Manchester City – Tottenham: Hours after Jurgen Klopp made a surprising and early concession of Liverpool’s defense, one of his former players at Borussia Dortmund underlining the gap between the sides.
Ilkay Gundogan scored two goals and drew a controversial penalty as Manchester City stretched its Premier League lead to seven points on Leicester City and eight on Man United. Man City has a match-in-hand on Leicester.
Rodri converted the penalty and Raheem Sterling joined Ederson in setting up the goals as Man City has now won 16-straight in all competitions.
Tottenham sits eighth with 36 points, four points off fourth-place Liverpool with a match-in-hand.
Three things from Manchester City – Tottenham
1. Ilkay, player (don’t be hurt): Pep Guardiola has given Ilkay Gundogan a lot more freedom in attack while Kevin De Bruyne recovers from injury. KDB famously plays a bit of a “do whatever you want” role in Guardiola’s otherwise meticulous system, as there’s always one player with special freedom whether it was Leroy Sane on the left wing a few years ago, David Silva roaming the field for space like an older Lionel Messi, or De Bruyne’s Harry Potter turn with a wizard wand the past few years.
Gundogan has six goals and an assist since De Bruyne left, a five-match stretch, with three braces accounting for the goals. Keeping an eye on his injury from the second half will be big time. Guardiola said the player thinks it’s not a big deal but that he’ll wait until follow-up to breathe easy.
Nice Ederson assist here, huh?
2. Dias v Kane doesn’t happen as Pep shows style: Ruben Dias and Harry Kane trading heavyweight blows didn’t happen, as Pep Guardiola rested the Portuguse center back against Spurs’ brilliant English striker. Part of it was Dias’ midweek fever, but Guardiola knew he had a chance to both show faith in John Stones and nod to Aymeric Laporte. The former is having a renaissance season at City while the latter has fallen beneath the other two due to presumably no fault of his own.
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3. Spurs dead before the ship even sank, while City saunters through gauntlet: Okay maybe not dead but severely hampered. Beating City takes speed and creativity on the counter and resolute defense (Oddly enough, The Smiths guitarist and City fan Johnny Marr played on the Modest Mouse album cited in the lede). Davinson Sanchez was a mess at center back for Spurs, who’ve needed center back help since the summer, and the absences of Giovani Lo Celso and Sergio Reguilon — especially the latter — were glaring.
Meanwhile, City knew it wouldn’t have Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero for a run of matches against Liverpool away, Spurs at home, Everton away, Arsenal away, and West Ham at home. It’s a 7-1 combined scoreline so far with Carlo Ancelotti’s Toffees up next.
Man of the Match: Ilkay Gundogan
The below Tweet is over-simplification, but I think you’ll get the idea (Screen grabs: Transfermarkt)
De Bruyne gets hurt.
Pep: "Ilkay, do you want to do the 'whatever you want' role for a bit?"
Gundogan: "**DO** I ?!?"
— Nicholas Mendola (@NicholasMendola) February 13, 2021
Manchester City – Tottenham recap
Harry Kane struck the near post with a beautiful free kick.
It was all City early and Gundogan put them on the penalty spot when his bumbled dribble saw him fouled by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in the box.
Rodri smashed it low off the hand of a correctly-reading Hugo Lloris but it bounded inside the near post.
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Gabriel Jesus might’ve had it 2-0 but skied a terrific chance over the bar as the match neared halftime.
Lloris got a hand to City’s second goal, too, Gundogan’s low drive toward the near finding its way home, and the tip of his boot to the German’s second.