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

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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.

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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, who 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.

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

Mourinho has never done this poorly at a club in his distinguished managerial career, however. After 50 league matches in charge of Tottenham, he has collected 81 points — easily the lowest total from any of the teams he has been in charge.

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It’s even got to the stage where, with three months left of the league season, Mourinho is counting on winning the Europa League to qualify for next season’s Champions League

“In the Europa League, we are alive,” said Mourinho, with Tottenham close to reaching the last 16. “The Europa League is a window of opportunity that is open for us.”

United beat Newcastle 3-1 to stay in second place on goal difference from Leicester, which won 2-1 at Aston Villa.

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