We analyse the observations from a highly entertaining clash at Wembley…
Many would argue it’s too early in the season for potential title deciders... and they’re probably right, but as Pep Guardiola stated in his post-match interview, victories against title rivals – especially away from home – always feel particularly satisfying.
GALLERY: Action shots | City's win at Wembley
While much of the title race talk had focused on the three unbeaten teams – City, Liverpool and Chelsea – Spurs had quietly gone about their business to mount their strongest-ever start to a Premier League season, collecting 21 points from their nine games.
It was not a vintage City performance by any stretch. The Blues were guilty of missing big chances (Guardiola also demanded a more ruthless edge from his players), and could easily have surrendered the lead – but it’s often said that the hallmark of Champions lies in the ability to win when you’re not playing at your best.
While our fellow contenders will have hoped a tricky test at Tottenham (who had lost just two of 21 games at the national stadium – one of those against the Blues in April) would have resulted in dropped points for the Champions, City ground out the three points to ensure that for the first time in Premier League history, three teams remain unbeaten after ten matches. It’s shaping up to be some race…
Those of us who have watched City for several decades (!) could not have envisaged in our wildest dreams that one day, we would play at Wembley four times in seven months… and win every game!
Well, pinch yourself, it’s happened… and we’ve only failed to score in two of our last 13 visits to the new Wembley.
London has proved to be a happy hunting ground for the Blues in recent years. We're now unbeaten in seven Premier League trips there, winning the last five in a row.
Monday's victory actually saw us become the first non-London side to triumph in five successive league matches in the capital.
Long may it continue!
Riyad Mahrez is in a rich vein of goalscoring form, having bagged five in his last eight games.
It was apt that the former Leicester man should star, following a difficult week for the football family, after the weekend’s tragic events at the King Power Stadium.
In commemoration, the Algerian dedicated his match-winning strike to the victims of the helicopter crash, particularly Foxes owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.
Mahrez’s admirable mental strength, coupled with the confidence accrued from his fine run of form, charged a desire to impress – and a sprinting run to the near post, as his instinct sensed an opportunity, bore fruit with the opener.
Many wondered how our summer recruit would respond to the penalty miss disappointment at Anfield earlier this month. That question has well and truly been answered.
You may have noticed the Wembley Stadium pitch wasn’t quite in tip-top shape…
Grass-less patches, additional white lines, numbers and even the NFL logo adorned the national stadium’s field, as a result of the weekend’s clash between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The topic dominated the pre-match discussion – how the state of the pitch would affect the game; whether it would heighten the concern of injuries…
As it happened, the pitch proved to more of a help to City than a hindrance, as a bobble sabotaged Spurs’ best chance of a leveller, bouncing the ball up just in front of Erik Lamela’s foot, as he was about to take the shot. Thankfully, the chance was blazed over!
City had prepared well for the difficult conditions, but were grateful for that particular divot!
5Case for the defence
Once again, Guardiola praised his defence after the game – and rightly so.
The Blues restricted the hosts to limited chances and as explained, put their research into practice in regards to quashing Harry Kane’s threat.
Incredibly, City have conceded just one goal in our last eight games, including six Premier League shut-outs in a row – our best such run under Guardiola.
All the more impressive when you discover Spurs had won 34 top flight games when trailing at half-time – more than any other side in the competition’s history.
Shout-out too for
Another contender for Man of the Match – the stalwart that is Fernandinho.
The Brazilian produced another steadfast display, thwarting Spurs’ counter-attacks in the centre of the park and retaining possession with his usual composure.
He spared Benjamin Mendy’s blushes with a perfectly-timed sliding tackle to clear Moussa Sissoko’s dangerous cross and kept the hosts’ attacking threat at bay throughout.
7The best fans in the land and all the world
A note of course for our blue and white army.
Needless to say, Monday nights are less than ideal for London-based fixtures and despite the fact the game had been pushed back twice and was chosen for television broadcast, we still managed to sell out our allocation.
Pleasingly, the travelling faithful were duly rewarded.