Manchester City took another giant step closer
to the Premier League title with a 3-0 win over Tottenham thanks to a brace by
Ilkay Gundogan. The Citizens have now opened up a seven-point lead at the top
of the Premier League table.
Gundogan has now scored 11 times in his last
12 league games and also won the penalty from which Rodrigo opened the scoring.
A muscle injury which forced him off late on
was the only negative of the night for City as they extended a record-breaking
winning run for an English top-flight team to 16 in all competitions.
Pep Guardiola’s men have a game in hand on
second-placed Leicester and move eight ahead of Manchester United, who are in
action away to West Brom on Sunday.
Spurs, by contrast, have now lost five of
their last six to remain four points off the top four, despite fourth-placed
The fortunes of both clubs have changed
dramatically since Tottenham were the last side to beat City 23 games ago.
Victory that day took Jose Mourinho’s men top
of the table, but they have won just four of their 14 league games since to
slide to eighth.
The visitors were unfortunate not to go in
front when Harry Kane’s stunning free-kick came back off the post.
However, they had a mountain to climb against
a City side that have conceded just twice in their last 11 league games once
the hosts were gifted an opener.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg clipped Gundogan’s heels
inside the box and referee Paul Tierney pointed to the spot midway through the
Penalties have been one of City’s few
weaknesses this season with even the in-form Gundogan blasting over from the
spot against Liverpool last weekend.
Guardiola had joked earlier that goalkeeper
Ederson could be next to try his luck, but instead it was Rodrigo — who had not
scored in nearly a year — who was given responsibility from the spot.
Hugo Lloris got a hand to the Spaniard’s low
shot and should have kept it out on a day to forget for the French captain.
The Spurs goalkeeper was even more at fault
for City’s second when Gundogan’s tame effort on his weaker left foot slipped
under Lloris’s grasp on 50 minutes.
It was City’s stopper who then had a big part
to play in the third as Ederson’s superb long pass picked out Gundogan’s run
from midfield and he turned Davinson Sanchez before slotting into the bottom
Moments later Gundogan asked to be replaced in
what will be a concern for Guardiola with City’s return to Champions League
action against Borussia Monchengladbach just 11 days away.
Mourinho turned to two of his forgotten men,
Dele Alli and Gareth Bale, to try and make an impact off the bench in the final
Bale has struggled to make any meaningful
impact in his second spell at the club on loan from Real Madrid, but the
31-year-old showed flashes of his old self with a brilliant jinking run that
forced Ederson into a flying save to preserve his sixth consecutive clean sheet
at the Etihad.