MX23RW : Sunday, July 22 16:14:29

Premier League

Dec 16, 2017 at 5.30pm UK
Man CityManchester City
4-1
SpursTottenham Hotspur
Gundogan (14'), De Bruyne (70'), Sterling (80', 90')
Otamendi (38'), Delph (51')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Eriksen (93')
Kane (52'), Dembele (62'), Alli (68'), Sissoko (91')

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Live Commentary: Man CityManchester City 4-1 SpursTottenham Hotspur

Relive Sports Mole's live text coverage of Manchester City's 4-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur, as the Citizens made it 16 league victories in a row.

Manchester City beat Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening to make it 16 victories in succession in the Premier League.

The Citizens took a one-goal lead into the interval thanks to a free header for Ilkay Gundogan, which Raheem Sterling added to in the second half with a couple of goals of his own.

Kevin De Bruyne had earlier doubled the league leaders' advantage, with their only blemish a late consolation strike from Christian Eriksen.

Relive how the 90 minutes of action unfolded with Sports Mole's live text coverage below.

Hello and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the Premier League meeting between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium. The Citizens remain unbeaten after 17 top-flight outings and boast a record 15-consecutive victories since last being held, helping them to open up an 11-point lead over Manchester United at the summit.
All the talk for now centres around not if City will win the title, but rather than manner in which they will do so. Can they remain unbeaten for the duration of an entire 38-game Premier League campaign to match the famous Arsenal side of 2003-04? Only time will tell, of course, though if the first four months of the season are anything to by then you have to fancy the Citizens to continue breaking records.
MANCHESTER CITY TEAM NEWS!

STARTING XI: Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Mangala, Delph; Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne; Sterling, Sane, Aguero

SUBS: Bravo, Danilo, Yaya Toure, Bernardo, Jesus, Foden, Zinchenko

Starting with a look at the home team, manager Pep Guardiola has made three changes to his starting lineup on the back of the 4-0 victory against Swansea City a few days ago. The big news is that Kyle Walker returns at full-back against his former suitors, who he left in the summer to further his career elsewhere. Fabian Delph retains his spot on the opposite flank, meanwhile, and there is a continuation of the Nicolas Otamendi-Eliaquim Mangala partnership in the heart of defence.
The other two changes come further up the field, where Ilkay Gundogan is given the nod in the absence of David Silva - a big loss for the hosts, as the Spaniard has arguably been their best player in recent weeks, and Leroy Sane is in for Bernardo Silva. That means Sergio Aguero will continue to lead the line for the Citizens in favour of the benched Gabriel Jesus, with the Argentinian aiming to build on an impressive record against Spurs.
Aguero boasts 10 goals in 10 games against today's opponents, averaging a goal every 81 minutes that he is on the field. Raheem Sterling and Sane will provide support from wide areas, while Walker will bomb forward down the right in a direct battle with ex-teammate Danny Rose. Guardiola will no doubt go with a 4-3-3 formation, then, with the midfield battle likely to prove key to the outcome of this tasty showdown.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS!

STARTING XI: Lloris; Trippier, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose; Dembele, Winks; Eriksen, Dele, Son; Kane

SUBS: Vorm, Aurier, Davies, Foyth, Sissoko, Lamela, Llorente

Three really is the magic number, as that is also the number of changes made by Mauricio Pochettino following his side's 2-0 win at home to Brighton & Hove Albion in midweek. Kieran Trippier was always likely to come in for Serge Aurier at right-back, despite the Ivorian netting his first goal for the club last time out, while Danny Rose was favourite to start over the consistent Ben Davies on the opposite flank.
There are also starting spots handed to Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli, who were rested at Wembley Stadium in midweek, with Moussa Sissoko and the not-yet-fully-fit Erik Lamela making way. Pretty much as expected as far as the Lilywhites' starting XI is concerned, then, which is led once again by Harry Kane. The England international has 33 goals in 33 Premier League games this calendar year - three off Alan Shearer's record set in 1995.
While City are without John Stones, Vincent Kompany and Benjamin Mendy at the back, Spurs also have big problem of their own as Davinson Sanchez sits out the last of his three-match ban, while Toby Alderweireld is out injured until at least February. The versatile Eric Dier is therefore tasked with slotting in alongside Jan Vertonghen, with Harry Winks and Dembele sitting in front of the back four.
Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino make three changes apiece for this third game in the space of a week. There is no David Silva for the Citizens, with the Spaniard missing out on the matchday squad altogether, and the big news as far as Spurs are concerned is the midfield returns of Dele Alli and Mousa Dembele.

City head into this match boasting a healthy lead over the chasing pack, then, with the gap on Manchester United and now Chelsea standing at 11 points - the latter having played one game more. I am sure by now you have read all the various statistics; the bottom line being that this City side really is one of the finest to have been assembled in the English top flight.
Swansea City became the latest side to fall victim to the Citizens in midweek, conceding four goals at the Liberty Stadium in a match that manager Paul Clement admitted he found tough to watch. The ex-Real Madrid and Bayern Munich assistant also described City as one of the best sides he has ever seen, becoming the latest beaten boss to heap praise on Guardiola's men.
City have now won 15 top-flight matches in a row to set a new record and, going back to last season's FA Cup semi-finals, they have lost just one of their last 31 matches in all competitions - a dead rubber against Shakhtar Donetsk last week. They now have serious ambitions of winning silverware on multiple fronts, ideally in the Premier League and Champions League.
With Basel to come in the last 16 of the Champions League and Leicester City in the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup next week, City are well on their way to achieving their ambitions for the season. Guardiola is leaving the plaudits for others to dish out, understandably, but even the Catalan has to admit that his side look very much like the real deal at this moment in time.
The Citizens have scored at least two goals in each of their last 10 league matches, while only Everton and Chelsea have stopped them from netting less than two all campaign - the former also the only side to have taken any points from them. The goals are being scored for fun and their defensive record is also not too shabby, boasting the joint-best stats in the division, along with closest challengers Man United.
The midweek win over Swansea provided the league leaders with their first clean sheet in five league games, however, suggesting that their defensive injuries are perhaps taking their toll. The sooner Stones and skipper Kompany return from injury the better, and that is not even mentioning big-money signing Mendy who is still a few months away from a return to training.
This visit of Tottenham is City's final big test of 2017 - a year that did not start all that well but is ending on the highest of highs. They follow up this match with a nice run of fixtures over the Christmas and New Year programme, with Liverpool on January 14 the next game circled in Guardiola's diary. Continue at their current rate and it will matter little how they perform in this high-profile matches!
Incredibly, 15-consecutive victories is only the third-best run of Guardiola's managerial career, having won 16 in a row while at Barcelona in 2010-11 and a whopping 19 with Bayern Munich three years ago. One of the key aspects of their winning run has been digging deep late on in matches, with winners being scored in the 83rd minute or later in each of their last three home league and cup games.
A never-say-die attitude is a true hallmark of all great sides, of course, and the biggest worry for City's rivals is that the recent run of grinding out wins was as close as it gets to a blip. A number of players have chipped in at key moments; David Silva, injured today, scoring four in his last three - doubling his tally for the calendar year in the process - and Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane also have a number of goals and assists.
DID YOU KNOW? Sergio Aguero retains his spot upfront this evening, and it is little surprise when breaking down the goalscoring figures. The Argentina international is one goal shy of 100 at the Etihad Stadium in all competitions - he currently has 99 in 133 games. Aguero also boasts 35 goals in 52 Premier League matches against the division's established top-six sides - 29% of City's 119 goals in that time.

Tottenham's stats are not quite as impressive, but the Lilywhites have started building some momentum once again over the past couple of weeks and they require three points here to climb above Burnley and Arsenal into fourth place. That is quite some incentive ahead of kickoff, with the latter dropping a couple of points away to Brighton a little earlier. Liverpool, meanwhile, are also locked on 31 points after the same number of games.
As Pochettino has been eager to point out, Tottenham are only actually two points worse off than they were at this stage last season, when they were in fifth place. The Lilywhites went on to finish second - their best-ever finish in the Premier League era - and you would not bet against them doing likewise this time around. Spurs seem to love this time of the year, though their momentum may well be halted by Man City today.
Unlike last season, the Lilywhites are through to the last-16 stage of the Champions League and have a tasty tie against Juventus to look forward to in February. Pochettino has a point when defending his side's first half to the campaign, then, though at the same time the former Espanyol boss made clear that his target this term was to compete for the Premier League title. Ahead of this match with the leaders, they are 18 points adrift.
To put that into some perspective, bottom-placed Swansea City are 19 points worse off than Spurs - the gap on the leaders really is quite incredible for this point in the season. Pochettino spoke earlier this week about his side being "more competitive" from this point on, though, having welcomed back Erik Lamela from a year-long layoff, on top of the imminent return to first-team action of Victor Wanyama.
Spurs have now won five of their last six matches at Wembley, with scalps over Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund there in the Champions League this term, so that hoodoo must surely be considered a thing of the past for now. It has been a different matter away from home of late, however, picking up just one point from the last 12 on offer in games against Man United, Arsenal, Leicester City and Watford.
Not since thrashing Huddersfield Town 4-0 at the end of September have Spurs won on their travels, in fact, and that run may well extend by another few days. Next up is Burnley who, despite being held by Brighton a little earlier, are still in the hunt for a top-four finish and will provide a real challenge next weekend. Pochettino will be confident of putting together a winning festive run, though, just like in the last two years.
Tottenham have won just one of their 17 away matches under Pochettino against the division's established top-six sides - that solitary victory coming here in February of last year. On the topic of Pochettino, his first match as a manager came against Guardiola, with his Espanyol side holding rivals Barcelona to a goalless draw in the Copa del Rey. A month later he got off the mark with his first win, famously beating Barca 2-0 at Camp Nou.
PREVIOUS MEETINGS! Manchester City are winless in their last four Premier League meetings with Tottenham Hotspur, losing three and drawing one of those following a previous run of four-successive victories between November 2013 and May 2015. Spurs have won 10 Prem away games at City, meanwhile - more than they have managed against any other side.
With kickoff at the Etihad Stadium now just two minutes away, let us check out some pre-match thoughts from both camps.

Pep Guardiola: "Spurs are a top team. It doesn't matter where they are now, for me they are still a top team. The results are the results. I see what they do - not their position. I have a lot of respect for Tottenham and what they do. The basis of the England team is from Tottenham. They are a very, very good team. I like to watch them play."

Mauricio Pochettino: "We're going to Manchester thinking we can win. We're going to enjoy it, because it's a fantastic challenge to play against Man City. They're the best team in England and one of the best in Europe. I'm so excited to play, because I love to play against teams and managers like Guardiola that are the best. I'm so motivated and so happy that we are going to play a team at their best."

KICKOFF! We are up and running at the Etihad Stadium. Rose with an early chance to burst forward down the left, but he instead went with a diagonal ball intended for Kane which did not quite find its intended target.
Son Heung-min barged off the ball by ex-Spurs ace Kyle Walker - legally so, according to referee Craig Pawson. Very little between the sides in the early sages of the match, with possession pretty much split down the middle so far.
De Bruyne, the key midfield dangerman today in the absence of David Silva, looks to make something happen by he is clattered into to halt the attack. Man City edging the possession stats now, as we await the game's first attempt.
Guardiola knew heading into the match that his side would have to remain patient when building attacks, which is proving to be the case here. Still very little between the two teams, who are matching each other right across the field at the moment.
CLOSE! Sane gets in behind for the game's best moment yet, with Vertonghen sticking out a leg to cut out the dangerous delivery. De Bruyne's free kick was then swung towards the front post, where Aguero glanced it narrowly wide.
City certainly the team looking more likely to score an early opener, with Sane already getting in behind once and Aguero also wasting half a chance a few moments ago. Lloris with a horror clearance, which he puts down to the turf cutting up.
Spurs seem quite content to continue with this gameplan of sitting back and trying to hit their opponents on the counter. The problem is, 15 other teams have pretty much tried the same thing since August and had no luck whatsoever!
GOAL! MANCHESTER CITY 1-0 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (ILKAY GUNDOGAN)
Man City have a breakthrough goal inside 15 minutes at the Etihad Stadium, courtesy of an Ilkay Gundogan header. The German midfielder, who was brought back into the side this evening, stooped to head home Sane's corner - his first goal of the campaign.

That really is a terrible goal for Spurs to concede, which comes down to a lack of defensive organisation. A big moment for Gundogan, though, as the Germany international gets off the mark for the season after putting his injury problems behind him.
That Gundogan goal was the first, and so far only, on-target attempt of the evening. Runaway leaders Man City have been the better side overall, and now Tottenham have to dig deep to ensure that they remain in this contest.
A quarter of the match now played at the Etihad Stadium and as things stand City's winning run is at no real risk of ending tonight. Spurs have showed signs of growing into the game, but a dreadful Rose cross straight out of play sums things up as far as they are concerned.
SAVE! Sergio Aguero forces Hugo Lloris into a smart stop from his liveliest moment of the match so far, before Sterling blasted his follow-up attempt wide from a good position. City should probably have a two-goal lead here.
Just not quite happening for Tottenham so far - no great shame in that, as no side on the continent can find an answer when up against City in this form. Still, with just the one goal in it they are still very much in the contest for now.

BLOCK! Man City started to control the match more and more, with Spurs unable to really keep their foot on the ball. De Bruyne with one of the passes of the season to spot Sterling, whose cross was met by Aguero and then blocked by Rose.
We know all about Rose as an attacking outlet, but that was very good defending from the full-back to keep out Aguero's goalbound strike. City remain the side looking more likely to add the game's second goal, with half an hour now played.
CHANCE! Not quite sure how City have not scored a second. De Bruyne slipped the ball through for Sane, whose first touch let him down with just Lloris to beat. Aguero then picked up the ball in space but slotted it wide.
Just over 10 minutes to go until half time and City look good value to score a second. Spurs may need to change things around at the break because they are struggling to really put their opponents under any sort of pressure.
SHOT! Tottenham's best moment so far, as Kane picks up the ball on the edge of the box and curls the ball narrowly wide. Ederson may have had it covered but that was a decent attempt from the Premier League's second-highest scorer this term.
YELLOW CARD! Nicolas Otamendi becomes the first player to be shown a yellow card by referee Craig Pawson for his challenge. The first half fast reaching its conclusion, with league leaders City boasting a one-goal lead over Tottenham.
Another promising moment for Tottenham, as Dele sends in a decent ball that Kane cannot quite bring under control. Rose then had time to pick out a cross, with the ball being scooped up by Ederson before Dele could get his foot on it.
PENALTY APPEAL! Man City have a shout for a penalty turned down by Craig Pawson. Aguero's shot was travelling at quite some pace when hitting then arm of Rose, but there was very little distance between the ball and player.
We are into the final minute of normal time at the end of a first half largely dominated by Man City. Tottenham have had their moments, but Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson has had next to nothing to do between the sticks so far.
HALF TIME: MANCHESTER CITY 1-0 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
Referee Craig Pawson blows for half time, with Man City taking a one-goal lead into the interval thanks to Gundogan's stooping header. The home side have been by far the better of the two teams, creating a couple of chances to extend their advantage but failing to take them. Pochettino may well consider a change of ploy at the midway point.
Leroy Sane got in behind with ease less than 10 minutes into the match, only for his attempted cross to be cut out by Jan Vertonghen at the front post. That offered a sign of things to come, as just five minutes later Ilkay Gundogan gave City the lead following some terrible defending from the visitors.
Sane's corner was met by his compatriot, who stooped down completely unmarked to head the ball past Hugo Lloris from close range. City looked the more likely team to add a second in the remainder of the first half, with Sergio Aguero forcing Lloris into a smart stop and Raheem Sterling was then wayward from the follow-up effort.
A Danny Rose block was also required to keep Aguero out, with the Argentinian seeking an 11th goal in 11 Premier League games against Tottenham, before the same man slotted the ball wide from a good position. Sane squandered a big chance with 33 minutes on the clock, being let down by a poor first touch with just Lloris to beat, and the hosts also had a penalty shout rejected after Aguero's shot came off the arm of Rose.
Tottenham's only real attacking moment of note in the opening 45 minutes saw Harry Kane curl the ball wide on the edge of the box, which Ederson appeared to have covered as it sailed past. Plenty for Pochettino to ponder at the break, then, with his side very much second best at the Etihad Stadium.

MANCHESTER CITY SUBS: Bravo, Danilo, Yaya Toure, Bernardo, Jesus, Foden, Zinchenko

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR SUBS: Vorm, Aurier, Davies, Foyth, Sissoko, Lamela, Llorente

RESTART! No changes made by either manager at half time, as we get back under way at the Etihad Stadium. Man City 45 minutes away from ticking off another assignment - one many felt would be their toughest of the season to date.
Spurs certainly have to be a little more positive in this second half, knowing that they essentially have nothing to lose. Just the one half-chance for them in the opening 45, which Kane nearly took by sending his shot narrowly wide.
A very bright start to the second half for Spurs, as they look to drag themselves back on level term. A sliced Otamendi clearance almost allowed Kane in, but the City defence managed to recover and the danger is over for now.
SAVE! City have been unable to find any sort of rhythm to their play since emerging for the second half. All of a sudden Tottenham are the team on top, with Kane's long-range drive being tipped behind the post by Ederson.

The Spurs corner is cleared away by Otamendi at the front post. Credit to Tottenham because they have been so much better in the opening 10 minutes of this second half, putting their opponents under a great deal of pressure.
MANCHESTER CITY SUB! Sergio Aguero had a decent enough first half but has been shut out since the restart. No real surprise to see Guardiola change things around - Gabriel Jesus is now on in his place for the remainder.
Sane aims to turn the game back in his side's favour, but his shot is blocked aside in the Tottenham box. An evenly-balanced contest on our hands, with Man City now looking a lot more fragile at the back. The winning run under a little threat.
Kane with a nasty challenge on Sterling five minutes ago, but replays do not work in his favour - surely no malice in it. A booking for the Englishman, who came close to levelling up the scores early in the second half. An hour played at the Etihad.
De Bruyne's cross was crying out for a City player to tap it home, but the contact did not arrive. Dele Alli with some time and space to shoot, sending the ball well over the crossbar. Certainly less one-sided than in the opening 45 minutes.
Spurs with some good pressing high up the field, but City work their way out of trouble. Still just the one substitute made by both managers combined - Gabriel Jesus replacing Sergio Aguero in a like-for-like change with less than an hour played.
SAVE! Great stop from Lloris to keep out Sane's shot from 10 yards out. Sterling really should have buried the rebound, but somehow failed to even find the target from close range. The Citizens may live to ruse these missed chances.

YELLOW CARD! Dele Alli with a strong challenge on De Bruyne, which may have been worthy of more than a yellow. The England international does have a bit of a nasty streak to his game; something that has worked against him in the past.
GOAL! MANCHESTER CITY 2-0 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (KEVIN DE BRUYNE)
De Bruyne belts the ball into the roof of the net with his left boot, leaving Lloris with little chance. City have done well to ride the pressure at the start of this half and they now surely have all three points in the bag.

PENALTY TO MANCHESTER CITY! De Bruyne is brought down inside the box and Craig Pawson rightly points to the spot. Poor challenge and City could now add a third to their tally, putting Tottenham to bed for good.
PENALTY MISSED! Gabriel Jesus steps up in Sergio Aguero's absence, sending the ball against the foot of the post. Not quite game over just yet, then, with Tottenham being given an unlikely lifeline at the Etihad Stadium.
CHANCE! A little under 15 minutes to go and it is not quite game over just yet. Winks with a big chance to pull one back, but he took too long to adjust his feet and the shot never arrived. Ederson was there for the taking.
A gripping contest on our hands now at the Etihad Stadium, which would not have been the case had Jesus buried that penalty. Tottenham appear to have momentum on their side now, with 12 minutes left to go in this pick of the weekend's fixtures.

MANCHESTER CITY 3-0 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (RAHEEM STERLING)
Absolutely brilliant from Man City, carving their opponents open for a fantastic third. Gundogan played through Sane, who unselfishly squared it for Sterling to roll it over the line at the back post. Dembele at fault in the build-up to that killer goal.
MANCHESTER CITY SUB! There really is no stopping City this season. A 10-minute period of Spurs pressure aside, they have been brilliant one again this evening. Phil Foden is now brought on for Gundogan to see things through.
SAVE! The impressive Leroy Sane is replace by Bernardo Silva. The game being broken up a fair bit now but City still looking so lively, with Silva almost joining the party - the Portuguese's shot being kept out by Lloris down low.
GOAL! MANCHESTER CITY 4-0 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (RAHEEM STERLING)
A horror moment for Lloris, as the ball rolls through his legs when chasing it down. Sterling was there to capitalise, with an even easier finish than his first goal. City are completely running away with this now; Spurs just want full time.
Just three minutes of added time to play here, with Craig Pawson happy to put Tottenham out of their misery. Man City have been as good as ever this evening, standing on the brink of a 16th-successive Premier League victory.
GOAL! MANCHESTER CITY 4-1 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN)
FULL TIME: MANCHESTER CITY 4-1 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
Eriksen with a smart finish from the final act of the match, but it will not spare Tottenham's blushes. They have been second best to say the least, with Man City passing their latest test with flying colours. Sixteen wins in a row and a 14-point lead at the top of the table - what a side!
That concludes Sports Mole's live text coverage of events at the Etihad Stadium. An on-the-whistle report can be found by clicking here, while updates will be available elsewhere on the site in the next 20 minutes or so. Thanks for joining!

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