Manchester City’s winning start to the English Premier League is over – and the title favourites might just have seen close up their biggest rival for the trophy.
Producing a clinic in high-octane pressing, Tottenham hounded City into submission in a 2-0 victory at White Hart Lane that consigned Pep Guardiola to his first loss in 12 games. Six of those matches had come in the Premier League, and had been won at a canter.
It was the kind of all-round performance that Spurs produced for large spells of last season under Mauricio Pochettino before collapsing late on in their pursuit of eventual champion Leicester.
That was the first time Spurs contended for the league title in a generation and they are proving it wasn’t just a one-off.
After seven games, second-placed Tottenham is the only unbeaten team in the Premier League, still hasn’t conceded a goal in open play and is now just one point behind City.
In a dominant first-half display, Tottenham went ahead through Aleksandar Kolarov’s own goal in the ninth minute before Dele Alli added a second as City’s defence was overwhelmed by the home team’s energy and movement.
It could have been worse for City: Erik Lamela had a second-half penalty saved for Spurs in the second half.
City’s much-lauded attack failed to score for the first time this season and its defence looked suspect, like it did in the 3-3 draw at Celtic in the Champions League on Wednesday. There are finally some cracks in City’s teams for its title rivals to cling to.
Manchester United couldn’t take advantage, only drawing 1-1 at home to struggling Stoke, but Arsenal scraped a 1-0 win at Burnley thanks to a scrambled goal with virtually the last touch of the game.
Manchester United 1, Stoke 1
After opening with three straight victories, United has won only one of its last four games in the league and is already playing catch-up.
Joe Allen earned a point for Stoke, scoring an 82nd-minute equalizer following a rare mistake by David de Gea. The United goalkeeper fumbled a long-range shot, Jon Walters scooped the loose ball against the bar before it bounced down for Allen to smash home from close range.
United took the lead in the 69th through Anthony Martial’s curling strike, two minutes after he came on as a substitute.
United is sixth with 13 points, five behind City at the top.
Stoke is still waiting for a first win of the season, but has ended its 13-game losing streak at Old Trafford stretching back 36 years.
Burnley 0, Arsenal 1
The two minutes of injury time had almost elapsed at Turf Moor when Alexis Sanchez received a short corner and sent over a cross that Theo Walcott flicked on. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain appeared to get a touch to the ball, which reared up off the hand of Laurent Koscielny – unintentionally – and squeezed over the line.
The match marked 20 years since Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger officially took charge of Arsenal, and a fifth straight league win lifted his team to third place – two points behind City.
Leicester 0, Southampton 0
It might all be about the Champions League for Leicester this season.
This draw meant Leicester has won just two of the opening seven games of its Premier League title defence. In their first-ever Champions League campaign, the Foxes have won both of their games – the latest coming against two-time European champion Porto on Tuesday.
Southampton created the better chances at King Power stadium, with in-form striker Charlie Austin hitting the post early on and wasting a one-on-one chance in the second half.