Gündogan doubles up in Manchester City's comfortable win over Tottenham

Can anyone halt the Manchester City juggernaut? Pep Guardiola’s side benefited from another show of excellence by Ilkay Gündogan, who scored twice, for a 16th consecutive win in a supreme team performance.

City’s lead at the summit of the Premier League is seven points over Leicester and though Manchester United can cut it to five by beating West Brom today/on Sunday, their cross-town rivals will still have a match in hand and there is a chance will start to disappear into the distance. Liverpool are 13 points behind City having played a game more and Guardiola was asked about Jürgen Klopp’s comments following the loss at Leicester earlier that the champions’s title defence is over.

“What I saw, the way they play against Leicester - of course we have to lose games, but they can do it,” he said. “It’s the same Liverpool I met in the last years - in the boxes they are not so clinical but the quality of their play is still there.”

Guardiola believed City’s win over Spurs was “well deserved”. “They hit the post and that can turn the game but the way we wanted to play was there. Tottenham have special quality, we have played well against them in the past and lost 2-0. They don’t need anything to create chances. It is the quality and the approach of their manager [José Mourinho]. We have a special way to play and we will continue, you have to be patient, patient. Calm.”

Despite those respectful words the truth was the visitors offered little, Spurs lacking the adventure to prevent City’s ascendancy. Mourinho is known for counterattacking sides, which is how most teams hope to extract a point or more when playing City. Yet Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min, their two real threats, were barely utilised. The closest Tottenham came was when Kane provoked Aymeric Laporte into a nibble of his ankle that claimed a free-kick 20 yards out. From the right, Kane’s handsome attempt beat Ederson but not the left upright and City escaped.

Spurs, though, did not when Gabriel Jesus slipped Gündogan through in a left channel. Across came Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and took him down. Paul Tierney had no hesitation and the referee awarded a penalty. With City having missed from the spot last week the kick was taken by Rodri, the Spaniard struck to Hugo Lloris’s right and though he placed a palm on it, City were ahead.

Ever the perfectionist Guardiola was unhappy. “Is Rodri the taker now? No. I would say I admire the courage to take the penalty but it was not a good penalty. I am not laughing, I am concerned about this. We will have a real specialist to take them with quality. We have to practise. I have to reflect, we have the Champions League coming up and we [can’t afford to miss one in it].”

City ended the half with a rapid move that had Raheem Sterling leaving Ben Davies a spectator and Jesus skimmed the bar.

For Spurs, Erik Lamela hardly impressed. His latest loose pass came at the start of the second half and ceded possession to Oleksandr Zinchenko, allowing City to turn defence into attack. A minute or so later their lead was doubled. Sterling seemed to have run into too much traffic in Spurs’s area, but City’s captain tapped the ball to Gündogan and his shot beat the soft-handed Lloris. It was the midfielder’s 10th league strike in 19 appearances, a ratio centre-forwards would be proud of.

What Guardiola takes pride in is seeing hunger from his players whatever the score so he will have revelled in how first Eric Dier then Davinson Sánchez were hunted down. Even when Lamela broke after Zinchenko misjudged a challenge, City circled the wagons and there was nowhere for him or any teammate to go.

Then came the superb Gündogan’s second. A 70-yard pass from Ederson landed the ball into the No 8’s path from inside his own penalty area. Gündogan out-foxed Sánchez and finished with an assured touch. His match was soured shortly after that when he limped off and will have a scan today. “We will see – he told me his groin was tight,” Guardiola said.

By now Gareth Bale was on for Spurs and though he forced a sharp save from Ederson the contest was over.





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