MANCHESTER City fired a warning to their title rivals as they swept to the top of the Premier League with a ruthless 5-1 rout of 10-man Tottenham on Wednesday. Manuel Pellegrini’s side took advantage of Arsenal’s draw at Southampton 24 hours earlier to knock the Gunners out of first place and open up a one-point lead in the race for the title.
Arsenal’s 2-2 draw at Southampton on Tuesday had given their two closest rivals a glimpse of top spot, but while City seized the opportunity, Chelsea were left in third place after a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Earlier, on November 24th, City had crushed Tottenham 6-0 in the reverse fixture and they wasted little time asserting themselves again amid pouring rain at the White Hart Lane. City, who are now unbeaten in 20 matches in all competitions, have scored 21 goals in their last five games.
Rather than tighten up at the back, Tottenham continued to let City dominate possession and they paid the price in the 15th minute. David Silva was granted too much time on the ball in midfield and he weighed up his options before sliding a clever pass towards Aguero, who, having already struck the post, broke the deadlock when he scuttled onto Silva’s pass and slipped a delicate shot past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Aguero took full advantage as he clipped a sublime finish past Lloris into the far corner for his 26th goal of the season. After completely dominating the opening period, City survived a rare anxious moment when Michael Dawson volleyed home from Christen Eriksen’s free-kick only to see his effort ruled out for a tight offside.
Apparently, City lost Aguero to a hamstring injury on the stroke of half-time, but they extended their lead in the 51st minute when Yaya Toure tucked away a penalty after Danny Rose was sent off for sliding in on Edin Dzeko.
Dzeko made it 3-0 six minutes later, slamming a shot into the roof of the net after Silva’s effort came back off the post, before Etienne Capoue reduced the arrears from a corner.
It gave the hosts a flicker of hope, but Stevan Jovetic, Aguero’s replacement, made the game safe in the 78th minute with his first Premier League goal before Captain Vincent Kompany added a fifth at the death.
City’s victory was tinged with controversy after they were awarded a dubious penalty that produced their second goal and a red card for Tottenham left-back Danny Rose, but there was no questioning the visitors’ supremacy at White Hart Lane. It would now be safe to say that Tottenham – acute underdogs despite being fifth in the table, such is City’s superiority – were facing an uphill struggle against officialdom.
by Josephine Otieno