Man City go above Arsenal as Haaland seals huge win over Spurs

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Man City go above Arsenal as Haaland seals huge win over Spurs

Manchester City took a huge step towards the Premier League title as Erling Haaland’s double clinched a 2-0 win over Tottenham to send them two points above Arsenal ahead of the final day.

In a subdued atmosphere at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with Spurs needing a win to keep their top-four hopes alive but knowing a positive result would help their bitter rivals, City went in front when Haaland tapped home Kevin De Bruyne’s cross after half-time.

City’s substitute goalkeeper Stefan Ortega made vital saves from Dejan Kulusevski and Heung-Min Son after replacing Ederson, who reacted furiously when made to come off following a blow to the head, but Haaland sealed the victory from the spot after Pedro Porro had fouled substitute Jeremy Doku.

The victory, City’s eighth in a row in the Premier League, means Pep Guardiola’s side will be champions for an unprecedented fourth year in a row if they beat West Ham at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, with Arsenal needing to win their game at home to Everton while hoping for an unlikely City slip-up.

Spurs, meanwhile, are now out of contention for a Champions League place, the defeat confirming Aston Villa’s qualification and leaving their head coach Ange Postecoglou to hit out at the “fragile foundations” at the club.

Player ratings

Tottenham: Vicario (7), Porro (5), Romero (6), Dragusin (7), Van de Ven (6), Hojbjerg (5), Bentancur (5), Sarr (6), Maddison (7), Johnson (7), Son (6).

Subs: Kulusevski (7), Lo Celso (6), Skipp (6), Moore (n/a).

Man City: Ederson (7), Walker (7), Akanji (7), Dias (7), Gvardiol (7), Rodri (7), Kovacic (7), De Bruyne (8), Silva (7), Foden (7), Haaland (8).

Subs: Ortega (8), Doku (7), Alvarez (6).

Player of the match: Erling Haaland

How Man City edged to a vital win

The atmosphere was muted among the home fans but it was City, not Spurs, who looked lethargic in the first half, with an early Rodrigo Bentancur effort, tipped over the bar by Ederson, providing early evidence of the home side’s attacking intent.

Team news

  • Tottenham: Radu Dragusin, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur came into the side, with Micky van de Ven moving to left-back.
  • Man City: Pep Guardiola’s only change saw Kyle Walker come in for Nathan Ake in defence.

The visitors did go close soon after that when Guglielmo Vicario made a superb save from Phil Foden following an error by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, but they lacked their usual fluency in possession while also offering Spurs encouragement at the other end.

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Haaland scored a close-range opener

The hosts failed to capitalise on their openings, however, and had to fall back on some excellent last-ditch defending by Micky van de Ven and Radu Dragusin to prevent City from taking a scarcely-deserved lead into the half-time break, with the latter clearing off the line from Bernardo Silva.

There were chances for both sides in the first few minutes of the second half, with Vicario making a sharp stop from De Bruyne and Ederson blocking a close-range effort from Son.

Manchester City's Erling Haaland and Manchester City's Kyle Walker celebrate scoring their side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, Tuesday, May 14, 2024.(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Image: Haaland and Kyle Walker celebrate the victory

But City’s opener arrived only two minutes later as they worked the ball to De Bruyne, whose low cross from the right-hand side of the box was tucked home by the waiting Haaland.

The home fans took the opportunity to taunt their north London neighbours with chants of ‘are you watching, Arsenal?’, but Spurs had chances to level, with Ortega coming to City’s rescue on three occasions, twice denying substitute Kulusevski and also pulling off a brilliant one-on-one save from Son.

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Haaland blasted home his penalty for Man City’s second goal

Ederson’s furious reaction to being substituted, after being inadvertently clattered by Romero following a cross, had come after Bentancur reacted similarly to being withdrawn for Kulusevski but City kept their cool on the pitch, sealing a momentous win through Haaland’s penalty to put the Premier League trophy within reach.

Ange: Last 48 hours have revealed fragile foundations

Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou in his press conference: “I think the last 48 hours have revealed the foundations are fairly fragile. Outside the club, inside the club, everywhere.

“It has been an interesting exercise. It’s just my observations. I’m not going to tell you, it’s for me.

“You can make your own assessment of what’s happened, I understand.

“I probably misread the situation as to what I think is important and the endeavour to become a winning team, but that’s okay. That’s why I’m here.”

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Ange Postecoglou gave an angry reaction to Tottenham’s 2-0 loss against Man City

On Spurs’ fans’ chants taunting Arsenal after falling behind: “I don’t care, mate. I just want to win, I want to be successful at this club. That’s why I was brought in.

“Other people, what their priorities and interests are, I have zero interest in – I know what’s important to build a winning team, and that’s what I want to concentrate on.

“It is what it is, I can’t dictate what people do. They’re allowed to express themselves however they want. But when we’ve got late winners in games, it’s because the crowd has often helped us.

“I already knew what I wanted to do, I just have to make some adjustments to how I do it.

“It just means the last 48 hours has revealed a fair bit to me. That’s alright, it just means I’ve got to go back to the drawing board with some things.”

Pep: Players know it’s not done yet

Man City boss Pep Guardiola to Sky Sports: “Yes, they are not celebrating anything. Happy, of course, relieved because we wanted to arrive to the last game. We know we have a job to do [against West Ham] and the fans will support us, of course.

“Now it is [Mohammed] Kudus, [Michail] Antonio, [Jarrod] Bowen, [James] Ward-Prowse and [Tomas] Soucek with the set-pieces. Anything can happen.

“Like I said before, to win Wimbledon, tennis players say the serve to win is the most difficult. We need to prepare well, focus and try again.”

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Pep Guardiola urged his side to remain focused on their final game against West Ham

On City’s performance: “In these types of games, emotions are there and you cannot always perform your best. It depends on the intensity and quality the opponent brings to the game, they were playing to qualify for the Champions League.

“They are an exceptional team, physical, intense, well managed, good with and without the ball. We knew it was going to be difficult but in the bad moments we were there and our ‘keepers do the job. At the end in the right moment we punish them.”

On Ortega’s crucial save from Son: “He has done this since he arrived. We saw the level of ‘keeper he is. He makes incredible saves and does it so many times.”

Man City on the brink again – Opta stats

  • Manchester City will sit top of the Premier League table heading into the final day of the season for the sixth time in the last seven seasons (exception 2019/20), going on to win the title in each of those previous campaigns.
  • Erling Haaland’s opener was the first goal Manchester City have scored in the Premier League at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with what was their 79th shot at the venue.
  • Kevin De Bruyne has assisted Erling Haaland 12 times in the Premier League since the beginning of last season, at least four more times than any other player has for a team-mate in the competition.
  • Kevin De Bruyne has now recorded 10+ assists in six different Premier League seasons, the joint-most times alongside Cesc Fabregas. The Belgian (112) also moved ahead of the Spaniard into outright second for most assists in the competition’s history, behind only Ryan Giggs (162).
  • Erling Haaland has scored 63 goals in 65 Premier League appearances, at least eight more than any other player has across their first two campaigns in the competition (Andy Cole – 55).

What’s next?

The final day of the Premier League season takes place on Sunday with all games kicking off at 4pm and the title race is going right to the wire.

Manchester City take on West Ham at the Etihad hoping to become champions for a fourth consecutive year. Arsenal, who are looking to win the Premier League for the first time since 2004, welcome Everton to the Emirates.

Tottenham‘s final fixture of the campaign sees them travel to already-relegated Sheffield United.

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