The champions-elect scored twice in the first 25 minutes and, although we produced a spirited fightback and reduced the deficit through Christian Eriksen just before the break, Pep Guardiola’s side added a third on 72 minutes to seal the points and take another step closer to securing the title.
The visitors almost went ahead after just three minutes when Leroy Sane sliced a volley against the post, but did open the scoring in the 22nd minute. Vincent Kompany’s long pass over the top found Gabriel Jesus racing clear and he slotted past Hugo Lloris.
Our goalkeeper was involved in their second three minutes later, his sliding challenge on the onrushing Raheem Sterling considered to be inside the area, with referee Jonathan Moss pointing the spot. Ilkay Gundogan converted the penalty to double City’s lead and we were in danger of being over-run.
But we showed great character in the closing minutes of the first half and pulled one back when Eriksen latched onto Harry Kane’s neat pass, his close-range effort deflecting off Aymeric Laporte and back onto him before beating Ederson and going in. That made it double figures in the Premier League for the Dane, who has now scored in four straight games in all competitions.
We enjoyed plenty of possession and forward play in the second period but couldn’t convert it into chances and it needed a couple of superb defensive blocks from Ben Davies and Kieran Trippier on separate incidents to prevent Sterling adding to City’s tally.
However they did make it three when Jesus drilled a shot which Lloris could only parry into the path of Sterling and he lashed the ball into the net.
Eriksen and substitute Lucas Moura tested Ederson late on, but we couldn’t add to our side of the scoreline and suffered a first league defeat since losing to City on December 16 last year.
Mauricio Pochettino made four changes to the team that started at Stoke City last weekend. Trippier came in for Serge Aurier and Davies for Danny Rose, Eric Dier replaced Victor Wanyama and Erik Lamela was back in the side for Heung-Min Son. Young striker Kazaiah Sterling was a late addition to the bench after Fernando Llorente was forced to withdraw from the squad for personal reasons.
GOAL: SPURS 0-1 CITY – GABRIEL JESUS – 22mins
It was the visitors who started the better of the two sides and Sane hit the woodwork after just three minutes when Sterling dinked a cross to the back post, the German slicing his volley against the upright. Sterling fired over on eight minutes, Kevin De Bruyne shot just wide moments later before City took the lead on 22 minutes. Kompany clipped a 50-yard ball over the top of our defence for Jesus to race onto and he calmly slotted past Lloris.
Above: Harry Kane up against Vincent Kompany.
GOAL: SPURS 0-2 CITY – ILKAY GUNDOGAN – 25mins
We were struggling to get a foothold in the game and were unusually careless in possession, while the visitors were producing the sort of football which has seen them all but secure the league title. They doubled their lead just three minutes later when Lloris caught the flying Sterling right on the edge of the area, referee Moss pointing the spot and Gundogan converting the penalty. Our first shot of the game came from Lamela on 31 minutes but it was well wide, before Lloris made a smart save to deny David Silva from distance.
GOAL: SPURS 1-2 CITY – CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN – 42mins
Despite being two down, City’s second goal changed the atmosphere inside the stadium and our performance on the pitch as we stepped up a few levels and slowly but surely pushed the visitors back. We still didn’t create anything tangible until three minutes before the interval when the excellent Mousa Dembele found Davies who played a ball in to Kane. He slipped a perfect pass to Eriksen eight yards from goal whose shot hit Laporte, bounced back off the Dane and went past Ederson into the net to give us a lifeline as we went in 2-1 behind at the break.
GOAL: SPURS 1-3 CITY – RAHEEM STERLING – 72mins
It was a much brighter opening to the second half for us with Jan Vertonghen frequently bursting through from centre-back and Dembele at times unplayable in the middle. We operated with intensity and on the front foot, but we couldn’t quite create the openings to level the game and instead it was City with the chances. Jesus blazed wide when clean through on 64 minutes, Davies produced a superb sliding block to deny Sterling’s effort while Trippier did likewise on 70 minutes, after Lloris had pushed Silva’s cross into the path of Sterling, our right-back deflecting his shot wide despite being on the ground. City added a third moments later though, Jesus’ drive saved by Lloris but Sterling was on hand to tuck home the rebound. Eriksen had a sight of goal on 87 minutes, taking control of substitute Lucas' cross but his shot was saved low down by Ederson - only our second shot on target all game – before Lucas forced him into a flying save in stoppage time.
MAURICIO POCHETTINO SAID
"I'm a little disappointed because we didn't compete in the first 20 minutes, we conceded a second goal and then started to play. The players are disappointed about the first 20 minutes. When you play against these types of teams - and for me, Manchester City is the best in the Premier League - you cannot concede and provide the opportunity for them to play like they played in the first 20 minutes. When we assess the whole game, they were better than us, and there is nothing more to say."
MOUSA DEMBELE SAID
"We didn't start so well. Towards the end of the first half we started to play well and we worked hard but at the moment we're all disappointed. We wanted to win. In the last 20 minutes of the first half we started showing ambition, but it was a bit too late. We had to start much sharper. We have to focus on the next games now, important games ahead this week. We can't be disappointed for too long because we have to move on."
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dembele (Moura 72), Dier, Lamela (Son 64), Eriksen, Dele (Sissoko 84), Kane. Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Aurier, Wanyama, Sterling.
City (4-3-3): Ederson, Walker, Kompany (c), Laporte, Delph, De Bruyne (Toure 89), Gundogan, D Silva, Sane, Jesus (B Silva 76), Sterling. Substitutes (not used): Bravo, Zinchenko, Otamendi, Foden, Diaz.
Goals: Spurs – Eriksen 42; City – Jesus 22, Gundogan 25 (pen), Sterling 72.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Lloris, Davies, Dembele; City – De Bruyne, Jesus, Kompany, Delph.
Referee: Jonathan Moss.
We’re back at Wembley again next weekend, but it’s not a home game this time. Manchester United are our opponents for the FA Cup semi-final at the national stadium, our second successive appearance in the last four and the 21st in our history. Kick-off on Saturday is at 5.15pm.