Premier League: Vintage Mourinho Silencing Critics

Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Manchester City

In the words of respected English football writer Henry Winter, this was vintage Jose Mourinho. Defend, defy, counter, score, repeat.

For that is exactly what Tottenham Hotspur did here, led by box-office Mourinho, as Spurs moved to the summit of the Premier League.

From start to finish, this was a game Manchester City dominated – both in terms of possession (66 per cent) and shots (22 compared to four for the hosts).

Yet it simply didn’t matter because Mourinho had set up his charges brilliantly, inspiring a display of clinical efficiency and tactical brilliance to nullify their opponents and then strike again when their opportunity arrived.

Two shots on target, two goals, 2-0. Mourinho has now won successive competitive fixtures against his old rival Pep Guardiola for the first time in his career and this time he really did a number on him.

 

Highlights of the game

Both sides had players missing. The hosts were without Matt Doherty, who tested positive for Covid-19 on international duty, and Erik Lamela, while City’s first-choice strike partnership of Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling were only deemed fit enough for the bench.

It didn’t take long until the Premier League 2020 highlights began though, and it was a very familiar face.

Son Heung-Min just loves scoring against City and he did so again inside five minutes, finishing coolly from Tanguy Ndombele’s pass.

Even at this stage, City would have remained favourites with the SBOTOP Premier League 2020 betting odds. It briefly looked like they had drawn level on the half-hour when Gabriel Jesus laid off a Riyad Mahrez cross to Aymeric Laporte who lashed the ball home, only for VAR to spot a handball by the Brazilian forward.

It may have been the correct decision, but it appeared to rattle the visitors.

With City’s frustration growing, Spurs were clearly getting under the skin of their opponents and they were further deflated from the moment substitute Giovani Lo Celso added an immediate second, beating Ederson with a low finish from a Harry Kane pass.

The only downside for Spurs was the sight of Toby Alderweireld limping off late on with a serious abductor muscle injury. How long he is out could prove a crucial factor in Spurs’ 2020/21 campaign.

For City, it’s hardly panic stations after coming second-best to a Mourinho masterclass but with just 10 goals in eight league games so far this season, the initial question for them is: Where have the goals gone?

 

Key statistics

Tottenham have finished the day top of the Premier League table for the first time since August 2014. It’s also the first time they’ve ended the day top of the top-flight this far into a campaign since January 1985 (23 games).

Son has scored five goals in his last five appearances against City in all competitions, after netting just one in his first six vs City for Spurs.

Only Jamie Vardy (nine) has scored more goals against Pep Guardiola’s City than Son.

Son Heung-Min scores an early goal during Tottenham's recent Premier League match against Manchester City

Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-Min celebrates after scoring a 5th-minute goal against Manchester City in Premier League

In all of City’s three fixtures at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Son has scored and the visitors have failed to score.

Kane has provided nine assists in his nine Premier League games this season, more than any other player in the division. Kane provided just eight assists in his previous three league campaigns combined (94 games).

Lo Celso scored just 35 seconds after coming on as a substitute, the quickest goal by a sub in the Premier League since Bernardo Silva vs Brighton in August 2019 (17 seconds).

Ndombele’s three Premier League assists have all been against City, in three different games. The only other player in Premier League history to assist as many as three goals all against the same team is Davide Santon vs Chelsea (also three).

Spurs have now extended their winning streak against other established top-six teams to three matches, equalling their best run dating back to the 1999-2000 season.

Ahead of the remaining weekend’s fixtures, Son is one ahead of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Mohamed Salah and Vardy as the top flight’s leading scorer with nine goals. The Premier League record for the most goals in a club’s opening nine matches of a season is 10, set by Les Ferdinand for Newcastle in 1995-96.

City’s tally of 12 points after eight fixtures is their lowest in a Premier League campaign since 2008-09 under Mark Hughes.

City have lost five of their past eight Premier League away matches against other established top-six sides, including each of the last four.

 

What’s next?

It’s off to Europe we go now for both sides. City are in Greece where they face Olympiacos on Wednesday teatime knowing victory will secure their place in the knockout stages.

They then entertain Burnley at the Etihad Stadium a week today (November 28).

Spurs have Europa League duties at home to Ludogorets of Bulgaria on Thursday before Mourinho returns to Chelsea with his new side next Sunday.

 

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