Manchester City look unstoppable as they easily dismiss Tottenham challenge

Manchester City vs Tottenham, Premier League: live score and latest updates
Manchester City vs Tottenham - live Credit: PA

Nothing epitomised the confidence coursing through this relentless Manchester City side quite like their third goal. Ederson, frustrated not to have been given the chance to take an earlier penalty, managed the next best thing by spearing a stunning 90-yard pass on to the toe of Ilkay Gundogan and, from there, City’s man of the moment twisted the knife into a tired, demoralised Tottenham Hotspur by exhibiting all the ruthless nonchalance of a 30-goal-a-season striker.

One touch to kill the ball, another to cut inside poor Davinson Sanchez after bumping the Spurs defender aside and then a serene left-foot finish low into the corner that wrongfooted Hugo Lloris. Gundogan was mobbed by team-mates at one end and a beaming Ederson, revelling in his splendid assist, by blue shirts at the other.

Having got the ball rolling for City by winning what Jose Mourinho witheringly described as a “modern penalty”, this was the Germany midfelder’s second goal of the night and 11th in his past 12 Premier League outings and earned City a record-equalling ninth consecutive top flight win. Only Bolton Wanderers, in 1906, and Manchester United, 12 years ago, have achieved that before. All told, City - unbeaten in 23 matches now - have won 16 games on the bounce in all competitions.

Tottenham were top of the Premier League, five points clear of a City side languishing in ninth position, the last time these two teams met in early November but their trajectories have been diametrically opposed ever since and this mismatch merely reaffirmed why the gulf - in quality and points - is now so great.

Victory moved City seven points ahead of Leicester at the top, with a game still in hand, and 17 clear of Spurs, who, after a fourth defeat in five in the competition, are watching their Champions League hopes fade by the week.

Mourinho felt Wednesday’s extra-time FA Cup defeat at Everton had sapped his team of energy, and, unhappy with the scheduling, claimed this fixture should have been played on Sunday. He also appeared to set aside any differences he may have had with Gareth Bale this week to introduce the Wales forward with 18 minutes remaining and offer an olive branch to him and another substitute and outcast, Dele Alli, by insisting they were “welcome if they consider themselves physically and mentally ready” to play. Yet even a fully fit and in form Bale and Alli might have struggled to dent City’s armoury.

Tottenham were the last team to beat City and, on the evidence of recent months, it is going to take something extraordinary to prevent Pep Guardiola’s side from sauntering to a third title in four seasons. They were without their defensive rock Ruben Dias and talisman Kevin De Bruyne but it made no difference. The only sour note was the sight of Gundogan being substituted after complaining of a tight groin that will require assessment.

“We don’t have [Lionel] Messi, Cristiano [Ronaldo], Bale, Neymar, we don’t have these type of players who can win a game [on their own] but they know it,” Guardiola said. “I told them many times that we have to do it as a team.”

For such a technically accomplished side, though, it is odd that they have proven so profligate from 12 yards, to the point where Ederson briefly seemed hopeful that his moment to get on the scoresheet had arrived when Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg tripped Gundogan.

Gabriel Jesus had slipped the ball in behind Hojbjerg and the Tottenham midfielder, scrambling back, clipped Gundogan’s ankle as the German motioned to turn. Mourinho - who has previously accused City’s players of going to ground too easily - claimed it was a “modern penalty”, one where “even if you are touched by a nail it can be a penalty”.

Ederson looked like a dog straining on a leash as he waited for the green light only for Bernardo to eventually rush back towards the centre circle to inform the disappointed goalkeeper that, in this instance, his services would not be needed.

Instead, the responsibility fell, somewhat surprisingly, to Rodri, City’s seventh different penalty taker in the top flight since the start of last season - an indication of just how much trouble they have had from the spot. Indeed, City had missed eight of their previous 17 penalties in the league before this, including last weekend’s failure by Gundogan against Liverpool.

But while Rodri scored and insisted he would be taking the next one, it was a poor penalty that bounced in somewhat fortuitously off Lloris’ arm and Guardiola’s reaction afterwards was telling. “I love the courage but he was not a good taker,” the Catalan said. “I have to reflect because we have the Champions League coming up.”

What about Ederson? “If he can play that pass from 70 yards, he can shoot from 12,” Guardiola said. “His quality of shot is good. But penalties are different. I need to think.”

Tottenham had come closest to breaking the deadlock before Rodri’s penalty after Harry Kane crashed a free-kick off the inside of a post and that was about as good as it got for the visitors. Joao Cancelo, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo and, of course, Gundogan all impressed for City while, at the back, the imperious John Stones made light of Dias’s absence.

Gundogan’s toed finish for his first goal seemed to throw Lloris, who watched the ball creep in off the underside of his right hand, but Sterling had raced unchecked across the 18-yard box and there was no pressure on the ball during the subsequent interchange of passes that created the space for Gundogan.

Then came the icing on the cake when Ederson and Gundogan combined for that delicious third. Catch City if you can.

FULL TIME

City look absolutely unbeatable at the moment and that's without De Bruyne and Aguero, and with Ruben Dias on the bench. Good luck to anyone getting close to them for the rest of the season. 

90 mins+2 - Man City 3 Spurs 0

Davies picks up the most obvious yellow card of the game by bringing down Mahrez during a fast break. That'll probably the last actual action of the game.

90 mins - Man City 3 Spurs 0

Great save by Lloris! Foden almost sets up Sterling for a fourth but the goalie stops it low with his legs. Just as well, seeing as how his gloves look to be filled with air, rather than hands, today.

88 mins - Man City 3 Spurs 0

The thing with Dele Alli is that Mourinho's defensive systems require players who can come up with a bit of magic on their own and he is exactly that sort of attacker. The rest of the grinds games down, the creator conjures something to win the match, everyone leaves happy. Instead, his supposed lack of defensive effort or lazy training style is preventing Spurs from having someone capable of that. 

85 mins - Man City 3 Spurs 0

Clever play by Kane earns Spurs a corner. They've looked much better since Alli and Bale have been on the pitch. 

82 mins - Man City 3 Spurs 0

Oh wow that was magic. Bale is able to beat three Man City defenders with brilliant footwork on the edge of the area, opening up the space for a shot... which he launches at goal but Ederson saves. That is outstanding. Why wasn't he playing earlier? Seems like a good player.

80 mins - Man City 3 Spurs 0

Son goes into a 50/50 and comes off much worse. He looks to be in a lot of pain and stays prone for a little while as the referee sorts things out. Seems to be OK. I think he's taken studs into the shin just below the shin pad. 

77 mins - Man City 3 Spurs 0

City have controlled this game from start to finish. Spurs haven't been close. 

74 mins - Man City 3 Spurs 0

Mourinho going against his better instincts here. Not only is Alli on but Bale is about to come on! Just in time to scoring a winning goal, at 3-0 down with 20 minutes left. 

Lamela goes off. 

71 mins - Man City 3 Spurs 0

But wait - that sound has gone. Gundogan has pulled up with what seems to be a groin injury and has been replaced by Torres. 

Spurs have been bad but City are brilliant here tonight.

68 mins - Man City 3 Spurs 0

Can you hear that sound? That is actually the noise of all the other Fantasy Football players in the world who didn't put Gundogan in their team yet, wailing out loud together as one.

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLL!!!!

GUNDOGAN SCORES AGAIN!

Man City 3 Spurs 0

City have been tapping the ball around but it's an absolute dream of a long ball from Ederson from inside his own box, Gundogan easily muscles Sanchez off the ball, who is all over the place and falls over as if he's just stepped off the waltzer, giving Gundogan the chance to finish.

66 mins - Man City 2 Spurs 0

Lamela is booked for stopping a counter-attack and the interesting thing about that is I can't believe it's taken most of the game for Lamela to get booked.

64 mins - Man City 2 Spurs 0

Ndombele comes off for Alli. The return of Dele Alli! What will we see from him today? If Spurs can get the ball out of their own defensive third without punting it long, maybe we'll find out.

61 mins - Man City 2 Spurs 0

You know who'd be really good in this Man City team? Harry Kane. He is pretty obviously a lot better than nearly all his fellow Spurs players but can't do it all on his own. City are pinging the ball about from side to side, dragging the Spurs defence around.

58 mins - Man City 2 Spurs 0

Foden goes on a little dance into the area but Tanganga is a much bigger lad and bounces him to the floor. Spurs can't get out of their own defensive third at the moment. It's like they're playing with 10 men.

55 mins - Man City 2 Spurs 0

Ah yes, the inevitable cut to Gareth Bale doing a little warm up. He stopped trying about four years ago. 

53 mins - Man City 2 Spurs 0

No change in approach from Spurs so far. Lloris could do with putting his hands inside of his gloves instead of having them sewn onto the end of his jersey. I know he wants to keep his fingers warm but the ball has flopped past his hands twice in this game.

GOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!!!!!

IT'S GUNDOGAN! 

Man City 2 Spurs 0

Sterling is able to dribble past just about every Spurs defender inside the box as runs across it, then just slips a little pass inside to Gundoga, who takes a touch and wrongfoots Lloris with a toe poke. Again, the goalie should save it!

48 mins - Man City 1 Spurs 0

Moura is off, Sissoko is on for Spurs. The former was anonymous in that first half. Sissoko has gone into the double pivot with Hojbjerg. I think Lamela is wide right now.

KICK OFF 2

We're back!

Some penalty statistics for you to enjoy

  • Only Leicester (10) have been awarded more penalties in the PL this season than Man City (7 - level with Man Utd and Chelsea)
  • No side has conceded more goals from the penalty spot in the PL this season than Spurs (6 - level with Leeds, Wolves, Brighton)

HALF TIME

Man City are great fun to watch. Spurs are not. In fact, it's a bit of a chore at times. Still, only one goal in it and that was a penalty!

45 mins - Man City 1 Spurs 0

Cancelo is superb. He's a right-back but also basically a central attacking midfielder today and has just dribbled into the final third then bent a shot towards the top corner.

43 mins - Man City 1 Spurs 0

Sky Sports have just shown a graphic telling us that there's only been one shot on target and that was the penalty.

Immediately after it looks like City are about to change that! Sterling gets in behind Davies, Gundogan is blocked inside six yards, and Jesus shoots juuuuuuust over the bar from the penalty spot.

40 mins - Man City 1 Spurs 0

Lamela raises an arm near Jesus' head and just for a second there's a bit of fear he might get something done to him thanks to Var. The free-kick comes to nothing.

39 mins - Man City 1 Spurs 0

Foden has moved out to the left wing to take on Tanganga, with Sterling on the right now. Spurs really struggling to break out from the back.

Jesus has basically scissor tackled Lamela, from behind, and nothing seems to have come of it. The two players don't seem to like each other very much. They're squaring up now after being talked to by the referee. 

36 mins - Man City 1 Spurs 0

Sterling has just done that awful thing footballers do where he volleys a ball directly at a defender from one yard then tries to claim a penalty for handball.

33 mins - Man City 1 Spurs 0

The movement by City players off the ball in this latest attack is amazing. The full-back comes inside to attack through the middle, Sterling peels off wide and that opens up space for him to cut inside and thread it into Bernardo, who enjoys the space created by another player darting away to drag a defender out of position. The shot is deflected and bounces into Lloris' gloves but it's so nice to watch. Even a well drilled Spurs defence are struggling to deal with it at times.

30 mins - Man City 1 Spurs 0

Rodri has been booked for a tactical foul and now Bernardo is shown a yellow for diving in to prevent Davies going past him. 

27 mins - Man City 1 Spurs 0

Lamela has gone in with an aggressive slide tackle on Gundogan and City players don't like it. A lot of noise accompanies the foul but it's not actually that bad. It looked worse than it was because of the speed he went into the challenge.

26 mins - Man City 1 Spurs 0

Lloris should have saved that. What now for Spurs? The plan would have been to keep things quiet until the 80th minute and then have a bit of a go but that's gone.

GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL

Rodri is the latest penalty recruit and he doesn't look hugely confident about it...

Man City 1 Spurs 0

... and only just manages to fire it into the bottom corner! Lloris guesses right... and actually he should save this. That's a bad penalty.

PENALTY!

Gundogan runs in behind to the penalty area, Hojbjerg gets done by the Cruyff turn and clatters into him and it's a penalty.

Please be Ederson. Please.

21 mins - Man City 0 Tottenham 0

Lamela is playing well today. Has been carrying the ball forward and dragging defenders with him. He's a weird player and one I can never quite work out - he looks like a really technical kind of 10 but rarely seems to create or score and ends up playing like a ball winning midfielder, but an advanced one. He's clearly good but I can't tell how good.

18 mins - Man City 0 Tottenham 0

Bernardo Silva is definitely tripped while trying to dribble past a couple of Spurs defenders but the referee doesn't care and Spurs break up the other end. The replay shows it was a clear foul. Imagine Spurs had scored... would Var have ruled it out because of the missed free-kick for City?

15 mins - Man City 0 Tottenham 0

Kane goes for a shot from the free-kick... and HITS THE POST! Wow that was close. Lots of power, bend, and it cracks off the upright. Ederson was close to it but I think the power might have beaten him.

12 mins - Man City 0 Tottenham 0

The patten is set! City pass pass pass and try to keep the tempo up, Spurs drop deep and block them.. then try to counter. Kane wins a free-kick near the City box... which is going to be his plan for the rest of the match.

9 mins - Man City 0 Tottenham 0

Ndombele is such a good player and could be the key to Spurs' counter-attacking game working. He's able to dance past players, beating defenders with a turn of pace or little dropped sholder, and has just managed to get all the way into the City box before being crowded out.

6 mins - Man City 0 Tottenham 0

City in total control of possession, Spurs doing exactly what we knew they would. A very tight 4-4-2, which turns into a 5-3-2 when City get high enough up the pitch.

3 mins - Man City 0 Tottenham 0

Spurs look to be in a 4-4-2 with Moura beside Kane and are going to try and stay compact throughout. Man City have already found a way to get past this, which is dribbling beyond players and into space rather than passing there.

KICK OFF

Here we go! 

It's cold in Manchester

 

Here come the players

This is a big game. If Spurs win this it would be a massive boost in confidence and put them into fifth place. Their season is falling apart a little bit at the moment, Mourinho could really do with a bit of luck.

The managers

Why no Dias?

"Ruben didn't train last week, he had the fever and didn't feel good. Aymeric played really well at Swansea."

Mourinho on how Spurs have a more difficult task and how everything is against them etc:

"I don't want to think about it because there is no point. That's the way it is, it was a very difficult match. If you want to compare City task and our task midweek in the cup it cannot compare. I don't want to think about it. The players are going to give everything. And then another game on Thursday. I was telling the players this is the last effort. The last effort."

Who will take Man City's penalties today?

I'm not saying they'll definitely get one but after seeing Gundogan miss a crucial penalty against Liverpool last week, will Guardiola finally go ahead with his threat to let Ederson take the penalties?! I'm all for it.

Manchester City score good goals

And I'm not just talking about the men's team. In case you haven't seen this yet, Caroline Weir's goal against Man Utd yesterday is amazing.

 

Man City vs Tottenham

Hello there! And welcome to our coverage of Saturday evening's big game (sorry Brighton and Villa fans) between a side who will probably win the league and another who for a few weeks looked like they might be able to compete with. Tottenham have been pretty horrible to watch the last few weeks and the fans are beginning to grow impatient. Isn't it meant to be better than this? Meanwhile, City have clearly fooled everyone into thinking they were in decline. It has become abundantly clear that this was never the case.

Here are the teams for today's game:

 For some reason Dias is on the bench today, but that may just be clever squad rotation. City have two games this week and he's played a lot of matches since joining already. Laporte starts next to Stones.

Spurs are in a 4-2-3-1 and I suspect will look to hurt City on the counter. Grind the game down, foul players at half way, shut the defensive third down. That'll be the game plan.

One player who isn't involved is Gareth Bale, who isn't the player we may remember from a few days ago. This is what Mourinho has said about his social media posts:

"Since the beginning of the season in relationship to everything, I try to be very private and try to keep everything indoors, but I felt I needed to address the situation.

"The post was not even his responsibility, I don't know. But the post was showing 'training session great and I am ready' and was totally wrong.

"He had a scan, the scan didn't show an injury but his feelings were still there and coaches, sports science and medical people, we can never go against feelings because the player's feelings are much more important than all of us.

"So he was not ready for the game. It is as simple as that."

Kick is 5:30, stay with us for live updates throughout!