Manchester City ended the weekend as Premier League leaders after Jurgen Klopp’s side drew against Everton, ending Liverpool’s three-month spell at the summit.
In the weekend’s other big derby, the points were also shared between Tottenham and Arsenal at Wembley following some late refereeing controversy. The result tightens things up in the race for the top four, with Manchester United and Chelsea also picking up positive results.
After less than three months, Manchester City restored their lead at the top of the Premier League. Both sides have played the same number of matches, but City have one more point and a far superior goal difference.
Pep Guardiola knew precisely what this victory meant. His Manchester City side were up against a Bournemouth who parked an entire fleet of red and black striped buses across the Vitality Stadium pitch.
“When you win easy the people can say things”, said Guardiola, who admitted enjoying the masochistic pleasures of a hard-earned victory rather more than the gratuitous pleasures of a romp.
“We play to score goals, but we also play not to concede chances. You always think that today may be the day it doesn’t happen. Maybe this is the day they will be tired and that today may not be our day. But then it turns out completely the opposite. Time and time again the players are there”.
Riyad Mahrez’s strike just after half-time may not have been a contender for goal of the season, but what it did was critical: it kept up the pressure on Liverpool. And Guardiola suggested it was the continuing excellence of Jurgen Klopp’s side that had improved his team from the one who walked away with the title last May.