Harry Kane scores against Manchester City

Guardiola says Spurs ‘punished’ Man City as ‘strange’ record continues

Manchester City failed to take advantage of Arsenal’s defeat to Everton as their awful record at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium continued with a 1-0 defeat.

City had started by far the brighter of the two sides, but in the 15th minute they would fall behind following a sloppy piece of play. Rodri’s attempted pass on the edge of his own box was picked off by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg before the Danish international burst into the box and laid it off to Harry Kane. The England skipper made no mistake as he fired past Ederson with a first-time finish to become the club’s all-time leading record goalscorer (267) and just the third player to net 200 Premier League goals.


The goal seemed to boost Spurs’ confidence, though despite largely looking hungrier than their opponents, City did twice come close to drawing the scores level in the first half, Jack Grealish curling an effort narrowly wide, while Riyad Mahrez saw a strike come back off the bar.

Manchester City came into the game having scored more goals than any side in the Premier League in the second half of games so far this season (30), including four against Spurs last month, though the second half in this one went much the same way as the first, with the visitors seemingly unable to get talisman Erling Haaland into the game.

Despite the absence of Antonio Conte on the touchline, his side put in the kind of battling performance that the Italian would be proud of, as they restricted the Champions in front of goal, with Haaland ultimately not having a touch in the Spurs box.

Spurs did have to see the game out with just 10 men, the ever-industrious Cristian Romero being given his marching orders with three minutes of regulation time to play, the World Cup winner bringing down the influential Jack Grealish 30 yards from goal.

The defeat means Manchester City remain five points behind Arsenal in the title race, while they have also lost on all five trips to the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, incredibly doing so without scoring a single goal.

Speaking after the game, Pep Guardiola admitted his side were ‘punished’ and felt they dropped all three points.

“We started really well, as usually happens against Tottenham home and away, but after we made a mistake they punished us – 1-0 down it is different,” he told Sky Sports. “We had chances, and of course when we lose balls in transition with Kulusevski and Son, it is not easy. We dropped three points.”

Asked if his players followed the plan, the City boss said: “Most of the time, yeah, But it is not easy when 10 players defend, and sit back a little bit more than in the Etihad two weeks ago. We played good, started well and missed maybe the last pass, to shoot.”

The Catalan made the surprising decision to start the game with Kevin de Bruyne on the bench, though called upon the Belgian in the 59th minute.

“I wanted him for the last pass, to find between the lines, he can make one of these actions and that was the reason.”

Asked about his side’s poor record in Spurs’ new stadium, Guardiola said: “Sooner or later it is going to change, but it is strange we haven’t scored one goal, we have missed penalties in the past. To find an explanation is not easy.

“We found the positions, made good balls to the channels, but missed the last action up front.

“We are not in the position to think about being champions, just the next game, Aston Villa, we will prepare well and play our game as best as possible.

“Tottenham has a fantastic team and squad and they punish you. They have a lot of quality up front and don’t need much with transitions, set pieces, give a lot of credit to them.”

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