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Sweet sixteen for runaway leaders Manchester City - Review brought to you by Dashing Elite

07:43 GMT+3 17/12/2017
Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City Spurs
The Citizens produced an enthralling brand of football as Tottenham struggled to make a mark…

There was something surprising and positive in the way Tottenham Hotspur had set out in the opening minutes of their tie against Manchester City. Contrary to the trend of teams putting up a defensive shield against Pep Guardiola’s team, Spurs decided to press right from the start.

City currently though is a tour de force, and despite the visitors’ brave intent in the opening minutes of play, succumbed to a 4-1 thrashing at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.

In recent times, City has been rewriting the record books. After the win on Saturday evening, they now have a record 16 Premier League victories on the trot, and are still unbeaten after 18 games – halfway through the season.

Spurs, who have one of the better attacks in the League, put some pressure on City soon after kick-off, but the runaway leaders, who now have a 14-point advantage over second placed Manchester United, had to wait only till the 14th minute to score the opener. That too through an unlikely source.

Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan was granted only his second start of the campaign after David Silva pulled out of the tie due to personal reasons. The 27-year-old has been harried with injuries, and had even gone through a nine-month absence because of torn knee ligaments.

On the night, the Spurs defence left him unchallenged and he bent low to head home the opener. “I was surprised myself that I was left that free,” Gundogan would say after the match.

The German filled in well into a City midfield that had the masterful Kevin De Bruyne in the ranks. The League leaders had controlled the game, but could not find a second until the ‘Belgian Bliss’ latched onto a Gundogan pass and powerfully drove home a left-footed shot that Hugo Lloris could not keep out in the 70th minute.

City should have had a third a few minutes later, when De Bruyne was brought down in the box. Gabriel Jesus struck the post with the resulting penalty kick, but the ball bounced back into the path of Raheem Sterling who needed only to tap in, but instead his shot blazed over the bar.

The hosts would however get another, through Sterling, when Leroy Sane squared the ball from the left for the English winger to slot home in the 80th minute. In stoppage time, Sterling would get another as Eric Dier would fail to block a Bernardo Silva pass, and the ball would slip between the onrushing Lloris’ feet to give the former Liverpool winger an open goal to tap into.

Tottenham had only two shots on target in the match, as against 11 by City, and their first came only in the 55th minute – their longest wait this season. The visitors did manage to get a consolation though, through a brilliant long-range effort by Christian Eriksen in added time.

Spurs were lucky to finish the game with all 11 men on the pitch. In the second half, Harry Kane’s mistimed studs-up tackle caught Sterling, and later Dele Alli rather carelessly stepped onto De Bruyne’s ankle. Both incidences resulted only in yellow cards.

With the 16th win on the trot, Guardiola now levels the record he had set with Barcelona in the 2010-2011. The European record of most wins in a row however, belongs to Bayern Munich, who won 19 matches when they were managed by Guardiola.