City made it 16 wins in a row after thrashing Spurs 4-1 at the Etihad. The Blues went ahead through Ilkay Gundogan and, inspired by the peerless Kevin De Bruyne, added three more goals after the break, one scored by the Belgian and two more added by top-scorer Raheem Sterling with a display from a team that seem to keep getting better. The win puts the Blues 14 points clear going into Sunday's fixtures. What a performance...
What happened? Spurs made their intentions clear from the off, crowding out De Bruyne whenever the opportunity arose, pressing with energy and in numbers. Moussa Dembele was lucky to escape a yellow card for a crunching challenge of international team-mate De Bruyne in the opening minutes, but the Blues’ playmaker was soon back on his feet and the referee instead had a quiet word. With Leroy Sane purring on the wing, the young German breezed past Kieran Trippier to tee up Sergio Aguero, but Jan Vertonghen managed to block his shot. Moments later Aguero stooped to head a De Bruyne free-kick past the post as the Blues turned up the heat. The breakthrough came on 14 minutes and for a team supposedly not the best at set-pieces, the Blues are suddenly starting to profit from quite a few! Sane whipped in a corner that Fernandinho leapt for but Gundogan met full on to power a header past Hugo Lloris and put City a goal to the good. Aguero then came close with a powerful shot that Lloris pushed clear and Sterling skied over with the Blues dominant. City’s passing and movement was exceptional with De Bruyne, Sterling and Sane in particular looking electric, but Harry Kane went close with a curling effort on 35 minutes to remind the hosts the game was far from won. The half ended with fog descending on the Etihad after an excellent first 45 from the Premier League leaders. Spurs were much livelier after the re-start and Kane forced Ederson into a smart save from 25 yards out as City were pinned back by the resurgent visitors. Pep Guardiola opted for a change just before the hour-mark, replacing Aguero with Gabriel Jesus. Within moments the young Brazilian almost connected to a De Bruyne cross but was denied by Lloris. The game was still on a knife-edge and a late challenge by Dele Alli left De Bruyne in agony and the England midfielder was lucky to not to be given his marching orders as a result. Fortunately, De Bruyne eventually hobbled to his feet and would go on to mastermind a scintillating conclusion to the game. The Belgian playmaker picked up the ball a few minutes later and powered his way into the box before hitting an unstoppable shot that gave Lloris no chance. And five minutes after that, as if on a one-man mission, De Bruyne again burst into the box before being hauled down by Jan Vertonghen for a penalty - but Gabriel Jesus saw his spot-kick strike the foot of Lloris' right-hand post and the visitors had a glimmer of hope. Sub Erik Lamela danced around a few challenges to set up Harry Winks but the youngster overran the ball and the chance to halve the deficit was gone. The Blues put the game to bed in the last 10 minutes, with Sterling bagging two of the easiest goals he'll ever score, first after great work by De Bruyne and Sane gave him a tap-in, then as he nutmnegged Lloris to make it 4-0 on 90 minutes. Christian Eriksen pulled one back with almost the last kick of the game, but this was City's day and a 16th straight win by this incredible team.
Star man: Kevin De Bruyne One word. Brilliant
What it means… City go 14 points clear ahead of Manchester United's game at West Brom on Sunday....
What’s next? City travel to Leicester on Tuesday for the Carabao Cup quarter-final. Then it’s back to the Etihad next Saturday for the last game before Christmas with Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth the visitors.
City (4): Ederson, Delph, Mangala, Otamendi, Walker, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Gündogan (Foden 83), Sterling, Sané (Bernardo 85’), Agüero (Jesus 57’)
Tottenham Hotspur (1): Lloris, Dier, Rose (Davies 89), Vertonghen, Trippier, Eriksen, Son, Alli (Sissoko 84), Winks, Dembélé, Kane (Lamela 74’)