Manchester City 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur: Gundogan-inspired City brush past Spurs to increase their lead at the top
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 13: Ilkay Gundogan of Manchester City celebrates after scoring their side's third goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad Stadium on February 13, 2021 in Manchester, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Rui Vieira - Pool/Getty Images)

Ilkay Gundogan grabbed a brace as Manchester City beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 to open up a seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

Pep Guardiola’s side have now won 11 matches in a row and brushed past Jose Mourinho’s side with ease.

Rodri opened the scoring with a first-half penalty and Gundogan continued his fine goal-scoring form with an impressive brace.

He now has 11 Premier League goals to his name this season; Bruno Fernandes is the only midfielder who has scored more goals with 13.

Spurs have  failed to win in nine of their last 12 league games and were second-best throughout.

  • Story of the game

For Mourinho, there were only three changes from the defeat to Everton in the FA Cup on Wednesday. 

Matt Doherty and Toby Alderweireld were the two defensive casualties with Eric Dier and the more surprising inclusion was Japhet Tanganga coming in. 

The back-four chosen by Mourinho had never played together before. 

Steven Bergwijn was the attacking player to step out so Harry Kane could start and make Son-Heung Min revert to his more natural position on the left-hand side.  

Guardiola took a brave step out of his comfort zone by playing a natural striker in Gabriel Jesus

Ruben Dias was a doubt going into the game and he made way for Aymeric Laporte

The first ten minutes foreshadowed the whole game well. City held all the ball: poking it around and trying to stretch Spurs’ deep defensive base.  

Two counter-attacks could’ve gone Mourinho’s way, both through great individual dribbling. 

One through Tanguy Ndombele and the other through Kane. 

Both had something in common though: they were starved for movement around them and got crowded out eventually. 

The first chance of the game, and the closest Spurs came, was through an unlikely source – a Harry Kane free-kick.

It cannoned off the post after he guided it up and over the wall in impressive fashion. 

After then shutting out Man City for 20 minutes with relative ease, the individual errors that Mourinho constantly talks about proved true again. 

This time it was Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg who gave away a penalty for the second time in as many games. 

He committed into a tackle with Gundogan and missed the ball, catching the German on his way.

Very rash from a player that has been so sound all season. 

VAR deemed it good to go and Rodri – not Ederson who Pep suggested could take the next one – tucked away the first penalty of his club career.

A penalty that, in all honesty, Hugo Lloris should’ve saved. 

It was weak, and low, but the French captain could only help the ball on its way into the goal. 

The game from that moment onwards was then in City’s control. But their next chance came just before half-time.

Raheem Sterling got in behind Ben Davies, made his way into the box, and then pulled the ball back to Bernando Silva but Davinson Sanchez made a heroic block. 

Jesus then hit the rebound over the goal. 

So, half-time, and action was few and far between.

City deserved their lead but weren’t at their ruthless best, while Spurs defended as a unit but posed virtually no threat on the counterattack. 

As he often does, Mourinho opted for a change at half-time. Moussa Sissoko was put on for Lucas Moura

This didn’t change much. Only five minutes in, City waved the game goodbye. 

After passing it to Sterling on the left-hand side, Gundogan ran into the box undetected, and then the winger played it into his path. 

Like a clinical striker, he took one touch before poking it in the back of the net and Lloris, again, was weak in his attempt to save the shot. 

Just like that, it’s 2-0 and the game is all but over.

Dele Alli replaced Ndombele with half an hour remaining. Again, this didn't change much. 

City then turned the screw.

Ederson, who was barely even in the game, then grabbed a ridiculous assist when his superb searching pass found Gundogan after Sanchez let it bounce which allowed the midfielder to pluck it out of the air. 

He left Sanchez crawling in despair, before slotting past Lloris to kill the game and secure his brace.

Awful defending from Sanchez, but equally as incredible from Ederson and Gundogan. 

The German midfielder wheeled off and celebrated his brace, and his 11th goal of the Premier League season; better than any other season he’s had goal-scoring wise.

He’s really stepped it up in that regard. 

Oh yeah, and in these weird and bizarre times, is an assist for a goalkeeper almost considered normal? 

Gareth Bale, brought on for Erik Lamela, danced around some light Blue shirts on the edge of the City box with some incredible footwork – a welcome reminder of his ability – and then forced a good save from Ederson. 

The game petered out into nothing and City were well worth their victory that sees them now have a seven-point gap at the top of the league. 

  • Takeways 

 

Super City

Man City were superb today. 

The game was in their control throughout the evening. Maybe only Kane’s free-kick at the start of the game was the only moment it wasn’t. 

Guardiola’s side are full of confidence, swagger and look to have that ruthless nature to their game that they had at their very best a few years ago. 

Gundogan’s goal-scoring form is the main story here: a deep-lying midfielder who seems to have taken on all responsibility for the lack of Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne. 

Both of his goals showed skills that you would associate of a world-class striker: clinical, calm in the right moments, and making runs behind the last defender. 

He is aided by the incredible Joao Cancelo, who is a right-back that slots into the centre of the park to allow him a free license. 

And then the defence, who have only conceded an incredible 14 goals this season.

Ruben Dias was absent today but the equally reliable defender Laporte stepped in with no trouble. 

This City defence finally has depth, steel and consistency for the first time since Vincent Kompany left. 

They nullified Spurs’ counter attacking threat so well; crowding them out anytime a turnover occurred to stop the danger by source. Kane and Son were spectators. 

There is so much to like about this City side. Guardiola deserves a lot of credit as his side look destined for another Premier League after gliding past Spurs. 

Different game same story for Spurs

As much as City were good, Spurs were uninspiring. 

Not many expected Mourinho’s side to get a result against one of the best teams in the world after completing 120 minutes against a good Everton side on Wednesday but the way they approached the game will come under question. 

Spurs were very passive, again, and never had much intention to expand their game. Even at 0-0. 

They defended as a unit well enough in the first-half but fell apart. 

Individual errors shone through again.  

Spurs are a side that lack identity, lack balance, and lack personality. Mourinho has big issues at hand and this was not helped by their lifeless performance today. 


 

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