City, Spurs rally for victories on day of recoveries in EPL
Santino Honasan on Dec 19, 2016 10:55 AM
Manchester City's players celebrate after Raheem Sterling, 3rd left, scored during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
STEVE DOUGLAS, AP Sports Writer
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — With his team 1-0 down and toiling against Arsenal, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola slipped and tumbled to the ground in the technical area after kicking the ball back into play.
Guardiola got back to his feet, dusted himself down and gestured to his team to keep going.
On a day of recoveries in the English Premier League, City answered its coach's call.
City scored twice in a stirring second-half performance to rally to a 2-1 win over Arsenal in a match between two teams battling to stay in sight of in-form league leader Chelsea.
After Leroy Sane equalized in the 47th minute, Raheem Sterling scored the winner in the 71st minute when he collected a stunning cross-field ball from Kevin De Bruyne, cut inside and drove a low finish in at the near post.
City moved into second place and back to within seven points of Chelsea, which has won 11 straight games to take control of the title race nearly halfway through the season.
"Seven points is still a huge distance from a team who made 11 wins in a row," Guardiola said, who urged his team to "be there as much as possible and wait for (Chelsea) to fail."
Tottenham also rallied to a 2-1 win after falling behind early to Burnley. Danny Rose grabbed the winning goal — in the 71st minute, like Sterling — to leave fifth-place Spurs a point behind Arsenal, its north London rival. Arsenal is nine points behind Chelsea.
In the day's early game, Southampton recovered from falling behind in the sixth minute to beat Bournemouth 3-1, with striker Jay Rodriguez scoring twice.
Here's a closer look at Sunday's games:
MANCHESTER CITY 2, ARSENAL 1
Arsenal squandered a lead to lose 2-1 for the second time this week — and just like against Everton on Tuesday, Arsene Wenger blamed his players' second-half tiredness as well as the referee.
"The referees are protected like lions in the zoo," the Arsenal manager said, having complained that both of City's goals should have been disallowed for offside.
Sane canceled out a fifth-minute goal from Theo Walcott by racing onto David Silva's pass — potentially from a marginal offside position — to slot past Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech. Wenger also felt Silva was offside, and in Cech's line of vision, when the goalkeeper was beaten by Sterling's low shot.
Guardiola preferred to talk about the "exceptional pass" from De Bruyne that set Sterling free for the winner, which meant City has come out of a tough spell — capped by a chastening 4-2 loss at Leicester last weekend — with two straight victories this week.
"We are learning little by little," said Guardiola, who has been criticized by some for not adapting his tactics to the Premier League.
TOTTENHAM 2, BURNLEY 1
Burnley manager Sean Dyche was aggrieved that Tottenham substitute Moussa Sissoko was still on the field to set up Rose for his winning goal.
Moments before playing in Rose, Sissoko had been booked for a high challenge on Stephen Ward.
"It was a blind challenge, a high challenge and simply a red card," said Dyche.
Burnley took the lead against the run of play at White Hart Lane through Ashley Barnes in the 21st minute, but conceded a strike by Dele Alli six minutes later.
It was Spurs' fourth win in their last five games in all competitions
BOURNEMOUTH 1, SOUTHAMPTON 3
Rodriguez has been looking for a performance to kick-start his career since returning from a long spell out with damaged knee ligaments.
Two second-half goals to cap a comeback at Bournemouth might just be it.
Rodriguez scored from close range in the 48th, then fired in a dipping shot from the edge of the area in the 85th to triple his goal tally for the league campaign.
Rodriguez had just forced his way into England's squad when he sustained a cruciate knee ligament injury in April 2014 that ruled him out for more than a year. He had a poor 2015-16 campaign as he recovered from the injury, and had been below Charlie Austin in Southampton's pecking order of strikers before Austin hurt his shoulder this month.
With Austin potentially out for up to four months, Rodriguez might have a prolonged run in Claude Puel's team.
Nathan Ake's header put Bournemouth in front in the sixth minute, before Ryan Bertrand equalized in the 14th. Southampton climbed to seventh.