David Hytner was in situ to take it all in. Here’s his match report. Click, enjoy … and thanks for reading this MBM. Nighty night!
Pep’s verdict. “The perfect scenario for them. We conceded a goal after five minutes. After that they defended so deep. They had two shots on target. The spaces were minimal. We tried to find solutions but we couldn’t do it. We created chances but the reality is we are struggling to score goals. I think we have the ability and quality to score goals. I don’t have the feeling we are playing bad. We come here away, we have more shots on target, we concede less shots on target, we have more possession, but football is the details in the boxes. We are further away than we want to be, and we have to start to win. We want to be there, it is a weird season and I must start to lift the players.”
Jose Mourinho talks. “I prefer the players to speak, because they are the ones. They gave everything, they followed a strategy, and they were amazing. It was very important to respect them, and not forget who they are. People are speaking about them being not as good as before, following the fake table, because they have one match in hand. So super congratulations to the players. City is a fantastic team that lost against a team that was strategically good. City is still City. Everything was very good.” He also reports that Toby Alderweireld has an “important” injury, a “fatigue one”. When asked if it will be a long-term injury, he grimaces: “I would say so.”
A clearly frustrated Kevin De Bruyne has his say. “We played well but missed that cutting edge. To keep Tottenham to three or four chances, that’s quite good, but if you’re not sharp it’s tough. There have been a lot of changes, it’s difficult to find the consistency. The first two thirds of the pitch we’re playing really well. I don’t know the rules any more, honestly. They change. I’ve been playing professional football for 12 years and the first nine there was no rule changes. And the last few years there has been a lot. I don’t know why, football is such a nice game. But the guys who make the rules should be people in the game. Just so inconsistent. We had about seven days of pre-season. So what do people expect of us? It’s the same for everybody, but sometimes we’re tired.”
The sensational Harry Kane speaks to Sky. “A fantastic performance. We knew it would be a tough game. We had a game-plan to defend as a unit in a mid block, sometimes as a low block, and everyone worked their socks off. We knew in the second half chances would be available, and we took one towards the end. We knew if I dropped deep the centre halves would come quite tight and Sonny and Stevie could get in behind, and the first goal is the perfect example. You’ve got to do all it takes to win games. Part of my job is to work hard and win tackles as well as goals and assists, I enjoy defending, the feeling after putting in a great shift, there’s none better. We’re doing well but there are parts we can improve on and there are a lot of tough games to go. Whoever can put a good spell together will have a chance. Hopefully we’ll keep it up.”
That’s a magnificent display by Tottenham, who go top of the Premier League table. Harry Kane, Tanguy Ndombele and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg were all outstanding this evening. Jose Mourinho – after shaking hands with a drained Pep Guardiola – walks off the pitch with the springy step of a man who knows a title challenge is a very realistic possibility. They’re on 20 points, eight ahead of City, stuck in tenth albeit with a game in hand. City were good in the first half, but the less said about the second the better, and while the Premier League is far from a pipe dream, they’re already in a position where they can’t afford too many more mistakes. This is going to be one hell of a title race.
FULL TIME: Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Manchester City
Jose Mourinho has done a number on his arch-rival Pep Guardiola.
90 min +1: Cancelo tries a curler into the top right, but it’s no good. “Perhaps too early to say this but I really can’t see City winning the title this season,” begins Rick Harris. “If it stays like this and United beat the Baggies later in then they will go above their neighbours and City will drop into the bottom half of the table. That is crisis territory surely?” It’s certainly the worst start to a season in Pep’s managerial career: 12 points from the first eight games. His previous low was 16, something that happened twice at Barcelona, and once at City, last year.
90 min: Now Kane goes in the book for a fairly agricultural slide through the back of Dias. De Bruyne takes the free kick, to the right of centre, 30 yards out. He floats it to the far post, where Dias must score, but heads straight at Lloris from six yards.
88 min: Lo Celso snatches the ball off Jesus and begins a run down the left towards the City box. Torres clips him cynically and goes in the book as well.
87 min: Kane breezes down the left and draws a cynical foul from Dias. The City defender goes into the book. Kane really has done a number on the City centre-backs tonight. He’s been fantastic.
85 min: Moura floats in from the left, draws a couple of defenders, and is this close to releasing Son free down the inside-right channel.
83 min: Reguilon and Jesus clash heads. A free kick for City, 30 yards out, just to the right of centre. De Bruyne wedges it in, but Sterling can’t get on the end of it close to the left-hand post. Goal kick.
81 min: Alderweireld limps off. Joe Rodon, who has played one minute of football so far for Spurs since joining from Swansea, takes his place.
80 min: Mourinho was preparing to send on Gareth Bale, probably in place of Son. But suddenly Alderweireld goes down holding his groin. He won’t be able to continue. Jose alters his plans.
78 min: Jesus dribbles with purpose down the inside-right channel, making it as far as the box. He shoots. It’s blocked. He grimaces.
76 min: Dier blooters the free kick straight into the City wall, though it nearly squeaks through to Son. That would have been an outrageous stroke of luck. Laporte clears.
75 min: Kane brings down a high ball and glides towards the City box from deep. He’s pulling Laporte and Dias all over the shop. Dias is panicked into bringing him down, 25 yards out. “Harry Kane is the best 8, 9 and 10 in the Premier League,” suggests Gary Naylor.
72 min: Pep rolls the dice. Silva and Mahrez make way for Foden and Sterling.
71 min: Laporte has looked shaky against Kane all evening. Kane nearly spins him with absurd ease. Laporte does just enough to get back and nibble at the ball, but for a second the Spurs captain looked ready to burst clear on goal.
69 min: As things stand, Spurs will be going top with 20 points. City will be stuck in tenth, eight points back, albeit with a game in hand.
67 min: City look visibly deflated. Spurs were proving difficult enough to break down, and now they’ve got a cushion. A big 25 minutes coming up here. Can City respond?
GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Manchester City (Lo Celso 65)
Kane spins in the centre circle and races into the City half. He spots Lo Celso scampering down the inside-left channel. Lo Celso’s got the lead over the desperately backtracking De Bruyne. He enters the box, then slips the ball between the legs of the out-rushing Ederson. He’s been on the field for 35 seconds! This is turning into another Mourinho Masterclass.
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64 min: Ndombele is replaced by Lo Celso. Mourinho throws an arm around his shoulder, a relationship repaired. And what a substitution this is! Because …
63 min: Kane slips Son free down the inside left. Ederson comes haring out of his box. It’s a rash decision, but he gets way with it, because Son takes a heavy touch as he tries to round him on the left. Son scampers off to retrieve the ball by the corner flag, with the net gaping but tantalisingly out of reach. For a split second, City were in a world of trouble.
61 min: Dier’s clearing header rolls along the nearby Sissoko’s arm. Nobody in a City shirt complains, and VAR doesn’t seem that interested either. A few Spurs hearts in mouths when that one was being replayed, I’ll be bound.
60 min: … De Bruyne tries to thread a shot into the bottom right from the edge of the box. Dier blocks that out for another corner.
59 min: Spurs commit a few men in attack for once. Son nearly gets a snapshot away from 15 yards; Kane and Sissoko nearly open City up with a cute one-two down the right. Not quite, and City break upfield, winning a corner on the right. From which …
57 min: Walker drives hard at Spurs, then slips the ball wide for Torres, who opts to turn tail rather than heading towards goal. He’s forced to lay off to Silva, who crosses deep in the hope of finding Jesus at the far post. Too much. Goal kick.
55 min: De Bruyne latches onto a loose ball on the right-hand corner of the Spurs box, then harmlessly floats it over the bar from a tight angle. A chip? A cross? Not sure.
54 min: Some more space for De Bruyne, but an uncharacteristically loose pass as he tries to release Jesus down the inside-right channel. Lloris comes out to gather.
53 min: Mahrez cuts in from the right and whistles a diagonal daisycutter towards the bottom left. It’s an easy enough snaffle for Lloris.
51 min: Space for De Bruyne 30 yards out. He turns and advances on the Spurs box. He curls low towards the bottom right … but the ball’s always flying a couple of feet wide. That’s the first time he’s been afforded so much time and space today. More chances to come as hard-working Spurs become tired?
49 min: Bergwijn drives down the left and slides in Reguilon on the overlap. The full-back fizzes a ball through the City box, but there’s nobody in lilywhite to take a shot.
47 min: City press the hosts back immediately. More of the same. Rodri shifts the ball to make space, 25 yards out, but his low shot is blocked easily enough.
Half-time entertainment. In case you missed it earlier this week, John Ashdown’s retelling of the 1954 World Cup final is a must-read.
HALF TIME: Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Manchester City
The whistle goes. De Bruyne and Jesus argue with the referee about the disallowed goal, before trooping off with faces on. It’s been all City in terms of possession … but Spurs are halfway to a classic Mourinho rope-a-dope. As things stand, Spurs are going top, and City are dropping more points in an uncharacteristically slow start to the season. A big second half coming up for both teams in the context of this season’s Premier League, for very different reasons.
45 min: De Bruyne, perhaps getting a little frustrated at City’s inability to open Spurs up, takes a shot from distance. It pings off Hojbjerg and out for a corner. De Bruyne takes, and it’s easy meat for Lloris, who claims and sends Bergwijn scampering off down the left. Walker comes across to run the ball out for a throw, as he had to. Bergwijn would otherwise have been one on one with Ederson.
44 min: Sissoko is booked for delaying the restart after a Spurs foul, a few minutes go.
43 min: Walker sashays down the right and nearly opens Spurs up. But some determined work by Hojbjerg puts a stop to his gallop.
41 min: Cancelo busies himself down the inside-left channel again. He enters the box and lets Torres take over. A tangle of bodies, but no fouls. The ball breaks to Jesus, who whips over the bar from a tight angle, ten yards out.
39 min: Lloris takes his sweet time over a goal kick. The Mourinho masterclass continues. City betray their agitation.
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37 min: Spurs hold their shape. City can’t work any space. It’s more intriguing than exciting right now.