English Premiership

Spurs end Guardiola's perfect EPL start

2016-10-02 17:37
Pep Guardiola (Getty Images)

London - Tottenham ended Pep Guardiola's perfect Premier League start with Manchester City with an impressive 2-0 victory on Sunday that left the London club as the only unbeaten side.

Far from suffering a hangover after last season's title-challenge collapse, Spurs are enjoying their best-ever start to a top-flight campaign.

City trailed for the first time in the league this season in calamitous circumstances when Aleksandar Kolarov diverted the ball into his own goal in the ninth minute.

Tottenham extended its lead as its energetic, pressing game proved too slick to handle for City. Dele Alli combined with Heung-Min Son before sweeping a shot past Claudio Bravo in the 37th minute.

Bravo did save Erik Lamela's second-half penalty but City could not avoid slumping to its first loss under Guardiola and its second setback of the week after being held by Celtic in the Champions League.

City and Tottenham complete the seventh round as they started in first and second place. Tottenham is only a point behind now, though, after Mauricio Pochettino sealed his first victory over Guardiola since the opening spell of his managerial career in 2009 when Espanyol conquered Barcelona.

A relatively kind fixture list at the start of his City career meant this was Guardiola's first big test. He flunked it.

Although City has already won a Manchester derby against Jose Mourinho's United, that was against a side still rebuilding from last season's fifth-place finish. The other victories have all come against teams in the bottom half of the table.

Tottenham posed City questions that lethargic City — sorely missing the injured Kevin de Bruyne's distribution — could not answer. The visitors were out-pressed by the hosts, whose mastery of the high-energy passing game is straight from the Guardiola playbook.

While the early-season narratives have focused on the collision of managerial titans Guardiola and Mourinho in Manchester, the steady but impressive progress Tottenham has made under Pochettino since 2014 is often understated.

Last season, Tottenham was champion Leicester's closest challenger until a late implosion dropped it to third place, which was still its highest in the Premier League era.

If it keeps up this term's impressive form, Tottenham's sights will be set even higher, with the north London club longing for a first championship success since 1961.


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