Manchester City's 2-0 loss to Spurs on Sunday was overdue from where I sit. Despite all the favorable media punditry and arrogance from many Blues supporters, Manchester City remains a work in progress. Facing off away from home against a Spurs side that is among the best defensive units in all of Europe.
The Blues have kept just one clean sheet this league season and have learned already that building from the back in English football isn't quite a simple or fluid as in Spain and the Blues don't have as much talent as Bayern to counter high-pressing sides. Tottenham's system is one that focuses on high pressure while keeping a defensive shape that is tough to breakdown. The intensity required to beat Spurs is something that most sides in England have trouble coping with - the Blues fared no differently than most on Sunday.
Given City's propensity for defensive breakdowns and some bad giveaways, facing Spurs who for me are the most likely side to challenge the Blues for this season's title was always going to be a difficult match. Throw in the absence of Kevin De Bruyne and City faced a nearly impossible task. Create chances against the most cohesive defensive unit in English football without your most creative and in-form attacking player.
Spurs were without Harry Kane but a school of thought exists that Mauricio Pochettino's side is more efficient in attacking areas without their star striker. The fluid movement of Tottenham's other attacking players were always bound to create trouble for Manchester City's backline and not having Kane might have instead benefited Spurs.
It's worth noting that Tottenham's central midfield signings of Victor Wanyama and Moussa Sissoko are both working out thus far in the campaign. Much had been made of both being panic buys by Pochettino due to Moussa Dembele's suspension and other consideration but to this point in the season both players are excelling as they did once again against Manchester City.
Many Blues fans had prior to this week become wholly unrealistic about the team's powers and expectations for the season. City much like every other campaign faces a dogfight to win the Premier League. Arguably the matchup at White Hart Lane is the single most difficult fixture on the schedule for the season. Having gotten this likely loss out of the way the Blues can look upward and onward especially when De Bruyne returns before the end of the month.
The loss to Spurs should have been expected and nothing in the early returns from the season should diminish expectations for this group which thus far has punched above its weight. Pep Guardiola can take a loss to a superior side as a teaching moment for his players and use this to help the side improve as the busy holiday period rapidly approaches.