantage almost immediately with Bergwijn's memorable strike after 63 minutes.

Son Heung-Min's seventh top-flight goal of the season left City with too much to do in the final 20 minutes and they suffered a first defeat in six league outings that all but extinguishes their already faint title hopes with Liverpool 22 points clear at the top of the table.

Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero missed early chances in the Spurs box and Raheem Sterling escaped with just a yellow card after a dangerous challenge that almost buckled Dele Alli's ankle.

Riyad Mahrez turned his back on a shooting chance when he mistakenly thought he had been flagged offside but moments later his threaded pass sent Aguero through for a shot against the foot of the post as Spurs came under fire.

The half ended in chaos, with a belated VAR review overturning referee Mike Dean's decision not to award Aguero a penalty following a clumsy challenge by Serge Aurier.

After Gundogan's spot-kick was saved by Lloris, there was an angry melee as Tottenham's players fumed over Sterling's attempt to win another penalty when he tumbled over the goalkeeper's arms, with Toby Alderweireld and Zinchenko booked for their contributions.

A mix-up between Lloris and Japhet Tanganga allowed Aguero to loop a shot towards goal that was cleared as far as Sterling and he squared to Gundogan, who blazed over the crossbar with the net gaping.

Zinchenko was shown a second yellow card for barging Harry Winks as the Spurs midfielder broke towards the half-way line and shortly after the hosts were ahead.

Lucas Moura chipped the ball to the edge of the box where Bergwijn controlled it with his chest and volleyed into the bottom-right corner of the net with exquisite technique.

Eight minutes later, Tanguy Ndombele carved an opening for Son, whose deflected shot from just inside the box beat Ederson at his near post to double Tottenham's lead and the closest City came to pulling one back was a Davinson Sanchez header against his own crossbar at the death.

 

What does it mean? Liverpool's title party plans come forward

With City trailing so far behind, Liverpool need just 18 more points to clinch the Premier League title and at the rate they are winning games that will not take long.

Tottenham, meanwhile, are up to fifth in the table and will be confident of closing the four-point gap to Chelsea above them after beating the champions.

Winks fares well in De Bruyne battle

Kevin De Bruyne tends to control games from his position in the City engine room but Harry Winks broke up the play and put Spurs on the front foot at key moments to help turn the game.

Rodrigo fades after promising start

Rodrigo showed glimpses of his silky passing abilities early on but by the second half was little more than a bystander as Spurs turned the screw.

What's next?

City are back at Etihad Stadium on Sunday when West Ham are the visitors, while Spurs travel to Aston Villa in the league after their midweek FA Cup replay against Southampton.

Clashes between teams managed by Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola have affected many a title race over the years, but pride might take precedence over Premier League points during Sunday's meeting between Tottenham and Manchester City.

Mourinho has lost more games in all competitions against teams coached by Guardiola than against any other manager, and he will be desperate to send City packing after Tottenham ended a torrid run of Premier League results with a 2-1 win over Norwich City.

But Spurs were far from convincing against the Canaries, Son Heung-min's 79th-minute winner sparing them the ignominy of a fifth consecutive winless league outing after a lacklustre performance at home to the division's bottom club.

City arrive at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in buoyant mood, meanwhile, having recovered from a disappointing December and put together a five-game unbeaten streak in the Premier League that included a 6-1 thrashing of Aston Villa.

The title looks beyond City given Liverpool's comfortable lead at the top of the table, but with third-placed Leicester City faltering, Guardiola will be keen for his men to tighten their grip on second and remain poised to close the gap at the summit should the Reds suffer an unlikely blip.

 

GUARDIOLA GUNNING FOR NORTH LONDON RECORD

No top-flight team have ever won six consecutive away matches against Arsenal and Tottenham, but if City claim three points against Spurs on Sunday, Guardiola's side will claim that record.

City have won on their past five trips to North London - enjoying as many victories as they claimed in their first 40 Premier League games at Arsenal and Spurs - and another happy day in the capital looks well within their reach.

Victory for the champions would see defender Aymeric Laporte break the record for most wins (43) in his first 50 Premier League appearances, currently shared by Didier Drogba, Arjen Robben and Ederson (all 42).

Kevin De Bruyne provided the assist as Sergio Aguero scored the winner in City's 1-0 win at Sheffield United last time out in the league, and the Belgium international has averaged an assist every 180 minutes in the Premier League - the best ratio in the competition's history.

But Tottenham also have a man in form in Dele Alli, who has had a hand in nine goals in 16 games in all competitions under Mourinho - three times as many as he had registered under Mauricio Pochettino this season (two goals, one assist in 10 appearances).

HEAD-TO-HEAD: PEP GUARDIOLA V JOSE MOURINHO

Spurs are the fifth team Mourinho has taken charge of against Guardiola as the two coaches prepare to do battle for the 23rd time in their managerial careers.

Mourinho has tasted victory in home games against Guardiola's teams just twice, getting one over his old nemesis when Inter beat Barcelona 3-1 in April 2010 and when Manchester United edged out City 1-0 in October 2016.

But Guardiola is unbeaten on the road in league fixtures against Mourinho, overseeing three victories and one draw against teams managed by the Spurs boss.

Only against Manuel Pellegrini (6) and Unai Emery (5) has Guardiola faced a manager more times on the road without losing a league game.

FORM GUIDE

City are yet to win three consecutive Premier League away games this season, but that will change if they claim maximum points in North London.

The champions are in a rich vein of form, winning six and drawing one of their past eight league games. Although they lost to Manchester United in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, City still advanced into the final on aggregate.

Guardiola will be relishing the prospect of a chance to condemn Spurs to a third defeat in seven home league games under Mourinho, who is struggling to shore up a leaky defence.

Tottenham have kept just two clean sheets in their past 19 Premier League matches, during which time they have scored 27 goals and conceded 26, but they will aim to make home advantage count against City.

Only Norwich (71 per cent) and Everton (70 per cent) have claimed a higher percentage of league points from home games this term than Spurs (68 per cent), who have not earned back-to-back top-flight wins since they beat Burnley and then Wolves in early December.

HISTORY SAYS…

There was a time when Tottenham looked forward to Premier League clashes with Manchester City, who they have beaten 23 times in the competition.

But none of the past six league meetings between the two sides have resulted in a Spurs victory, the Lilywhites claiming two draws and suffering four defeats since beating City 2-0 in October 2016.

That defeat was the only game in City's most recent 18 clashes with Tottenham in which they have failed to score.

Spurs twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at Etihad Stadium when these sides last met in the league, and if the points are shared again on Sunday, it will be the first season since 2003-04 to produce two top-flight draws between them.

Kevin De Bruyne could not comprehend how Manchester City lost to Manchester United in the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final.

City went down 1-0 at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, but the holders still progressed with a 3-2 aggregate victory to set up a final against Aston Villa.

Pep Guardiola's side - who are in the hunt for a third straight EFL Cup title - wasted a glut of glaring chances, with Raheem Sterling missing two notable opportunities while David De Gea was also in good form for United.

But with goalscorer Nemanja Matic sent off, United failed to make City pay for their profligacy, and De Bruyne knows his side must take heed from their mistakes.

"I think so," De Bruyne told Sky Sports when asked if it was a relief to hear the final whistle. 

"I can't even comprehend how we lost this game. For me, United didn't even have one chance. We were way too wasteful. We have to learn from this but at least it's good we got into the final.

"I think we got sloppy. The goal, we didn't clear the lines well and they scored. After, I don't think United had one more chance but they only needed one to score.

"In the end, we fought for what we had and we need to learn from the mistakes."

However, De Bruyne dismissed the suggestion City's defeat would tarnish their progression to a third consecutive final in the competition. 

"Of course not. If we win the final, nobody will talk about this game," he added. "It's not nice and we should have done better but it's just the way it goes sometimes.

"It's beautiful. I've been lucky in the five years I've been here to go [to Wembley] seven or eight times now.

"It means we're doing really well. It's always a nice day and now we're going to fight to win the cup."

Meanwhile, Ilkay Gundogan echoed De Bruyne's sentiments, but he believes City displayed the resilience they will need when they meet Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League.

"I totally agree, we should have scored early in the first half. We started well but, after United scored, we were a bit sloppy," he said.

"We should have scored at least one or two goals today but it was not meant to be.

"It was a great test for the Real Madrid games. The manager said before the game it was an experience we had to survive and to overcome.

"I think we can improve - it's a learning process. We will analyse and try to make it better."

Kevin De Bruyne made Premier League history on Tuesday as he became the first player to provide 15 or more assists in three separate seasons.

The brilliant Belgian laid on the winning goal for Sergio Aguero as Manchester City beat Sheffield United 1-0 at Bramall Lane.

In doing so, De Bruyne racked up his 15th assist of a typically creative campaign, adding to his playmaking exploits of 2016-17 (18 assists) and 2017-18 (16).

The 28-year-old is also on course to enjoy his most prolific goalscoring season in the English top flight, having netted seven times to move within one of the total of eight he achieved two seasons ago.

Liverpool dominated the voting for UEFA's Champions League Team of the Year 2019, with five Reds players making the final XI alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Jurgen Klopp led Liverpool to their sixth European title in Madrid in June, with Mohamed Salah and Divock Origi on target in a 2-0 victory over Tottenham at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Virgil van Dijk was named man of the match and he features alongside Anfield defensive colleagues Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, as well as goalkeeper Alisson.

Sadio Mane is the other Liverpool player in the line-up, part of a front four completed by Messi, Ronaldo and Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski.

Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong earned blockbusting moves to Juventus and Barcelona respectively as they helped Ajax to last season's semi-finals and both make the select side, with the latter partnered in central midfield by Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne.

More than two million votes were cast to select the team via UEFA.com over the course of a six-week period.

Liverpool continued their relentless march towards the Premier League title with a 1-0 victory over Tottenham while Sergio Aguero sent records tumbling in Manchester City's resounding win at Aston Villa.

The Reds moved 16 points clear at the top thanks to Leicester City's defeat to Southampton – as Danny Ings kept up his superb form – though the gap was reduced slightly when City thrashed Villa on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Manchester United ended a three-match winless streak with a resounding 4-0 triumph over lowly Norwich City.

We review the key top-flight matches with the help of Opta data.

 

CHAMPIONS-ELECT SET NEW BENCHMARKS AS TITLE TILT CONTINUES AT PACE

Barring a collapse of epic proportions, it seems certain that the Premier League title will be Liverpool's for the first time come the end of the season – or earlier, at this rate.

Roberto Firmino's fifth goal in his past six appearances handed Jurgen Klopp's side the points at Tottenham, who lost successive league matches for the first time this season, and have also conceded 20 goals in 13 matches under Jose Mourinho.

Liverpool sit on 61 points at the top of the pile, the most any side has ever registered after 21 matches in a single season across Europe's big five leagues.

Klopp's team have amassed 104 points across their past 38 Premier League games, winning 33 times and drawing on five occasions; this is a record total by any team across a 38-match run in the competition's history.

It is 38 league games since Liverpool last suffered a defeat. In the same amount of time, Spurs have lost 16 matches – including three defeats to the Reds.

AGUERO SMASHES RECORDS IN SIX-GOAL ROMP

It was a waltz in Villa Park for City on Sunday, as Aguero's hat-trick and a masterclass from Kevin De Bruyne propelled Pep Guardiola's side to a 6-1 win and up into second place.

With his second goal – which came early in the second half to put City 5-0 up – Aguero became the highest-scoring non-British player in Premier League history, moving ahead of Thierry Henry.

Aguero moved onto 177 top-flight goals when he thumped in his third, making the former Atletico Madrid forward the outright record holder for hat-tricks in the Premier League with 12 to his name – one ahead of Alan Shearer's tally of 11.

After his first-half double and assist for Aguero's hat-trick goal, Riyad Mahrez is the only Premier League player to both score and assist 20 goals or more since the start of last season in all competitions. 

De Bruyne, meanwhile, is now on 15 assists for this campaign after teeing up two of City's goals.

INGS KEEPS GETTING BETTER

Two of the Premier League's leading scorers went head-to-head at the King Power Stadium, but while Jamie Vardy failed to inspire Leicester City to victory, Southampton's Ings proved the match-winner as the Saints gained revenge for their 9-0 defeat in the reverse fixture.

Ings' effort nine minutes from time was his 14th of the season and his ninth goal in his past 10 top-flight appearances.

It means 40 per cent of Ings' 35 Premier League goals have come in this campaign, while he is also the highest-scoring Southampton player since Jay Rodriguez in 2013-14.

Dennis Praet put Leicester ahead and is the 14th different player to have scored for the Foxes in the Premier League this term, while Brendan Rodgers suffered successive home defeats for the first time since he took over.

UNITED'S FORWARDS RUN RIOT IN OLD TRAFFORD ROUT

Missing leading scorer Teemu Pukki, Norwich City never looked likely to trouble United, who cruised to a convincing win to lift themselves into fifth place.

It is the first time United have scored four goals in consecutive home games in the league since September 2017, while the Canaries have not won in nine Premier League matches.

Marcus Rashford scored twice and is now on 19 goals in all competitions this season – only Raheem Sterling, with 20, has more among Premier League players.

Juan Mata set up two goals, the first time he has provided two assists in a league match since October 2012 – also against Norwich – while Mason Greenwood has scored four top-flight goals this term, more than any other teenager in the competition.

Gabriel Jesus dispatched an unfussy left-footed finish to put Manchester City 4-0 up before half-time at Villa Park but knew this was no time to bask in his own achievement.

Beaming in a giggling grin, the Brazil forward made straight for Kevin De Bruyne, City's playmaker extraordinaire who had made it virtually impossible for him not to score the 14th goal of a quietly impressive season.

De Bruyne collected possession just inside the Villa half and strode purposefully away from Danny Drinkwater, who was enduring the sort of debut the director of a slasher horror movie might have found a little on the nose.

Soon enough he was in the position. The Kevin De Bruyne position.

You know the one – just on the edge of the final third, a little wide of the right-hand side of the penalty area. The perfect angle for De Bruyne to wrap that delectable right foot around the ball and arc it towards and then tantalisingly away from goal.

The sort of cross that screams "score me". All of Villa's back three heard the cries, with right-sided centre-back Ezri Konsa flinging himself in an ungainly heap in a futile attempt to stop the inevitable.

It was De Bruyne's 14th assist of the Premier League season and plenty of those have been similarly picture perfect. Number 13 also featured Drinkwater in the rear-view mirror for a simple pass to Sergio Aguero, who rifled in spectacularly from 20 yards to set himself on the way to a hat-trick.

Aguero's part in this scintillating 6-1 spree saw him pass Thierry Henry as the Premier League's top-scoring overseas player and Alan Shearer as the man with the largest collection of trebles (12) in the competition.

But there is no doubt De Bruyne is the beating heart of this City team, something that has become abundantly clear over recent weeks in the face of a new reality established by Jurgen Klopp's relentless and ravenous Liverpool.

Without wishing to underplay Guardiola's achievement in marching an intricate, high-end team to back-to-back Premier League titles, the past two seasons largely consisted of him sending out his favoured 4-3-3 formation and watching the marvellous Mancunian machine take flight.

Compromised by form and fitness problems for key players this time around, and with Liverpool disappearing over the horizon, the City manager has shuffled his pack into a range of tactical shapes over the past month.

A fluid 4-2-3-1 was rolled out for a 3-0 triumph at Arsenal in December – the second victory in a run of 10 wins from 11 in all competitions, where City began a recent theme of doing decisive damage before half-time.

De Bruyne ran the show as a number 10, scything a bouncing ball into the top corner with outstanding technique and curling home a more controlled effort either side of bursting through the right-hand side of the Gunners defence to set up Raheem Sterling.

There were similar antics the following weekend, from the right this time, as the Etihad Stadium bellowed De Bruyne's name after another assist that relegated a Jesus finish to a role in the supporting cast. High-flying Leicester were condemned to a 3-1 defeat.

City's only defeat in this prolific sequence came amid Ederson's early red card at Wolves. Guardiola substituted De Bruyne – whose throughball created Sterling's second of the game – and watched a 2-1 lead become a 3-2 loss.

A 3-4-3 reboot followed a lacklustre first half against Sheffield United. Guardiola deployed De Bruyne as a deep-lying and roving midfield general, who tore forward to make the points safe having set up Aguero to break the deadlock.

That configuration remained for a 2-1 win over Everton before De Bruyne excelled as one of Guardiola's false nines in a beguiling besting of Manchester United in the EFL Cup. He left Phil Jones twisted and bereft on the turf for the third goal in a 3-1 semi-final first-leg win.

It was back to old faithful and 4-3-3 at Villa Park, with De Bruyne lurching low and high into those pockets of maximum destruction. He even managed to create Riyad Mahrez's opener without touching the ball thanks to a delightful dummy.

City's newfound flexibility bodes well for when their Champions League campaign resumes with a mouth-watering last-16 clash against Real Madrid. Opening up these new shape-shifting possibilities would have been impossible for City and Guardiola without their Belgian master key.

Manchester City were on the right side of some contentious decisions as Sergio Aguero's controversial goal and a late Kevin De Bruyne effort earned a 2-0 win over Sheffield United, Pep Guardiola's 100th in the Premier League.

With leaders Liverpool having extended the gap at the top with a win over Wolves, City were fortunate not to fall behind in the first half when Lys Mousset had a goal harshly disallowed by VAR.

However, there was more controversy to follow, with the visitors incensed after referee Chris Kavanagh failed to stop the play despite accidentally blocking off John Fleck in the build-up to Sergio Aguero's opener.

VAR did come to the Blades' assistance when it deemed John Egan had not deliberately handled a Riyad Mahrez shot, though City had the points wrapped up when De Bruyne lashed in with eight minutes remaining, as Guardiola reached 100 wins in 134 matches to break Jose Mourinho's record.

With Mousset having squandered an early header, United thought they had the lead when the striker kept his cool to slot beyond Claudio Bravo, who was starting in place of the suspended Ederson, only for VAR to disallow the goal for a marginal offside call.

Mousset got the better of City's defence again prior to half-time, yet sliced his effort into the side-netting after latching onto Oliver Norwood's pass.

Despite their poor display, City took the lead six minutes into the second half - Aguero clinically drilling in his 10th league goal of the season.

United were adamant the goal should not have stood due to the referee's accidental interference, but VAR once more went against them.

City then wanted a penalty when Egan blocked Mahrez's shot, though their claims were rejected despite the ball hitting the defender's arm.

Any hopes of a comeback were ended soon after as De Bruyne calmly swept home, though Billy Sharp went agonisingly close to setting up a grandstand finish with a looping header which hit the upright and rolled across the line as United's unbeaten run on the road came to an end at nine.

 

What does it mean? City give themselves breathing room

With Liverpool so far ahead, the title race seems all but over, though City could have been looking over their shoulder had they failed to win, with Chelsea coming from behind to beat Arsenal earlier on Sunday. 

As it is, the champions have restored the six-point gap between themselves and Frank Lampard's side, though they still sit a point behind Leicester City in second.

Aguero rediscovers his home comforts

It was a far from a vintage all-round display from Aguero, but when he was put through by De Bruyne's pass, he never looked likely to fluff his lines to score his first home league goal since November 2.

City's ramshackle defence get lucky thanks to VAR

Hindered by a lack of options, Guardiola handed a first Premier League start to 18-year-old Eric Garcia, though the youngster - alongside Fernandinho - was often caught out by the pace of Mousset and the speed of United's counters. 

Indeed, only a marginal offside decision sparred City's blushes. They will surely look to bring in defensive reinforcements in January.

What's next?

Carlo Ancelotti's Everton visit the Etihad Stadium on New Year's Day, while the Blades visit runaway leaders Liverpool on Thursday.

Manchester City were on the right side of some contentious decisions as Sergio Aguero's controversial goal and a late Kevin De Bruyne effort earned a 2-0 win over Sheffield United on Sunday.

With Premier League leaders Liverpool having extended the gap at the top with a win over Wolves, City were fortunate not to fall behind in the first half when Lys Mousset had a goal harshly disallowed by VAR.

However, there was more controversy to follow, with the visitors incensed after referee Chris Kavanagh failed to stop the play despite accidentally blocking off John Fleck in the build-up to Sergio Aguero's opener.

VAR did come to the Blades' assistance when it deemed John Egan had not deliberately handled a Riyad Mahrez shot, though City had the points wrapped up when De Bruyne lashed in with eight minutes remaining.

With Mousset having squandered an early header, United thought they had the lead when the striker kept his cool to slot beyond Claudio Bravo, who was starting in place of the suspended Ederson, only for VAR to disallow the goal for a marginal offside call.

Mousset got the better of City's defence again prior to half-time, yet sliced his effort into the side-netting after latching onto Oliver Norwood's pass.

Despite their poor display, City took the lead six minutes into the second half - Aguero clinically drilling in his 10th league goal of the season.

United were adamant the goal should not have stood due to the referee's accidental interference, but VAR once more went against them.

City then wanted a penalty when Egan blocked Mahrez's shot, though their claims were rejected despite the ball hitting the defender's arm.

Any hopes of a comeback were ended soon after as De Bruyne calmly swept home, though Billy Sharp went agonisingly close to setting up a grandstand finish with a looping header which hit the upright and rolled across the line as United's unbeaten run on the road came to an end at nine.

 

What does it mean? City give themselves breathing room

With Liverpool so far ahead, the title race seems all but over, though City could have been looking over their shoulder had they failed to win, with Chelsea coming from behind to beat Arsenal earlier on Sunday. 

As it is, the champions have restored the six-point gap between themselves and Frank Lampard's side, though they still sit a point behind Leicester City in second.

Aguero rediscovers his home comforts

It was a far from a vintage all-round display from Aguero, but when he was put through by De Bruyne's pass, he never looked likely to fluff his lines to score his first home league goal since November 2.

City's ramshackle defence get lucky thanks to VAR

Hindered by a lack of options, Pep Guardiola handed a first Premier League start to 18-year-old Eric Garcia, though the youngster - alongside Fernandinho - was often caught out by the pace of Mousset and the speed of United's counters. 

Indeed, only a marginal offside decision sparred City's blushes. They will surely look to bring in defensive reinforcements in January.

What's next?

Carlo Ancelotti's Everton visit the Etihad Stadium on New Year's Day, while the Blades visit runaway leaders Liverpool on Thursday.

Kevin De Bruyne encouraged Manchester City to stay true to Pep Guardiola's principles as they seek to disrupt Liverpool's path to the Premier League title.

Champions City beat second-placed Leicester City 3-1 on Saturday to close back to within 11 points of leaders Liverpool, who have a game in hand following their successful trip to the Club World Cup.

Guardiola thanked City's players for "following" him after the come-from-behind victory and midfielder De Bruyne urged his team-mates to uphold the standards of the past two title-winning campaigns.

"We need to go game by game," De Bruyne said. "We dropped some points along the way, but I think the reaction of the team has always been really good, the way we play has always been the same and we have played good football.

"This is the way to go forward. This is the way we have played four seasons with Pep Guardiola and this is not going to change. We work hard and we dedicate a lot to playing well and if this is the way we play, people will enjoy it.

"We just try to win game by game and at the end of the season we will see what happens.

"If we don't win it we don't win it, but we work and play hard every day and this is the way to go forward."

De Bruyne shone against Leicester after starring in a 3-0 victory over Arsenal the previous weekend and will be central to City's hopes of causing anxiety for Liverpool.

"I think the first thing I do is try to set an example for the rest of my team-mates by working hard, giving a lot of energy and fighting for the team," he said.

"Afterwards, the talent and the dedication can make the difference. This is the way to go forward. The first thing we need to do is to work as a team and afterwards we have enough quality to make the difference."

Riyad Mahrez, who scored the equaliser against his former employers, praised De Bruyne's input.

"He is very good," the winger said. "He has a lot of quality so he helps us a lot. It's great to have a player like him in the team.

"Every game he contributes to the team, so I'm happy to have him with us."

Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez says it was emotional for Pep Guardiola's assistant Mikel Arteta to leave the club to take over at Arsenal.

Arteta, who was linked with the Gunners vacancy in 2018, was appointed as Unai Emery's successor on Friday.

The ex-Arsenal captain played a key role in City winning two consecutive Premier League titles and takes a head coach role for the first time in his career.

City were without Arteta for the first time in Saturday's 3-1 home win over Leicester City that boosted their slim Premier League title hopes and Mahrez indicated the 37-year-old will be missed.

"Mikel was an important member of staff," Mahrez said to Sky Sports. 

"So, it was a bit emotional for him to go but he had to take his chance and we are happy for him."

Mahrez's deflected strike against his former club cancelled out Jamie Vardy's excellent opener at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Ilkay Gundogan's penalty and Gabriel Jesus then struck to complete the comeback and move City within a point of second-placed Leicester.

Kevin De Bruyne was in inspirational form again and he confirmed his late substitution, being replaced by returning City striker Sergio Aguero, was not down to injury.

"Yeah, it's just a little bit of cramp," he told Sky Sports. "It was a hard game between two teams that went all the way. In the end, my body said just take a rest - the grass was nice and soft.

"We put a lot of pressure on the ball from the beginning, didn't let Leicester play a lot. They lost a lot of balls, especially in the first half. They went ahead but I think it was pretty much their only chance of the game. 

"Afterwards, we had a couple of good chances and Riyad changed the game for us, so that was really important. To make it 2-1 before half-time was an important moment in the game."

Of Mahrez's terrific performance, De Bruyne added: "We have already played a lot of times together, especially this season we have played really well together. Last season was difficult because I spent a lot of time out and couldn't find my rhythm.

"But I think the moments we played together we did well, we know how to find each other and I know I can leave him one against one because he is one of the most dangerous wingers in the league - that's how he scored today."

Kevin De Bruyne had one of his best games for a long time as Manchester City came from behind to beat Leicester City, according to manager Pep Guardiola.

Jamie Vardy's 17th Premier League goal of the season put the Foxes ahead at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

But ex-Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez's deflected shot and Ilkay Gundogan's penalty turned the game around before the break and Gabriel Jesus tapped home at the back post to seal the points.

De Bruyne set up Jesus for that second-half clincher and Guardiola believes the Belgium international's performance was even better than his star showing against Arsenal last time out.

"Kevin De Bruyne is a fighter and he helps us keep up the intensity when he's playing further up he helps the press a lot," Guardiola told BBC Sport. "That was the best he has played in a long time.

"We created a lot and played incredibly well with the ball. It's impossible to do anything to stop goals like that - they are so good. Guys like [Youri] Tielemans, they are so good at passing.

"But we were incredibly aggressive up front to stop them playing and we did well playing simple one-two touch and then pass.

"I like to watch my team play well so of course, it's better when they win. We reviewed the last games against Arsenal and Oxford [United in the EFL Cup] and we struggled a little bit so today was a good example about how we can play."

Leicester, second in the table, are still a point ahead of City but manager Brendan Rodgers accepts the match was a learning experience for the Foxes.

"I thought they were very, very good and the big teams can perform at that level," Rodgers told Sky Sports.

"We were disappointed first half, but second half we were a bit better, we had a bit more courage to get on the ball and play.

"Tonight is a good lesson for us of the work we still need to do to get to the level City are at.

"We took the lead when we weren't playing that well. Jamie was outstanding as was Kasper [Schmeichel] - they showed their level in a big game tonight.

"We always knew it would be difficult coming here, with the level they're at. We kept going and fighting but it wasn't the best of ourselves. City were outstanding.

"Evenings like this are humbling and good for you, because our young squad can learn from it."

Manchester City battled to a 3-1 comeback win against Leicester City to keep alive their slim Premier League title hopes, while Everton and Arsenal played out a bore draw at Goodison Park.

Riyad Mahrez struck against his former club to cancel out Jamie Vardy's opener in a game the reigning champions went on to win comfortably, moving them to within a point of their second-placed opponents.

Elsewhere, Miguel Almiron scored his first Premier League goal to fire Newcastle United to a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, while Everton and Arsenal played out a bore draw at Goodison Park.

Paraguay international Almiron volleyed home late on to get off the mark on his 27th appearance in the competition and settle a match that was heading for a goalless draw.

Goals proved hard to come by in the stalemate between Everton and Arsenal, a low-quality match watched from the stands by respective incoming bosses Carlo Ancelotti and Mikel Arteta.

Everton failed to record a shot on target in a top-flight home match for the first time since January 2018, while Gabriel Martinelli went closest to scoring for the visitors.

Elsewhere, Burnley, Sheffield United, Wolves and Southampton all won away from home, the latter seeing off relegation rivals Aston Villa 3-1 to boost their survival hopes.
 

City comeback flattens Foxes

Pep Guardiola's side entered Saturday's late kick-off sitting four points behind Leicester and 14 adrift of Liverpool, meaning only victory would do if they were to keep their outside title aspirations alive.

Those hopes were further dented when Vardy got on the end of Harvey Barnes' pass and scored through Leicester's first effort at goal but, inspired by another Kevin De Bruyne masterclass, the champions roared back to claim back-to-back league wins.

Mahrez, who won the Premier League title with Leicester in 2016, fired a deflected shot past Kasper Schmeichel to pull one back and Ilkay Gundogan converted from the penalty spot after Raheem Sterling was fouled by Ricardo Pereira.

De Bruyne picked up the assist his performance deserved in the second half by setting up Gabriel Jesus - who had not previously scored on home soil this season - to seal the victory.

Arsenal's poor form continues

With Arteta not officially taking charge of his first Arsenal match until the Boxing Day trip to Bournemouth, interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg oversaw yet another below-par display from his side.

The Gunners looked the more likely side to score on Merseyside but lacked cohesion all over the field and had to settle for a point, making it just one win in 13 matches in all competitions.

Arsenal did at least manage to test Jordan Pickford - the England international doing well to keep out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the second half - with the Toffees rarely troubling the opposition defence.

Ancelotti was confirmed as Everton's new manager on a four-and-a-half-year deal shortly before kick-off, giving him a chance to witness up close just how big a task he has on his hands when taking the reins from stand-in boss Duncan Ferguson.

Almiron ends drought to extend Palace's winless run

A third victory in four Premier League matches for Newcastle was secured thanks to Almiron, who has had a tough time of things since arriving from Atlanta United for a reported £20million in January.

Almiron converted with a first-time finish seven minutes from time after being teed up by Andy Carroll's header, ending his long-running goal drought and sending United up to ninth place.

Palace, now without a win in three league outings, saw more of the ball and had the better of the chances, but Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke were unable to find a way past home goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.

Ings inspires Southampton to vital victory

Southampton leapfrogged fellow strugglers Aston Villa into 17th place with a Danny Ings-inspired win, the one-cap England international reaching double figures for the season before Christmas.

Ings scored either side of Jack Stephens' towering header as Ralph Hasenhuttl's charges raced into a three-goal lead at Villa Park with 51 minutes played.

Jack Grealish scored a fine goal to reduce the arrears, but Villa left themselves with too big a mountain to climb and are now in the relegation zone after a fourth defeat on the spin.

Norwich cut further adrift

Norwich City failed to make their first-half dominance count in a 2-1 home loss to Wolves that leaves them six points adrift of safety at Christmas.

Todd Cantwell pounced on a loose ball to give Norwich a deserved 17th-minute lead, but they could not build on their advantage and Wolves hit back.

After a subdued opening hour, Romain Saiss sparked his side into life with a powerful header and Raul Jimenez made it 16 goals for the season across all competitions late on to condemn Norwich - who have one point from their last five home matches - to another defeat.

Wilder's men overcome more VAR frustrations

Sheffield United continued their march up the Premier League with a 1-0 win at Brighton and Hove Albion, despite the frustration of having two goals ruled out by VAR.

John Egan's bundled finish was chalked off for handball and Jack O'Connell was denied for offside - the third and fourth goals United have been awarded on the field this term, only for VAR to intervene.

Not that it mattered, though, as Oli McBurnie's third goal of the season - a powerful strike past Mat Ryan after 23 minutes - proved enough for Chris Wilder's men to keep their unbeaten away record this season intact as they moved into the lofty heights of fifth place.

Rodriguez settles contest between shot-shy sides

Burnley edged out Bournemouth 1-0 at the Vitality Stadium in a game that saw the sides register just five shots between them - the fewest recorded in a Premier League game since records began in 2003-04.

The one and only attempt on target arrived in the final minute of the game, Jay Rodriguez heading in Ashley Westwood's cross from close range to settle a dreadful game.

Jefferson Lerma's 30-yard effort over the bar was as good as things got for a Bournemouth side that have lost six of their last seven league matches to slip into relegation danger.

Kevin De Bruyne's barnstorming performance for Manchester City in Sunday's 3-0 win over Arsenal unsurprisingly secures him the starring role in FIFA Ultimate Team's latest Team of the Week.

De Bruyne produced a masterclass at Emirates Stadium, scoring twice and creating another for Raheem Sterling.

The Belgian's driving runs from midfield were a constant feature, while each of his goals were truly quality efforts. He almost got a third, too, only for a wonderful save to help another thunderous strike onto the post.

De Bruyne is the star man in an impressive attacking unit in this week's FIFA 20 squad, with Liverpool's Mohamed Salah leading the line after netting a brace in the Reds' 2-0 victory over Watford.

Salah is joined in attack by Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho following fine displays against Mainz and RB Leipzig, collecting two goals and two assists across those games.

Philippe Coutinho is the other standout attacking name in the starting XI, while Jan Vertonghen offers a strong option at the back.

Below, we take a look at the latest squad in full.

TEAM OF THE WEEK

GK: Benjamin Lecomte (Monaco) - 86

CB: Raul Albiol (Villarreal) – 85

LB: Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham) – 88

LB: Theo Hernandez (Milan) – 84

RM: Pizzi (Benfica) – 86

CM: Jose Campana (Levante) – 83

CM: Leandro Paredes (Paris Saint-Germain) – 83

LW: Phillipe Coutinho (Bayern Munich) – 88

CAM: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) – 94

ST: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – 92

LF: Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund) – 86

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Hendrik van Crombrugge (Anderlecht) – 79

LB: Lucas Olaza (Celta Vigo) – 81

CM: Dan Gosling (Bournemouth) – 81

CM: Borja Valero (Inter) – 82

LW: Gervinho (Parma) – 82

RW: Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord) – 83

ST: Youssef El Arabi (Olympiacos) – 81

RESERVES

LWB: Pascal Schurpf (Luzern) – 75

CAM: Omar Govea (Zulte Waregem) – 79

ST: Florian Niederlechner (Augsburg) – 80

ST: Jordan Rhodes (Sheffield Wednesday) – 78

ST: Conor Chaplin (Barnsley) – 74

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne advised Mikel Arteta to consider taking the next step in his coaching career amid reported interest from Arsenal.

The Gunners are said to have held talks with the City assistant in their search for a successor to the sacked Unai Emery.

Arteta, 37, became an understudy to Pep Guardiola in 2016 after retiring from playing at the end of his fifth season with Arsenal.

De Bruyne, who starred when the teams met in the Premier League at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, said City should let Arteta leave if the Spaniard decides he is ready to move.

"He is helping us a lot, but if he gets a good opportunity to be a head coach, and he thinks it's time for him to take that, I think as a club you need to let somebody go," De Bruyne told UK media.

"You want to grow as a head coach, I guess. If he doesn't, it's his decision, but why, otherwise, start coaching in that way?

"It's difficult for me to explain. Whatever he wants to do, you have to do it. If you want to grow, you need to take opportunities when they come."

Arteta has also been linked with the top job at Everton, another of his former clubs,

Earlier this month, Guardiola admitted he hoped Arteta would continue on at City but said he wanted "the best for him."

De Bruyne added: "He is finding his role really, really good right now.

"I guess one day he will want to be a head coach. I don't know when but he's helping the team in the way he thinks he can help and is doing a good job."

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