Guardiola bemoans EPL’s treatment of City after Liverpool’s huge lead

February 04, 2020

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LONDON: Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris saves a penalty from Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan during their Premier League match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.—Reuters
LONDON: Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris saves a penalty from Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan during their Premier League match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.—Reuters

LONDON: Pep Guardiola doesn’t forget.

After Manchester City failed to cut into Liverpool’s 22-point lead by losing 2-0 at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, Guardiola’s mind turned back to 2018 and irritation at comments from the Premier League leadership.

Guardiola’s team winning the league by 19 points prompted Richard Scudamore to express a desire for someone to get a little bit closer to Manchester City while also praising the team’s excellence.

Scudamore is no longer running the league. Guardiola wonders if the competition bosses are fine with a lead so commanding that Liverpool are in line to seal the title in March with two months of the season remaining.

“An owner from the Premier League said that cannot happen again, so it’s not good for the Premier League [that] City win the title in that way with 100 points,” Guardiola said, without naming Scudamore. “So now it’s Liverpool you have to be concerned, the owner of the Premier League.”

It is City’s six losses in 25 league games this season that have thwarted the quest for a third straight title and put Liverpool on a clear path to ending a 30-year championship drought.

Outplaying and outshooting Tottenham counted for little after second-placed City were reduced to 10 men on the hour when Oleksandr Zinchenko’s push on Harry Winks to halt a counterattack saw the midfielder shown a second yellow card.

Within three minutes, Tottenham were in front with a goal from Steven Bergwijn on his debut. The recruit from PSV Eindhoven brought down a pass from Lucas Moura with his chest before taking a touch to control the ball and volleying into the net.

“I saw the ball go in and I almost cried, Bergwijn said. “When the ball left my feet I had a feeling it was going in ... and the guys jumped on me.”

Tottenham’s record-signing Tanguy Ndombele created the second for Son Heung-min, who struck past goalkeeper Ederson in the 71st minute.

“I don’t think we collapsed,” Guardiola said. “This team is built to do something and play in a certain way. Ten against 11 after the chances we missed in this game still I think we were there. It’s not easy.”

It would have been easier had Ilkay Gundogan not seen his first-half penalty saved by Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Victory for Tottenham lifted Jose Mourinho’s side to within four points of Chelsea in the fourth Champions League place.

ARSENAL FRUSTRATED

Arsenal are far from challenging for Champions League qualification, ending the 25th round in 10th place after being held 0-0 at Burnley to only remain ahead of its opponent on goal difference.

Arsenal are without a win since New Year’s Day and manager Mikel Arteta wasn’t happy with the grass at Turf Moor.

“That’s not a very helpful thing to play football,” Arteta told reporters. “I didn’t water the pitch yesterday at the training ground because I expected it, but that doesn’t make it any easier to play.

“[Burnley] do what they do really well, and you are allowed to do it so we have to react to that. In some moments it wasn’t the grass it was their quality and what they do really well, and we could not do it in the right way.”

Current standings

(Tabulated under played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points):

Liverpool 25 24 1 0 60 15 73

Manchester City 25 16 3 6 65 29 51

Leicester City 25 15 4 6 54 26 49

Chelsea 25 12 5 8 43 34 41

Tottenham Hotspur 25 10 7 8 40 32 37

Sheffield United 25 9 9 7 26 23 36

Manchester United 25 9 8 8 36 29 35

Wolverhampton 25 8 11 6 35 32 35

Everton 25 9 6 10 31 37 33

Arsenal 25 6 13 6 32 34 31

Burnley 25 9 4 12 28 38 31

Newcastle United 25 8 7 10 24 36 31

Southampton 25 9 4 12 31 46 31

Crystal Palace 25 7 9 9 22 29 30

Brighton 25 6 8 11 30 37 26

AFC Bournemouth 25 7 5 13 25 38 26

Aston Villa 25 7 4 14 32 47 25

West Ham United 25 6 6 13 30 43 24

Watford 25 5 8 12 23 39 23

Norwich City 25 4 6 15 24 47 18

Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2020