Tottenham Hotspur absolutely dominated Premier League leaders Manchester City at White Hart Lane on Saturday, scoring three second half goals and winning 4-1 over the Citizens. Spurs were dominant over an injury-plagued City team that has now lost two straight matches after going unbeaten in their first five.
The big lineup news for Spurs in this match was the return of Christian Eriksen to the starting lineup, coming in at the expense of Nacer Chadli. City started the match with Willy Caballero in goal, as Joe Hart had, in the words of Manuel Pellegrini, "an injury problem."
The first half was a relatively even affair, despite the on-paper difference in footballing talent. City tried to attack from the opening kick, but Spurs' defense was, for the most part, up to the task.
City drew first blood in the 25th minute. Kyle Walker scuffed a 7-yard pass off of a Spurs corner in front of City's box, which led to a 3-on-2 City counterattack. Kevin DeBruyne, who was in an offside position when he received the ball, put a nice shot past Hugo Lloris to put City up midway through the half.
Spurs equalized just before halftime, but in similarly dubious circumstances. Kyle Walker received a pass in an offside position (which wasn't called), and after a scrum the ball fell to Eric Dier about 30 yards out. His long, low shot careened off the near post and past Caballero. Martin DeMichelis received a yellow card for dissent after the halftime whistle when he argued with the refs about the non-call. City fans had a right to be aggrieved as Walker was miles offside when he recieved the initial pass, but the goal stood and Spurs took a 1-1 draw into halftime.
The second half started brightly for Spurs after Toby Alderweireld headed in the go-ahead goal off of a long free kick from Erik Lamela. It was a great effort from the Belgian to get his head on the end of that ball.
City responded by pressing higher up the pitch and trying to get the equalizing goal, but Spurs struck again in the 61st minute. A free kick from Christian Eriksen went off the woodwork but Harry Kane was right there to chip in the rebound and Spurs were suddenly up 3-1 against the league leaders.
Christian Eriksen made way midway through the half for Nacer Chadli and he received a warm round of applause for his efforts. City didn't make it easy on Spurs as they tried to get back into the match, but Tottenham put in a stout defensive performance.
Son Heung-Min thought he had Spurs' fourth goal in the 74th minute, but his close-range effort was ruled offside. Just minutes later Kane forced another fine save from Caballero as Spurs tried to put the game away.
The action late in the match was fast and furious, but it was Erik Lamela who put the exclamation point on the match. Clinton N'Jie played a square ball for Lamela who was lurking in City's final third, and Lamela cooly rounded both DiMichelis and Caballero to put Spurs up 4-1 and seal the game.
- How great is it to be on the OTHER side of a beating against City? What a spectacular match of football for Tottenham Hotspur today. Just brilliant stuff all around, and especially in the second half.
- Hugo was immense today, making several key saves and keeping Spurs from falling apart when City were pressing forward.
- Spurs' defense was spectacular overall, and though Kyle Walker looked shaky early, essentially ceding the give-away that led to City's goal, he solidified over the course of the match. The center backs were outstanding, though, especially Toby Alderweireld, who got the go-ahead goal.
- City is a much better team than Tottenham this season, so you'd them to create more and better scoring chances than Spurs. But Spurs held their own and did not looked overawed by a club that has outscored them 16-2 over the past four matches.
- So incredibly happy for Harry Kane today. You could see the relief in his face after he put that ball. It was typically great positioning from Kane to get into the right area to fire home the rebound. Kane was excellent today: all over the pitch, helping out, bringing in players, and forcing key saves from Caballero.
- It's weird to criticize the officials after a big win, but Mark Clattenburg and the officiating team was AWFUL today. The first two goals were both offside, and there were numerous dubious no-calls and baffling decisions. Spurs earned the win today, but Clattenburg should probably be officiating in League 1 next week.
- Clinton N'Jie had a great shift as a late substitute. He really showed his blistering pace, had some great skill moves, and even had the assist for Lamela's goal. Pleasing stuff.
- Yo, this Tottenham team looks GOOD. Like, really good. Stunningly good at times. I'm not used to this and might have to have a lie-down.