Man City earns 18th straight win, Spurs lose again in EPL

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Manchester City players celebrate after Manchester City's Raheem Sterling scored his side's opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates stadium in London, England, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. (Julian Finney/Pool via AP)

Exactly three months ago, Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham was outwitting Manchester City to go top of the Premier League and leave Pep Guardiola doubting the direction he was taking his slumping midtable team.

On Sunday, Mourinho was downplaying talk of a crisis at Tottenham while virtually ruling out its chances of finishing in the top four, and Guardiola was celebrating an 18th straight win in all competitions as City took a major step toward another league title.

Things are changing fast in the lives of two of soccer’s most storied managers, whose teams are going in opposite directions this season.

City beat Arsenal 1-0 thanks to Raheem Sterling’s second-minute header to preserve its 10-point lead over Manchester United and Leicester, which both also won Sunday.

City’s last defeat in any competition? That 2-0 loss at Tottenham, 26 games ago.

“The run has been incredible,” Guardiola said. “I could not expect it.”

That victory back in November is looking like the high point of a turbulent season for Spurs, who have plunged to ninth place on the back of five losses in their last six games — the latest being a 2-1 defeat at West Ham.

“I wouldn’t say crisis,” Mourinho said. “I would say a bad — a really bad — run of results.”