Manchester City continue to sweep Premier League rivals away with unerring ease. Pep Guardiola’s men have won 17 of their 18 fixtures in the league this season, and despite coming up against some stern opponents have invariably found a way to pick up three points over a quite blistering 16-match winning streak.
Tottenham were the latest side to feel the full force of the Etihad attackers on Saturday, with Spurs thumped 4-1.
Ilkay Gundogan got a relatively early opener, but it would take until the 70th minute before the dam really burst when Kevin De Bruyne struck. A late double for Raheem Sterling – a tardy contribution becoming something of the forward’s trademark this season – followed before Christian Eriksen’s stoppage-time consolation.
While City scored three times in the last 20 minutes, it was the least they deserved following a game they dominated.
The shot map offers the most startling portrayal of just how dominant the home side were, with an incredible peppering of 18 efforts towards Hugo Lloris’ net, the vast majority of which came from inside the box and very often from presentable locations.
Spurs’, by contrast, is something of a desert. They mustered only one effort from inside Ederson’s area – and that flew well wide. Indeed, other than Erikson’s late strike, they found the target only once. Perhaps this was why, then, that both Harry Kane and Dele Alli were frustrated into challenges that Guardiola described as “dangerous” after the match.
Tottenham are regarded as one of the most exciting sides in the league, yet they were not able to spread their offensive wings at all. Only 17 per cent of the ball they had came close to the Manchester City goal, while the hosts spent 25% of the time in the final third of the park.
What was particularly noticeable about the home side’s display was just how often they sought to attack down the left, where makeshift left-back Fabian Delph, Gundogan and Leroy Sane teamed up to great effect. Nearly half of their attacks – 43% in total – went down that channel. Neither side, meanwhile, spent much time trying to go down the middle.
In a battle of two attacking teams, it was City who came out comprehensively on top. With each passing week, Guardiola’s side are edging closer and closer to what appears to be an inevitable title. Bristling with both quality and confidence, it will take some team to stop them.