Tottenham Hotspur 1-5 Manchester City: Citizens go top after yet another romp (video)

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Manchester City brushed aside Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 at White Hart Lane on Wednesday, as the Citizens went top of the Premier League table.

City were set on their way in the first half by Sergio Aguero, who finished off a slick move in the 15th minute to put the visitors 1-0 up. The away team dominated but Spurs thought they had equalized when Michael Dawson finished, but his effort was ruled out for offside.

Moments into the second half the game turned on its head as Danny Rose took out City’s Edin Dzeko in the penalty box and was shown a red card as Yaya Toure make it 2-0 from the spot. Then in the 52nd minute Dzeko finished off from close range as the PL’s new leaders threatened to wrack up yet more goals.

To their credit Spurs kept plugging away and Ettiene Capoue scored to make it 3-1, but Stevan Jovetic came off the bench to grab his first PL goal and Vincent Kompany rounded off the scoring late on in the 5-1 romp.

The 5-1 win adds to City’s 6-0 demolition of Spurs earlier in the season and the Citizens have now scored 68 PL goals in just 23 games this season. Remarkable stuff from Manuel Pellegrini’s men once again, as Tim Sherwood lost for the first time in the league as Spurs manager.

With their eight successive win City move top of the league and have a one-point lead over Arsenal in second, while Tottenham stay in fifth on 43 points.

(MORE: Latest Premier League Standings)

Man City started the brighter of the two teams, and in the 4th minute Aguero drifted past three Spurs defenders like they weren’t even there and hammered a shot across goal that pinged off the post and out to safety.

It was an early warning sign for Spurs, and one they didn’t heed.

After 15 minutes City sprayed the ball around and David Silva found a pocket of space in front of Spurs’ defense which he exploited and then sent a perfect pass through to Aguero and the Argentine finished with aplomb. 1-0 to the Citizens and they duly deserved to be in front.

source: AP
Toure slams home the spot kick after the game-changing moment saw Rose sent off for Spurs.

Aguero almost grabbed his and City’s second with a powerful header that Tottenham’s ‘keeper Hugo Lloris somehow kept out with a strong wrist. Spurs were rocking.

Lloris again was called into action as the ball pin-balled around the penalty box as Tottenham somehow cleared with Aguero and Dzeko sniffing around.

Spurs thought they had equalized in the 35th minute as a free kick from the left found captain Dawson unmarked at the back post and he converted into an empty net. However the assistant referee raised his flag for an offside call, which was correct, as City kept their 1-0 lead intact. Just.

Soon after tempers began to flare as Demichelis was booked for a lunge on Aaron Lennon, then Aguero limped off injured with a calf injury. Half time arrived with the Citizens leading 1-0 at the Lane.

After the break Man City went 2-0 up within four minutes of the restart as Fernandinho’s enterprising run found Dzeko who was taken out by Danny Rose and referee Michael Oliver pointed to the penalty spot. To make matters worse he also sent off Rose, as Yaya Toure stepped up to score the spot kick and Spurs were in all kinds of trouble.

In the 52nd minute it was 3-0 to City, as Dzeko finished off from close range following Silva’s shot being palmed onto the post.

City were rampaging as the league highest scorers looked dangerous every time they broke forward.

But Spurs, to their credit, kept battling away and French midfielder Capoue slammed home an effort from close range to give Tottenham’s fans faint hopes of sealing a comeback at White Hart Lane.

However those hopes were dashed as City’s Montenegrin international Jovetic curled home his first PL goal in the 78th minute, before Kompany tapped home two minutes from time to leave no doubt about City climbing to the top of the standings after a resounding win.

LINEUPS

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Chiriches, Dawson, Rose, Lennon, Bentaleb, Dembele (Capoue, 45), Sigurdsson (Naughton, 55), Eriksen (Holtby, 83), Adebayor

Goal: Capoue (59)

Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy; Navas, Fernandinho, Toure (Nastasic, 64), Silva (Kolarov, 80); Aguero (Jovetic, 45), Dzeko

Goals: Aguero (15), Toure (50), Dzeko (52), Jovetic (78), Kompany (88)

Championship Focus: Bluebirds flying, Villa second-last

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The wild 46-game slate that is the Football League Championship is already howling, with all 24 teams three matches deep into their campaigns toward Premier League promotion (or avoiding relegation to League One).

The three clubs relegated from the Premier League last season all sit within the Top 8 after three match days. Sunderland is unbeaten with a win and two draws, while Hull City is 1-1-1.

[ MORE: Barcelona falls to Real… again ]

Middlesbrough has two wins from three matches, three points behind three sides who’ve started a perfect 3-0.

Wolves and Ipswich Town are two of the three, and Cardiff City leads the way. Owner Vincent Tan has seen his club score six goals without conceding once in defeats of Burton Albion, Aston Villa, and Sheffield United.

Burton is 0-3, while Steve Bruce‘s Villa is just one point better and sits 23rd.

As for individual superlatives, Bristol City’s Bobby Reid has four goals to lead the league while familiar names Lewis Grabban (Sunderland) and Abel Hernandez (Hull City) are among a quartet of players to score thrice.

Meanwhile, PL transfer target Jota of Brentford continues to impress with three assists through three matches. Will he remain in the second tier by the close of the transfer window?

MLS Snapshot: Montreal Impact 3-0 Chicago Fire

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The game in 100 words (or less)Ignacio Piatti is very good at soccer, and Chicago backstop Matt Lampson is going to see him deep into his dreams. Piatti beat Lampson up close on a turnover and then, with Montreal ahead 2-0 off a PK, the Argentine curled a surprise shot from distance around the keeper. Game, set, match, and it wasn’t even halftime. The loss keeps Chicago from using its match-in-hand to catch second place New York City FC, while the three points move Montreal to within two points of the East’s final playoff position.

Three moments that mattered

6′ — Piatti starts the party — Gifted a chance with the keeper by a sloppy missed clearing attempt, the Argentine deftly pops the ball over Fire keeper Matt Lampson.

36′ — Lampson hurts his cause — Chicago’s backstop wasn’t at fault on the opening goal, but he was for the second. After chopping down Matteo Mancosu in the box, Lampson guessed wrong on the striker’s penalty kick and the Fire went down 2-0.

38′ — It’s not your night, Lamps — Pretty sure you can anyone named Lampson, Lamps. Anyway, this time it was one of MLS’ top newcomers who set up Piatti for a goal. “Nacho” has his 12th of the season thanks to Blerim Dzemaili, and my goodness did Piatti do well here.

Man of the Match: Piatti.

Forbes ranks the top supporters in Major League Soccer

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Forbes claims the shared honor will give two Cascadia Cup rivals one less thing to argue about, but we completely disagree.

The celebrated magazine says their metrics show the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders tied for the honor of who has the best fans in Major League Soccer.

The post says the determination was made through four factors: attendance, local TV ratings, merchandise sales, and social media followers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Attendance was weighted heaviest, which certainly gives Atlanta United hope to go charging up the rankings in the future. For now, the “Five Stripes” are not included in the list.

The Galaxy finish third in the rankings, while the sixth-place New York Red Bulls edge New York City FC by one spot.

For the report and full explanation, head here.

Europa League preview: Everton, Milan, Marseille take next steps

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The UEFA Europa League playoff round takes full flight Thursday, a day after Utrecht struck a blow for the Eredivisie with a 1-0 win over Zenit Saint-Petersburg in a Wednesday first leg.

Premier League participants Everton will be seeking a result at home against Hajduk Split, the third-place team from Croatia’s top flight.

Gylfi Sigurdsson passed his medical at Goodison Park but will not be available for Everton on Thursday.

[ MORE: Barcelona falls to Real… again ]

As for the match, manager Ronald Koeman knows the Thursday matchdays for the UEL will try his club’s endurance and depth. From EvertonFC.com:

“We know English teams have some problems. I think it is more mental than physical because if you play in the Champions League – so Wednesday and Saturday – you have the same amount of days to recover. I try to put out the strongest team to start the game. That will take into account the tactical aspects of each game. That will mean different players start and different options in terms of substitutions.”

Captained by Zoran Nizic and managed by Joan Carrillo, Hajduk has a young star in the making in the form of 19-year-old attacking midfielder Nikola Vlasic, but Everton is heavily favored at home with Hajduk given 12:1 odds by bookmakers.

[ MORE: Barca GM says Coutinho, Dembele “close” ]

Those numbers are a relative sure thing compared to AC Milan’s visitors. Macedonia club Shkendija are a 33:1 underdog for its trip to Italy.

Elsewhere, Slovenian side Domzale is a longshot at home to visiting Marseille.

Speaking of bookmakers, Arsenal won’t enter the competition until the group stage but is considered the favorite to win the UEL by a hair over Milan. Everton, Villarreal, and Athletic Bilbao are level with third-best odds.

UEFA Europa League playoff first legs
Utrecht 1-0 Zenit — Weds.
BATE Borisov vs. Oleksandriya — 1 p.m. ET Thursday
Apollon Limassol vs. Midtjylland — 1 p.m.
Krasnodar vs. Red Star Belgrade — 1 p.m.
Dinamo Zagreb vs. Skenderbeu — 1 p.m.
FH vs. Braga — 1:45 p.m. ET Thursday
PAOK vs. Ostersund — 2 p.m. ET Thursday
Vardar vs. Fenerbahce — 2 p.m.
Plzen vs. AEK Lamaca — 2:15 p.m. ET Thursday
Altach vs. Maccabi Tel-Aviv — 2:30 p.m. ET Thursday
Ludogorets Razgrad vs. Suduva — 2:30 p.m.
Panathinaikos vs. Athletic Bilbao — 2:30 p.m.
Domzale vs. Marseille — 2:45 p.m. ET Thursday
Osijek vs. Austria Wien — 2:45 p.m.
Viitorul vs. Red Bull Salzburg — 2:45 p.m.
Ajax vs. Rosenborg — 2:45 p.m.
Legia Warsaw vs. Sheriff — 2:45 p.m.
AC Milan vs. Shkendija — 2:45 p.m.
Club Brugge vs. AEK — 2:45 p.m.
Partizan vs. Videoton — 3 p.m. ET Thursday
Everton vs. Hajduk Split — 3:05 p.m. ET Thursday
Maritimo vs. Dynamo Kyiv — 3:30 p.m. ET Thursday