Phil Foden scored his first Premier League goal as Manchester City beat Tottenham 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium to bounce back from Champions League heartbreak and move a step closer to retaining their domestic crown.
Spurs ended City’s European adventure on Wednesday despite losing 4-3 in a controversial and thrilling encounter at the Etihad, but they were unable to dent the champions’ title defence as Pep Guardiola’s men exacted a measure of revenge.
Although Spurs started by going close through Son Heung-min, City took an early lead, as they did in midweek, Foden nodding in after Sergio Aguero headed a Bernardo Silva delivery back across goal.
Spurs responded well with Christian Eriksen testing Ederson, and Aymeric Laporte had to make a last-ditch tackle to deny Son, but City looked purposeful in attack and should have won a penalty when Jan Vertonghen sent Silva tumbling in the 20th minute.
City continued to grow as the first half progressed, though they lost De Bruyne to what appeared to be a knee injury just before the break, handing Spurs a boost.
Proceedings were tighter after the interval, though City could count themselves lucky to not concede a spot-kick – Kyle Walker seemingly handling the ball in the box after a Dele Alli flick.
Raheem Sterling should have wrapped things up with 19 minutes to go when directing Leroy Sane’s cross goal-wards, but Paulo Gazzaniga somehow kept it out with his right foot.
That ushered in an anxious end for City, with Ederson forced to thwart Lucas Moura, but the hosts dug deep to secure a crucial victory.
What does it mean? One final major obstacle remains
Most people identified two matches in City’s run-in that could see them slip up; Tottenham at home and away to United. They are now past the first hurdle relatively unscathed. It is seemingly only bitter rivals United that stand between City and a second successive Premier League triumph.
Silva shines bright
The best player on the pitch, by some distance. Silva constantly caused Ben Davies problems on the right flank, while his darting runs inside helped open up gaps in the Spurs defence, as was the case for Foden’s goal. A fine display.
While there was not much he could have done about the goal, Gazzaniga’s general involvements were otherwise unimpressive, as he tried to over-complicate play and never looked in command in the penalty area.
Things do not get much easier for City as they face the short trip to Old Trafford on Wednesday. Spurs host Brighton and Hove Albion the day before.
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