Spurs Deal Guardiola First Man City Loss; Leicester Draw a Blank Against Saints
A file photo of Tottenham Hotspur players celebrating a goal against Manchester City. (Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur advanced their Premier League title credentials with a superb 2-0 victory on Sunday as Pep Guardiola tasted defeat for the first time as Manchester City manager.
An Aleksandar Kolarov own goal and a Dele Alli strike gave Spurs a third successive league win over City and manager Mauricio Pochettino could even afford for Erik Lamela to squander a second-half penalty.
The result lifted Spurs to second, a point below City, and means the north London club, third last term, have made their best start to a season since their fabled 1960-61 title-winning campaign.
Pochettino was left to celebrate only a second league win over Guardiola in 10 matches, and the first since Espanyol beat Barcelona in their first such encounter in February 2009.
It was Guardiola's first defeat in 12 games as City manager and following their mid-week 3-3 draw at Celtic in the Champions League, his side have now gone successive games without victory.
City had won their first six league matches, but the last unbeaten record in the division now belongs to Tottenham.
Spurs were caught cold by Liverpool, the last high-pressing team to visit White Hart Lane, in August's 1-1 draw between the sides, but Pochettino's men did not make the same mistake against City.
They were at it from the off, Son Heung-Min lashing a shot over the bar with barely 30 seconds on the clock, and in the ninth minute they scored.
Danny Rose hoisted a cross into the box from the left and Kolarov made a complete hash of his attempted clearance, the ball ballooning up off his left thigh and floating into the top-right corner.
The white-shirted onslaught continued, City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo blocking at his near post from Son and fielding a mishit Rose volley that threatened to dip beneath his crossbar.
Nicolas Otamendi was booked for lunging in on the jinking Alli and from the ensuing free-kick, Christian Eriksen curled inches wide.
Aguero hits post
Not until the middle of the first half did City begin to pick their way through the Spurs press.
Sergio Aguero might have had a penalty after being caught by Jan Vertonghen as they vied for Kolarov's cross and the Argentine also worked Hugo Lloris with a curling free-kick.
But with Victor Wanyama and Moussa Sissoko policing the midfield, City could not settle and eight minutes before half-time they found themselves two goals down.
After stopping a City counter-attack in its tracks, Spurs broke themselves, Son slipping a pass through to Alli, who swept a first-time shot low past Bravo's outstretched right hand.
Spurs came out of the traps fastest in the second half as well, with Son and Wanyama going close from range.
Aguero almost embarrassed Lloris at the other end with a low shot that the Frenchman inadvertently deflected against his near post.
But it was an isolated opportunity for the visitors, prompting Guardiola to inject some guile into his midfield by sending on Ilkay Gundogan for Fernando.
Spurs should have put the game to bed in the 65th minute when referee Andre Marriner pointed to the spot after Fernandinho had caught Alli from behind.
But Bravo plunged to his left to push Lamela's penalty away.
Guardiola also introduced Kelechi Iheanacho in place of Jesus Navas, but there was just one clear opportunity for his side in the closing stages, Lloris saving sharply from Aguero's deflected effort.
In another match, Leicester's spluttering defence of the Premier League title suffered another blow after they were held to a 0-0 draw by Southampton at the King Power Stadium.
Retaining the title always looked like a bridge too far for Claudio Ranieri's side, but the autumn leaves have hardly started falling from the trees before the Foxes appear to have fallen out of contention.
This was another subdued performance from the champions, who lacked the ferocious work rate that carried them to the title, and they have now won only two of their seven league games this term.
Leicester are already marooned in mid-table, 10 points behind leaders Manchester City, and challenging for a top four finish might be the limit of their ambitions as reality bites after an incredible 12 months.
At least Europe still offers the chance for more miracles and Leicester defeated Porto in midweek to secure a second successive victory in their maiden Champions League campaign.
Leicester had already suffered three league defeats this season -- as many as they lost in the entirety of last season's fairytale campaign -- and Southampton looked the more confident side as a result.
Saints boss Claude Puel rested a host of key players for Thursday's trip to Israel for a goalless draw against Hapoel Be'er-Sheeva in the Europa League and the decision to keep his stars fresh was rewarded with a lively display.
England interim manager Gareth Southgate was in the stands before announcing his first squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia.
Recommended For You
- Porter's Son Thangarasu Natarajan: From Tennis Ball Star to IPL Big Bucks
- Man Purposely Damages Tesla Model S to Save a Life, Gets Compensation
- News18 Movie Awards 2017: Nominees For Best Singer (Male)
- Shahid Kapoor's Pre-Birthday Bash: Deepika, Alia, Katrina steal the show
- Top T20I Bowler Imran Tahir Has No Takers in IPL Auction