Ilkay Gundogan was integral once more as Manchester City emphatically beat Tottenham 3-0 to seal an 11th straight Premier League victory and move seven points clear at the top.
Pep Guardiola’s team have not lost in any competition since a 2-0 defeat in the reverse meeting with Spurs in November, and the juggernaut never looked likely to stop on Saturday.
City scored with their first three attempts on target – Rodri converting a penalty that Gundogan won before the former Borussia Dortmund man stabbed in his 12th goal of 2020-21.
And three days on from their remarkable 5-4 FA Cup defeat to Everton, any lingering comeback hopes Spurs harboured were dashed when Gundogan fooled Davinson Sanchez to slot in his second, though a groin injury for City’s talisman did present one cause for concern for Guardiola.
Against the run of play, City would have been behind had Harry Kane’s superb free-kick not clattered Ederson’s left-hand upright.
But having controlled 74.2 per cent possession in the opening 15 minutes, City were gifted the opportunity to lead when Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg clattered into Gundogan to concede a second penalty in as many games.
With Gundogan making a mess of City’s spot-kick at Anfield last week, Rodri took responsibility, though he was fortunate Hugo Lloris failed to keep out a rather unconvincing finish.
Lloris atoned before half-time, denying Gundogan a 10th league goal of the season after Raheem Sterling had got the better of Ben Davies to tee up the Germany international.
Yet the Premier League’s top scorer in 2021 did get his eighth goal since the turn of the year five minutes after half-time, prodding home at Lloris’ near post after more terrific play from Sterling, though Spurs’ goalkeeper should have done better.
While one goalkeeper floundered, the other then turned provider – Ederson’s searching pass controlled exquisitely by Gundogan and, with Sanchez slipping and flailing wildly, he finished coolly to round off another supreme City performance.
What does it mean? City storming towards the title
Last week’s stunning win at Anfield was what truly signified a shift in power from Liverpool back to the blue half of Manchester, and there seems to be little stopping City now, with Guardiola’s team having won 16 games on the bounce in all competitions, since drawing with West Brom on December 15.
Even without the benched Ruben Dias, who has been suffering with illness this week, the hosts were in complete control throughout, and the problems keep mounting for Jose Mourinho, whose side have lost four of their last five league games and sit in eighth, 17 points behind City.
Gundogan in a league of his won
Gundogan has scored 11 Premier League goals this season – the only German players to score more in a single season in the competition are Jurgen Klinsmann (20) and Uwe Rosler (15), both in the 1994-95 campaign.
Indeed, in 2021, he has scored more goals than any other player in Europe’s big five leagues, netting nine goals in nine Premier League games. However, he went off holding his groin shortly after making it 3-0, and Guardiola may now be without a player who has been crucial in Kevin De Bruyne’s absence.
Lloris making a meal of it
Spurs captain Lloris was at fault for Everton’s opener on Wednesday and could have done better for both of City’s opening goals this time out, having got a hand to Rodri’s penalty before allowing Gundogan’s near-post finish to creep under him.
This is the first time a Mourinho-led side has conceded eight goals in a two-game period, and his goalkeeper – who did at least make a smart stop from Sterling late on – is far from blameless.
City make the trip to Goodison Park on Wednesday, with Everton their opponents in a match rescheduled from December. Spurs, meanwhile, face Wolfsberger in the Europa League a day later.
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