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Manchester City: Rodri was Pep’s true hero vs Spurs

Manchester City recorded a remarkable comeback on Thursday night as they came from 2-0 down to beat Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad.

Pep Guardiola‘s side endured a frustrating first half which culminated in the north London side capitalising on a mistake by Ederson to open the scoring, with Dejan Kulusevski the beneficiary after Rodri couldn’t collect the City goalkeeper’s slack pass.

One quickly became two as Emerson Royal headed in after Harry Kane’s shot was parried, with City fans booing their side off after another lacklustre first half.

However, after a hairdryer treatment by Guardiola, the Citizens came out all guns blazing in the second half and were level after just 53 minutes, with Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland both benefitting after good work from Riyad Mahrez.

The Algerian continued to torment Spurs’ backline and gave City a deserved lead when his strike beat Hugo Lloris at his near post before the winger rounded off an excellent three points late on by chipping the Frenchman after a mistake by Clement Lenglet.

Although Mahrez will dominate the headlines, there was another superb display from Rodri in the middle of the park.

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Via Sofascore, the “world-class” Spaniard – as dubbed by notable analyst Statman Dave – would earn a strong 7.4/10 rating for his performance, which was the best of anyone on the pitch bar Mahrez (9.4) and Kulusevski (7.8).

During the 90 minutes, the former Atletico Madrid man would register a hugely impressive 119 touches of the ball, which was far and away the most of any player on the pitch.

Despite being known for his defensive abilities, the 26-year-old would contribute three key passes, two shots and eight successful long balls during the game, all of which were an increase on his season average of 1.2 key passes, 1.5 shots and 5.6 long balls per game.

However, he would also do a stellar job at the back, contributing three tackles in the 90 minutes, which again was an increase on his average of 2.2 per game in the Premier League so far this term.

World-class performances from midfield have become the norm for Rodri but he truly stepped up in the absence of Kevin De Bruyne on Thursday evening, emphasising his quality on the ball as he excelled in possession.

Therefore, while Mahrez will take the plaudits after his goal contributions in the second half, a lot of credit must go to Rodri after another superb display for Guardiola.