Tottenham Hotspur hand Pep Guardiola his first Manchester City loss
Spurs superb in 2-0 victory, lifting them to second in the English Premier League – a point below City
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 straight 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.
“It was a great, great victory for us against this opposition. I am very happy,” Pochettino said.
“We need to follow this after the international match and we have more tough games after the international break.”
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 midweek 3-3 draw at Celtic in the Champions League, his side have now gone successive games without victory.
“They were better,” conceded Guardiola. “We were not in the right positions, so congratulations to them.
“I am not here for the talk around me; I am here to do my job. It is October. You cannot imagine my team is already done.”
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.
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 Claudio Bravo’s outstretched right hand.
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.
Elsewhere, strikers Jamie Vardy of Leicester and Charlie Austin of Southampton both missed chances in a drab goalless stalemate at the King Power Stadium.
The draw left Leicester marooned in mid-table, with hopes of a successful title defence fading fast.