Tottenham vs Man City result: Five things we learned as Spurs replace Chelsea at top of Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur produced an excellent performance to beat Manchester City 2-0 and move top of the Premier League on Saturday evening.
Spurs took the lead just a few minutes in with a neat Son Heung-min finish, while a would-be equaliser from Aymeric Laporte was ruled out as Gabriel Jesus handballed in the build-up.
City certainly enjoyed lots of possession after the break, pinning Spurs back and moving the ball around in an attempt to open them up, but the home side defended resolutely and Hugo Lloris was far from overworked.
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At the other end Spurs remained a threat on the break too and that was displayed when Kane set away Giovani Lo Celso to score the second, just minutes after being sent on as sub.
Here are five things we learned from the game at Tottenham Stadium.
Top of the charts
Another day, another goal for Son Heung-min.
The Spurs forward has been in fantastic form at the start of the season and his strike just five minutes into the match was his ninth of the campaign, which leaves him top scorer ahead of Mo Salah, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Jamie Vardy.
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He has benefited from the vision and selflessness of Harry Kane in recent games, but it was off-the-ball movement from his forward partner which helped create the space for Son this time around.
Add in a great through-pass from Tanguy Ndombele and indecision in the Man City back line and Son’s unforgiving and clinical touch did the rest.
City strike rate
Coming into the match, the once-feared City attack had netted just one goal per game in their last five matches – both by average and by literal count.
There has been a noticeable drop-off in the pressing and transition intensity from City over the last year or so and, in more recent developments, having injured forwards has only added to their relative lack of threat in the final third.
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Despite a vast majority of possession here, well over 60 per cent, there was rarely a succession of clear openings on goal – just four on target by the 85-minute mark, 19 shots and an expected goals total of just about 1.6 – until late attempts by Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo boosted those stats once the game was gone in any case.
It’s not enough to win games consistently unless the defence is near-perfect at the other end, and City’s has been far from that this season.
Building a team to have Gareth Bale, Lucas Moura, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero or Phil Foden available is one thing.
Not using any of them in the starting line-up is quite another.
The level of depth available to the top clubs this season is quite outrageous: international-class starters, world-class performers, match-winners in multiple positions and millions of pounds worth of transfer fees and salaries.
City called upon a couple, but not until they were already two goals down and there was little Sterling and Co could do to reverse the situation.
The deep squads are very much needed to cope with ridiculous schedules and increased injuries, but they don’t guarantee good results.
Spurs aren’t particularly noted for having stars at centre-back in the modern age, but Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier have been quietly forging an excellent partnership.
On this occasion they were positionally perfect and constantly communicating with those in front of them, but their technical work was spot-on, too.
Dier made successive blocks on Kevin de Bruyne to stop goalscoring chances, while also making several big headed clearances when Spurs were under pressure.
His Belgian partner was simply excellent, stepping out of the defensive line when needed, clipping some brilliant passes over the midfield to set Spurs onto the front foot and even being the instigator of the move which resulted in 2-0.
The one negative was Alderweireld going off injured late on and Spurs will hope that’s not a long-term absence incoming.
City have a lot of ground to catch up already, regardless of it being relatively early in the season and having a game in hand.
We are now essentially a quarter of the way through the campaign, it goes quickly – and having an extra match to play is not the same as having the points in the bag, especially taking into account some uneven recent form.
Spurs, meanwhile, go top with this three points – a full eight ahead of City, with Liverpool able to join them if they beat Leicester tomorrow. If the Foxes take the points, City are nine off the pace.
Jose Mourinho might not talk about a possible challenge for silverware just yet in public, but in the dressing room that’s exactly what the feeling will be mounting toward after a performance and result like this.
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