Manchester City's perfect start to the Premier League season came to a painful end on Sunday at White Hart Lane, as the Citizens lost 2-0 to Tottenham Hotspur thanks to goals from Aleksandar Kolarov (own goal) and Dele Alli. The Citizens failed to execute their gameplan and were dominated by a very good Spurs side, and Pep Guardiola has lost for the first time as City manager.
Tottenham were the dominant side for 45 minutes, pressuring City throughout the first half and creating plenty of chances with a pacey, technical midfield that controlled City and didn't allow Guardiola's side to establish dominance in possession, and only Sergio Agüero via a free-kick trouble Hugo Lloris in the initial period.
And then Spurs took advantage of City's poor defense to score two goals. First, a cross from Danny Rose into the box came to Kolarov, who was completely free inside the penalty area and somehow failed to control the ball, who bounced off his left knee into the back of the net for a ridiculous own goal. Spurs then killed City on the counter, with Son Heung-Min finding Dele Alli wide open inside the box, and the young Englishman easily beat Claudio Bravo for the second.
At halftime, things looked very ugly for City, who needed a complete turnaround in terms of performance to have any chance of coming back into the match.
City returned a little better after the break, and Agüero hit the post inside five minutes, but Spurs stayed strong on defense and easily found spaces inside the Sky Blue defense with fantastic passing and movement, which led to a penalty from Fernandinho on Alli. Claudio Bravo saved Erik Lamela's spot kick, and the Citizens were still alive in the game.
City went all out in search of something, but Lloris stopped Iheanacho and Agüero in two glorious chances for the Citizens. Spurs controlled the rest of the game, kept a clean sheet and maintained their authority throughout the 90 minutes.
In the end, a great win for Spurs and a tough loss for City that will badly worry Pep Guardiola heading into the international break.
Tottenham: Lloris | Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose | Wanyama, Alli (Nkoudou) | Sissoko (Dier), Eriksen, Lamela | Son (Janssen)
Goals: Kolarov (O.G. 9'), Alli (37'),
Man City: Bravo | Zabaleta, Stones, Otamendi, Kolarov | Fernando (Gundogan) | Navas (Iheanacho), Fernandinho, Silva, Sterling (Sané) | Agüero
1 - Manchester City's defense needs serious work
The City defense had been showing some worrying signs over the last few games, and against Celtic and Spurs it was wide open, all over the place and conceding terrible goals. Aleks Kolarov has gone from center-back revelation to giant liability, and Nicolas Otamendi keeps diving into crazy tackles all game long. Only John Stones has played somewhat good on defense, but City will not dominate with the ball if they can't stop the other teams without it.
2 - Tottenham will challenge for the title — for real this time
Mauricio Pochettino is a fantastic coach, and he once again proved it with a fantastic performance from his team on Sunday. Spurs knew what to do in every phase of the game, picked the perfect moments to pressure high and stayed strong on defense while maintaining their attacking DNA. Tottenham didn't have enough pieces last season to truly fight for the league trophy, but after a very good summer recruitment and the establishment of Pochettino's work, we are looking a real title contender.
3 - Bad Kolarov is back
There was a period of time over the last few weeks where Aleks Kolarov was suddenly a very good player, shining as a center-back and looking like another fantastic discovery from Guardiola. Since the Swansea game, however, Kolarov has been terrible either as a central defender or a full-back, wasting pass after pass while playing horrible defense. It's exactly what he did last season and it's exactly why we all thought he was out of the door when Pep came in. And he may still be if he continues to play this badly.