Manchester City tore Tottenham apart at the Etihad Stadium to inflict a crushing 6-0 defeat on a side with pretensions of challenging with them the Premier League title this season. On this evidence, only one of these sides look capable of hoisting the trophy aloft come May.
While they may still need to correct their errant away record, City again proved irresistible at home. After a 4-1 victory over Manchester United and a 7-0 hammering of Norwich City, the Eithad was in store for another mauling when Jesus Navas put Manuel Pellegrini’s side ahead in the opening minute. A Sandro own goal and strikes either side of half time from Sergio Aguero made it four, before a fine goal from strike partner Alvaro Negredo. The scoring and the massacre was rounded off in injury time by Navas’s second goal.
Tottenham, the joint-third lowest scorers in the league this season, again struggled to find a cutting edge going forward. While that concern remains for Andre Villas-Boas, he will now also be alarmed by the ease at which City ripped through his backline.
Things could not have gotten off to a worse start for the visitors. From the kick off the ball was played back to Hugo Lloris in the Spurs goal, who mishit his clearance straight to Aguero. While the France stopper repelled the initial effort, Navas pounced on the rebound and produced a superb strike from the angle over Lloris and into the top corner. Just 13 seconds had been played.
To their credit, Tottenham initially responded well to going behind. They had a good spell of possession as their greater numbers allowed them to get control of midfield. Still, there was little penetration, something which could not be said at the other end.
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The crucial second goal arrived in the 34th minute. Once more, Tottenham’s troubles started from a clearance from Lloris that went to a City player inside their own half. Again, Lloris was able to repel an initial shot from Aguero, but on this occasion it was Negredo that followed up and his shot deflected in off Sandro on the line.
The result was effectively sealed four minutes before the break. It was all too easy for City as Navas was played into yards of space down the right before crossing low to an unmarked Aguero to cleverly side foot into the corner.
There was a similar brittleness to Spurs as City continued their onslaught at the start of the second half. First, Yaya Toure was allowed to maraud straight through the heart of the visitors before laying the ball square for Aguero to finish first-time for his 10th goal of the Premier League season to take him to the top of the scoring charts. It was also all too easy for City when Fernandinho was allowed to play a ball into Negredo on the edge of the box and the Spanish striker turned Michael Dawson, skillfully but with little opposition, before firing a fine shot past Lloris.
Tottenham were able to halt the infliction of further humiliation, but continued to pose a meager threat. In the second minute of injury time, a long ball forward from James Milner caught Jan Vertonghen unawares and Navas scampered through for his second.
There is much work for Villas-Boas to do with Tottenham dropping down to ninth position and with champions Manchester United up next. For City, who move up to fourth, there is much for which to be optimistic, providing they can now produce these types of performances on the road.