Sterling broke through in the 20th minute when De Bruyne swept a gorgeous cross to the back post. The English striker was at an acute angle and Hugo Lloris will have wanted to do better with a well-placed header.
That seemed to have snapped Spurs out of their funk, if only for a minute, as Tanguy Ndombele spotted Lamela on a counter and the Argentine used two Spurs to craft a clever shot around Ederson.
The stalemate lasted a dozen minutes, as De Bruyne moved toward the touch line and cut an invitation outside the six. Aguero RSVP’d with the outside of his boot.
De Bruyne looked ready to single-handedly will a third goal past Lloris, but it was Spurs who claimed the next marker when Moura — on for less than a half-minute — headed Lamela’s corner home.
Rodri then pasted a shot that Lloris tipped over the bar, and the French goalkeeper had to react quickly after charging out to misplay the corner.
Giovani Lo Celso subbed into the match for the final few minutes to make his much anticipated Premier League debut.
97 – Sergio Aguero has now scored 97 @premierleague goals at the Etihad Stadium – only Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford (101) and Thierry Henry at Highbury (114) have scored more goals at a single venue in the competition's history. Legends. #MCITOTpic.twitter.com/gOxae8NgIc
The Premier League has a monumental match for the second-straight week, as champions Manchester City host Tottenham Hotspur in a tension-filled affair at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).
Guardiola on whether Raheem Sterling is the top attacker in the league: “There are many and he’s one of them. Look at the top six teams and you will find many, many players. The premier League is incredible. We have many but even still. I didn’t watch all the other games but Sterling has played good from the beginning and been clinical. We want more. Everybody wants more and he wants more. It was just the first game.”
Spurs on chasing the champs: “We are going to fight again this season against ourselves to try to improve our balance. If we analyze the last five years we always improve every season in different things but in the Premier League I think we decrease in our performance or in the points we got. That is our challenge, to improve ourselves. To improve our numbers in the Premier League. Of course in Europe we have improved and become more competitive and got to the final of the Champions League.
City lost exactly one home match last season, a 3-2 thriller with Palace on Dec. 22. Take that out, and they allowed nine goals in 18 wins; Nine were clean sheets and they did not trail aside from the Palace match.
That said, Spurs have experience scoring at the Etihad from that 4-3 second-leg Champions League thriller in April.
We expect a special tactical treat, and goals: Man City 2-1.
Raheem Sterling scored twice. Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero also scored, while Jesus and Sterling each had a goal disallowed by VAR in the win. Sterling’s second goal withstood VAR review thanks to the angle of the last defender’s hip.
City goes first with a plus-5 goal differential, and hosts Tottenham Hotspur next week. West Ham is off to Brighton and Hove Albion.
Three things we learned
1. VAR is imperfect, but it isn’t going anywhere so we’ll have to accept the overturning of imperceptible real-time results like Sterling’s centimeter-offside shoulder in assisting Jesus’ would-be second for the hopes of what it will fix in big spots and big gaffes.
VAR also overturned Lukasz Fabianski‘s save of Sergio Aguero’s late penalty for encroachment. The Argentine scored on his second attempt.
One things for sure: “I’m the show” Mike Dean was not able to make himself as much of a story line because the cameras did some work for him.
2. If you’re one of the people (cough, like this writer) who predicted this is the season that Raheem Sterling will win Premier League Player of the Year, you’re feeling pretty good about the 24-year-old’s showing at the London Stadium.
Sterling scored thrice, had a fourth ruled out, and also had an assist (with a second overturned). He was everywhere, electric and smart, and looks every bit the player he promised upon debut for Liverpool.
3. West Ham is going to be a problem for a lot of teams this year, and Manuel Pellegrini has to be counting his blessings that his scouts spotted Issa Diop before last season and decided not to sell him this summer.
The towering 22-year-old from Toulouse didn’t look great on Jesus’ clever opener and conceded a late penalty when Riyad Mahrez made the most of a wayward foot, but was tested time and again by the probing runs and cutting through balls of City.
The Irons predictably struggled to have much of the ball, but Manuel Pellegrini was had his men ready to play with their champion visitors.
Ederson made a pair of quickfire saves from close range in the 73rd minute, the second a flying slap of a header which kept the two-goal lead in tact.
Jesus was also quite good, starting over Sergio Aguero, and scoring when Diop’s sliding bid to divert a Kyle Walker cross only allowed a flick past Lukasz Fabianski.
Sterling scored all three of his goals after halftime, the first off a Kevin De Bruyne assist, the second coming via a delightful run to dink a shot inside the far post, and the third a run into the right of the box.