Manchester City suffered their first defeat under manager Pep Guardiola as Tottenham Hotspur underlined their Premier League title credentials with a 2-0 win at White Hart Lane yesterday. Victory saw Spurs move to within a point of leaders City.
And later yesterday, Arsenal — Spurs’ north London rivals — won 1-0 away to Burnley thanks to Laurent Koscielny’s disputed winner deep into stoppage time as Arsene Wenger’s men closed to within two points of top spot.
Meanwhile, reigning champions Leicester City were held to a goalless draw by Southampton while Manchester United endured a frustrating 1-1 draw at home to Stoke City. An Aleksandar Kolarov own goal and a Dele Alli strike gave Spurs victory and they could even afford for Erik Lamela to squander a second-half penalty.
It was Guardiola’s first defeat in 12 games as City manager and followed a mid-week 3-3 draw at Celtic in the Champions League that ended his side’s perfect start to the season. “They (Tottenham) were better,” said Guardiola. “We were not in the right positions, so congratulations to them. I am not here for the talk around me; I am here to do my job. It is October. You cannot imagine my team is already done.”
The result gave Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino just his second league win over Guardiola in 10 matches, and the first since Espanyol beat Barcelona in the coaches’ first such encounter in February 2009. “It was a great, great victory for us against this opposition. I am very happy,” Pochettino said.
Newly promoted Burnley appeared to have secured a well-deserved point at Turf Moor until, in the 93rd minute, Koscielny, stationed virtually on the goal-line, got on the end of a corner routine. It looked as if he might have been offside and handled the ball into the bargain, but Koscielny’s goal stood despite Burnley protests.
At Old Trafford, it looked as if substitute Anthony Martial’s 69th-minute goal would give United victory over a Stoke side who started the day bottom of the table. But a mistake by United goalkeeper David de Gea led to Joe Allen’s equaliser eight minutes from time, the point gained seeing Stoke leapfrog Sunderland.
United wasted numerous chances, with world-record signing Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic among the offenders as Stoke goalkeeper Lee Grant, on loan from Derby County, made several fine saves. “This is the best performance all season and could have been one of these fat results in the Premier League, it could have been 5-0 or 6-0,” United manager Jose Mourinho said. “We had big chances, with amazing saves and big misses.”
Stoke manager Mark Hughes said: “I’m really pleased with the performance. We had a game plan and we executed it to the letter.” Turning to Grant’s display, former United striker Hughes said: “He’s a good keeper, a great character and we are pleased he is with us.”
Elsewhere, strikers Jamie Vardy of Leicester and Charlie Austin of Southampton both missed chances in a drab goalless stalemate, with England caretaker manager Gareth Southgate among the crowd at the King Power Stadium before naming his first squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia.
The draw left Leicester marooned in mid-table, with hopes of a successful title defence fading fast. Leicester, however, defeated Porto in midweek to secure a second successive victory in their maiden Champions League campaign and manager Claudio Ranieri was not downbeat over yesterday’s result. “Everything is a new experience,” he said. “I’m very relieved because Southampton deserved to win.”
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