Super-sub Dzeko sinks Spurs
Edin Dzeko lived up to his super-sub billing by firing Manchester City to victory against Tottenham. Dzeko struck three minutes from time to complete a defiant second-half comeback from the unbeaten Blues, who closed the gap on Premier League leaders Manchester United to two points.
It was the Bosnian's seventh goal of the season, six of which have come from the bench, after Sergio Aguero had cancelled out Steven Caulker's first-half header. It also extended City's unbeaten home Premier League record to an incredible 35, and their present unbeaten league run to 16, adding weight to manager Roberto Mancini's pre-match dismissal of any sense of crisis at the Etihad Stadium.
Things began badly, however. A straightforward free-kick delivered from the touchline by Tom Huddlestone found Caulker, who had been given too much room to make his run. The header should still have been stopped. This time, goalkeeper Joe Hart, so often City's saviour, only managed to shovel it in.
Back after five matches out with a hamstring strain, David Silva had started brightly without finding a killer pass. For the visitors, Emmanuel Adebayor, starting his first game of the season against his old club, was an irritation more than anything, luring Pablo Zabaleta into a tackle he tumbled over to get his one-time colleague a booking.
The introduction of Maicon for his belated home debut offered an extra twist given it put him up against Gareth Bale, who famously terrorised the Brazilian during his Inter Milan days. It also triggered a return to the much-derided three-man defence. Yet Mancini's rejig worked.
City turn it around
On a day when little seemed to be going right for the hosts, they profited from a couple of fortunate bounces, allowing Yaya Toure to get on the end of Silva's pass, then Aguero to collect possession inside the Spurs box.
Caulker got a quick lesson in how swiftly the Argentinian can turn as he found himself heading in completely the wrong direction as Aguero dispatched his precise shot into the bottom corner. From that moment on, there only seemed likely to be one winner.
With Aguero scheming, Andre Villas-Boas was forced into his own reshuffle. Silva was denied by Spurs goalkeeper Brad Friedel's flying feet-first save before the veteran American denied Aguero.
Tottenham were creaking though. And when Silva found Dzeko in the box three minutes from time, the Bosnian kept his nerve to complete another memorable comeback.