LONDON (AP) — Tottenham is enjoying a resurgence in the Premier League, while Arsenal and Manchester United are wilting.
Only four points now separate the teams in the Premier League but their recent fortunes have been very different. Jose Mourinho has overseen Tottenham’s climb from 14th to fifth. Jan Vertonghen’s late goal extended Mourinho’s start to four wins out of five by sealing a 2-1 victory at Wolverhampton on Sunday, taking the north London club above the hosts.
Manchester United is a point and a place behind Tottenham after being held 1-1 by a struggling Everton, deflating the mood at Old Trafford after back-to-back wins over Tottenham and Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola’s City returned to form on Sunday assisted by the collapse of Arsenal’s defense, winning 3-0 at a team under the struggling temporary command of Freddie Ljungberg.
A hat trick of titles seems to be beyond City’s players even before the halfway point of the season, with Liverpool 14 points ahead of them at the summit. But the defending champions are now four points behind second-place Leicester, which was held 1-1 by Norwich on Saturday.
DE BRUYNE EXCELS
At the Emirates Stadium, Gabriel Martinelli came close to putting Arsenal in front before City raced up the other end to take the lead inside 90 seconds of the game.
Kyle Walker surged forward before playing in Gabriel Jesus, who squared for Kevin De Bruyne to finish exquisitely from just inside the penalty area.
The lead was doubled in the 15th minute when City launched a counterattack after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was dispossessed, ending with De Bruyne crossing for the unmarked Sterling to tap in at the back post.
Things went from bad to worse for Ljungberg and his players as De Bruyne struck again in the 40th while Arsenal were a man short.
Sead Kolasinac had hobbled off after being unable to recover from an ankle knock but, with substitute Bukayo Saka not ready to make an entrance, City capitalized on the advantage and De Bruyne turned the ball home from the edge of the box.
De Bruyne was almost celebrating a first-half hat trick of tremendous goals only for Bernd Leno to make a stunning save as he sent the latest shot onto the post.
Arsenal’s plight was summed up in the second half when Mesut Ozil was substituted and the playmaker kicked his gloves along the touchline.
Arsenal has now taken only four points from four league games since since Ljungberg was installed as the temporary replacement for the fired Unai Emery.
“It needs to be cleared up so everybody knows,” Ljungberg said of the managerial uncertainty. “That is something I’ve said, but it is totally up to the club. I’m very honored and I’ve tried to do things as good as I can, but I think as well it would be good to make a decision regardless of what it is.”
Tottenham has shown its north London rival how to make a managerial change and reap the benefits.
Lucas Moura put Spurs ahead at Wolves in the eighth minute after a jinking run. Adama Traore’s 20-yard strike in the 67th looked to have secured a point for the hosts until Vertonghen headed home Christian Eriksen’s stoppage-time corner.
Spurs were 12 points behind fourth-place Chelsea when Mourinho replaced the fired Maurico Pochettino less than a month ago. Chelsea visits Tottenham next Sunday only three points ahead in fourth.
Duncan Ferguson followed up beating Chelsea in his first game as interim Everton manager by grabbing a point at United.
Victor Lindelof’s own-goal gave Everton a first-half lead but Mason Greenwood grabbed a 77th-minute equalizer.
It was frustrating for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a week after winning at Man City.
“Today is not a big step backwards,” said Solskjaer, marking almost a year after replacing Mourinho at Old Trafford. “It’s more of a standstill, not improving.”
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