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As expected Spurs raced out of the blocks, pressing high and putting the City defence and midfield under pressure, yet the first opportunity came after four minutes when Jesus Navas played a low cross towards the near post and David Silva's flick went harmlessly past the far post.
But the hosts' high-octane start paid dividends when Danny Rose's cross caused panic and Aleksandar Kolarov's attempted clearance went horribly wrong and he sliced the ball past Claudio Bravo via the crossbar. It was the start the Blues hadn't wanted and an already difficult task became that much harder.
With Spurs winning the midfield battle with their no-frills challenges, City were struggling to get their attacking game together and the hosts went close to doubling their lead on 20 minutes when Christian Eriksen's free-kick went inches wide.
Sergio Aguero's free-kick just past the half-hour was the Blues' first real attempt on target, but it wasn't long before Tottenham scored their second of the afternoon with Dele Alli finishing from close range after a clever through-ball by Son Heung-MIn.
With 37 minutes played, it was hard to see a way back into the game from that point with Pep Guardiola needing to find a way back into the game.
Aguero came close to halving the deficit five minutes after the re-start with a low drive that Hugo Lloris bundled on to the post, but the little breaks just weren't going City's way at White Hart Lane.
The game could have been over as a contest on 65 minutes when Fernandinho's mis-timed tackle on Alli resulted in a penalty, but Bravo beat out Erik Lamela's spot-kick to keep the Blues alive. Could the Blues take inspiration from the Chilean's save?
With 15 minutes to go, Silva spotted sub Kelechi Iheanacho's run into the box and with just Lloris to beat, the young striker saw his low shot saved by the Frenchman's legs - that had to go in if City were going to take anything out of this game, but it underlined the fact that perhaps it just wasn't going to be our day.
That said, the Blues finished the game strongly with Aguero going close on a couple of occasions in the last ten minutes, but Guardiola will have learned a lot from this disappointing defeat against a Tottenham side who will be more than a match for most sides on their own turf this season.
Kolarov's own goal was the moment the game started to swing away from City. It was unfortunate and in truth, he had to make some contact with a Spurs player waiting behind him - but it was just the early break the home side were looking for.
It was a difficult afternoon for City and particularly the Blues' overworked defence, but John Stones stuck to his task manfully throughout, keeping calm in difficult situations and ensuring his team kept in contention and had one late run that almost resulted in a consolation goal for Aguero.
Spurs have now won 23 of their 39 Premier League games against City – more than they've defeated any other Premier League side
Pochettino has now beaten a Guardiola side twice in 10 meetings
This was City’s first loss in all competitions since the Champions League defeat to Real Madrid last May
Spurs have now won the last three meetings between the two teams and have recorded their best start to a season since 1961/62 – a run that had ironically been ended by City
In all the madness around thought John Stones has been brilliant again today. #MCFC— Adie Mike (@AdieMike24) October 2, 2016
Team news ahead of Tottenham v City Premier League clash...
It’s set to be a classic at White Hart Lane as the top two come face to face but Raheem Sterling has spoken of his joy at his role in City’s incredible start to the season.
Spanish midfielder David Silva previews Spurs v City, and shares his thoughts on Pep Guardiola and his new role.