Tottenham Hotspur had a statement win over Manchester City on Sunday at White Hart Lane, beating the league leaders 2-0 to shrink their lead at the top of the table to just one point.
The first half was a great display of just how good Tottenham can be when they go full out and are able to press their opponents high up the field. With City trying to play the ball out from the back, Spurs were able to press extremely high up the pitch, and broke the deadlock in the ninth minute through an own goal by Aleksandar Kolarov. The City left back was unlucky to put a cross by Danny Rose into his own net when trying to clear the ball.
Dele Alli made it 2-0 in the 37th minute after making a nice run inside the penalty area and getting a nice feed from Heung-Min Son before tucking the ball into the far corner. Spurs did a good job on the defensive side of the ball with the high press, with Victor Wanyama playing in the defensive midfield role.
The Kenyan international acted like a broom and took care of business if City got through the first wave of pressing Spurs players. Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was extremely pleased to hand City their first loss of the season.
“It was a great, great victory for us against this opposition,” Pochettino said after the win. “I am very happy. Sometimes when you have a plan, it is good, sometimes less so, but Manchester City are a great team. It is difficult to play against them.
“We need to follow this after the international match and we have more tough games after the international break. If you play like we did today with passion and aggression then you will always have a chance. It is always about mentality. That is what helps us run and play as we want to.
“The collective performance was strong. It is too early to take this into the table yet. We are still creating our philosophy.”
Tottenham kept control of the game in the second half, and had a golden opportunity to put the game well beyond reach from City, as they were awarded a penalty in the 64th minute. But Claudio Bravo saved the effort from Erik Lamela. City failed to gain any momentum from Bravo’s save, as they were held off the scoresheet for the first time this season. Pep Guardiola said he never expected City to go unbeaten through the whole season, and that he hopes his side can learn from the defeat.
“It was a tough game, we knew that,” Guardiola said. “Tottenham have been a very good team for the last three years, fighting. We were little late in all aspects. We could not have so many chances, in many aspects they were better than us.
“It is October, you cannot imagine what my team has already done. I am new here. So far it has been an amazing performance but we need more, we have to work more, it is what it is.
“I never thought that we would not lose a game, you can’t imagine that. It is normal to the process, sometimes it happens and it can help us improve.”
With the international break upon us, City will have the chance to work on some things, while Tottenham gets a chance to heal up a bit as Harry Kane is still out injured along with Mousa Dembele, while Eric Dier started the game against City on the bench. Spurs showed last season that they can beat anyone, and the win over an in-form City is a statement that they will be in the title discussion again this season.