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Pep Guardiola to be offered long-term contract as Mancheter City look to establish Sir Alex Ferguson-like era of dominance

Manchester City will open talks with Pep Guardiola about a new contract at the end of the season, with the club’s Abu Dhabi owners eager for the manager to build a Sir Alex Ferguson style dynasty at the Etihad Stadium. City recorded an extraordinary sixteenth successive Premier League victory on Saturday when a 4-1 hammering of Tottenham Hotspur maintained their stranglehold over England’s top-flight and intensified the debate over whether Guardiola’s rampaging side can finish the season unbeaten. Guardiola is at the halfway point of his three-year contract, worth up to £20 million annually, and City’s hierarchy have agreed to sit down with the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach in the summer, confident of thrashing out the terms of a new deal. A one-year contract extension has previously been suggested but City’s powerbrokers would like to tie the 46-year-old to a longer-term arrangement and hope to persuade the Catalan to buy into their vision of him creating a legacy at the club. They recognise the impact Ferguson had over a 27-year tenure at Manchester United and believe that, in Guardiola, they have a similar rarefied talent capable of building his own dynasty over the next 10 years, during which time they hope to have won multiple domestic and European titles. Ferguson spent 27 successful years at Old Trafford Credit: Getty images Guardiola spent four years at Barcelona before taking a 12-month sabbatical and had three years at the Bayern helm before leaving for City. However, City feel managing City is a very different situation to managing Barcelona and the accompanying political pressures that were likened to “being in an oven” and stress the freedom Guardiola has been given in Manchester. Since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover at City in 2008, the club have insisted on implementing a robust management structure that is not beholden to the manager, and despite a huge influx of staff from Spain in the lead up to and following Guardiola’s appointment, City reject any suggestion that a vacuum will be left if and when the Catalan departs. It has previously been assumed that chief executive, Ferran Soriano, and director of football, Txiki Begiristain, both of whom worked with Guardiola at Barcelona, would leave if the manager ever went but the pair are not thought to regard their futures as being inextricably intertwined with Guardiola’s position. Guardiola has been challenging at times to man-manage but the club have been dazzled by the improvement his coaching has brought across the full age range of the squad and that was apparent once again on Saturday evening as Spurs were crushed by the runaway league leaders. Sport tweets of 2017 Whereas Tottenham ultimately resorted to kicking Guardiola’s players in a bid to thwart them, City refused to rise to the bait. The sight of the game’s marvel, Kevin De Bruyne, gingerly getting back to his feet after a sickening studs-up challenge from Dele Alli and two minutes later surging forward to thunder home City’s second goal spoke volumes for what this team stand for. Alli could do worse than pay close attention to the Belgian’s performance. The England midfielder’s form has nosedived since his two-goal salvo in Spurs’s 3-1 victory over European champions Real Madrid on Nov. 1 and he seemed more intent with hurting his opponents physically than figuratively at the Etihad. He was lucky he had not already earned two yellow cards for studded tackles on Ilkay Gundogan and Fernandinho in the first half before his appalling challenge on De Bruyne. Referee Craig Pawson, who should be stood down next weekend after an inept performance, had already missed an awful studs-up challenge from Harry Kane on Raheem Sterling by the time Alli left his mark for all the wrong reasons. It is understandable that the Football Association do not want to be seen to be “re-refereeing” games but, in serious cases such as these, there is something inherently flawed about a rule that prevents any retrospective disciplinary action against players who have been booked. City centre-half Nicolas Otamendi might also have been fortunate to escape with a yellow card for catching Kane in the face with a high boot. Harry Kane could have been sent off Credit: Reuters To his credit, Guardiola refused to be drawn on Tottenham’s approach and was similarly reluctant to start demanding greater protection for his players, preferring instead to focus on a bewitching display that yielded another two goals for Sterling and one for the impressive Gundogan. Christian Eriksen’s late consolation was scarcely deserved. “Sometimes the situation is hard and aggressive so with that there’s always a risk,” he said. Guardiola believes City set out as they meant to go on in the swashbuckling 3-0 pre-season win over Spurs in Nashville in July and have not deviated from that template since. “We all saw together then that is the way we have to do it and since then we’ve maintained that level,” he said. The only hint of a problem for Guardiola was Sergio Aguero’s petulant reaction to being substituted, when the Argentina striker threw down his gloves in disgust and trudged off, head bowed, but the manager said he was unconcerned. “I can understand him – he wants to play,” he said.

Pep Guardiola to be offered long-term contract as Mancheter City look to establish Sir Alex Ferguson-like era of dominance

Manchester City will open talks with Pep Guardiola about a new contract at the end of the season, with the club’s Abu Dhabi owners eager for the manager to build a Sir Alex Ferguson style dynasty at the Etihad Stadium. City recorded an extraordinary sixteenth successive Premier League victory on Saturday when a 4-1 hammering of Tottenham Hotspur maintained their stranglehold over England’s top-flight and intensified the debate over whether Guardiola’s rampaging side can finish the season unbeaten. Guardiola is at the halfway point of his three-year contract, worth up to £20 million annually, and City’s hierarchy have agreed to sit down with the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach in the summer, confident of thrashing out the terms of a new deal. A one-year contract extension has previously been suggested but City’s powerbrokers would like to tie the 46-year-old to a longer-term arrangement and hope to persuade the Catalan to buy into their vision of him creating a legacy at the club. They recognise the impact Ferguson had over a 27-year tenure at Manchester United and believe that, in Guardiola, they have a similar rarefied talent capable of building his own dynasty over the next 10 years, during which time they hope to have won multiple domestic and European titles. Ferguson spent 27 successful years at Old Trafford Credit: Getty images Guardiola spent four years at Barcelona before taking a 12-month sabbatical and had three years at the Bayern helm before leaving for City. However, City feel managing City is a very different situation to managing Barcelona and the accompanying political pressures that were likened to “being in an oven” and stress the freedom Guardiola has been given in Manchester. Since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover at City in 2008, the club have insisted on implementing a robust management structure that is not beholden to the manager, and despite a huge influx of staff from Spain in the lead up to and following Guardiola’s appointment, City reject any suggestion that a vacuum will be left if and when the Catalan departs. It has previously been assumed that chief executive, Ferran Soriano, and director of football, Txiki Begiristain, both of whom worked with Guardiola at Barcelona, would leave if the manager ever went but the pair are not thought to regard their futures as being inextricably intertwined with Guardiola’s position. Guardiola has been challenging at times to man-manage but the club have been dazzled by the improvement his coaching has brought across the full age range of the squad and that was apparent once again on Saturday evening as Spurs were crushed by the runaway league leaders. Sport tweets of 2017 Whereas Tottenham ultimately resorted to kicking Guardiola’s players in a bid to thwart them, City refused to rise to the bait. The sight of the game’s marvel, Kevin De Bruyne, gingerly getting back to his feet after a sickening studs-up challenge from Dele Alli and two minutes later surging forward to thunder home City’s second goal spoke volumes for what this team stand for. Alli could do worse than pay close attention to the Belgian’s performance. The England midfielder’s form has nosedived since his two-goal salvo in Spurs’s 3-1 victory over European champions Real Madrid on Nov. 1 and he seemed more intent with hurting his opponents physically than figuratively at the Etihad. He was lucky he had not already earned two yellow cards for studded tackles on Ilkay Gundogan and Fernandinho in the first half before his appalling challenge on De Bruyne. Referee Craig Pawson, who should be stood down next weekend after an inept performance, had already missed an awful studs-up challenge from Harry Kane on Raheem Sterling by the time Alli left his mark for all the wrong reasons. It is understandable that the Football Association do not want to be seen to be “re-refereeing” games but, in serious cases such as these, there is something inherently flawed about a rule that prevents any retrospective disciplinary action against players who have been booked. City centre-half Nicolas Otamendi might also have been fortunate to escape with a yellow card for catching Kane in the face with a high boot. Harry Kane could have been sent off Credit: Reuters To his credit, Guardiola refused to be drawn on Tottenham’s approach and was similarly reluctant to start demanding greater protection for his players, preferring instead to focus on a bewitching display that yielded another two goals for Sterling and one for the impressive Gundogan. Christian Eriksen’s late consolation was scarcely deserved. “Sometimes the situation is hard and aggressive so with that there’s always a risk,” he said. Guardiola believes City set out as they meant to go on in the swashbuckling 3-0 pre-season win over Spurs in Nashville in July and have not deviated from that template since. “We all saw together then that is the way we have to do it and since then we’ve maintained that level,” he said. The only hint of a problem for Guardiola was Sergio Aguero’s petulant reaction to being substituted, when the Argentina striker threw down his gloves in disgust and trudged off, head bowed, but the manager said he was unconcerned. “I can understand him – he wants to play,” he said.

Pep Guardiola to be offered long-term contract as Mancheter City look to establish Sir Alex Ferguson-like era of dominance

Manchester City will open talks with Pep Guardiola about a new contract at the end of the season, with the club’s Abu Dhabi owners eager for the manager to build a Sir Alex Ferguson style dynasty at the Etihad Stadium. City recorded an extraordinary sixteenth successive Premier League victory on Saturday when a 4-1 hammering of Tottenham Hotspur maintained their stranglehold over England’s top-flight and intensified the debate over whether Guardiola’s rampaging side can finish the season unbeaten. Guardiola is at the halfway point of his three-year contract, worth up to £20 million annually, and City’s hierarchy have agreed to sit down with the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach in the summer, confident of thrashing out the terms of a new deal. A one-year contract extension has previously been suggested but City’s powerbrokers would like to tie the 46-year-old to a longer-term arrangement and hope to persuade the Catalan to buy into their vision of him creating a legacy at the club. They recognise the impact Ferguson had over a 27-year tenure at Manchester United and believe that, in Guardiola, they have a similar rarefied talent capable of building his own dynasty over the next 10 years, during which time they hope to have won multiple domestic and European titles. Ferguson spent 27 successful years at Old Trafford Credit: Getty images Guardiola spent four years at Barcelona before taking a 12-month sabbatical and had three years at the Bayern helm before leaving for City. However, City feel managing City is a very different situation to managing Barcelona and the accompanying political pressures that were likened to “being in an oven” and stress the freedom Guardiola has been given in Manchester. Since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover at City in 2008, the club have insisted on implementing a robust management structure that is not beholden to the manager, and despite a huge influx of staff from Spain in the lead up to and following Guardiola’s appointment, City reject any suggestion that a vacuum will be left if and when the Catalan departs. It has previously been assumed that chief executive, Ferran Soriano, and director of football, Txiki Begiristain, both of whom worked with Guardiola at Barcelona, would leave if the manager ever went but the pair are not thought to regard their futures as being inextricably intertwined with Guardiola’s position. Guardiola has been challenging at times to man-manage but the club have been dazzled by the improvement his coaching has brought across the full age range of the squad and that was apparent once again on Saturday evening as Spurs were crushed by the runaway league leaders. Sport tweets of 2017 Whereas Tottenham ultimately resorted to kicking Guardiola’s players in a bid to thwart them, City refused to rise to the bait. The sight of the game’s marvel, Kevin De Bruyne, gingerly getting back to his feet after a sickening studs-up challenge from Dele Alli and two minutes later surging forward to thunder home City’s second goal spoke volumes for what this team stand for. Alli could do worse than pay close attention to the Belgian’s performance. The England midfielder’s form has nosedived since his two-goal salvo in Spurs’s 3-1 victory over European champions Real Madrid on Nov. 1 and he seemed more intent with hurting his opponents physically than figuratively at the Etihad. He was lucky he had not already earned two yellow cards for studded tackles on Ilkay Gundogan and Fernandinho in the first half before his appalling challenge on De Bruyne. Referee Craig Pawson, who should be stood down next weekend after an inept performance, had already missed an awful studs-up challenge from Harry Kane on Raheem Sterling by the time Alli left his mark for all the wrong reasons. It is understandable that the Football Association do not want to be seen to be “re-refereeing” games but, in serious cases such as these, there is something inherently flawed about a rule that prevents any retrospective disciplinary action against players who have been booked. City centre-half Nicolas Otamendi might also have been fortunate to escape with a yellow card for catching Kane in the face with a high boot. Harry Kane could have been sent off Credit: Reuters To his credit, Guardiola refused to be drawn on Tottenham’s approach and was similarly reluctant to start demanding greater protection for his players, preferring instead to focus on a bewitching display that yielded another two goals for Sterling and one for the impressive Gundogan. Christian Eriksen’s late consolation was scarcely deserved. “Sometimes the situation is hard and aggressive so with that there’s always a risk,” he said. Guardiola believes City set out as they meant to go on in the swashbuckling 3-0 pre-season win over Spurs in Nashville in July and have not deviated from that template since. “We all saw together then that is the way we have to do it and since then we’ve maintained that level,” he said. The only hint of a problem for Guardiola was Sergio Aguero’s petulant reaction to being substituted, when the Argentina striker threw down his gloves in disgust and trudged off, head bowed, but the manager said he was unconcerned. “I can understand him – he wants to play,” he said.

Dortmund cup clash won't be easy - Heynckes

Bayern Munich head coach Jupp Heynckes concedes that his side's cup tie with Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday won't be easy but says that Bayern are well prepared.

Dortmund cup clash won't be easy - Heynckes

Bayern Munich head coach Jupp Heynckes concedes that his side's cup tie with Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday won't be easy but says that Bayern are well prepared.

Dortmund cup clash won't be easy - Heynckes

Bayern Munich head coach Jupp Heynckes concedes that his side's cup tie with Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday won't be easy but says that Bayern are well prepared.

Bundesliga - VfB Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - VfB Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich - Mercedes-Benz Arena, Stuttgart, Germany - December 16, 2017 Bayern Munich's Mats Hummels in action with Stuttgart's Chadrac Akolo REUTERS/Thomas Niedermueller

Bundesliga - VfB Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - VfB Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich - Mercedes-Benz Arena, Stuttgart, Germany - December 16, 2017 Stuttgart's Andreas Beck in action with Bayern Munich's Rafinha REUTERS/Thomas Niedermueller

Bundesliga - VfB Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - VfB Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich - Mercedes-Benz Arena, Stuttgart, Germany - December 16, 2017 Stuttgart's Andreas Beck in action with Bayern Munich's Rafinha REUTERS/Thomas Niedermueller

Bundesliga - VfB Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - VfB Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich - Mercedes-Benz Arena, Stuttgart, Germany - December 16, 2017 Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes before the match REUTERS/Thomas Niedermueller

Bundesliga - VfB Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - VfB Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich - Mercedes-Benz Arena, Stuttgart, Germany - December 16, 2017 Stuttgart's Benjamin Pavard in action with Bayern Munich's James Rodriguez REUTERS/Thomas Niedermueller

Bundesliga - VfB Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - VfB Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich - Mercedes-Benz Arena, Stuttgart, Germany - December 16, 2017 Stuttgart's Andreas Beck in action with Bayern Munich's Arturo Vidal REUTERS/Thomas Niedermueller

Bundesliga - VfB Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - VfB Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich - Mercedes-Benz Arena, Stuttgart, Germany - December 16, 2017 Bayern Munich's Arturo Vidal in action with Stuttgart's Christian Gentner REUTERS/Thomas Niedermueller

Bundesliga - VfB Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - VfB Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich - Mercedes-Benz Arena, Stuttgart, Germany - December 16, 2017 Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller in action with Stuttgart's Santiago Ascacibar as Bayern Munich's James Rodriguez looks on REUTERS/Thomas Niedermueller

Bundesliga - VfB Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - VfB Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich - Mercedes-Benz Arena, Stuttgart, Germany - December 16, 2017 Stuttgart coach Hannes Wolf before the match REUTERS/Thomas Niedermueller

Bundesliga - VfB Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - VfB Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich - Mercedes-Benz Arena, Stuttgart, Germany - December 16, 2017 Bayern Munich's Mats Hummels in action with Stuttgart's Chadrac Akolo REUTERS/Thomas Niedermueller

Guardiola proud as City make it 16 wins in a row

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City side made it 16 league wins in a row with victory over Tottenham, equalling his record at Barcelona but still short of his 19-game streak with Bayern Munich.

Guardiola proud as City make it 16 wins in a row

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City side made it 16 league wins in a row with victory over Tottenham, equalling his record at Barcelona but still short of his 19-game streak with Bayern Munich.

Guardiola proud as City make it 16 wins in a row

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City side made it 16 league wins in a row with victory over Tottenham, equalling his record at Barcelona but still short of his 19-game streak with Bayern Munich.

Bayern stretches Bundesliga lead, Cologne grabs 1st win

Munich's team with goal scorer Thomas Mueller, center, celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between VfB Stuttgart and Bayern Munich in the Mercedes Benz Arena in Stuttgart, Germany, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. (Marijan Murat/dpa via AP)

Bayern stretches Bundesliga lead, Cologne grabs 1st win

Munich's Arturo Vidal attends the German Bundesliga soccer match between VfB Stuttgart and Bayern Munich in the Mercedes Benz Arena in Stuttgart, Germany, Saturday, Dec, 16, 2017. (Marijan Murat/dpa via AP)

Bayern stretches Bundesliga lead, Cologne grabs 1st win

Stuttgart's Holger Badstuber, left, challenges with Munich's Jerome Boateng during the German Bundesliga soccer match between VfB Stuttgart and Bayern Munich, in Stuttgart, Germany, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. (Marijan Murat/dpa via AP)

Bayern stretches Bundesliga lead, Cologne grabs 1st win

Munich's coach Jupp Heynckes arrives prior to the German Bundesliga soccer match between VfB Stuttgart and Bayern Munich in the Mercedes Benz Arena in Stuttgart, Germany, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. (Deniz Calagan/dpa via AP)

Bayern stretches Bundesliga lead, Cologne grabs 1st win

Munich's Kingsley Comanleft, challenges with Stuttgart's Holger Badstuber during the German Bundesliga soccer match between VfB Stuttgart and Bayern Munich, in Stuttgart, Germany, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. (Deniz Calagan/dpa via AP)

Bayern stretches Bundesliga lead, Cologne grabs 1st win

Stuttgart's Andreas Beck, left, and Munich's Arturo Vidal challenge for the ball during the German Bundesliga soccer match between VfB Stuttgart and Bayern Munich, in Stuttgart, Germany, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. (Marijan Murat/dpa via AP)

Manchester City 4 Tottenham 1: Kevin De Bruyne stars as unbeatable City make it 16 wins in a row

It was easy at times to forget that this was the second-best team in the Premier League last season, but on this occasion just another visitor departing the Etihad Stadium wondering how to piece themselves together after the kind of demolition that can shatter confidence. Manchester City’s winning run stands at 16 now and this one was another brutalising experience for Tottenham Hotspur who will have to live with the way they were torn apart over and again in a fixture they drew last season. Pep Guardiola has not just produced a team that dominates possession and wins games but one which now hunts down even its beaten opponents with an unnerving ruthlessness. Guardiola has now matched his longest winning run at Barcelona, in the 2010-2011 season, and he is in sight of the European record of 19 straight wins held by Bayern Munich when they were under the guidance of a certain celebrated Catalan coach. The appetite to annihilate opposing teams seems to be sharpening and it was epitomised by the outstanding Kevin De Bruyne, picking out passes, scoring the second goal himself and playing with an edge that suggests a man anxious to make history. Caught in the City whirlwind, Spurs were clinging on at times and just trying to remind themselves that they were playing the same game. They could point to key absentees among their own side but City achieved this victory without their great playmaker David Silva, left out for a family emergency. Afterwards, Guardiola said that De Bruyne’s appetite to work without the ball, to nick possession and block off channels was as crucial to his influence on the team, and the wider club, as his matchwinning passes and gam-changing goals. Having been flayed in the first half, when Silva’s deputy Ilkay Gundogan scored the first, City eventually broke down Spurs again after the break. De Bruyne scored a second, and Raheem Sterling chipped in with two more in the last ten minutes. It was a day for Spurs to forget Credit: GETTY IMAGES There was time still for Gabriel Jesus to miss a penalty, drilled against the post after he had come on for Sergio Aguero. The Argentine was substituted on 56 minutes, the earliness of it showing that his manager cares not for anyone’s feelings when there is a game to be won. Aguero’s response was the removal of his gloves, tossed onto the pitch with a contemptuous flick and a slow, simmering walk to the touchline. It was a bad day for Spurs who scored deep in injury-time through Christian Eriksen, one of a number of their main men whose game barely flickered into life. There were second half fouls from Harry Kane and Dele Alli that could have earned red cards on another day and the latter was later substituted having scarcely done a thing in the game. Average touch positions (0 min) Mauricio Pochettino refused to discuss the form of the younger of the two Englishmen after the match, adamant that he was not about to single out individuals for blame but he must be concerned about Alli’s form. His stamp on De Bruyne might have been an accident but it was symptomatic of a performance when Alli was simply off the pace and out of the running, unable to assert any influence on the match. The away team were without the long-term injured Toby Alderweireld, as well as Victor Wanyama and Davinson Sanchez and it showed. Their old boy Kyle Walker was on the opposing side and in his former role for Spurs was Kieran Trippier who had a wretched time trying to deal with the pace of Leroy Sane. Even so, the rest of City’s defence – Eliaquim Mangala, Nicolas Otamendi and Fabian Delph – looked vulnerable, but Spurs barely got close to testing them. Gundogan scores City's opening goal from a corner Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne looked every time for the ball out to the left for Sane and sometimes he arrived so quickly that he ran out of pitch before he could shoot. He won the corner for Gundogan’s goal, and the German was unmarked when Sane swung in the cross from the left side for the midfielder to head in. “The way we conceded the goal was a massive mistake,” said Pochettino, but even by then they were on the back foot. De Bruyne’s moment of supreme confidence which is encouraging him to hit passes quicker than ever. He chased down Spurs in possession and he demanded every decision in his favour – including at one point a yellow card for his fellow Belgian Mousa Dembele. Like every player at the very peak of his game he simply expects everything to go his way, and most of the time it did. Possession: Man City vs Spurs There should have been more goals before half-time but it did not quite fall for City. Kane took a boot to the face from Otamendi which earned the Argentine a booking, and the striker did not manage a shot on target before the break. He finally forced the first decent save that Ederson on 55 minutes but City were back in the game quickly. Kane was fortunate to escape worse than a booking for a lunge at the ball that was well short of its target and caught Sterling on the ankle – a foul somewhere in between yellow and red. Alli did much the same to De Bruyne and was also given a yellow card. Guardiola later described the fouls in a television interview as “dangerous”. Whatever opportunity might have been there to build some new momentum was gone and City came back with a vengeance. Before Alli’s stamp, Sane had blasted past Trippier and Hugo Lloris had just about got a hand to his shot strong enough to block it. Then in the 70th minute City broke from back to front again, De Bruyne finally getting the ball in the left channel and unleashing an unstoppable shot past Lloris. Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) De Bruyne won the penalty too, with Jan Vertonghen offering no protest to referee Craig Pawson’s decision to punish a reckless sliding tackle. Jesus had come on for Aguero and he took the penalty, dashing it against the post and Fernandinho skied the rebound. In the final ten minutes Sterling got two goals, the first rolled in from Gundogan’s cross after another City move that had taken them up the pitch at speed. Then there was a fourth after a bad mistake from Eric Dier let Sterling in on goal and he shuffled the ball past Lloris to score. The game was well over when Eriksen sent a left foot shot past Ederson, a postscript to a total thrashing.   7:54PM Expected goals xG map for Manchester City - Tottenham. That's. a. paddlin'. pic.twitter.com/fPDzZwlj4U— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) December 16, 2017   7:52PM Mauricio Pochettino says "Very disappointed, but in the same way you have to accept that the better team won and I think the positive is we try always. We concede early, a poor goal, a massive present and gift for the opponent. Against a team like Man City you cannot do that. "It was our mistake, in this kind of game if you want to win you must concentrate. It changed complete the idea, you need to take risk, the positive thing was to play a team in unbelievable form and I think in the second half we started really well. We had the capacity to play, to dominate, if we should score Harry Kane maybe it's 1-1 and change the game, Harry Winks unbelieveable chance and maybe penalty. But when you are tired and always go forward, go forward you give space." 7:48PM More Guardiola "I have no words to describe [Kevin De Bruyne's] performance today." 7:43PM Pep Guardiola says "That was solid, it was good against one team who are so demanding, intense with quality like Dele Alli, Eriksen, Winks and Harry Kane running in behind. They are one of the strongest teams in the Premier League. "You see the performance of Kevin De Bruyne, when a player runs like... a conference player, it makes things easy for a manager." 7:36PM Post-match interviews Ilkay Gundogan Today was a special performance from the all the team, I'm happy to be on the score sheet but in total we did an incredible job. I was a bit surprised I was that free. I guess the Spurs players didn't know I was strong with my head. I was a bit lucky of course but I'm happy. I've been through tough times, especially games like today where you're able to improve your self confidence, today was a good day. Kevin De Bruyne We know the quality of the team is high, we know this mentally, we want to win every game, we're very busy and mentally we want to keep going. Yeh it was a great performance. It happens, it's part of football, I just blasted it.  No, absolutely not. We are here to win titles, we had a great start, it's still more than half so it's very difficult, very hard. We want to win each game, we're doing a good job. 7:30PM Full time stats Man City vs Spurs shots on goal  Look how narrow City kept Spurs' midfield, then look at the perfect balance for City's shape. Average touch positions (0 min) Possession: Man City vs Spurs   7:27PM Photos Credit: PA   7:24PM FULL TIME What a game. What a performance. "Give them the trophy now", says Frank Lampard. "The best team in Europe," says Rio Ferdinand. Absolutely stunning. 7:23PM GOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL Eriksen scores a brilliant consolation goal! Man City 4 - 1 Spurs (Christian Eriksen, 90 + 3 min) City switch off, Eriksen beats Mangala for pace and opens up the shot on his left foot, tucking it in the bottom right corner. Superb effort. 7:20PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL Spurs are all over the place. Man City 4 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 90 min) They're being toyed with. Bernardo Silva controls the ball and hits a beautiful curling pass behind the defence to Sterling. Dier misses the easy interception, then Sterling accidentally nutmegs Lloris to make it four. This Man City side is easily the best team I've ever seen in the Premier League. 7:17PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Bernardo Silva. De Bruyne is incredible. He's just managed to thread a pass between bodies to Silva, who almost scores with his first touch. Lloris saves at the near post.  Foden links well with Sterling and De Bruyne and tries a high cross into the box which Lloris catches.  Foden's given the ball away now and Spurs have men over on a counter-attack... but City defend well and clear. City are now on the attack! Sterling takes his time... and shoots... and Lloris turns it over!   7:13PM 85 mins Gundogan comes off for Phil Foden for the final few minutes - a big game to come in to. Dele Alli is substituted for Sissoko. That's almost certainly to protect him from a second yellow. 7:11PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL! Jeez louise. They're ridiculously good.  Man City 3 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 80 min) De Bruyne skips through the midfield, threads in Gundogan who slips the ball to Sane, who knows Sterling is waiting slightly further ahead to tap into an empty net. 7:07PM 78 mins Credit: AFP Lamela comes on for Son, which leaves Alli (above, being booked) and Dembele needing to be careful.  Lamela is involved straight away, dribbles into the box, goes past two, passes into the area and Winks takes it on. He needs to shoot! The tackles come in, he stays up, keeps going, keeps going.... and misses the chance. The ball is won in the corner and then De Bruyne has just scooped the ball over Rose and then run around him. Samba magic. I bet Rose feels like quite the fool. 7:05PM MISSED! Jesus stutters as he gets up to take the penalty but hits the post. And then Sterling misses the entire goal from the rebound on his left foot. He's missed the ENTIRE goal.  7:04PM PENALTY! De Bruyne is played into miles of space, skips round Vertonghen and goes down under the slide tackle. A clear penalty. Spurs are falling apart here. 7:03PM 74 mins Spurs need to keep their discipline now. Alli and Dembele are on yellow cards and were frustrated before that goal had even gone in. Jesus, Sane and Sterling have an overload but Jesus' pass is dreadful and puts the ball out for a goal kick. Hoddle adds a new phrase to football language: "That's the thing with City, they can  out possession you" 7:01PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL DE BRUYNE HAS DONE IT! Brilliant by the Belgian.  Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) He recovers from that awful challenge from Alli as City break quickly. Gundogan plays him in down the left and he absolutely batters the ball past Lloris, with Sane making the overlapping run.  De Bruyne goes to the fans and holds up a two and a one finger. 21 is David Silva's number. 6:58PM 69 mins Rose slides in to deny Sterling just as he was about to take a pass from Jesus and be clear in the box on his own. Great defending but he might have hurt himself a little stretching for it. Sane dribbles from the left as he beats Trippier and Son, then shoots at Lloris who can only palm the ball to Sterling, who can't adjust his feet to score what is essentially an open goal from six yards. That was actually much tougher than you'd think. Miss: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 67 min) Dele Alli has gone in overly hard on De Bruyne with a challenge here and left the Belgian in a heap on the floor. That's a red card for me, Clive. And Graham Poll agrees. Alli is frustrated and started kicking out at people ages ago. For some reason Steve McManaman doesn't think that's a red. It's clearly a red card. Yellow.  6:54PM 66 mins Spurs try to play from the back and Vertonghen panics, booting the ball into touch. Walker's touch lets him down soon after though and Spurs win a throw. Eriksen switches play, Winks knocks it on and Kane finds Trippier with a brilliant long pass. Son cuts inside and shoots from near the D but gets underneath it and fires way over the bar. Mangala is too quick for Kane as he chases a ball back but Spurs win it back off Delph. Dembele is caught on the ball (again) and City now have possession. 6:52PM 63 mins Walker fakes to shoot and fools everyone, including Sterling. The pass catches Sterling unaware and he's offside. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Dembele brings down Fernandinho and is booked for persistent fouling. Jesus has changed his left boot for a red one, so has one gold and one red.  6:49PM 60 mins Gabriel Jesus comes on for Aguero. Guardiola wants to change things early before Spurs work their way back into this and Aguero is not happy about it, throwing his gloves to the floor as he leaves the pitch and ignoring Guardiola. And Jesus nearly scores with his first touch! The Brazilian hides between the two centre-backs, sprints onto an early pass from wide right and his so close to controlling it in the six yard box and shooting.  Rose shoots from distance but gets it all wrong. Oh my lord, Ederson has just hit a 70 yard pass onto Sterling's chest, taking the entire of Spurs' forward press out of the game. That is absolute genius. Sane shoots wide from the resulting move but the entire crowd collectively went "woh" for that pass. Out: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Leroy Sané, 59 min)   6:45PM 57 mins Credit: AP Spurs are playing much higher up the pitch in this half and are preventing Man City from getting out with the ball. The passing is quicker and snappier too. Kane spins on the spot 30 yards out and shoots... Ederson saves with a strong hand! That had a lot of power behind it! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 55 min)  Spurs are in control of the ball in this half.  Possession: Man City vs Spurs   6:42PM 54 mins Delph fouls Son and is booked. Spurs have a decent free-kick opportunity here, wide right of the City box.  The delivery is good but Ederson punches away. Kane lunges into a tackle on Sterling - it's a really poor one and he's booked for it. Sterling clutches his shin for a while but is fine. De Bruyne fires a switched pass to Sane and the German is inches away from controlling it and being through on goal.  6:39PM 51 mins Kane opens up the pitch with a pass out wide to Eriksen, he switches it to Son who has to go backwards. Eriksen tucks it inside to Kane, who crosses to Son... this is a great chance! Son can't quite bring the ball down and Sane defends it superbly, blocking the ball with his body and letting Ederson dive on it.  Walker whips a powerful cross into the area, Lloris punches clear and Fernandinho goes down under a challenge from Winks. The referee says plan on and Spurs counter quickly! Kane overhits his pass to Son and it's a goal kick. Pass: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 50 min) Spurs trying to force their way back into this one. 6:36PM 48 mins No changes from either manager at half time. Spurs attack, Man City attack, Spurs attack, now Man City have the ball out wide on the right. Aguero wins a corner.  6:34PM KICK-OFF 2 Some faster passing and better defending of set pieces needed from Spurs, I suspect Man City will grab a couple more goals in the final 15 minutes as Spurs tire from all that pressing. We're back though - let's find out what happens! 6:28PM Graham Poll on Mangala penalty incident This is a rough transcription and not word for word accurate, but: "It's a penalty, we're agreed on that but there are two reasons Pawson hasn't given it. He doesn't have a clear view and the player hasn't gone to ground. "It's a difficult one for players. If he'd have gone to ground, he'd have got the penalty." 6:25PM Telling possession stats Man City vs Spurs Spurs have had more of the ball than most teams at the Etihad, but it's been in defensive areas.   6:20PM Spurs worked hard to keep the ball in that half Possession: Man City vs Spurs  But City are just too good. They're absolutely amazing to watch. 6:18PM HALF TIME City have Spurs rattled but aren't entirely in control here. Spurs have had chances and look dangerous on the counter-attack but on balance, Guardiola's team deserve the lead!  A heavy fog is starting to fall onto the pitch, visible on TV screens and so must be at the match too. Let's hope it doesn't get any thicker though- we want the second half as sharp as this first. Excellent entertainment. 6:15PM 45 mins Mangala doesn't like City's short passing game. Every time he gets it under pressure he fires a long pass up the pitch and gives away possession.  Spurs work a move on the edge of the area and it's chipped into Alli... Ederson dives and wins the ball first. Alli goes tumbling over his head. 6:14PM 44 mins Spurs' passing is still too slow, City are being given chances to win the ball back and are taking them. The game's gone scrappy now with both teams being penalised for silly little fouls while trying to win tackles. 6:13PM 42 mins Alli catches Gundogan with a nasty late tackle, putting his weight down on top of the German's foot.  Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne fizzes the free-kick into the area, Walker wins a throw-in. Spurs chase City all the way back to their goalkeeper. Fernandinho finds Aguero with a clever pass over the top into the box but he's just offside. 6:10PM 39 mins Kane is down holding his face after a really high boot from Otamendi. That's nasty and he's not even been booked for it.  Wait, he has been booked. The referee just takes his time to think about it. Kane must have felt that one, it was a proper boot to the nose. Will he seek revenge?  De Bruyne tells the linesman to "f--- off" as he is penalised for knocking Vertonghen into touch. Football: the gentleman's game. 6:06PM 36 mins De Bruyne is something else. He completely pies Dembele with pace and skill then feeds a perfectly weighted ball into Sane. His first touch is poor and hands the ball to Lloris, who doesn't gather the ball. Spurs eventually get a goal kick after an Aguero shot is just wide. Eriksen has the ball wide left, finds Kane on the edge of the box and he shapes to shoot from distance.... and JUST WIDE! Kane bends it low and hard from distance to the far post and Ederson is beaten, but he's put it wide of the post. Miss: Spurs ( 35 min )   6:03PM 33 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  Trippier is back on his feet and seems to be OK.  6:02PM 32 mins After a brilliant first-time long searching ball from De Bruyne, Sane hits an early pass into Aguero but his shot is blocked. Spurs look rattled.  Trippier gets the better of Sane for the first time and sets Son away. He cuts inside but is swiftly closed down by Sane, who has tracked all the way back. Trippier wins a foul after a heavy, clumsy and late challenge by Delph. Trippier's not enjoying himself as he recovers from that one. 5:59PM 29 mins Man City put their defensive line close to 10 yards from the free-kick. As it turns out it's genius and the free-kick is chipped straight into Ederson's hands. De Bruyne dances through midfield and puts another superb forward pass in behind the defence, Spurs survive once more as Lloris saves from Gundogan and nearly hands the rebound to Sterling. 5:56PM 26 mins Rose finds space on the left! But his cross is awful and the opportunity wasted. Aguero runs through on the left and smashes a shot at goal which Lloris saves well but parries to Sterling. He takes the ball on his left foot, works the space and then balloons a shot waaaaay over the bar. Both have their heads in hands. A big chance gone. Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 24 min) Spurs are committed to playing out from the back here and City are getting closer and closer to punishing them for it. Average touch positions (25 min)   5:54PM 23 mins Sane takes on Trippier, beats him easily and Dier slides in to put the ball out for a corner.  Oooooohhhhh Rose has just shoved Mangala inside the box to put him off a corner but nothing comes of it. The referee must have seen that... and Graham Poll agrees that that is a clear penalty. Craig Pawson is the same referee who gave Everton a penalty for a far softer shove than that! 5:50PM 20 mins End to end stuff here. Spurs are still at this. Possession: Man City vs Spurs   5:48PM 17 mins This game is ace. Spurs are having to work so hard to press City back but now they're losing and could well suffer a drop in confidence. How are they going to react to that goal? City are pressing Spurs high now. 5:46PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! You just can't stop them! Gundogan scores with a header from the corner!  Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Ilkay Gündogan, 14 min) He doesn't even have to time a run, absolutely nobody picks him up from the corner and he scores from the centre of the box! Horrible marking! 5:44PM 13 mins Dele Alli runs with the ball, has Trippier and Rose hugging the touchlines but opts for a reverse through-ball down the middle, and hands possession back to Ederson. Not his best effort. City start working passes around the final third, Sterling comes inside but Dembele intercepts and passes back to Lloris, who slices his clearance after a little bobble up on the pitch. Spurs counter-attack! Son is wide left, Eriksen joins in and hits a bending pass long into the box. Trippier is waiting for it in space... but Kane heads it on and ruins the move! That was a decent opportunity. Glenn Hoddle has noticed that Spurs are leaving Son and Kane upfront as they defend, giving themselves an outball. 5:41PM 10 mins Otamendi hits a brilliant direct pass and turns defence into attack in a split second. Gundogan and Delph look for options but Spurs double up on Sane on the left to stop him going anywhere. And it doesn't work! Sane bursts away from both, gets to the box and pulls the pass across the area... it's cleared up. Magic from Sane. Interception: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Jan Vertonghen, 9 min) Rose gives a free-kick away wide right. De Bruyne curls it into the near post and Aguero heads it on but is just wide.  Out: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 10 min)   5:39PM 8 mins Mangala gives possession away, Trippier is hounded into putting the ball out for a throw as City block his passing options. Spurs are locking onto Mangala quickly here. The high press is working (to an extent so far) and City can't dominate the ball like they have done in recent weeks. A quick early pass ahead of Sterling is swept up by an alert Lloris. It looks like Spurs have been instructed to stop City at source by cutting out passes and dribbles at halfway or by fouling. This worked superbly for them last season.  5:36PM 5 mins Ederson bypasses the high press with a perfectly placed 40 yard pass. He's such a good player. Spurs are looking to hit long switched diagonal passes to get the ball forward and moving up the pitch to win the second ball.  Walker bounces Son into touch and then walks away with the ball like he's moving away from an explosion in a movie, sunglasses on. Top football comedy there. This game is already entertaining and actually fairly open. Spurs looking to win the ball in midfield.. and they foul De Bruyne at the halfway line. That'll be a recurring feature this evening. 5:33PM 2 mins City start on the front foot but Spurs defend calmly. De Bruyne wants to attack from the off and has driven the ball forward a couple of times already.  Danny Rose runs past his man down the left wing, Kane is penalised for nudging Delph off the ball.  Spurs press City high. 5:31PM KICK-OFF Here we go! City get the game started. 5:29PM Let's get pumped   5:27PM Where Spurs can hurt City I might be totally wrong here, but I can see Spurs getting a result against this brilliant Man City side tonight. Let me explain... They have to lose at some point and Spurs are a functional team with an incredibly tactically astute manager. Spurs will defend deep and hit them on the counter-attack like others have done. We know that City's full-backs often leave space in behind and this is where you'll see Eriksen and Son lurking. Rose and Trippier will be tasked with pushing high too, which means City might tuck their full-backs inside to flood the midfield. That'll be an interesting battle. Basically, the main reason City might struggle is that without Silva, Spurs can try to mark De Bruyne out of the game and suddenly they lack that creative spark. Also, Mangala has a mistake in him and doesn't like having the ball at his feet. He'll be a pressing trigger for Spurs' front line.  We're about to find out anyway, here come the players! 5:16PM Managers' pre-match chat A tetchy Pep Guardiola doesn't seem to enjoy his questions: "Of course will be tougher, so we have on one side a lot of confidence we can still beat, relax, every game will be tougher especially against a team like Tottenham. A team with 15 wins in a row that is not normal, sooner or later we'll come back to normality. "Every game is different with managers and players who can do different things." A smiling Pochettino is pretty chilled about it all: "That is the question for six months, I think here in England. They are a fantastic side and playing so well, of course our mentality is try to win and of course we are going to fight a lot for that to happen. They are so far the best team in England. "We are choosing out best side, best players to win every game, it's always a decision about how we want to approach the game. " 5:08PM (Blue) Santa is here Credit: GETTY IMAGES   5:03PM Rio Ferdinand praises Man City "My respect to Pep Guardiola, the tactical genius that he is." 4:55PM Why Man City will miss David Silva so much I wrote this last week on the creative wizardry of David Silva: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player?   4:42PM Missing man The big news is that there is no David Silva for City today. Not sure why at the moment. Kyle Walker starts against his former club. Kieran Trippier, Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli all come into the Spurs starting XI. 4:37PM Team news Team News | How we line-up against Spurs this evening! Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#cityvspurs#mancitypic.twitter.com/B71Lrycena— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 16, 2017 #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Dembele, Winks, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/PQdSbZhlnW— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 16, 2017 4:36PM Match preview Pep Guardiola insists his Manchester City team can get even better despite sweeping almost all comers aside this season. City are 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League after winning their last 15 games, a record in the English top flight. Plaudits have poured in for the stylish and resilient football City have played this term but, for Guardiola, there is no resting on laurels. He said: "What's important is to focus on the pitch what we have to do to play better, to increase our chances and concede few. That's what we have to do. "When I'm happy, it's not because of the result but the way we play. That's what I'm more satisfied by. "I have the feeling we can do better - much, much better. That's what we have to try to insist in them." The City boss is already convinced, however, that this team would have been too good for Guardiola the player. Asked if he could have got into the side, Guardiola, who enjoyed a glittering playing career with Barcelona, said: "No way! Fernandinho is much better!" City's current winning run may be unique in England but it does not yet match Guardiola's personal best as a manager. The Catalan won 16 league games in succession at Barca and bettered even that with Bayern Munich, winning 19 in a row. But such figures are also of no interest to Guardiola, who face Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon. He said: "The record is OK, but records stay there and one day are going to be broken. "Statistics are statistics. It's good to write about that but with the way we play I am satisfied the most."

Manchester City 4 Tottenham 1: Kevin De Bruyne stars as unbeatable City make it 16 wins in a row

It was easy at times to forget that this was the second-best team in the Premier League last season, but on this occasion just another visitor departing the Etihad Stadium wondering how to piece themselves together after the kind of demolition that can shatter confidence. Manchester City’s winning run stands at 16 now and this one was another brutalising experience for Tottenham Hotspur who will have to live with the way they were torn apart over and again in a fixture they drew last season. Pep Guardiola has not just produced a team that dominates possession and wins games but one which now hunts down even its beaten opponents with an unnerving ruthlessness. Guardiola has now matched his longest winning run at Barcelona, in the 2010-2011 season, and he is in sight of the European record of 19 straight wins held by Bayern Munich when they were under the guidance of a certain celebrated Catalan coach. The appetite to annihilate opposing teams seems to be sharpening and it was epitomised by the outstanding Kevin De Bruyne, picking out passes, scoring the second goal himself and playing with an edge that suggests a man anxious to make history. Caught in the City whirlwind, Spurs were clinging on at times and just trying to remind themselves that they were playing the same game. They could point to key absentees among their own side but City achieved this victory without their great playmaker David Silva, left out for a family emergency. Afterwards, Guardiola said that De Bruyne’s appetite to work without the ball, to nick possession and block off channels was as crucial to his influence on the team, and the wider club, as his matchwinning passes and gam-changing goals. Having been flayed in the first half, when Silva’s deputy Ilkay Gundogan scored the first, City eventually broke down Spurs again after the break. De Bruyne scored a second, and Raheem Sterling chipped in with two more in the last ten minutes. It was a day for Spurs to forget Credit: GETTY IMAGES There was time still for Gabriel Jesus to miss a penalty, drilled against the post after he had come on for Sergio Aguero. The Argentine was substituted on 56 minutes, the earliness of it showing that his manager cares not for anyone’s feelings when there is a game to be won. Aguero’s response was the removal of his gloves, tossed onto the pitch with a contemptuous flick and a slow, simmering walk to the touchline. It was a bad day for Spurs who scored deep in injury-time through Christian Eriksen, one of a number of their main men whose game barely flickered into life. There were second half fouls from Harry Kane and Dele Alli that could have earned red cards on another day and the latter was later substituted having scarcely done a thing in the game. Average touch positions (0 min) Mauricio Pochettino refused to discuss the form of the younger of the two Englishmen after the match, adamant that he was not about to single out individuals for blame but he must be concerned about Alli’s form. His stamp on De Bruyne might have been an accident but it was symptomatic of a performance when Alli was simply off the pace and out of the running, unable to assert any influence on the match. The away team were without the long-term injured Toby Alderweireld, as well as Victor Wanyama and Davinson Sanchez and it showed. Their old boy Kyle Walker was on the opposing side and in his former role for Spurs was Kieran Trippier who had a wretched time trying to deal with the pace of Leroy Sane. Even so, the rest of City’s defence – Eliaquim Mangala, Nicolas Otamendi and Fabian Delph – looked vulnerable, but Spurs barely got close to testing them. Gundogan scores City's opening goal from a corner Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne looked every time for the ball out to the left for Sane and sometimes he arrived so quickly that he ran out of pitch before he could shoot. He won the corner for Gundogan’s goal, and the German was unmarked when Sane swung in the cross from the left side for the midfielder to head in. “The way we conceded the goal was a massive mistake,” said Pochettino, but even by then they were on the back foot. De Bruyne’s moment of supreme confidence which is encouraging him to hit passes quicker than ever. He chased down Spurs in possession and he demanded every decision in his favour – including at one point a yellow card for his fellow Belgian Mousa Dembele. Like every player at the very peak of his game he simply expects everything to go his way, and most of the time it did. Possession: Man City vs Spurs There should have been more goals before half-time but it did not quite fall for City. Kane took a boot to the face from Otamendi which earned the Argentine a booking, and the striker did not manage a shot on target before the break. He finally forced the first decent save that Ederson on 55 minutes but City were back in the game quickly. Kane was fortunate to escape worse than a booking for a lunge at the ball that was well short of its target and caught Sterling on the ankle – a foul somewhere in between yellow and red. Alli did much the same to De Bruyne and was also given a yellow card. Guardiola later described the fouls in a television interview as “dangerous”. Whatever opportunity might have been there to build some new momentum was gone and City came back with a vengeance. Before Alli’s stamp, Sane had blasted past Trippier and Hugo Lloris had just about got a hand to his shot strong enough to block it. Then in the 70th minute City broke from back to front again, De Bruyne finally getting the ball in the left channel and unleashing an unstoppable shot past Lloris. Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) De Bruyne won the penalty too, with Jan Vertonghen offering no protest to referee Craig Pawson’s decision to punish a reckless sliding tackle. Jesus had come on for Aguero and he took the penalty, dashing it against the post and Fernandinho skied the rebound. In the final ten minutes Sterling got two goals, the first rolled in from Gundogan’s cross after another City move that had taken them up the pitch at speed. Then there was a fourth after a bad mistake from Eric Dier let Sterling in on goal and he shuffled the ball past Lloris to score. The game was well over when Eriksen sent a left foot shot past Ederson, a postscript to a total thrashing.   7:54PM Expected goals xG map for Manchester City - Tottenham. That's. a. paddlin'. pic.twitter.com/fPDzZwlj4U— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) December 16, 2017   7:52PM Mauricio Pochettino says "Very disappointed, but in the same way you have to accept that the better team won and I think the positive is we try always. We concede early, a poor goal, a massive present and gift for the opponent. Against a team like Man City you cannot do that. "It was our mistake, in this kind of game if you want to win you must concentrate. It changed complete the idea, you need to take risk, the positive thing was to play a team in unbelievable form and I think in the second half we started really well. We had the capacity to play, to dominate, if we should score Harry Kane maybe it's 1-1 and change the game, Harry Winks unbelieveable chance and maybe penalty. But when you are tired and always go forward, go forward you give space." 7:48PM More Guardiola "I have no words to describe [Kevin De Bruyne's] performance today." 7:43PM Pep Guardiola says "That was solid, it was good against one team who are so demanding, intense with quality like Dele Alli, Eriksen, Winks and Harry Kane running in behind. They are one of the strongest teams in the Premier League. "You see the performance of Kevin De Bruyne, when a player runs like... a conference player, it makes things easy for a manager." 7:36PM Post-match interviews Ilkay Gundogan Today was a special performance from the all the team, I'm happy to be on the score sheet but in total we did an incredible job. I was a bit surprised I was that free. I guess the Spurs players didn't know I was strong with my head. I was a bit lucky of course but I'm happy. I've been through tough times, especially games like today where you're able to improve your self confidence, today was a good day. Kevin De Bruyne We know the quality of the team is high, we know this mentally, we want to win every game, we're very busy and mentally we want to keep going. Yeh it was a great performance. It happens, it's part of football, I just blasted it.  No, absolutely not. We are here to win titles, we had a great start, it's still more than half so it's very difficult, very hard. We want to win each game, we're doing a good job. 7:30PM Full time stats Man City vs Spurs shots on goal  Look how narrow City kept Spurs' midfield, then look at the perfect balance for City's shape. Average touch positions (0 min) Possession: Man City vs Spurs   7:27PM Photos Credit: PA   7:24PM FULL TIME What a game. What a performance. "Give them the trophy now", says Frank Lampard. "The best team in Europe," says Rio Ferdinand. Absolutely stunning. 7:23PM GOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL Eriksen scores a brilliant consolation goal! Man City 4 - 1 Spurs (Christian Eriksen, 90 + 3 min) City switch off, Eriksen beats Mangala for pace and opens up the shot on his left foot, tucking it in the bottom right corner. Superb effort. 7:20PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL Spurs are all over the place. Man City 4 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 90 min) They're being toyed with. Bernardo Silva controls the ball and hits a beautiful curling pass behind the defence to Sterling. Dier misses the easy interception, then Sterling accidentally nutmegs Lloris to make it four. This Man City side is easily the best team I've ever seen in the Premier League. 7:17PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Bernardo Silva. De Bruyne is incredible. He's just managed to thread a pass between bodies to Silva, who almost scores with his first touch. Lloris saves at the near post.  Foden links well with Sterling and De Bruyne and tries a high cross into the box which Lloris catches.  Foden's given the ball away now and Spurs have men over on a counter-attack... but City defend well and clear. City are now on the attack! Sterling takes his time... and shoots... and Lloris turns it over!   7:13PM 85 mins Gundogan comes off for Phil Foden for the final few minutes - a big game to come in to. Dele Alli is substituted for Sissoko. That's almost certainly to protect him from a second yellow. 7:11PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL! Jeez louise. They're ridiculously good.  Man City 3 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 80 min) De Bruyne skips through the midfield, threads in Gundogan who slips the ball to Sane, who knows Sterling is waiting slightly further ahead to tap into an empty net. 7:07PM 78 mins Credit: AFP Lamela comes on for Son, which leaves Alli (above, being booked) and Dembele needing to be careful.  Lamela is involved straight away, dribbles into the box, goes past two, passes into the area and Winks takes it on. He needs to shoot! The tackles come in, he stays up, keeps going, keeps going.... and misses the chance. The ball is won in the corner and then De Bruyne has just scooped the ball over Rose and then run around him. Samba magic. I bet Rose feels like quite the fool. 7:05PM MISSED! Jesus stutters as he gets up to take the penalty but hits the post. And then Sterling misses the entire goal from the rebound on his left foot. He's missed the ENTIRE goal.  7:04PM PENALTY! De Bruyne is played into miles of space, skips round Vertonghen and goes down under the slide tackle. A clear penalty. Spurs are falling apart here. 7:03PM 74 mins Spurs need to keep their discipline now. Alli and Dembele are on yellow cards and were frustrated before that goal had even gone in. Jesus, Sane and Sterling have an overload but Jesus' pass is dreadful and puts the ball out for a goal kick. Hoddle adds a new phrase to football language: "That's the thing with City, they can  out possession you" 7:01PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL DE BRUYNE HAS DONE IT! Brilliant by the Belgian.  Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) He recovers from that awful challenge from Alli as City break quickly. Gundogan plays him in down the left and he absolutely batters the ball past Lloris, with Sane making the overlapping run.  De Bruyne goes to the fans and holds up a two and a one finger. 21 is David Silva's number. 6:58PM 69 mins Rose slides in to deny Sterling just as he was about to take a pass from Jesus and be clear in the box on his own. Great defending but he might have hurt himself a little stretching for it. Sane dribbles from the left as he beats Trippier and Son, then shoots at Lloris who can only palm the ball to Sterling, who can't adjust his feet to score what is essentially an open goal from six yards. That was actually much tougher than you'd think. Miss: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 67 min) Dele Alli has gone in overly hard on De Bruyne with a challenge here and left the Belgian in a heap on the floor. That's a red card for me, Clive. And Graham Poll agrees. Alli is frustrated and started kicking out at people ages ago. For some reason Steve McManaman doesn't think that's a red. It's clearly a red card. Yellow.  6:54PM 66 mins Spurs try to play from the back and Vertonghen panics, booting the ball into touch. Walker's touch lets him down soon after though and Spurs win a throw. Eriksen switches play, Winks knocks it on and Kane finds Trippier with a brilliant long pass. Son cuts inside and shoots from near the D but gets underneath it and fires way over the bar. Mangala is too quick for Kane as he chases a ball back but Spurs win it back off Delph. Dembele is caught on the ball (again) and City now have possession. 6:52PM 63 mins Walker fakes to shoot and fools everyone, including Sterling. The pass catches Sterling unaware and he's offside. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Dembele brings down Fernandinho and is booked for persistent fouling. Jesus has changed his left boot for a red one, so has one gold and one red.  6:49PM 60 mins Gabriel Jesus comes on for Aguero. Guardiola wants to change things early before Spurs work their way back into this and Aguero is not happy about it, throwing his gloves to the floor as he leaves the pitch and ignoring Guardiola. And Jesus nearly scores with his first touch! The Brazilian hides between the two centre-backs, sprints onto an early pass from wide right and his so close to controlling it in the six yard box and shooting.  Rose shoots from distance but gets it all wrong. Oh my lord, Ederson has just hit a 70 yard pass onto Sterling's chest, taking the entire of Spurs' forward press out of the game. That is absolute genius. Sane shoots wide from the resulting move but the entire crowd collectively went "woh" for that pass. Out: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Leroy Sané, 59 min)   6:45PM 57 mins Credit: AP Spurs are playing much higher up the pitch in this half and are preventing Man City from getting out with the ball. The passing is quicker and snappier too. Kane spins on the spot 30 yards out and shoots... Ederson saves with a strong hand! That had a lot of power behind it! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 55 min)  Spurs are in control of the ball in this half.  Possession: Man City vs Spurs   6:42PM 54 mins Delph fouls Son and is booked. Spurs have a decent free-kick opportunity here, wide right of the City box.  The delivery is good but Ederson punches away. Kane lunges into a tackle on Sterling - it's a really poor one and he's booked for it. Sterling clutches his shin for a while but is fine. De Bruyne fires a switched pass to Sane and the German is inches away from controlling it and being through on goal.  6:39PM 51 mins Kane opens up the pitch with a pass out wide to Eriksen, he switches it to Son who has to go backwards. Eriksen tucks it inside to Kane, who crosses to Son... this is a great chance! Son can't quite bring the ball down and Sane defends it superbly, blocking the ball with his body and letting Ederson dive on it.  Walker whips a powerful cross into the area, Lloris punches clear and Fernandinho goes down under a challenge from Winks. The referee says plan on and Spurs counter quickly! Kane overhits his pass to Son and it's a goal kick. Pass: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 50 min) Spurs trying to force their way back into this one. 6:36PM 48 mins No changes from either manager at half time. Spurs attack, Man City attack, Spurs attack, now Man City have the ball out wide on the right. Aguero wins a corner.  6:34PM KICK-OFF 2 Some faster passing and better defending of set pieces needed from Spurs, I suspect Man City will grab a couple more goals in the final 15 minutes as Spurs tire from all that pressing. We're back though - let's find out what happens! 6:28PM Graham Poll on Mangala penalty incident This is a rough transcription and not word for word accurate, but: "It's a penalty, we're agreed on that but there are two reasons Pawson hasn't given it. He doesn't have a clear view and the player hasn't gone to ground. "It's a difficult one for players. If he'd have gone to ground, he'd have got the penalty." 6:25PM Telling possession stats Man City vs Spurs Spurs have had more of the ball than most teams at the Etihad, but it's been in defensive areas.   6:20PM Spurs worked hard to keep the ball in that half Possession: Man City vs Spurs  But City are just too good. They're absolutely amazing to watch. 6:18PM HALF TIME City have Spurs rattled but aren't entirely in control here. Spurs have had chances and look dangerous on the counter-attack but on balance, Guardiola's team deserve the lead!  A heavy fog is starting to fall onto the pitch, visible on TV screens and so must be at the match too. Let's hope it doesn't get any thicker though- we want the second half as sharp as this first. Excellent entertainment. 6:15PM 45 mins Mangala doesn't like City's short passing game. Every time he gets it under pressure he fires a long pass up the pitch and gives away possession.  Spurs work a move on the edge of the area and it's chipped into Alli... Ederson dives and wins the ball first. Alli goes tumbling over his head. 6:14PM 44 mins Spurs' passing is still too slow, City are being given chances to win the ball back and are taking them. The game's gone scrappy now with both teams being penalised for silly little fouls while trying to win tackles. 6:13PM 42 mins Alli catches Gundogan with a nasty late tackle, putting his weight down on top of the German's foot.  Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne fizzes the free-kick into the area, Walker wins a throw-in. Spurs chase City all the way back to their goalkeeper. Fernandinho finds Aguero with a clever pass over the top into the box but he's just offside. 6:10PM 39 mins Kane is down holding his face after a really high boot from Otamendi. That's nasty and he's not even been booked for it.  Wait, he has been booked. The referee just takes his time to think about it. Kane must have felt that one, it was a proper boot to the nose. Will he seek revenge?  De Bruyne tells the linesman to "f--- off" as he is penalised for knocking Vertonghen into touch. Football: the gentleman's game. 6:06PM 36 mins De Bruyne is something else. He completely pies Dembele with pace and skill then feeds a perfectly weighted ball into Sane. His first touch is poor and hands the ball to Lloris, who doesn't gather the ball. Spurs eventually get a goal kick after an Aguero shot is just wide. Eriksen has the ball wide left, finds Kane on the edge of the box and he shapes to shoot from distance.... and JUST WIDE! Kane bends it low and hard from distance to the far post and Ederson is beaten, but he's put it wide of the post. Miss: Spurs ( 35 min )   6:03PM 33 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  Trippier is back on his feet and seems to be OK.  6:02PM 32 mins After a brilliant first-time long searching ball from De Bruyne, Sane hits an early pass into Aguero but his shot is blocked. Spurs look rattled.  Trippier gets the better of Sane for the first time and sets Son away. He cuts inside but is swiftly closed down by Sane, who has tracked all the way back. Trippier wins a foul after a heavy, clumsy and late challenge by Delph. Trippier's not enjoying himself as he recovers from that one. 5:59PM 29 mins Man City put their defensive line close to 10 yards from the free-kick. As it turns out it's genius and the free-kick is chipped straight into Ederson's hands. De Bruyne dances through midfield and puts another superb forward pass in behind the defence, Spurs survive once more as Lloris saves from Gundogan and nearly hands the rebound to Sterling. 5:56PM 26 mins Rose finds space on the left! But his cross is awful and the opportunity wasted. Aguero runs through on the left and smashes a shot at goal which Lloris saves well but parries to Sterling. He takes the ball on his left foot, works the space and then balloons a shot waaaaay over the bar. Both have their heads in hands. A big chance gone. Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 24 min) Spurs are committed to playing out from the back here and City are getting closer and closer to punishing them for it. Average touch positions (25 min)   5:54PM 23 mins Sane takes on Trippier, beats him easily and Dier slides in to put the ball out for a corner.  Oooooohhhhh Rose has just shoved Mangala inside the box to put him off a corner but nothing comes of it. The referee must have seen that... and Graham Poll agrees that that is a clear penalty. Craig Pawson is the same referee who gave Everton a penalty for a far softer shove than that! 5:50PM 20 mins End to end stuff here. Spurs are still at this. Possession: Man City vs Spurs   5:48PM 17 mins This game is ace. Spurs are having to work so hard to press City back but now they're losing and could well suffer a drop in confidence. How are they going to react to that goal? City are pressing Spurs high now. 5:46PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! You just can't stop them! Gundogan scores with a header from the corner!  Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Ilkay Gündogan, 14 min) He doesn't even have to time a run, absolutely nobody picks him up from the corner and he scores from the centre of the box! Horrible marking! 5:44PM 13 mins Dele Alli runs with the ball, has Trippier and Rose hugging the touchlines but opts for a reverse through-ball down the middle, and hands possession back to Ederson. Not his best effort. City start working passes around the final third, Sterling comes inside but Dembele intercepts and passes back to Lloris, who slices his clearance after a little bobble up on the pitch. Spurs counter-attack! Son is wide left, Eriksen joins in and hits a bending pass long into the box. Trippier is waiting for it in space... but Kane heads it on and ruins the move! That was a decent opportunity. Glenn Hoddle has noticed that Spurs are leaving Son and Kane upfront as they defend, giving themselves an outball. 5:41PM 10 mins Otamendi hits a brilliant direct pass and turns defence into attack in a split second. Gundogan and Delph look for options but Spurs double up on Sane on the left to stop him going anywhere. And it doesn't work! Sane bursts away from both, gets to the box and pulls the pass across the area... it's cleared up. Magic from Sane. Interception: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Jan Vertonghen, 9 min) Rose gives a free-kick away wide right. De Bruyne curls it into the near post and Aguero heads it on but is just wide.  Out: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 10 min)   5:39PM 8 mins Mangala gives possession away, Trippier is hounded into putting the ball out for a throw as City block his passing options. Spurs are locking onto Mangala quickly here. The high press is working (to an extent so far) and City can't dominate the ball like they have done in recent weeks. A quick early pass ahead of Sterling is swept up by an alert Lloris. It looks like Spurs have been instructed to stop City at source by cutting out passes and dribbles at halfway or by fouling. This worked superbly for them last season.  5:36PM 5 mins Ederson bypasses the high press with a perfectly placed 40 yard pass. He's such a good player. Spurs are looking to hit long switched diagonal passes to get the ball forward and moving up the pitch to win the second ball.  Walker bounces Son into touch and then walks away with the ball like he's moving away from an explosion in a movie, sunglasses on. Top football comedy there. This game is already entertaining and actually fairly open. Spurs looking to win the ball in midfield.. and they foul De Bruyne at the halfway line. That'll be a recurring feature this evening. 5:33PM 2 mins City start on the front foot but Spurs defend calmly. De Bruyne wants to attack from the off and has driven the ball forward a couple of times already.  Danny Rose runs past his man down the left wing, Kane is penalised for nudging Delph off the ball.  Spurs press City high. 5:31PM KICK-OFF Here we go! City get the game started. 5:29PM Let's get pumped   5:27PM Where Spurs can hurt City I might be totally wrong here, but I can see Spurs getting a result against this brilliant Man City side tonight. Let me explain... They have to lose at some point and Spurs are a functional team with an incredibly tactically astute manager. Spurs will defend deep and hit them on the counter-attack like others have done. We know that City's full-backs often leave space in behind and this is where you'll see Eriksen and Son lurking. Rose and Trippier will be tasked with pushing high too, which means City might tuck their full-backs inside to flood the midfield. That'll be an interesting battle. Basically, the main reason City might struggle is that without Silva, Spurs can try to mark De Bruyne out of the game and suddenly they lack that creative spark. Also, Mangala has a mistake in him and doesn't like having the ball at his feet. He'll be a pressing trigger for Spurs' front line.  We're about to find out anyway, here come the players! 5:16PM Managers' pre-match chat A tetchy Pep Guardiola doesn't seem to enjoy his questions: "Of course will be tougher, so we have on one side a lot of confidence we can still beat, relax, every game will be tougher especially against a team like Tottenham. A team with 15 wins in a row that is not normal, sooner or later we'll come back to normality. "Every game is different with managers and players who can do different things." A smiling Pochettino is pretty chilled about it all: "That is the question for six months, I think here in England. They are a fantastic side and playing so well, of course our mentality is try to win and of course we are going to fight a lot for that to happen. They are so far the best team in England. "We are choosing out best side, best players to win every game, it's always a decision about how we want to approach the game. " 5:08PM (Blue) Santa is here Credit: GETTY IMAGES   5:03PM Rio Ferdinand praises Man City "My respect to Pep Guardiola, the tactical genius that he is." 4:55PM Why Man City will miss David Silva so much I wrote this last week on the creative wizardry of David Silva: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player?   4:42PM Missing man The big news is that there is no David Silva for City today. Not sure why at the moment. Kyle Walker starts against his former club. Kieran Trippier, Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli all come into the Spurs starting XI. 4:37PM Team news Team News | How we line-up against Spurs this evening! Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#cityvspurs#mancitypic.twitter.com/B71Lrycena— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 16, 2017 #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Dembele, Winks, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/PQdSbZhlnW— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 16, 2017 4:36PM Match preview Pep Guardiola insists his Manchester City team can get even better despite sweeping almost all comers aside this season. City are 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League after winning their last 15 games, a record in the English top flight. Plaudits have poured in for the stylish and resilient football City have played this term but, for Guardiola, there is no resting on laurels. He said: "What's important is to focus on the pitch what we have to do to play better, to increase our chances and concede few. That's what we have to do. "When I'm happy, it's not because of the result but the way we play. That's what I'm more satisfied by. "I have the feeling we can do better - much, much better. That's what we have to try to insist in them." The City boss is already convinced, however, that this team would have been too good for Guardiola the player. Asked if he could have got into the side, Guardiola, who enjoyed a glittering playing career with Barcelona, said: "No way! Fernandinho is much better!" City's current winning run may be unique in England but it does not yet match Guardiola's personal best as a manager. The Catalan won 16 league games in succession at Barca and bettered even that with Bayern Munich, winning 19 in a row. But such figures are also of no interest to Guardiola, who face Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon. He said: "The record is OK, but records stay there and one day are going to be broken. "Statistics are statistics. It's good to write about that but with the way we play I am satisfied the most."

Manchester City 4 Tottenham 1: Kevin De Bruyne stars as unbeatable City make it 16 wins in a row

It was easy at times to forget that this was the second-best team in the Premier League last season, but on this occasion just another visitor departing the Etihad Stadium wondering how to piece themselves together after the kind of demolition that can shatter confidence. Manchester City’s winning run stands at 16 now and this one was another brutalising experience for Tottenham Hotspur who will have to live with the way they were torn apart over and again in a fixture they drew last season. Pep Guardiola has not just produced a team that dominates possession and wins games but one which now hunts down even its beaten opponents with an unnerving ruthlessness. Guardiola has now matched his longest winning run at Barcelona, in the 2010-2011 season, and he is in sight of the European record of 19 straight wins held by Bayern Munich when they were under the guidance of a certain celebrated Catalan coach. The appetite to annihilate opposing teams seems to be sharpening and it was epitomised by the outstanding Kevin De Bruyne, picking out passes, scoring the second goal himself and playing with an edge that suggests a man anxious to make history. Caught in the City whirlwind, Spurs were clinging on at times and just trying to remind themselves that they were playing the same game. They could point to key absentees among their own side but City achieved this victory without their great playmaker David Silva, left out for a family emergency. Afterwards, Guardiola said that De Bruyne’s appetite to work without the ball, to nick possession and block off channels was as crucial to his influence on the team, and the wider club, as his matchwinning passes and gam-changing goals. Having been flayed in the first half, when Silva’s deputy Ilkay Gundogan scored the first, City eventually broke down Spurs again after the break. De Bruyne scored a second, and Raheem Sterling chipped in with two more in the last ten minutes. It was a day for Spurs to forget Credit: GETTY IMAGES There was time still for Gabriel Jesus to miss a penalty, drilled against the post after he had come on for Sergio Aguero. The Argentine was substituted on 56 minutes, the earliness of it showing that his manager cares not for anyone’s feelings when there is a game to be won. Aguero’s response was the removal of his gloves, tossed onto the pitch with a contemptuous flick and a slow, simmering walk to the touchline. It was a bad day for Spurs who scored deep in injury-time through Christian Eriksen, one of a number of their main men whose game barely flickered into life. There were second half fouls from Harry Kane and Dele Alli that could have earned red cards on another day and the latter was later substituted having scarcely done a thing in the game. Average touch positions (0 min) Mauricio Pochettino refused to discuss the form of the younger of the two Englishmen after the match, adamant that he was not about to single out individuals for blame but he must be concerned about Alli’s form. His stamp on De Bruyne might have been an accident but it was symptomatic of a performance when Alli was simply off the pace and out of the running, unable to assert any influence on the match. The away team were without the long-term injured Toby Alderweireld, as well as Victor Wanyama and Davinson Sanchez and it showed. Their old boy Kyle Walker was on the opposing side and in his former role for Spurs was Kieran Trippier who had a wretched time trying to deal with the pace of Leroy Sane. Even so, the rest of City’s defence – Eliaquim Mangala, Nicolas Otamendi and Fabian Delph – looked vulnerable, but Spurs barely got close to testing them. Gundogan scores City's opening goal from a corner Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne looked every time for the ball out to the left for Sane and sometimes he arrived so quickly that he ran out of pitch before he could shoot. He won the corner for Gundogan’s goal, and the German was unmarked when Sane swung in the cross from the left side for the midfielder to head in. “The way we conceded the goal was a massive mistake,” said Pochettino, but even by then they were on the back foot. De Bruyne’s moment of supreme confidence which is encouraging him to hit passes quicker than ever. He chased down Spurs in possession and he demanded every decision in his favour – including at one point a yellow card for his fellow Belgian Mousa Dembele. Like every player at the very peak of his game he simply expects everything to go his way, and most of the time it did. Possession: Man City vs Spurs There should have been more goals before half-time but it did not quite fall for City. Kane took a boot to the face from Otamendi which earned the Argentine a booking, and the striker did not manage a shot on target before the break. He finally forced the first decent save that Ederson on 55 minutes but City were back in the game quickly. Kane was fortunate to escape worse than a booking for a lunge at the ball that was well short of its target and caught Sterling on the ankle – a foul somewhere in between yellow and red. Alli did much the same to De Bruyne and was also given a yellow card. Guardiola later described the fouls in a television interview as “dangerous”. Whatever opportunity might have been there to build some new momentum was gone and City came back with a vengeance. Before Alli’s stamp, Sane had blasted past Trippier and Hugo Lloris had just about got a hand to his shot strong enough to block it. Then in the 70th minute City broke from back to front again, De Bruyne finally getting the ball in the left channel and unleashing an unstoppable shot past Lloris. Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) De Bruyne won the penalty too, with Jan Vertonghen offering no protest to referee Craig Pawson’s decision to punish a reckless sliding tackle. Jesus had come on for Aguero and he took the penalty, dashing it against the post and Fernandinho skied the rebound. In the final ten minutes Sterling got two goals, the first rolled in from Gundogan’s cross after another City move that had taken them up the pitch at speed. Then there was a fourth after a bad mistake from Eric Dier let Sterling in on goal and he shuffled the ball past Lloris to score. The game was well over when Eriksen sent a left foot shot past Ederson, a postscript to a total thrashing.   7:54PM Expected goals xG map for Manchester City - Tottenham. That's. a. paddlin'. pic.twitter.com/fPDzZwlj4U— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) December 16, 2017   7:52PM Mauricio Pochettino says "Very disappointed, but in the same way you have to accept that the better team won and I think the positive is we try always. We concede early, a poor goal, a massive present and gift for the opponent. Against a team like Man City you cannot do that. "It was our mistake, in this kind of game if you want to win you must concentrate. It changed complete the idea, you need to take risk, the positive thing was to play a team in unbelievable form and I think in the second half we started really well. We had the capacity to play, to dominate, if we should score Harry Kane maybe it's 1-1 and change the game, Harry Winks unbelieveable chance and maybe penalty. But when you are tired and always go forward, go forward you give space." 7:48PM More Guardiola "I have no words to describe [Kevin De Bruyne's] performance today." 7:43PM Pep Guardiola says "That was solid, it was good against one team who are so demanding, intense with quality like Dele Alli, Eriksen, Winks and Harry Kane running in behind. They are one of the strongest teams in the Premier League. "You see the performance of Kevin De Bruyne, when a player runs like... a conference player, it makes things easy for a manager." 7:36PM Post-match interviews Ilkay Gundogan Today was a special performance from the all the team, I'm happy to be on the score sheet but in total we did an incredible job. I was a bit surprised I was that free. I guess the Spurs players didn't know I was strong with my head. I was a bit lucky of course but I'm happy. I've been through tough times, especially games like today where you're able to improve your self confidence, today was a good day. Kevin De Bruyne We know the quality of the team is high, we know this mentally, we want to win every game, we're very busy and mentally we want to keep going. Yeh it was a great performance. It happens, it's part of football, I just blasted it.  No, absolutely not. We are here to win titles, we had a great start, it's still more than half so it's very difficult, very hard. We want to win each game, we're doing a good job. 7:30PM Full time stats Man City vs Spurs shots on goal  Look how narrow City kept Spurs' midfield, then look at the perfect balance for City's shape. Average touch positions (0 min) Possession: Man City vs Spurs   7:27PM Photos Credit: PA   7:24PM FULL TIME What a game. What a performance. "Give them the trophy now", says Frank Lampard. "The best team in Europe," says Rio Ferdinand. Absolutely stunning. 7:23PM GOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL Eriksen scores a brilliant consolation goal! Man City 4 - 1 Spurs (Christian Eriksen, 90 + 3 min) City switch off, Eriksen beats Mangala for pace and opens up the shot on his left foot, tucking it in the bottom right corner. Superb effort. 7:20PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL Spurs are all over the place. Man City 4 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 90 min) They're being toyed with. Bernardo Silva controls the ball and hits a beautiful curling pass behind the defence to Sterling. Dier misses the easy interception, then Sterling accidentally nutmegs Lloris to make it four. This Man City side is easily the best team I've ever seen in the Premier League. 7:17PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Bernardo Silva. De Bruyne is incredible. He's just managed to thread a pass between bodies to Silva, who almost scores with his first touch. Lloris saves at the near post.  Foden links well with Sterling and De Bruyne and tries a high cross into the box which Lloris catches.  Foden's given the ball away now and Spurs have men over on a counter-attack... but City defend well and clear. City are now on the attack! Sterling takes his time... and shoots... and Lloris turns it over!   7:13PM 85 mins Gundogan comes off for Phil Foden for the final few minutes - a big game to come in to. Dele Alli is substituted for Sissoko. That's almost certainly to protect him from a second yellow. 7:11PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL! Jeez louise. They're ridiculously good.  Man City 3 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 80 min) De Bruyne skips through the midfield, threads in Gundogan who slips the ball to Sane, who knows Sterling is waiting slightly further ahead to tap into an empty net. 7:07PM 78 mins Credit: AFP Lamela comes on for Son, which leaves Alli (above, being booked) and Dembele needing to be careful.  Lamela is involved straight away, dribbles into the box, goes past two, passes into the area and Winks takes it on. He needs to shoot! The tackles come in, he stays up, keeps going, keeps going.... and misses the chance. The ball is won in the corner and then De Bruyne has just scooped the ball over Rose and then run around him. Samba magic. I bet Rose feels like quite the fool. 7:05PM MISSED! Jesus stutters as he gets up to take the penalty but hits the post. And then Sterling misses the entire goal from the rebound on his left foot. He's missed the ENTIRE goal.  7:04PM PENALTY! De Bruyne is played into miles of space, skips round Vertonghen and goes down under the slide tackle. A clear penalty. Spurs are falling apart here. 7:03PM 74 mins Spurs need to keep their discipline now. Alli and Dembele are on yellow cards and were frustrated before that goal had even gone in. Jesus, Sane and Sterling have an overload but Jesus' pass is dreadful and puts the ball out for a goal kick. Hoddle adds a new phrase to football language: "That's the thing with City, they can  out possession you" 7:01PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL DE BRUYNE HAS DONE IT! Brilliant by the Belgian.  Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) He recovers from that awful challenge from Alli as City break quickly. Gundogan plays him in down the left and he absolutely batters the ball past Lloris, with Sane making the overlapping run.  De Bruyne goes to the fans and holds up a two and a one finger. 21 is David Silva's number. 6:58PM 69 mins Rose slides in to deny Sterling just as he was about to take a pass from Jesus and be clear in the box on his own. Great defending but he might have hurt himself a little stretching for it. Sane dribbles from the left as he beats Trippier and Son, then shoots at Lloris who can only palm the ball to Sterling, who can't adjust his feet to score what is essentially an open goal from six yards. That was actually much tougher than you'd think. Miss: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 67 min) Dele Alli has gone in overly hard on De Bruyne with a challenge here and left the Belgian in a heap on the floor. That's a red card for me, Clive. And Graham Poll agrees. Alli is frustrated and started kicking out at people ages ago. For some reason Steve McManaman doesn't think that's a red. It's clearly a red card. Yellow.  6:54PM 66 mins Spurs try to play from the back and Vertonghen panics, booting the ball into touch. Walker's touch lets him down soon after though and Spurs win a throw. Eriksen switches play, Winks knocks it on and Kane finds Trippier with a brilliant long pass. Son cuts inside and shoots from near the D but gets underneath it and fires way over the bar. Mangala is too quick for Kane as he chases a ball back but Spurs win it back off Delph. Dembele is caught on the ball (again) and City now have possession. 6:52PM 63 mins Walker fakes to shoot and fools everyone, including Sterling. The pass catches Sterling unaware and he's offside. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Dembele brings down Fernandinho and is booked for persistent fouling. Jesus has changed his left boot for a red one, so has one gold and one red.  6:49PM 60 mins Gabriel Jesus comes on for Aguero. Guardiola wants to change things early before Spurs work their way back into this and Aguero is not happy about it, throwing his gloves to the floor as he leaves the pitch and ignoring Guardiola. And Jesus nearly scores with his first touch! The Brazilian hides between the two centre-backs, sprints onto an early pass from wide right and his so close to controlling it in the six yard box and shooting.  Rose shoots from distance but gets it all wrong. Oh my lord, Ederson has just hit a 70 yard pass onto Sterling's chest, taking the entire of Spurs' forward press out of the game. That is absolute genius. Sane shoots wide from the resulting move but the entire crowd collectively went "woh" for that pass. Out: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Leroy Sané, 59 min)   6:45PM 57 mins Credit: AP Spurs are playing much higher up the pitch in this half and are preventing Man City from getting out with the ball. The passing is quicker and snappier too. Kane spins on the spot 30 yards out and shoots... Ederson saves with a strong hand! That had a lot of power behind it! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 55 min)  Spurs are in control of the ball in this half.  Possession: Man City vs Spurs   6:42PM 54 mins Delph fouls Son and is booked. Spurs have a decent free-kick opportunity here, wide right of the City box.  The delivery is good but Ederson punches away. Kane lunges into a tackle on Sterling - it's a really poor one and he's booked for it. Sterling clutches his shin for a while but is fine. De Bruyne fires a switched pass to Sane and the German is inches away from controlling it and being through on goal.  6:39PM 51 mins Kane opens up the pitch with a pass out wide to Eriksen, he switches it to Son who has to go backwards. Eriksen tucks it inside to Kane, who crosses to Son... this is a great chance! Son can't quite bring the ball down and Sane defends it superbly, blocking the ball with his body and letting Ederson dive on it.  Walker whips a powerful cross into the area, Lloris punches clear and Fernandinho goes down under a challenge from Winks. The referee says plan on and Spurs counter quickly! Kane overhits his pass to Son and it's a goal kick. Pass: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 50 min) Spurs trying to force their way back into this one. 6:36PM 48 mins No changes from either manager at half time. Spurs attack, Man City attack, Spurs attack, now Man City have the ball out wide on the right. Aguero wins a corner.  6:34PM KICK-OFF 2 Some faster passing and better defending of set pieces needed from Spurs, I suspect Man City will grab a couple more goals in the final 15 minutes as Spurs tire from all that pressing. We're back though - let's find out what happens! 6:28PM Graham Poll on Mangala penalty incident This is a rough transcription and not word for word accurate, but: "It's a penalty, we're agreed on that but there are two reasons Pawson hasn't given it. He doesn't have a clear view and the player hasn't gone to ground. "It's a difficult one for players. If he'd have gone to ground, he'd have got the penalty." 6:25PM Telling possession stats Man City vs Spurs Spurs have had more of the ball than most teams at the Etihad, but it's been in defensive areas.   6:20PM Spurs worked hard to keep the ball in that half Possession: Man City vs Spurs  But City are just too good. They're absolutely amazing to watch. 6:18PM HALF TIME City have Spurs rattled but aren't entirely in control here. Spurs have had chances and look dangerous on the counter-attack but on balance, Guardiola's team deserve the lead!  A heavy fog is starting to fall onto the pitch, visible on TV screens and so must be at the match too. Let's hope it doesn't get any thicker though- we want the second half as sharp as this first. Excellent entertainment. 6:15PM 45 mins Mangala doesn't like City's short passing game. Every time he gets it under pressure he fires a long pass up the pitch and gives away possession.  Spurs work a move on the edge of the area and it's chipped into Alli... Ederson dives and wins the ball first. Alli goes tumbling over his head. 6:14PM 44 mins Spurs' passing is still too slow, City are being given chances to win the ball back and are taking them. The game's gone scrappy now with both teams being penalised for silly little fouls while trying to win tackles. 6:13PM 42 mins Alli catches Gundogan with a nasty late tackle, putting his weight down on top of the German's foot.  Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne fizzes the free-kick into the area, Walker wins a throw-in. Spurs chase City all the way back to their goalkeeper. Fernandinho finds Aguero with a clever pass over the top into the box but he's just offside. 6:10PM 39 mins Kane is down holding his face after a really high boot from Otamendi. That's nasty and he's not even been booked for it.  Wait, he has been booked. The referee just takes his time to think about it. Kane must have felt that one, it was a proper boot to the nose. Will he seek revenge?  De Bruyne tells the linesman to "f--- off" as he is penalised for knocking Vertonghen into touch. Football: the gentleman's game. 6:06PM 36 mins De Bruyne is something else. He completely pies Dembele with pace and skill then feeds a perfectly weighted ball into Sane. His first touch is poor and hands the ball to Lloris, who doesn't gather the ball. Spurs eventually get a goal kick after an Aguero shot is just wide. Eriksen has the ball wide left, finds Kane on the edge of the box and he shapes to shoot from distance.... and JUST WIDE! Kane bends it low and hard from distance to the far post and Ederson is beaten, but he's put it wide of the post. Miss: Spurs ( 35 min )   6:03PM 33 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  Trippier is back on his feet and seems to be OK.  6:02PM 32 mins After a brilliant first-time long searching ball from De Bruyne, Sane hits an early pass into Aguero but his shot is blocked. Spurs look rattled.  Trippier gets the better of Sane for the first time and sets Son away. He cuts inside but is swiftly closed down by Sane, who has tracked all the way back. Trippier wins a foul after a heavy, clumsy and late challenge by Delph. Trippier's not enjoying himself as he recovers from that one. 5:59PM 29 mins Man City put their defensive line close to 10 yards from the free-kick. As it turns out it's genius and the free-kick is chipped straight into Ederson's hands. De Bruyne dances through midfield and puts another superb forward pass in behind the defence, Spurs survive once more as Lloris saves from Gundogan and nearly hands the rebound to Sterling. 5:56PM 26 mins Rose finds space on the left! But his cross is awful and the opportunity wasted. Aguero runs through on the left and smashes a shot at goal which Lloris saves well but parries to Sterling. He takes the ball on his left foot, works the space and then balloons a shot waaaaay over the bar. Both have their heads in hands. A big chance gone. Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 24 min) Spurs are committed to playing out from the back here and City are getting closer and closer to punishing them for it. Average touch positions (25 min)   5:54PM 23 mins Sane takes on Trippier, beats him easily and Dier slides in to put the ball out for a corner.  Oooooohhhhh Rose has just shoved Mangala inside the box to put him off a corner but nothing comes of it. The referee must have seen that... and Graham Poll agrees that that is a clear penalty. Craig Pawson is the same referee who gave Everton a penalty for a far softer shove than that! 5:50PM 20 mins End to end stuff here. Spurs are still at this. Possession: Man City vs Spurs   5:48PM 17 mins This game is ace. Spurs are having to work so hard to press City back but now they're losing and could well suffer a drop in confidence. How are they going to react to that goal? City are pressing Spurs high now. 5:46PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! You just can't stop them! Gundogan scores with a header from the corner!  Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Ilkay Gündogan, 14 min) He doesn't even have to time a run, absolutely nobody picks him up from the corner and he scores from the centre of the box! Horrible marking! 5:44PM 13 mins Dele Alli runs with the ball, has Trippier and Rose hugging the touchlines but opts for a reverse through-ball down the middle, and hands possession back to Ederson. Not his best effort. City start working passes around the final third, Sterling comes inside but Dembele intercepts and passes back to Lloris, who slices his clearance after a little bobble up on the pitch. Spurs counter-attack! Son is wide left, Eriksen joins in and hits a bending pass long into the box. Trippier is waiting for it in space... but Kane heads it on and ruins the move! That was a decent opportunity. Glenn Hoddle has noticed that Spurs are leaving Son and Kane upfront as they defend, giving themselves an outball. 5:41PM 10 mins Otamendi hits a brilliant direct pass and turns defence into attack in a split second. Gundogan and Delph look for options but Spurs double up on Sane on the left to stop him going anywhere. And it doesn't work! Sane bursts away from both, gets to the box and pulls the pass across the area... it's cleared up. Magic from Sane. Interception: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Jan Vertonghen, 9 min) Rose gives a free-kick away wide right. De Bruyne curls it into the near post and Aguero heads it on but is just wide.  Out: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 10 min)   5:39PM 8 mins Mangala gives possession away, Trippier is hounded into putting the ball out for a throw as City block his passing options. Spurs are locking onto Mangala quickly here. The high press is working (to an extent so far) and City can't dominate the ball like they have done in recent weeks. A quick early pass ahead of Sterling is swept up by an alert Lloris. It looks like Spurs have been instructed to stop City at source by cutting out passes and dribbles at halfway or by fouling. This worked superbly for them last season.  5:36PM 5 mins Ederson bypasses the high press with a perfectly placed 40 yard pass. He's such a good player. Spurs are looking to hit long switched diagonal passes to get the ball forward and moving up the pitch to win the second ball.  Walker bounces Son into touch and then walks away with the ball like he's moving away from an explosion in a movie, sunglasses on. Top football comedy there. This game is already entertaining and actually fairly open. Spurs looking to win the ball in midfield.. and they foul De Bruyne at the halfway line. That'll be a recurring feature this evening. 5:33PM 2 mins City start on the front foot but Spurs defend calmly. De Bruyne wants to attack from the off and has driven the ball forward a couple of times already.  Danny Rose runs past his man down the left wing, Kane is penalised for nudging Delph off the ball.  Spurs press City high. 5:31PM KICK-OFF Here we go! City get the game started. 5:29PM Let's get pumped   5:27PM Where Spurs can hurt City I might be totally wrong here, but I can see Spurs getting a result against this brilliant Man City side tonight. Let me explain... They have to lose at some point and Spurs are a functional team with an incredibly tactically astute manager. Spurs will defend deep and hit them on the counter-attack like others have done. We know that City's full-backs often leave space in behind and this is where you'll see Eriksen and Son lurking. Rose and Trippier will be tasked with pushing high too, which means City might tuck their full-backs inside to flood the midfield. That'll be an interesting battle. Basically, the main reason City might struggle is that without Silva, Spurs can try to mark De Bruyne out of the game and suddenly they lack that creative spark. Also, Mangala has a mistake in him and doesn't like having the ball at his feet. He'll be a pressing trigger for Spurs' front line.  We're about to find out anyway, here come the players! 5:16PM Managers' pre-match chat A tetchy Pep Guardiola doesn't seem to enjoy his questions: "Of course will be tougher, so we have on one side a lot of confidence we can still beat, relax, every game will be tougher especially against a team like Tottenham. A team with 15 wins in a row that is not normal, sooner or later we'll come back to normality. "Every game is different with managers and players who can do different things." A smiling Pochettino is pretty chilled about it all: "That is the question for six months, I think here in England. They are a fantastic side and playing so well, of course our mentality is try to win and of course we are going to fight a lot for that to happen. They are so far the best team in England. "We are choosing out best side, best players to win every game, it's always a decision about how we want to approach the game. " 5:08PM (Blue) Santa is here Credit: GETTY IMAGES   5:03PM Rio Ferdinand praises Man City "My respect to Pep Guardiola, the tactical genius that he is." 4:55PM Why Man City will miss David Silva so much I wrote this last week on the creative wizardry of David Silva: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player?   4:42PM Missing man The big news is that there is no David Silva for City today. Not sure why at the moment. Kyle Walker starts against his former club. Kieran Trippier, Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli all come into the Spurs starting XI. 4:37PM Team news Team News | How we line-up against Spurs this evening! Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#cityvspurs#mancitypic.twitter.com/B71Lrycena— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 16, 2017 #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Dembele, Winks, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/PQdSbZhlnW— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 16, 2017 4:36PM Match preview Pep Guardiola insists his Manchester City team can get even better despite sweeping almost all comers aside this season. City are 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League after winning their last 15 games, a record in the English top flight. Plaudits have poured in for the stylish and resilient football City have played this term but, for Guardiola, there is no resting on laurels. He said: "What's important is to focus on the pitch what we have to do to play better, to increase our chances and concede few. That's what we have to do. "When I'm happy, it's not because of the result but the way we play. That's what I'm more satisfied by. "I have the feeling we can do better - much, much better. That's what we have to try to insist in them." The City boss is already convinced, however, that this team would have been too good for Guardiola the player. Asked if he could have got into the side, Guardiola, who enjoyed a glittering playing career with Barcelona, said: "No way! Fernandinho is much better!" City's current winning run may be unique in England but it does not yet match Guardiola's personal best as a manager. The Catalan won 16 league games in succession at Barca and bettered even that with Bayern Munich, winning 19 in a row. But such figures are also of no interest to Guardiola, who face Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon. He said: "The record is OK, but records stay there and one day are going to be broken. "Statistics are statistics. It's good to write about that but with the way we play I am satisfied the most."

Manchester City 4 Tottenham 1: Kevin De Bruyne stars as unbeatable City make it 16 wins in a row

It was easy at times to forget that this was the second-best team in the Premier League last season, but on this occasion just another visitor departing the Etihad Stadium wondering how to piece themselves together after the kind of demolition that can shatter confidence. Manchester City’s winning run stands at 16 now and this one was another brutalising experience for Tottenham Hotspur who will have to live with the way they were torn apart over and again in a fixture they drew last season. Pep Guardiola has not just produced a team that dominates possession and wins games but one which now hunts down even its beaten opponents with an unnerving ruthlessness. Guardiola has now matched his longest winning run at Barcelona, in the 2010-2011 season, and he is in sight of the European record of 19 straight wins held by Bayern Munich when they were under the guidance of a certain celebrated Catalan coach. The appetite to annihilate opposing teams seems to be sharpening and it was epitomised by the outstanding Kevin De Bruyne, picking out passes, scoring the second goal himself and playing with an edge that suggests a man anxious to make history. Caught in the City whirlwind, Spurs were clinging on at times and just trying to remind themselves that they were playing the same game. They could point to key absentees among their own side but City achieved this victory without their great playmaker David Silva, left out for a family emergency. Afterwards, Guardiola said that De Bruyne’s appetite to work without the ball, to nick possession and block off channels was as crucial to his influence on the team, and the wider club, as his matchwinning passes and gam-changing goals. Having been flayed in the first half, when Silva’s deputy Ilkay Gundogan scored the first, City eventually broke down Spurs again after the break. De Bruyne scored a second, and Raheem Sterling chipped in with two more in the last ten minutes. It was a day for Spurs to forget Credit: GETTY IMAGES There was time still for Gabriel Jesus to miss a penalty, drilled against the post after he had come on for Sergio Aguero. The Argentine was substituted on 56 minutes, the earliness of it showing that his manager cares not for anyone’s feelings when there is a game to be won. Aguero’s response was the removal of his gloves, tossed onto the pitch with a contemptuous flick and a slow, simmering walk to the touchline. It was a bad day for Spurs who scored deep in injury-time through Christian Eriksen, one of a number of their main men whose game barely flickered into life. There were second half fouls from Harry Kane and Dele Alli that could have earned red cards on another day and the latter was later substituted having scarcely done a thing in the game. Average touch positions (0 min) Mauricio Pochettino refused to discuss the form of the younger of the two Englishmen after the match, adamant that he was not about to single out individuals for blame but he must be concerned about Alli’s form. His stamp on De Bruyne might have been an accident but it was symptomatic of a performance when Alli was simply off the pace and out of the running, unable to assert any influence on the match. The away team were without the long-term injured Toby Alderweireld, as well as Victor Wanyama and Davinson Sanchez and it showed. Their old boy Kyle Walker was on the opposing side and in his former role for Spurs was Kieran Trippier who had a wretched time trying to deal with the pace of Leroy Sane. Even so, the rest of City’s defence – Eliaquim Mangala, Nicolas Otamendi and Fabian Delph – looked vulnerable, but Spurs barely got close to testing them. Gundogan scores City's opening goal from a corner Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne looked every time for the ball out to the left for Sane and sometimes he arrived so quickly that he ran out of pitch before he could shoot. He won the corner for Gundogan’s goal, and the German was unmarked when Sane swung in the cross from the left side for the midfielder to head in. “The way we conceded the goal was a massive mistake,” said Pochettino, but even by then they were on the back foot. De Bruyne’s moment of supreme confidence which is encouraging him to hit passes quicker than ever. He chased down Spurs in possession and he demanded every decision in his favour – including at one point a yellow card for his fellow Belgian Mousa Dembele. Like every player at the very peak of his game he simply expects everything to go his way, and most of the time it did. Possession: Man City vs Spurs There should have been more goals before half-time but it did not quite fall for City. Kane took a boot to the face from Otamendi which earned the Argentine a booking, and the striker did not manage a shot on target before the break. He finally forced the first decent save that Ederson on 55 minutes but City were back in the game quickly. Kane was fortunate to escape worse than a booking for a lunge at the ball that was well short of its target and caught Sterling on the ankle – a foul somewhere in between yellow and red. Alli did much the same to De Bruyne and was also given a yellow card. Guardiola later described the fouls in a television interview as “dangerous”. Whatever opportunity might have been there to build some new momentum was gone and City came back with a vengeance. Before Alli’s stamp, Sane had blasted past Trippier and Hugo Lloris had just about got a hand to his shot strong enough to block it. Then in the 70th minute City broke from back to front again, De Bruyne finally getting the ball in the left channel and unleashing an unstoppable shot past Lloris. Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) De Bruyne won the penalty too, with Jan Vertonghen offering no protest to referee Craig Pawson’s decision to punish a reckless sliding tackle. Jesus had come on for Aguero and he took the penalty, dashing it against the post and Fernandinho skied the rebound. In the final ten minutes Sterling got two goals, the first rolled in from Gundogan’s cross after another City move that had taken them up the pitch at speed. Then there was a fourth after a bad mistake from Eric Dier let Sterling in on goal and he shuffled the ball past Lloris to score. The game was well over when Eriksen sent a left foot shot past Ederson, a postscript to a total thrashing.   7:54PM Expected goals xG map for Manchester City - Tottenham. That's. a. paddlin'. pic.twitter.com/fPDzZwlj4U— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) December 16, 2017   7:52PM Mauricio Pochettino says "Very disappointed, but in the same way you have to accept that the better team won and I think the positive is we try always. We concede early, a poor goal, a massive present and gift for the opponent. Against a team like Man City you cannot do that. "It was our mistake, in this kind of game if you want to win you must concentrate. It changed complete the idea, you need to take risk, the positive thing was to play a team in unbelievable form and I think in the second half we started really well. We had the capacity to play, to dominate, if we should score Harry Kane maybe it's 1-1 and change the game, Harry Winks unbelieveable chance and maybe penalty. But when you are tired and always go forward, go forward you give space." 7:48PM More Guardiola "I have no words to describe [Kevin De Bruyne's] performance today." 7:43PM Pep Guardiola says "That was solid, it was good against one team who are so demanding, intense with quality like Dele Alli, Eriksen, Winks and Harry Kane running in behind. They are one of the strongest teams in the Premier League. "You see the performance of Kevin De Bruyne, when a player runs like... a conference player, it makes things easy for a manager." 7:36PM Post-match interviews Ilkay Gundogan Today was a special performance from the all the team, I'm happy to be on the score sheet but in total we did an incredible job. I was a bit surprised I was that free. I guess the Spurs players didn't know I was strong with my head. I was a bit lucky of course but I'm happy. I've been through tough times, especially games like today where you're able to improve your self confidence, today was a good day. Kevin De Bruyne We know the quality of the team is high, we know this mentally, we want to win every game, we're very busy and mentally we want to keep going. Yeh it was a great performance. It happens, it's part of football, I just blasted it.  No, absolutely not. We are here to win titles, we had a great start, it's still more than half so it's very difficult, very hard. We want to win each game, we're doing a good job. 7:30PM Full time stats Man City vs Spurs shots on goal  Look how narrow City kept Spurs' midfield, then look at the perfect balance for City's shape. Average touch positions (0 min) Possession: Man City vs Spurs   7:27PM Photos Credit: PA   7:24PM FULL TIME What a game. What a performance. "Give them the trophy now", says Frank Lampard. "The best team in Europe," says Rio Ferdinand. Absolutely stunning. 7:23PM GOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL Eriksen scores a brilliant consolation goal! Man City 4 - 1 Spurs (Christian Eriksen, 90 + 3 min) City switch off, Eriksen beats Mangala for pace and opens up the shot on his left foot, tucking it in the bottom right corner. Superb effort. 7:20PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL Spurs are all over the place. Man City 4 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 90 min) They're being toyed with. Bernardo Silva controls the ball and hits a beautiful curling pass behind the defence to Sterling. Dier misses the easy interception, then Sterling accidentally nutmegs Lloris to make it four. This Man City side is easily the best team I've ever seen in the Premier League. 7:17PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Bernardo Silva. De Bruyne is incredible. He's just managed to thread a pass between bodies to Silva, who almost scores with his first touch. Lloris saves at the near post.  Foden links well with Sterling and De Bruyne and tries a high cross into the box which Lloris catches.  Foden's given the ball away now and Spurs have men over on a counter-attack... but City defend well and clear. City are now on the attack! Sterling takes his time... and shoots... and Lloris turns it over!   7:13PM 85 mins Gundogan comes off for Phil Foden for the final few minutes - a big game to come in to. Dele Alli is substituted for Sissoko. That's almost certainly to protect him from a second yellow. 7:11PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL! Jeez louise. They're ridiculously good.  Man City 3 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 80 min) De Bruyne skips through the midfield, threads in Gundogan who slips the ball to Sane, who knows Sterling is waiting slightly further ahead to tap into an empty net. 7:07PM 78 mins Credit: AFP Lamela comes on for Son, which leaves Alli (above, being booked) and Dembele needing to be careful.  Lamela is involved straight away, dribbles into the box, goes past two, passes into the area and Winks takes it on. He needs to shoot! The tackles come in, he stays up, keeps going, keeps going.... and misses the chance. The ball is won in the corner and then De Bruyne has just scooped the ball over Rose and then run around him. Samba magic. I bet Rose feels like quite the fool. 7:05PM MISSED! Jesus stutters as he gets up to take the penalty but hits the post. And then Sterling misses the entire goal from the rebound on his left foot. He's missed the ENTIRE goal.  7:04PM PENALTY! De Bruyne is played into miles of space, skips round Vertonghen and goes down under the slide tackle. A clear penalty. Spurs are falling apart here. 7:03PM 74 mins Spurs need to keep their discipline now. Alli and Dembele are on yellow cards and were frustrated before that goal had even gone in. Jesus, Sane and Sterling have an overload but Jesus' pass is dreadful and puts the ball out for a goal kick. Hoddle adds a new phrase to football language: "That's the thing with City, they can  out possession you" 7:01PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL DE BRUYNE HAS DONE IT! Brilliant by the Belgian.  Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) He recovers from that awful challenge from Alli as City break quickly. Gundogan plays him in down the left and he absolutely batters the ball past Lloris, with Sane making the overlapping run.  De Bruyne goes to the fans and holds up a two and a one finger. 21 is David Silva's number. 6:58PM 69 mins Rose slides in to deny Sterling just as he was about to take a pass from Jesus and be clear in the box on his own. Great defending but he might have hurt himself a little stretching for it. Sane dribbles from the left as he beats Trippier and Son, then shoots at Lloris who can only palm the ball to Sterling, who can't adjust his feet to score what is essentially an open goal from six yards. That was actually much tougher than you'd think. Miss: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 67 min) Dele Alli has gone in overly hard on De Bruyne with a challenge here and left the Belgian in a heap on the floor. That's a red card for me, Clive. And Graham Poll agrees. Alli is frustrated and started kicking out at people ages ago. For some reason Steve McManaman doesn't think that's a red. It's clearly a red card. Yellow.  6:54PM 66 mins Spurs try to play from the back and Vertonghen panics, booting the ball into touch. Walker's touch lets him down soon after though and Spurs win a throw. Eriksen switches play, Winks knocks it on and Kane finds Trippier with a brilliant long pass. Son cuts inside and shoots from near the D but gets underneath it and fires way over the bar. Mangala is too quick for Kane as he chases a ball back but Spurs win it back off Delph. Dembele is caught on the ball (again) and City now have possession. 6:52PM 63 mins Walker fakes to shoot and fools everyone, including Sterling. The pass catches Sterling unaware and he's offside. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Dembele brings down Fernandinho and is booked for persistent fouling. Jesus has changed his left boot for a red one, so has one gold and one red.  6:49PM 60 mins Gabriel Jesus comes on for Aguero. Guardiola wants to change things early before Spurs work their way back into this and Aguero is not happy about it, throwing his gloves to the floor as he leaves the pitch and ignoring Guardiola. And Jesus nearly scores with his first touch! The Brazilian hides between the two centre-backs, sprints onto an early pass from wide right and his so close to controlling it in the six yard box and shooting.  Rose shoots from distance but gets it all wrong. Oh my lord, Ederson has just hit a 70 yard pass onto Sterling's chest, taking the entire of Spurs' forward press out of the game. That is absolute genius. Sane shoots wide from the resulting move but the entire crowd collectively went "woh" for that pass. Out: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Leroy Sané, 59 min)   6:45PM 57 mins Credit: AP Spurs are playing much higher up the pitch in this half and are preventing Man City from getting out with the ball. The passing is quicker and snappier too. Kane spins on the spot 30 yards out and shoots... Ederson saves with a strong hand! That had a lot of power behind it! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 55 min)  Spurs are in control of the ball in this half.  Possession: Man City vs Spurs   6:42PM 54 mins Delph fouls Son and is booked. Spurs have a decent free-kick opportunity here, wide right of the City box.  The delivery is good but Ederson punches away. Kane lunges into a tackle on Sterling - it's a really poor one and he's booked for it. Sterling clutches his shin for a while but is fine. De Bruyne fires a switched pass to Sane and the German is inches away from controlling it and being through on goal.  6:39PM 51 mins Kane opens up the pitch with a pass out wide to Eriksen, he switches it to Son who has to go backwards. Eriksen tucks it inside to Kane, who crosses to Son... this is a great chance! Son can't quite bring the ball down and Sane defends it superbly, blocking the ball with his body and letting Ederson dive on it.  Walker whips a powerful cross into the area, Lloris punches clear and Fernandinho goes down under a challenge from Winks. The referee says plan on and Spurs counter quickly! Kane overhits his pass to Son and it's a goal kick. Pass: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 50 min) Spurs trying to force their way back into this one. 6:36PM 48 mins No changes from either manager at half time. Spurs attack, Man City attack, Spurs attack, now Man City have the ball out wide on the right. Aguero wins a corner.  6:34PM KICK-OFF 2 Some faster passing and better defending of set pieces needed from Spurs, I suspect Man City will grab a couple more goals in the final 15 minutes as Spurs tire from all that pressing. We're back though - let's find out what happens! 6:28PM Graham Poll on Mangala penalty incident This is a rough transcription and not word for word accurate, but: "It's a penalty, we're agreed on that but there are two reasons Pawson hasn't given it. He doesn't have a clear view and the player hasn't gone to ground. "It's a difficult one for players. If he'd have gone to ground, he'd have got the penalty." 6:25PM Telling possession stats Man City vs Spurs Spurs have had more of the ball than most teams at the Etihad, but it's been in defensive areas.   6:20PM Spurs worked hard to keep the ball in that half Possession: Man City vs Spurs  But City are just too good. They're absolutely amazing to watch. 6:18PM HALF TIME City have Spurs rattled but aren't entirely in control here. Spurs have had chances and look dangerous on the counter-attack but on balance, Guardiola's team deserve the lead!  A heavy fog is starting to fall onto the pitch, visible on TV screens and so must be at the match too. Let's hope it doesn't get any thicker though- we want the second half as sharp as this first. Excellent entertainment. 6:15PM 45 mins Mangala doesn't like City's short passing game. Every time he gets it under pressure he fires a long pass up the pitch and gives away possession.  Spurs work a move on the edge of the area and it's chipped into Alli... Ederson dives and wins the ball first. Alli goes tumbling over his head. 6:14PM 44 mins Spurs' passing is still too slow, City are being given chances to win the ball back and are taking them. The game's gone scrappy now with both teams being penalised for silly little fouls while trying to win tackles. 6:13PM 42 mins Alli catches Gundogan with a nasty late tackle, putting his weight down on top of the German's foot.  Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne fizzes the free-kick into the area, Walker wins a throw-in. Spurs chase City all the way back to their goalkeeper. Fernandinho finds Aguero with a clever pass over the top into the box but he's just offside. 6:10PM 39 mins Kane is down holding his face after a really high boot from Otamendi. That's nasty and he's not even been booked for it.  Wait, he has been booked. The referee just takes his time to think about it. Kane must have felt that one, it was a proper boot to the nose. Will he seek revenge?  De Bruyne tells the linesman to "f--- off" as he is penalised for knocking Vertonghen into touch. Football: the gentleman's game. 6:06PM 36 mins De Bruyne is something else. He completely pies Dembele with pace and skill then feeds a perfectly weighted ball into Sane. His first touch is poor and hands the ball to Lloris, who doesn't gather the ball. Spurs eventually get a goal kick after an Aguero shot is just wide. Eriksen has the ball wide left, finds Kane on the edge of the box and he shapes to shoot from distance.... and JUST WIDE! Kane bends it low and hard from distance to the far post and Ederson is beaten, but he's put it wide of the post. Miss: Spurs ( 35 min )   6:03PM 33 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  Trippier is back on his feet and seems to be OK.  6:02PM 32 mins After a brilliant first-time long searching ball from De Bruyne, Sane hits an early pass into Aguero but his shot is blocked. Spurs look rattled.  Trippier gets the better of Sane for the first time and sets Son away. He cuts inside but is swiftly closed down by Sane, who has tracked all the way back. Trippier wins a foul after a heavy, clumsy and late challenge by Delph. Trippier's not enjoying himself as he recovers from that one. 5:59PM 29 mins Man City put their defensive line close to 10 yards from the free-kick. As it turns out it's genius and the free-kick is chipped straight into Ederson's hands. De Bruyne dances through midfield and puts another superb forward pass in behind the defence, Spurs survive once more as Lloris saves from Gundogan and nearly hands the rebound to Sterling. 5:56PM 26 mins Rose finds space on the left! But his cross is awful and the opportunity wasted. Aguero runs through on the left and smashes a shot at goal which Lloris saves well but parries to Sterling. He takes the ball on his left foot, works the space and then balloons a shot waaaaay over the bar. Both have their heads in hands. A big chance gone. Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 24 min) Spurs are committed to playing out from the back here and City are getting closer and closer to punishing them for it. Average touch positions (25 min)   5:54PM 23 mins Sane takes on Trippier, beats him easily and Dier slides in to put the ball out for a corner.  Oooooohhhhh Rose has just shoved Mangala inside the box to put him off a corner but nothing comes of it. The referee must have seen that... and Graham Poll agrees that that is a clear penalty. Craig Pawson is the same referee who gave Everton a penalty for a far softer shove than that! 5:50PM 20 mins End to end stuff here. Spurs are still at this. Possession: Man City vs Spurs   5:48PM 17 mins This game is ace. Spurs are having to work so hard to press City back but now they're losing and could well suffer a drop in confidence. How are they going to react to that goal? City are pressing Spurs high now. 5:46PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! You just can't stop them! Gundogan scores with a header from the corner!  Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Ilkay Gündogan, 14 min) He doesn't even have to time a run, absolutely nobody picks him up from the corner and he scores from the centre of the box! Horrible marking! 5:44PM 13 mins Dele Alli runs with the ball, has Trippier and Rose hugging the touchlines but opts for a reverse through-ball down the middle, and hands possession back to Ederson. Not his best effort. City start working passes around the final third, Sterling comes inside but Dembele intercepts and passes back to Lloris, who slices his clearance after a little bobble up on the pitch. Spurs counter-attack! Son is wide left, Eriksen joins in and hits a bending pass long into the box. Trippier is waiting for it in space... but Kane heads it on and ruins the move! That was a decent opportunity. Glenn Hoddle has noticed that Spurs are leaving Son and Kane upfront as they defend, giving themselves an outball. 5:41PM 10 mins Otamendi hits a brilliant direct pass and turns defence into attack in a split second. Gundogan and Delph look for options but Spurs double up on Sane on the left to stop him going anywhere. And it doesn't work! Sane bursts away from both, gets to the box and pulls the pass across the area... it's cleared up. Magic from Sane. Interception: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Jan Vertonghen, 9 min) Rose gives a free-kick away wide right. De Bruyne curls it into the near post and Aguero heads it on but is just wide.  Out: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 10 min)   5:39PM 8 mins Mangala gives possession away, Trippier is hounded into putting the ball out for a throw as City block his passing options. Spurs are locking onto Mangala quickly here. The high press is working (to an extent so far) and City can't dominate the ball like they have done in recent weeks. A quick early pass ahead of Sterling is swept up by an alert Lloris. It looks like Spurs have been instructed to stop City at source by cutting out passes and dribbles at halfway or by fouling. This worked superbly for them last season.  5:36PM 5 mins Ederson bypasses the high press with a perfectly placed 40 yard pass. He's such a good player. Spurs are looking to hit long switched diagonal passes to get the ball forward and moving up the pitch to win the second ball.  Walker bounces Son into touch and then walks away with the ball like he's moving away from an explosion in a movie, sunglasses on. Top football comedy there. This game is already entertaining and actually fairly open. Spurs looking to win the ball in midfield.. and they foul De Bruyne at the halfway line. That'll be a recurring feature this evening. 5:33PM 2 mins City start on the front foot but Spurs defend calmly. De Bruyne wants to attack from the off and has driven the ball forward a couple of times already.  Danny Rose runs past his man down the left wing, Kane is penalised for nudging Delph off the ball.  Spurs press City high. 5:31PM KICK-OFF Here we go! City get the game started. 5:29PM Let's get pumped   5:27PM Where Spurs can hurt City I might be totally wrong here, but I can see Spurs getting a result against this brilliant Man City side tonight. Let me explain... They have to lose at some point and Spurs are a functional team with an incredibly tactically astute manager. Spurs will defend deep and hit them on the counter-attack like others have done. We know that City's full-backs often leave space in behind and this is where you'll see Eriksen and Son lurking. Rose and Trippier will be tasked with pushing high too, which means City might tuck their full-backs inside to flood the midfield. That'll be an interesting battle. Basically, the main reason City might struggle is that without Silva, Spurs can try to mark De Bruyne out of the game and suddenly they lack that creative spark. Also, Mangala has a mistake in him and doesn't like having the ball at his feet. He'll be a pressing trigger for Spurs' front line.  We're about to find out anyway, here come the players! 5:16PM Managers' pre-match chat A tetchy Pep Guardiola doesn't seem to enjoy his questions: "Of course will be tougher, so we have on one side a lot of confidence we can still beat, relax, every game will be tougher especially against a team like Tottenham. A team with 15 wins in a row that is not normal, sooner or later we'll come back to normality. "Every game is different with managers and players who can do different things." A smiling Pochettino is pretty chilled about it all: "That is the question for six months, I think here in England. They are a fantastic side and playing so well, of course our mentality is try to win and of course we are going to fight a lot for that to happen. They are so far the best team in England. "We are choosing out best side, best players to win every game, it's always a decision about how we want to approach the game. " 5:08PM (Blue) Santa is here Credit: GETTY IMAGES   5:03PM Rio Ferdinand praises Man City "My respect to Pep Guardiola, the tactical genius that he is." 4:55PM Why Man City will miss David Silva so much I wrote this last week on the creative wizardry of David Silva: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player?   4:42PM Missing man The big news is that there is no David Silva for City today. Not sure why at the moment. Kyle Walker starts against his former club. Kieran Trippier, Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli all come into the Spurs starting XI. 4:37PM Team news Team News | How we line-up against Spurs this evening! Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#cityvspurs#mancitypic.twitter.com/B71Lrycena— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 16, 2017 #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Dembele, Winks, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/PQdSbZhlnW— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 16, 2017 4:36PM Match preview Pep Guardiola insists his Manchester City team can get even better despite sweeping almost all comers aside this season. City are 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League after winning their last 15 games, a record in the English top flight. Plaudits have poured in for the stylish and resilient football City have played this term but, for Guardiola, there is no resting on laurels. He said: "What's important is to focus on the pitch what we have to do to play better, to increase our chances and concede few. That's what we have to do. "When I'm happy, it's not because of the result but the way we play. That's what I'm more satisfied by. "I have the feeling we can do better - much, much better. That's what we have to try to insist in them." The City boss is already convinced, however, that this team would have been too good for Guardiola the player. Asked if he could have got into the side, Guardiola, who enjoyed a glittering playing career with Barcelona, said: "No way! Fernandinho is much better!" City's current winning run may be unique in England but it does not yet match Guardiola's personal best as a manager. The Catalan won 16 league games in succession at Barca and bettered even that with Bayern Munich, winning 19 in a row. But such figures are also of no interest to Guardiola, who face Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon. He said: "The record is OK, but records stay there and one day are going to be broken. "Statistics are statistics. It's good to write about that but with the way we play I am satisfied the most."

Manchester City 4 Tottenham 1: Kevin De Bruyne stars as unbeatable City make it 16 wins in a row

It was easy at times to forget that this was the second-best team in the Premier League last season, but on this occasion just another visitor departing the Etihad Stadium wondering how to piece themselves together after the kind of demolition that can shatter confidence. Manchester City’s winning run stands at 16 now and this one was another brutalising experience for Tottenham Hotspur who will have to live with the way they were torn apart over and again in a fixture they drew last season. Pep Guardiola has not just produced a team that dominates possession and wins games but one which now hunts down even its beaten opponents with an unnerving ruthlessness. Guardiola has now matched his longest winning run at Barcelona, in the 2010-2011 season, and he is in sight of the European record of 19 straight wins held by Bayern Munich when they were under the guidance of a certain celebrated Catalan coach. The appetite to annihilate opposing teams seems to be sharpening and it was epitomised by the outstanding Kevin De Bruyne, picking out passes, scoring the second goal himself and playing with an edge that suggests a man anxious to make history. Caught in the City whirlwind, Spurs were clinging on at times and just trying to remind themselves that they were playing the same game. They could point to key absentees among their own side but City achieved this victory without their great playmaker David Silva, left out for a family emergency. Afterwards, Guardiola said that De Bruyne’s appetite to work without the ball, to nick possession and block off channels was as crucial to his influence on the team, and the wider club, as his matchwinning passes and gam-changing goals. Having been flayed in the first half, when Silva’s deputy Ilkay Gundogan scored the first, City eventually broke down Spurs again after the break. De Bruyne scored a second, and Raheem Sterling chipped in with two more in the last ten minutes. It was a day for Spurs to forget Credit: GETTY IMAGES There was time still for Gabriel Jesus to miss a penalty, drilled against the post after he had come on for Sergio Aguero. The Argentine was substituted on 56 minutes, the earliness of it showing that his manager cares not for anyone’s feelings when there is a game to be won. Aguero’s response was the removal of his gloves, tossed onto the pitch with a contemptuous flick and a slow, simmering walk to the touchline. It was a bad day for Spurs who scored deep in injury-time through Christian Eriksen, one of a number of their main men whose game barely flickered into life. There were second half fouls from Harry Kane and Dele Alli that could have earned red cards on another day and the latter was later substituted having scarcely done a thing in the game. Average touch positions (0 min) Mauricio Pochettino refused to discuss the form of the younger of the two Englishmen after the match, adamant that he was not about to single out individuals for blame but he must be concerned about Alli’s form. His stamp on De Bruyne might have been an accident but it was symptomatic of a performance when Alli was simply off the pace and out of the running, unable to assert any influence on the match. The away team were without the long-term injured Toby Alderweireld, as well as Victor Wanyama and Davinson Sanchez and it showed. Their old boy Kyle Walker was on the opposing side and in his former role for Spurs was Kieran Trippier who had a wretched time trying to deal with the pace of Leroy Sane. Even so, the rest of City’s defence – Eliaquim Mangala, Nicolas Otamendi and Fabian Delph – looked vulnerable, but Spurs barely got close to testing them. Gundogan scores City's opening goal from a corner Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne looked every time for the ball out to the left for Sane and sometimes he arrived so quickly that he ran out of pitch before he could shoot. He won the corner for Gundogan’s goal, and the German was unmarked when Sane swung in the cross from the left side for the midfielder to head in. “The way we conceded the goal was a massive mistake,” said Pochettino, but even by then they were on the back foot. De Bruyne’s moment of supreme confidence which is encouraging him to hit passes quicker than ever. He chased down Spurs in possession and he demanded every decision in his favour – including at one point a yellow card for his fellow Belgian Mousa Dembele. Like every player at the very peak of his game he simply expects everything to go his way, and most of the time it did. Possession: Man City vs Spurs There should have been more goals before half-time but it did not quite fall for City. Kane took a boot to the face from Otamendi which earned the Argentine a booking, and the striker did not manage a shot on target before the break. He finally forced the first decent save that Ederson on 55 minutes but City were back in the game quickly. Kane was fortunate to escape worse than a booking for a lunge at the ball that was well short of its target and caught Sterling on the ankle – a foul somewhere in between yellow and red. Alli did much the same to De Bruyne and was also given a yellow card. Guardiola later described the fouls in a television interview as “dangerous”. Whatever opportunity might have been there to build some new momentum was gone and City came back with a vengeance. Before Alli’s stamp, Sane had blasted past Trippier and Hugo Lloris had just about got a hand to his shot strong enough to block it. Then in the 70th minute City broke from back to front again, De Bruyne finally getting the ball in the left channel and unleashing an unstoppable shot past Lloris. Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) De Bruyne won the penalty too, with Jan Vertonghen offering no protest to referee Craig Pawson’s decision to punish a reckless sliding tackle. Jesus had come on for Aguero and he took the penalty, dashing it against the post and Fernandinho skied the rebound. In the final ten minutes Sterling got two goals, the first rolled in from Gundogan’s cross after another City move that had taken them up the pitch at speed. Then there was a fourth after a bad mistake from Eric Dier let Sterling in on goal and he shuffled the ball past Lloris to score. The game was well over when Eriksen sent a left foot shot past Ederson, a postscript to a total thrashing.   7:54PM Expected goals xG map for Manchester City - Tottenham. That's. a. paddlin'. pic.twitter.com/fPDzZwlj4U— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) December 16, 2017   7:52PM Mauricio Pochettino says "Very disappointed, but in the same way you have to accept that the better team won and I think the positive is we try always. We concede early, a poor goal, a massive present and gift for the opponent. Against a team like Man City you cannot do that. "It was our mistake, in this kind of game if you want to win you must concentrate. It changed complete the idea, you need to take risk, the positive thing was to play a team in unbelievable form and I think in the second half we started really well. We had the capacity to play, to dominate, if we should score Harry Kane maybe it's 1-1 and change the game, Harry Winks unbelieveable chance and maybe penalty. But when you are tired and always go forward, go forward you give space." 7:48PM More Guardiola "I have no words to describe [Kevin De Bruyne's] performance today." 7:43PM Pep Guardiola says "That was solid, it was good against one team who are so demanding, intense with quality like Dele Alli, Eriksen, Winks and Harry Kane running in behind. They are one of the strongest teams in the Premier League. "You see the performance of Kevin De Bruyne, when a player runs like... a conference player, it makes things easy for a manager." 7:36PM Post-match interviews Ilkay Gundogan Today was a special performance from the all the team, I'm happy to be on the score sheet but in total we did an incredible job. I was a bit surprised I was that free. I guess the Spurs players didn't know I was strong with my head. I was a bit lucky of course but I'm happy. I've been through tough times, especially games like today where you're able to improve your self confidence, today was a good day. Kevin De Bruyne We know the quality of the team is high, we know this mentally, we want to win every game, we're very busy and mentally we want to keep going. Yeh it was a great performance. It happens, it's part of football, I just blasted it.  No, absolutely not. We are here to win titles, we had a great start, it's still more than half so it's very difficult, very hard. We want to win each game, we're doing a good job. 7:30PM Full time stats Man City vs Spurs shots on goal  Look how narrow City kept Spurs' midfield, then look at the perfect balance for City's shape. Average touch positions (0 min) Possession: Man City vs Spurs   7:27PM Photos Credit: PA   7:24PM FULL TIME What a game. What a performance. "Give them the trophy now", says Frank Lampard. "The best team in Europe," says Rio Ferdinand. Absolutely stunning. 7:23PM GOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL Eriksen scores a brilliant consolation goal! Man City 4 - 1 Spurs (Christian Eriksen, 90 + 3 min) City switch off, Eriksen beats Mangala for pace and opens up the shot on his left foot, tucking it in the bottom right corner. Superb effort. 7:20PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL Spurs are all over the place. Man City 4 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 90 min) They're being toyed with. Bernardo Silva controls the ball and hits a beautiful curling pass behind the defence to Sterling. Dier misses the easy interception, then Sterling accidentally nutmegs Lloris to make it four. This Man City side is easily the best team I've ever seen in the Premier League. 7:17PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Bernardo Silva. De Bruyne is incredible. He's just managed to thread a pass between bodies to Silva, who almost scores with his first touch. Lloris saves at the near post.  Foden links well with Sterling and De Bruyne and tries a high cross into the box which Lloris catches.  Foden's given the ball away now and Spurs have men over on a counter-attack... but City defend well and clear. City are now on the attack! Sterling takes his time... and shoots... and Lloris turns it over!   7:13PM 85 mins Gundogan comes off for Phil Foden for the final few minutes - a big game to come in to. Dele Alli is substituted for Sissoko. That's almost certainly to protect him from a second yellow. 7:11PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL! Jeez louise. They're ridiculously good.  Man City 3 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 80 min) De Bruyne skips through the midfield, threads in Gundogan who slips the ball to Sane, who knows Sterling is waiting slightly further ahead to tap into an empty net. 7:07PM 78 mins Credit: AFP Lamela comes on for Son, which leaves Alli (above, being booked) and Dembele needing to be careful.  Lamela is involved straight away, dribbles into the box, goes past two, passes into the area and Winks takes it on. He needs to shoot! The tackles come in, he stays up, keeps going, keeps going.... and misses the chance. The ball is won in the corner and then De Bruyne has just scooped the ball over Rose and then run around him. Samba magic. I bet Rose feels like quite the fool. 7:05PM MISSED! Jesus stutters as he gets up to take the penalty but hits the post. And then Sterling misses the entire goal from the rebound on his left foot. He's missed the ENTIRE goal.  7:04PM PENALTY! De Bruyne is played into miles of space, skips round Vertonghen and goes down under the slide tackle. A clear penalty. Spurs are falling apart here. 7:03PM 74 mins Spurs need to keep their discipline now. Alli and Dembele are on yellow cards and were frustrated before that goal had even gone in. Jesus, Sane and Sterling have an overload but Jesus' pass is dreadful and puts the ball out for a goal kick. Hoddle adds a new phrase to football language: "That's the thing with City, they can  out possession you" 7:01PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL DE BRUYNE HAS DONE IT! Brilliant by the Belgian.  Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) He recovers from that awful challenge from Alli as City break quickly. Gundogan plays him in down the left and he absolutely batters the ball past Lloris, with Sane making the overlapping run.  De Bruyne goes to the fans and holds up a two and a one finger. 21 is David Silva's number. 6:58PM 69 mins Rose slides in to deny Sterling just as he was about to take a pass from Jesus and be clear in the box on his own. Great defending but he might have hurt himself a little stretching for it. Sane dribbles from the left as he beats Trippier and Son, then shoots at Lloris who can only palm the ball to Sterling, who can't adjust his feet to score what is essentially an open goal from six yards. That was actually much tougher than you'd think. Miss: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 67 min) Dele Alli has gone in overly hard on De Bruyne with a challenge here and left the Belgian in a heap on the floor. That's a red card for me, Clive. And Graham Poll agrees. Alli is frustrated and started kicking out at people ages ago. For some reason Steve McManaman doesn't think that's a red. It's clearly a red card. Yellow.  6:54PM 66 mins Spurs try to play from the back and Vertonghen panics, booting the ball into touch. Walker's touch lets him down soon after though and Spurs win a throw. Eriksen switches play, Winks knocks it on and Kane finds Trippier with a brilliant long pass. Son cuts inside and shoots from near the D but gets underneath it and fires way over the bar. Mangala is too quick for Kane as he chases a ball back but Spurs win it back off Delph. Dembele is caught on the ball (again) and City now have possession. 6:52PM 63 mins Walker fakes to shoot and fools everyone, including Sterling. The pass catches Sterling unaware and he's offside. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Dembele brings down Fernandinho and is booked for persistent fouling. Jesus has changed his left boot for a red one, so has one gold and one red.  6:49PM 60 mins Gabriel Jesus comes on for Aguero. Guardiola wants to change things early before Spurs work their way back into this and Aguero is not happy about it, throwing his gloves to the floor as he leaves the pitch and ignoring Guardiola. And Jesus nearly scores with his first touch! The Brazilian hides between the two centre-backs, sprints onto an early pass from wide right and his so close to controlling it in the six yard box and shooting.  Rose shoots from distance but gets it all wrong. Oh my lord, Ederson has just hit a 70 yard pass onto Sterling's chest, taking the entire of Spurs' forward press out of the game. That is absolute genius. Sane shoots wide from the resulting move but the entire crowd collectively went "woh" for that pass. Out: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Leroy Sané, 59 min)   6:45PM 57 mins Credit: AP Spurs are playing much higher up the pitch in this half and are preventing Man City from getting out with the ball. The passing is quicker and snappier too. Kane spins on the spot 30 yards out and shoots... Ederson saves with a strong hand! That had a lot of power behind it! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 55 min)  Spurs are in control of the ball in this half.  Possession: Man City vs Spurs   6:42PM 54 mins Delph fouls Son and is booked. Spurs have a decent free-kick opportunity here, wide right of the City box.  The delivery is good but Ederson punches away. Kane lunges into a tackle on Sterling - it's a really poor one and he's booked for it. Sterling clutches his shin for a while but is fine. De Bruyne fires a switched pass to Sane and the German is inches away from controlling it and being through on goal.  6:39PM 51 mins Kane opens up the pitch with a pass out wide to Eriksen, he switches it to Son who has to go backwards. Eriksen tucks it inside to Kane, who crosses to Son... this is a great chance! Son can't quite bring the ball down and Sane defends it superbly, blocking the ball with his body and letting Ederson dive on it.  Walker whips a powerful cross into the area, Lloris punches clear and Fernandinho goes down under a challenge from Winks. The referee says plan on and Spurs counter quickly! Kane overhits his pass to Son and it's a goal kick. Pass: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 50 min) Spurs trying to force their way back into this one. 6:36PM 48 mins No changes from either manager at half time. Spurs attack, Man City attack, Spurs attack, now Man City have the ball out wide on the right. Aguero wins a corner.  6:34PM KICK-OFF 2 Some faster passing and better defending of set pieces needed from Spurs, I suspect Man City will grab a couple more goals in the final 15 minutes as Spurs tire from all that pressing. We're back though - let's find out what happens! 6:28PM Graham Poll on Mangala penalty incident This is a rough transcription and not word for word accurate, but: "It's a penalty, we're agreed on that but there are two reasons Pawson hasn't given it. He doesn't have a clear view and the player hasn't gone to ground. "It's a difficult one for players. If he'd have gone to ground, he'd have got the penalty." 6:25PM Telling possession stats Man City vs Spurs Spurs have had more of the ball than most teams at the Etihad, but it's been in defensive areas.   6:20PM Spurs worked hard to keep the ball in that half Possession: Man City vs Spurs  But City are just too good. They're absolutely amazing to watch. 6:18PM HALF TIME City have Spurs rattled but aren't entirely in control here. Spurs have had chances and look dangerous on the counter-attack but on balance, Guardiola's team deserve the lead!  A heavy fog is starting to fall onto the pitch, visible on TV screens and so must be at the match too. Let's hope it doesn't get any thicker though- we want the second half as sharp as this first. Excellent entertainment. 6:15PM 45 mins Mangala doesn't like City's short passing game. Every time he gets it under pressure he fires a long pass up the pitch and gives away possession.  Spurs work a move on the edge of the area and it's chipped into Alli... Ederson dives and wins the ball first. Alli goes tumbling over his head. 6:14PM 44 mins Spurs' passing is still too slow, City are being given chances to win the ball back and are taking them. The game's gone scrappy now with both teams being penalised for silly little fouls while trying to win tackles. 6:13PM 42 mins Alli catches Gundogan with a nasty late tackle, putting his weight down on top of the German's foot.  Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne fizzes the free-kick into the area, Walker wins a throw-in. Spurs chase City all the way back to their goalkeeper. Fernandinho finds Aguero with a clever pass over the top into the box but he's just offside. 6:10PM 39 mins Kane is down holding his face after a really high boot from Otamendi. That's nasty and he's not even been booked for it.  Wait, he has been booked. The referee just takes his time to think about it. Kane must have felt that one, it was a proper boot to the nose. Will he seek revenge?  De Bruyne tells the linesman to "f--- off" as he is penalised for knocking Vertonghen into touch. Football: the gentleman's game. 6:06PM 36 mins De Bruyne is something else. He completely pies Dembele with pace and skill then feeds a perfectly weighted ball into Sane. His first touch is poor and hands the ball to Lloris, who doesn't gather the ball. Spurs eventually get a goal kick after an Aguero shot is just wide. Eriksen has the ball wide left, finds Kane on the edge of the box and he shapes to shoot from distance.... and JUST WIDE! Kane bends it low and hard from distance to the far post and Ederson is beaten, but he's put it wide of the post. Miss: Spurs ( 35 min )   6:03PM 33 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  Trippier is back on his feet and seems to be OK.  6:02PM 32 mins After a brilliant first-time long searching ball from De Bruyne, Sane hits an early pass into Aguero but his shot is blocked. Spurs look rattled.  Trippier gets the better of Sane for the first time and sets Son away. He cuts inside but is swiftly closed down by Sane, who has tracked all the way back. Trippier wins a foul after a heavy, clumsy and late challenge by Delph. Trippier's not enjoying himself as he recovers from that one. 5:59PM 29 mins Man City put their defensive line close to 10 yards from the free-kick. As it turns out it's genius and the free-kick is chipped straight into Ederson's hands. De Bruyne dances through midfield and puts another superb forward pass in behind the defence, Spurs survive once more as Lloris saves from Gundogan and nearly hands the rebound to Sterling. 5:56PM 26 mins Rose finds space on the left! But his cross is awful and the opportunity wasted. Aguero runs through on the left and smashes a shot at goal which Lloris saves well but parries to Sterling. He takes the ball on his left foot, works the space and then balloons a shot waaaaay over the bar. Both have their heads in hands. A big chance gone. Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 24 min) Spurs are committed to playing out from the back here and City are getting closer and closer to punishing them for it. Average touch positions (25 min)   5:54PM 23 mins Sane takes on Trippier, beats him easily and Dier slides in to put the ball out for a corner.  Oooooohhhhh Rose has just shoved Mangala inside the box to put him off a corner but nothing comes of it. The referee must have seen that... and Graham Poll agrees that that is a clear penalty. Craig Pawson is the same referee who gave Everton a penalty for a far softer shove than that! 5:50PM 20 mins End to end stuff here. Spurs are still at this. Possession: Man City vs Spurs   5:48PM 17 mins This game is ace. Spurs are having to work so hard to press City back but now they're losing and could well suffer a drop in confidence. How are they going to react to that goal? City are pressing Spurs high now. 5:46PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! You just can't stop them! Gundogan scores with a header from the corner!  Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Ilkay Gündogan, 14 min) He doesn't even have to time a run, absolutely nobody picks him up from the corner and he scores from the centre of the box! Horrible marking! 5:44PM 13 mins Dele Alli runs with the ball, has Trippier and Rose hugging the touchlines but opts for a reverse through-ball down the middle, and hands possession back to Ederson. Not his best effort. City start working passes around the final third, Sterling comes inside but Dembele intercepts and passes back to Lloris, who slices his clearance after a little bobble up on the pitch. Spurs counter-attack! Son is wide left, Eriksen joins in and hits a bending pass long into the box. Trippier is waiting for it in space... but Kane heads it on and ruins the move! That was a decent opportunity. Glenn Hoddle has noticed that Spurs are leaving Son and Kane upfront as they defend, giving themselves an outball. 5:41PM 10 mins Otamendi hits a brilliant direct pass and turns defence into attack in a split second. Gundogan and Delph look for options but Spurs double up on Sane on the left to stop him going anywhere. And it doesn't work! Sane bursts away from both, gets to the box and pulls the pass across the area... it's cleared up. Magic from Sane. Interception: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Jan Vertonghen, 9 min) Rose gives a free-kick away wide right. De Bruyne curls it into the near post and Aguero heads it on but is just wide.  Out: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 10 min)   5:39PM 8 mins Mangala gives possession away, Trippier is hounded into putting the ball out for a throw as City block his passing options. Spurs are locking onto Mangala quickly here. The high press is working (to an extent so far) and City can't dominate the ball like they have done in recent weeks. A quick early pass ahead of Sterling is swept up by an alert Lloris. It looks like Spurs have been instructed to stop City at source by cutting out passes and dribbles at halfway or by fouling. This worked superbly for them last season.  5:36PM 5 mins Ederson bypasses the high press with a perfectly placed 40 yard pass. He's such a good player. Spurs are looking to hit long switched diagonal passes to get the ball forward and moving up the pitch to win the second ball.  Walker bounces Son into touch and then walks away with the ball like he's moving away from an explosion in a movie, sunglasses on. Top football comedy there. This game is already entertaining and actually fairly open. Spurs looking to win the ball in midfield.. and they foul De Bruyne at the halfway line. That'll be a recurring feature this evening. 5:33PM 2 mins City start on the front foot but Spurs defend calmly. De Bruyne wants to attack from the off and has driven the ball forward a couple of times already.  Danny Rose runs past his man down the left wing, Kane is penalised for nudging Delph off the ball.  Spurs press City high. 5:31PM KICK-OFF Here we go! City get the game started. 5:29PM Let's get pumped   5:27PM Where Spurs can hurt City I might be totally wrong here, but I can see Spurs getting a result against this brilliant Man City side tonight. Let me explain... They have to lose at some point and Spurs are a functional team with an incredibly tactically astute manager. Spurs will defend deep and hit them on the counter-attack like others have done. We know that City's full-backs often leave space in behind and this is where you'll see Eriksen and Son lurking. Rose and Trippier will be tasked with pushing high too, which means City might tuck their full-backs inside to flood the midfield. That'll be an interesting battle. Basically, the main reason City might struggle is that without Silva, Spurs can try to mark De Bruyne out of the game and suddenly they lack that creative spark. Also, Mangala has a mistake in him and doesn't like having the ball at his feet. He'll be a pressing trigger for Spurs' front line.  We're about to find out anyway, here come the players! 5:16PM Managers' pre-match chat A tetchy Pep Guardiola doesn't seem to enjoy his questions: "Of course will be tougher, so we have on one side a lot of confidence we can still beat, relax, every game will be tougher especially against a team like Tottenham. A team with 15 wins in a row that is not normal, sooner or later we'll come back to normality. "Every game is different with managers and players who can do different things." A smiling Pochettino is pretty chilled about it all: "That is the question for six months, I think here in England. They are a fantastic side and playing so well, of course our mentality is try to win and of course we are going to fight a lot for that to happen. They are so far the best team in England. "We are choosing out best side, best players to win every game, it's always a decision about how we want to approach the game. " 5:08PM (Blue) Santa is here Credit: GETTY IMAGES   5:03PM Rio Ferdinand praises Man City "My respect to Pep Guardiola, the tactical genius that he is." 4:55PM Why Man City will miss David Silva so much I wrote this last week on the creative wizardry of David Silva: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player?   4:42PM Missing man The big news is that there is no David Silva for City today. Not sure why at the moment. Kyle Walker starts against his former club. Kieran Trippier, Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli all come into the Spurs starting XI. 4:37PM Team news Team News | How we line-up against Spurs this evening! Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#cityvspurs#mancitypic.twitter.com/B71Lrycena— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 16, 2017 #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Dembele, Winks, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/PQdSbZhlnW— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 16, 2017 4:36PM Match preview Pep Guardiola insists his Manchester City team can get even better despite sweeping almost all comers aside this season. City are 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League after winning their last 15 games, a record in the English top flight. Plaudits have poured in for the stylish and resilient football City have played this term but, for Guardiola, there is no resting on laurels. He said: "What's important is to focus on the pitch what we have to do to play better, to increase our chances and concede few. That's what we have to do. "When I'm happy, it's not because of the result but the way we play. That's what I'm more satisfied by. "I have the feeling we can do better - much, much better. That's what we have to try to insist in them." The City boss is already convinced, however, that this team would have been too good for Guardiola the player. Asked if he could have got into the side, Guardiola, who enjoyed a glittering playing career with Barcelona, said: "No way! Fernandinho is much better!" City's current winning run may be unique in England but it does not yet match Guardiola's personal best as a manager. The Catalan won 16 league games in succession at Barca and bettered even that with Bayern Munich, winning 19 in a row. But such figures are also of no interest to Guardiola, who face Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon. He said: "The record is OK, but records stay there and one day are going to be broken. "Statistics are statistics. It's good to write about that but with the way we play I am satisfied the most."

Manchester City 4 Tottenham 1: Kevin De Bruyne stars as unbeatable City make it 16 wins in a row

It was easy at time to forget that this was the second best team in the Premier League last season, another visitor to the Etihad Stadium being demolished piece by piece by the winning machine built by Pep Guardiola that seems only to be improving with every consecutive victory. That winning run stands at 16 now and this one was another brutalising experience for Mauricio Pochettino’s side who were only very briefly in this game at the start of the second half and for much of the rest of it were just trying to remind themselves that they were playing the same game. They could point to key absentees among their own side but Manchester City achieved this victory without their great playmaker David Silva, left out for personal reasons. In his absence Kevin De Bruyne conducted the orchestra, scoring the decisive second and it was Silva’s deputy Ilkay Gundogan who scored the first. Raheem Sterling chipped in with two of his own in the last ten minutes and amid all this there was time still for Gabriel Jesus to miss a penalty. He had come on before the hour for Sergio Aguero who had demonstrated his displeasure by removing his gloves and tossing them onto the pitch with a contemptuous flick. A bad day for Spurs who scored deep in injury-time through Christian Eriksen, one of a number of their main men who barely flickered into life. There were second half fouls from Harry Kane and Dele Alli that could have earned red cards on another day and the latter was later substituted having scarcely done a thing in the game. Credit: GETTY IMAGES If Pochettino was looking balefully at the toes of his shoes for much of the breaks in play in the first  half then it was because he will have been struggling to accept the version of the Spurs side that he watched before the break. The game was played around them for so long, Pochettino’s side frantically backpedalling for much of it and unable to ask City any serious questions of their own. The away team were without the long-term injured Toby Alderweireld, as well as Victor Wanyama and Davinson Sanchez and to beat the best, they clearly had to have the best options at their disposal. Against their old boy Kyle Walker for the first time on the Spurs right side in his place was Kieran Trippier and he had a wretched time of it trying to deal with the pace of Leroy Sane. Average touch positions (0 min) Not that many full-backs would have coped with the German’s speed and relentless running in behind, but it was Sane who looked the most dangerous of City’s front three and he who won the corner from which they scored on 14 minutes. In the middle Kevin De Bruyne looked every time for the ball out to the left for Sane and sometimes he arrived so quickly that he ran out of pitch before he could shoot. When the ball dropped in the area, Ilkay Gundogan was unmarked when Sane swung in the corner from the left side, and he headed in - an avoidable goal from Spurs’ point of view, even if they were on the back foot for the whole of the first half. Gundogan scores City's opening goal from a corner Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne was the key influencer in the game, a player in a moment of supreme confidence which is encouraging him to hit passes quicker than ever before. He chased Spurs down in possession and he demanded every decision go his way – even calling for a yellow card for his fellow Belgian Mousa Dembele at one point. Like every player at the very peak of his game he simply expects everything to go his way, and most of the time it does. There should have been more goals before half-time but it did not quite fall for City, especially when a rebound from Sergio Aguero’s saved shot just eluded Raheem Sterling as he rushed into the area. City just kept coming at the away side and for a while it was a matter of survival. There were too few of Spurs’ big names with an active part in the first half, especially Dele Alli. Harry Kane did his best and took a boot to the face from Nicolas Otamendi which earned the Argentine a booking, about the only time City put a foot wrong before the break. Spurs did not manage an attempt on target and Kane’s right foot shot just wide of the post was as close as they got before the break. Something had to change for Spurs and although Pochettino resisted the temptation to make a half-time change, for a while he saw a different performance after the break. There were still moments when they were overrun, and when Lloris had to rescue his side but they did at least muster some possession of their own. Possession: Man City vs Spurs For the first time they got through to a City defence missing Vincent Kompany and John Stones and asked the occasional question. Kane forced the first decent save that Ederson had to make, but they could not assert the pressure for long enough to make a difference. Kane was also fortunate to escape worse than a booking for a lunge at the ball that was well short of its target and caught Sterling flush on the ankle. His England team-mate almost rolled off the pitch in agony and it might will have gone through the mind of referee Craig Pawson that Kane had to go – a foul somewhere in between yellow and red. Alli did much the same to De Bruyne and was also given a yellow card. Whatever opportunity might have been there to build some new momentum was gone and City came back with a vengeance. Before Alli’s stamp, Sane had blasted past Trippier and Lloris had just about got a hand to his shot strong enough to block it. Then in the 70th minute City broke from back to front again, De Bruyne finally getting the ball in the left channel and unleashing a shot past Lloris that was unstoppable. Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) He won the penalty too, with Jan Vertonghen offering no protest to Pawson’s decision to punish a reckless sliding tackle. Jesus had come on for Aguero and he took the penalty, dashing it against the post and Fernandinho skied the rebound. In the final ten minutes Sterling got two, the first rolled in from Gundogan’s cross and then another after a bad mistake from Eric Dier let him in on goal. The game was well over when Eriksen sent a left foot shot past Ederson, a postscript to a thrashing. 7:54PM Expected goals xG map for Manchester City - Tottenham. That's. a. paddlin'. pic.twitter.com/fPDzZwlj4U— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) December 16, 2017   7:52PM Mauricio Pochettino says "Very disappointed, but in the same way you have to accept that the better team won and I think the positive is we try always. We concede early, a poor goal, a massive present and gift for the opponent. Against a team like Man City you cannot do that. "It was our mistake, in this kind of game if you want to win you must concentrate. It changed complete the idea, you need to take risk, the positive thing was to play a team in unbelievable form and I think in the second half we started really well. We had the capacity to play, to dominate, if we should score Harry Kane maybe it's 1-1 and change the game, Harry Winks unbelieveable chance and maybe penalty. But when you are tired and always go forward, go forward you give space." 7:48PM More Guardiola "I have no words to describe [Kevin De Bruyne's] performance today." 7:43PM Pep Guardiola says "That was solid, it was good against one team who are so demanding, intense with quality like Dele Alli, Eriksen, Winks and Harry Kane running in behind. They are one of the strongest teams in the Premier League. "You see the performance of Kevin De Bruyne, when a player runs like... a conference player, it makes things easy for a manager." 7:36PM Post-match interviews Ilkay Gundogan Today was a special performance from the all the team, I'm happy to be on the score sheet but in total we did an incredible job. I was a bit surprised I was that free. I guess the Spurs players didn't know I was strong with my head. I was a bit lucky of course but I'm happy. I've been through tough times, especially games like today where you're able to improve your self confidence, today was a good day. Kevin De Bruyne We know the quality of the team is high, we know this mentally, we want to win every game, we're very busy and mentally we want to keep going. Yeh it was a great performance. It happens, it's part of football, I just blasted it.  No, absolutely not. We are here to win titles, we had a great start, it's still more than half so it's very difficult, very hard. We want to win each game, we're doing a good job. 7:30PM Full time stats Man City vs Spurs shots on goal  Look how narrow City kept Spurs' midfield, then look at the perfect balance for City's shape. Average touch positions (0 min) Possession: Man City vs Spurs   7:27PM Photos Credit: PA   7:24PM FULL TIME What a game. What a performance. "Give them the trophy now", says Frank Lampard. "The best team in Europe," says Rio Ferdinand. Absolutely stunning. 7:23PM GOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL Eriksen scores a brilliant consolation goal! Man City 4 - 1 Spurs (Christian Eriksen, 90 + 3 min) City switch off, Eriksen beats Mangala for pace and opens up the shot on his left foot, tucking it in the bottom right corner. Superb effort. 7:20PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL Spurs are all over the place. Man City 4 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 90 min) They're being toyed with. Bernardo Silva controls the ball and hits a beautiful curling pass behind the defence to Sterling. Dier misses the easy interception, then Sterling accidentally nutmegs Lloris to make it four. This Man City side is easily the best team I've ever seen in the Premier League. 7:17PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Bernardo Silva. De Bruyne is incredible. He's just managed to thread a pass between bodies to Silva, who almost scores with his first touch. Lloris saves at the near post.  Foden links well with Sterling and De Bruyne and tries a high cross into the box which Lloris catches.  Foden's given the ball away now and Spurs have men over on a counter-attack... but City defend well and clear. City are now on the attack! Sterling takes his time... and shoots... and Lloris turns it over!   7:13PM 85 mins Gundogan comes off for Phil Foden for the final few minutes - a big game to come in to. Dele Alli is substituted for Sissoko. That's almost certainly to protect him from a second yellow. 7:11PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL! Jeez louise. They're ridiculously good.  Man City 3 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 80 min) De Bruyne skips through the midfield, threads in Gundogan who slips the ball to Sane, who knows Sterling is waiting slightly further ahead to tap into an empty net. 7:07PM 78 mins Credit: AFP Lamela comes on for Son, which leaves Alli (above, being booked) and Dembele needing to be careful.  Lamela is involved straight away, dribbles into the box, goes past two, passes into the area and Winks takes it on. He needs to shoot! The tackles come in, he stays up, keeps going, keeps going.... and misses the chance. The ball is won in the corner and then De Bruyne has just scooped the ball over Rose and then run around him. Samba magic. I bet Rose feels like quite the fool. 7:05PM MISSED! Jesus stutters as he gets up to take the penalty but hits the post. And then Sterling misses the entire goal from the rebound on his left foot. He's missed the ENTIRE goal.  7:04PM PENALTY! De Bruyne is played into miles of space, skips round Vertonghen and goes down under the slide tackle. A clear penalty. Spurs are falling apart here. 7:03PM 74 mins Spurs need to keep their discipline now. Alli and Dembele are on yellow cards and were frustrated before that goal had even gone in. Jesus, Sane and Sterling have an overload but Jesus' pass is dreadful and puts the ball out for a goal kick. Hoddle adds a new phrase to football language: "That's the thing with City, they can  out possession you" 7:01PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL DE BRUYNE HAS DONE IT! Brilliant by the Belgian.  Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) He recovers from that awful challenge from Alli as City break quickly. Gundogan plays him in down the left and he absolutely batters the ball past Lloris, with Sane making the overlapping run.  De Bruyne goes to the fans and holds up a two and a one finger. 21 is David Silva's number. 6:58PM 69 mins Rose slides in to deny Sterling just as he was about to take a pass from Jesus and be clear in the box on his own. Great defending but he might have hurt himself a little stretching for it. Sane dribbles from the left as he beats Trippier and Son, then shoots at Lloris who can only palm the ball to Sterling, who can't adjust his feet to score what is essentially an open goal from six yards. That was actually much tougher than you'd think. Miss: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 67 min) Dele Alli has gone in overly hard on De Bruyne with a challenge here and left the Belgian in a heap on the floor. That's a red card for me, Clive. And Graham Poll agrees. Alli is frustrated and started kicking out at people ages ago. For some reason Steve McManaman doesn't think that's a red. It's clearly a red card. Yellow.  6:54PM 66 mins Spurs try to play from the back and Vertonghen panics, booting the ball into touch. Walker's touch lets him down soon after though and Spurs win a throw. Eriksen switches play, Winks knocks it on and Kane finds Trippier with a brilliant long pass. Son cuts inside and shoots from near the D but gets underneath it and fires way over the bar. Mangala is too quick for Kane as he chases a ball back but Spurs win it back off Delph. Dembele is caught on the ball (again) and City now have possession. 6:52PM 63 mins Walker fakes to shoot and fools everyone, including Sterling. The pass catches Sterling unaware and he's offside. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Dembele brings down Fernandinho and is booked for persistent fouling. Jesus has changed his left boot for a red one, so has one gold and one red.  6:49PM 60 mins Gabriel Jesus comes on for Aguero. Guardiola wants to change things early before Spurs work their way back into this and Aguero is not happy about it, throwing his gloves to the floor as he leaves the pitch and ignoring Guardiola. And Jesus nearly scores with his first touch! The Brazilian hides between the two centre-backs, sprints onto an early pass from wide right and his so close to controlling it in the six yard box and shooting.  Rose shoots from distance but gets it all wrong. Oh my lord, Ederson has just hit a 70 yard pass onto Sterling's chest, taking the entire of Spurs' forward press out of the game. That is absolute genius. Sane shoots wide from the resulting move but the entire crowd collectively went "woh" for that pass. Out: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Leroy Sané, 59 min)   6:45PM 57 mins Credit: AP Spurs are playing much higher up the pitch in this half and are preventing Man City from getting out with the ball. The passing is quicker and snappier too. Kane spins on the spot 30 yards out and shoots... Ederson saves with a strong hand! That had a lot of power behind it! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 55 min)  Spurs are in control of the ball in this half.  Possession: Man City vs Spurs   6:42PM 54 mins Delph fouls Son and is booked. Spurs have a decent free-kick opportunity here, wide right of the City box.  The delivery is good but Ederson punches away. Kane lunges into a tackle on Sterling - it's a really poor one and he's booked for it. Sterling clutches his shin for a while but is fine. De Bruyne fires a switched pass to Sane and the German is inches away from controlling it and being through on goal.  6:39PM 51 mins Kane opens up the pitch with a pass out wide to Eriksen, he switches it to Son who has to go backwards. Eriksen tucks it inside to Kane, who crosses to Son... this is a great chance! Son can't quite bring the ball down and Sane defends it superbly, blocking the ball with his body and letting Ederson dive on it.  Walker whips a powerful cross into the area, Lloris punches clear and Fernandinho goes down under a challenge from Winks. The referee says plan on and Spurs counter quickly! Kane overhits his pass to Son and it's a goal kick. Pass: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 50 min) Spurs trying to force their way back into this one. 6:36PM 48 mins No changes from either manager at half time. Spurs attack, Man City attack, Spurs attack, now Man City have the ball out wide on the right. Aguero wins a corner.  6:34PM KICK-OFF 2 Some faster passing and better defending of set pieces needed from Spurs, I suspect Man City will grab a couple more goals in the final 15 minutes as Spurs tire from all that pressing. We're back though - let's find out what happens! 6:28PM Graham Poll on Mangala penalty incident This is a rough transcription and not word for word accurate, but: "It's a penalty, we're agreed on that but there are two reasons Pawson hasn't given it. He doesn't have a clear view and the player hasn't gone to ground. "It's a difficult one for players. If he'd have gone to ground, he'd have got the penalty." 6:25PM Telling possession stats Man City vs Spurs Spurs have had more of the ball than most teams at the Etihad, but it's been in defensive areas.   6:20PM Spurs worked hard to keep the ball in that half Possession: Man City vs Spurs  But City are just too good. They're absolutely amazing to watch. 6:18PM HALF TIME City have Spurs rattled but aren't entirely in control here. Spurs have had chances and look dangerous on the counter-attack but on balance, Guardiola's team deserve the lead!  A heavy fog is starting to fall onto the pitch, visible on TV screens and so must be at the match too. Let's hope it doesn't get any thicker though- we want the second half as sharp as this first. Excellent entertainment. 6:15PM 45 mins Mangala doesn't like City's short passing game. Every time he gets it under pressure he fires a long pass up the pitch and gives away possession.  Spurs work a move on the edge of the area and it's chipped into Alli... Ederson dives and wins the ball first. Alli goes tumbling over his head. 6:14PM 44 mins Spurs' passing is still too slow, City are being given chances to win the ball back and are taking them. The game's gone scrappy now with both teams being penalised for silly little fouls while trying to win tackles. 6:13PM 42 mins Alli catches Gundogan with a nasty late tackle, putting his weight down on top of the German's foot.  Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne fizzes the free-kick into the area, Walker wins a throw-in. Spurs chase City all the way back to their goalkeeper. Fernandinho finds Aguero with a clever pass over the top into the box but he's just offside. 6:10PM 39 mins Kane is down holding his face after a really high boot from Otamendi. That's nasty and he's not even been booked for it.  Wait, he has been booked. The referee just takes his time to think about it. Kane must have felt that one, it was a proper boot to the nose. Will he seek revenge?  De Bruyne tells the linesman to "f--- off" as he is penalised for knocking Vertonghen into touch. Football: the gentleman's game. 6:06PM 36 mins De Bruyne is something else. He completely pies Dembele with pace and skill then feeds a perfectly weighted ball into Sane. His first touch is poor and hands the ball to Lloris, who doesn't gather the ball. Spurs eventually get a goal kick after an Aguero shot is just wide. Eriksen has the ball wide left, finds Kane on the edge of the box and he shapes to shoot from distance.... and JUST WIDE! Kane bends it low and hard from distance to the far post and Ederson is beaten, but he's put it wide of the post. Miss: Spurs ( 35 min )   6:03PM 33 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  Trippier is back on his feet and seems to be OK.  6:02PM 32 mins After a brilliant first-time long searching ball from De Bruyne, Sane hits an early pass into Aguero but his shot is blocked. Spurs look rattled.  Trippier gets the better of Sane for the first time and sets Son away. He cuts inside but is swiftly closed down by Sane, who has tracked all the way back. Trippier wins a foul after a heavy, clumsy and late challenge by Delph. Trippier's not enjoying himself as he recovers from that one. 5:59PM 29 mins Man City put their defensive line close to 10 yards from the free-kick. As it turns out it's genius and the free-kick is chipped straight into Ederson's hands. De Bruyne dances through midfield and puts another superb forward pass in behind the defence, Spurs survive once more as Lloris saves from Gundogan and nearly hands the rebound to Sterling. 5:56PM 26 mins Rose finds space on the left! But his cross is awful and the opportunity wasted. Aguero runs through on the left and smashes a shot at goal which Lloris saves well but parries to Sterling. He takes the ball on his left foot, works the space and then balloons a shot waaaaay over the bar. Both have their heads in hands. A big chance gone. Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 24 min) Spurs are committed to playing out from the back here and City are getting closer and closer to punishing them for it. Average touch positions (25 min)   5:54PM 23 mins Sane takes on Trippier, beats him easily and Dier slides in to put the ball out for a corner.  Oooooohhhhh Rose has just shoved Mangala inside the box to put him off a corner but nothing comes of it. The referee must have seen that... and Graham Poll agrees that that is a clear penalty. Craig Pawson is the same referee who gave Everton a penalty for a far softer shove than that! 5:50PM 20 mins End to end stuff here. Spurs are still at this. Possession: Man City vs Spurs   5:48PM 17 mins This game is ace. Spurs are having to work so hard to press City back but now they're losing and could well suffer a drop in confidence. How are they going to react to that goal? City are pressing Spurs high now. 5:46PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! You just can't stop them! Gundogan scores with a header from the corner!  Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Ilkay Gündogan, 14 min) He doesn't even have to time a run, absolutely nobody picks him up from the corner and he scores from the centre of the box! Horrible marking! 5:44PM 13 mins Dele Alli runs with the ball, has Trippier and Rose hugging the touchlines but opts for a reverse through-ball down the middle, and hands possession back to Ederson. Not his best effort. City start working passes around the final third, Sterling comes inside but Dembele intercepts and passes back to Lloris, who slices his clearance after a little bobble up on the pitch. Spurs counter-attack! Son is wide left, Eriksen joins in and hits a bending pass long into the box. Trippier is waiting for it in space... but Kane heads it on and ruins the move! That was a decent opportunity. Glenn Hoddle has noticed that Spurs are leaving Son and Kane upfront as they defend, giving themselves an outball. 5:41PM 10 mins Otamendi hits a brilliant direct pass and turns defence into attack in a split second. Gundogan and Delph look for options but Spurs double up on Sane on the left to stop him going anywhere. And it doesn't work! Sane bursts away from both, gets to the box and pulls the pass across the area... it's cleared up. Magic from Sane. Interception: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Jan Vertonghen, 9 min) Rose gives a free-kick away wide right. De Bruyne curls it into the near post and Aguero heads it on but is just wide.  Out: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 10 min)   5:39PM 8 mins Mangala gives possession away, Trippier is hounded into putting the ball out for a throw as City block his passing options. Spurs are locking onto Mangala quickly here. The high press is working (to an extent so far) and City can't dominate the ball like they have done in recent weeks. A quick early pass ahead of Sterling is swept up by an alert Lloris. It looks like Spurs have been instructed to stop City at source by cutting out passes and dribbles at halfway or by fouling. This worked superbly for them last season.  5:36PM 5 mins Ederson bypasses the high press with a perfectly placed 40 yard pass. He's such a good player. Spurs are looking to hit long switched diagonal passes to get the ball forward and moving up the pitch to win the second ball.  Walker bounces Son into touch and then walks away with the ball like he's moving away from an explosion in a movie, sunglasses on. Top football comedy there. This game is already entertaining and actually fairly open. Spurs looking to win the ball in midfield.. and they foul De Bruyne at the halfway line. That'll be a recurring feature this evening. 5:33PM 2 mins City start on the front foot but Spurs defend calmly. De Bruyne wants to attack from the off and has driven the ball forward a couple of times already.  Danny Rose runs past his man down the left wing, Kane is penalised for nudging Delph off the ball.  Spurs press City high. 5:31PM KICK-OFF Here we go! City get the game started. 5:29PM Let's get pumped   5:27PM Where Spurs can hurt City I might be totally wrong here, but I can see Spurs getting a result against this brilliant Man City side tonight. Let me explain... They have to lose at some point and Spurs are a functional team with an incredibly tactically astute manager. Spurs will defend deep and hit them on the counter-attack like others have done. We know that City's full-backs often leave space in behind and this is where you'll see Eriksen and Son lurking. Rose and Trippier will be tasked with pushing high too, which means City might tuck their full-backs inside to flood the midfield. That'll be an interesting battle. Basically, the main reason City might struggle is that without Silva, Spurs can try to mark De Bruyne out of the game and suddenly they lack that creative spark. Also, Mangala has a mistake in him and doesn't like having the ball at his feet. He'll be a pressing trigger for Spurs' front line.  We're about to find out anyway, here come the players! 5:16PM Managers' pre-match chat A tetchy Pep Guardiola doesn't seem to enjoy his questions: "Of course will be tougher, so we have on one side a lot of confidence we can still beat, relax, every game will be tougher especially against a team like Tottenham. A team with 15 wins in a row that is not normal, sooner or later we'll come back to normality. "Every game is different with managers and players who can do different things." A smiling Pochettino is pretty chilled about it all: "That is the question for six months, I think here in England. They are a fantastic side and playing so well, of course our mentality is try to win and of course we are going to fight a lot for that to happen. They are so far the best team in England. "We are choosing out best side, best players to win every game, it's always a decision about how we want to approach the game. " 5:08PM (Blue) Santa is here Credit: GETTY IMAGES   5:03PM Rio Ferdinand praises Man City "My respect to Pep Guardiola, the tactical genius that he is." 4:55PM Why Man City will miss David Silva so much I wrote this last week on the creative wizardry of David Silva: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player?   4:42PM Missing man The big news is that there is no David Silva for City today. Not sure why at the moment. Kyle Walker starts against his former club. Kieran Trippier, Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli all come into the Spurs starting XI. 4:37PM Team news Team News | How we line-up against Spurs this evening! Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#cityvspurs#mancitypic.twitter.com/B71Lrycena— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 16, 2017 #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Dembele, Winks, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/PQdSbZhlnW— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 16, 2017 4:36PM Match preview Pep Guardiola insists his Manchester City team can get even better despite sweeping almost all comers aside this season. City are 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League after winning their last 15 games, a record in the English top flight. Plaudits have poured in for the stylish and resilient football City have played this term but, for Guardiola, there is no resting on laurels. He said: "What's important is to focus on the pitch what we have to do to play better, to increase our chances and concede few. That's what we have to do. "When I'm happy, it's not because of the result but the way we play. That's what I'm more satisfied by. "I have the feeling we can do better - much, much better. That's what we have to try to insist in them." The City boss is already convinced, however, that this team would have been too good for Guardiola the player. Asked if he could have got into the side, Guardiola, who enjoyed a glittering playing career with Barcelona, said: "No way! Fernandinho is much better!" City's current winning run may be unique in England but it does not yet match Guardiola's personal best as a manager. The Catalan won 16 league games in succession at Barca and bettered even that with Bayern Munich, winning 19 in a row. But such figures are also of no interest to Guardiola, who face Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon. He said: "The record is OK, but records stay there and one day are going to be broken. "Statistics are statistics. It's good to write about that but with the way we play I am satisfied the most."

Manchester City 4 Tottenham 1: Kevin De Bruyne stars as unbeatable City make it 16 wins in a row

It was easy at times to forget that this was the second-best team in the Premier League last season, but on this occasion just another visitor departing the Etihad Stadium wondering how to piece themselves together after the kind of demolition that can shatter confidence. Manchester City’s winning run stands at 16 now and this one was another brutalising experience for Tottenham Hotspur who will have to live with the way they were torn apart over and again in a fixture they drew last season. Pep Guardiola has not just produced a team that dominates possession and wins games but one which now hunts down even its beaten opponents with an unnerving ruthlessness. Guardiola has now matched his longest winning run at Barcelona, in the 2010-2011 season, and he is in sight of the European record of 19 straight wins held by Bayern Munich when they were under the guidance of a certain celebrated Catalan coach. The appetite to annihilate opposing teams seems to be sharpening and it was epitomised by the outstanding Kevin De Bruyne, picking out passes, scoring the second goal himself and playing with an edge that suggests a man anxious to make history. Caught in the City whirlwind, Spurs were clinging on at times and just trying to remind themselves that they were playing the same game. They could point to key absentees among their own side but City achieved this victory without their great playmaker David Silva, left out for a family emergency. Afterwards, Guardiola said that De Bruyne’s appetite to work without the ball, to nick possession and block off channels was as crucial to his influence on the team, and the wider club, as his matchwinning passes and gam-changing goals. Having been flayed in the first half, when Silva’s deputy Ilkay Gundogan scored the first, City eventually broke down Spurs again after the break. De Bruyne scored a second, and Raheem Sterling chipped in with two more in the last ten minutes. It was a day for Spurs to forget Credit: GETTY IMAGES There was time still for Gabriel Jesus to miss a penalty, drilled against the post after he had come on for Sergio Aguero. The Argentine was substituted on 56 minutes, the earliness of it showing that his manager cares not for anyone’s feelings when there is a game to be won. Aguero’s response was the removal of his gloves, tossed onto the pitch with a contemptuous flick and a slow, simmering walk to the touchline. It was a bad day for Spurs who scored deep in injury-time through Christian Eriksen, one of a number of their main men whose game barely flickered into life. There were second half fouls from Harry Kane and Dele Alli that could have earned red cards on another day and the latter was later substituted having scarcely done a thing in the game. Average touch positions (0 min) Mauricio Pochettino refused to discuss the form of the younger of the two Englishmen after the match, adamant that he was not about to single out individuals for blame but he must be concerned about Alli’s form. His stamp on De Bruyne might have been an accident but it was symptomatic of a performance when Alli was simply off the pace and out of the running, unable to assert any influence on the match. The away team were without the long-term injured Toby Alderweireld, as well as Victor Wanyama and Davinson Sanchez and it showed. Their old boy Kyle Walker was on the opposing side and in his former role for Spurs was Kieran Trippier who had a wretched time trying to deal with the pace of Leroy Sane. Even so, the rest of City’s defence – Eliaquim Mangala, Nicolas Otamendi and Fabian Delph – looked vulnerable, but Spurs barely got close to testing them. Gundogan scores City's opening goal from a corner Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne looked every time for the ball out to the left for Sane and sometimes he arrived so quickly that he ran out of pitch before he could shoot. He won the corner for Gundogan’s goal, and the German was unmarked when Sane swung in the cross from the left side for the midfielder to head in. “The way we conceded the goal was a massive mistake,” said Pochettino, but even by then they were on the back foot. De Bruyne’s moment of supreme confidence which is encouraging him to hit passes quicker than ever. He chased down Spurs in possession and he demanded every decision in his favour – including at one point a yellow card for his fellow Belgian Mousa Dembele. Like every player at the very peak of his game he simply expects everything to go his way, and most of the time it did. Possession: Man City vs Spurs There should have been more goals before half-time but it did not quite fall for City. Kane took a boot to the face from Otamendi which earned the Argentine a booking, and the striker did not manage a shot on target before the break. He finally forced the first decent save that Ederson on 55 minutes but City were back in the game quickly. Kane was fortunate to escape worse than a booking for a lunge at the ball that was well short of its target and caught Sterling on the ankle – a foul somewhere in between yellow and red. Alli did much the same to De Bruyne and was also given a yellow card. Guardiola later described the fouls in a television interview as “dangerous”. Whatever opportunity might have been there to build some new momentum was gone and City came back with a vengeance. Before Alli’s stamp, Sane had blasted past Trippier and Hugo Lloris had just about got a hand to his shot strong enough to block it. Then in the 70th minute City broke from back to front again, De Bruyne finally getting the ball in the left channel and unleashing an unstoppable shot past Lloris. Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) De Bruyne won the penalty too, with Jan Vertonghen offering no protest to referee Craig Pawson’s decision to punish a reckless sliding tackle. Jesus had come on for Aguero and he took the penalty, dashing it against the post and Fernandinho skied the rebound. In the final ten minutes Sterling got two goals, the first rolled in from Gundogan’s cross after another City move that had taken them up the pitch at speed. Then there was a fourth after a bad mistake from Eric Dier let Sterling in on goal and he shuffled the ball past Lloris to score. The game was well over when Eriksen sent a left foot shot past Ederson, a postscript to a total thrashing.   7:54PM Expected goals xG map for Manchester City - Tottenham. That's. a. paddlin'. pic.twitter.com/fPDzZwlj4U— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) December 16, 2017   7:52PM Mauricio Pochettino says "Very disappointed, but in the same way you have to accept that the better team won and I think the positive is we try always. We concede early, a poor goal, a massive present and gift for the opponent. Against a team like Man City you cannot do that. "It was our mistake, in this kind of game if you want to win you must concentrate. It changed complete the idea, you need to take risk, the positive thing was to play a team in unbelievable form and I think in the second half we started really well. We had the capacity to play, to dominate, if we should score Harry Kane maybe it's 1-1 and change the game, Harry Winks unbelieveable chance and maybe penalty. But when you are tired and always go forward, go forward you give space." 7:48PM More Guardiola "I have no words to describe [Kevin De Bruyne's] performance today." 7:43PM Pep Guardiola says "That was solid, it was good against one team who are so demanding, intense with quality like Dele Alli, Eriksen, Winks and Harry Kane running in behind. They are one of the strongest teams in the Premier League. "You see the performance of Kevin De Bruyne, when a player runs like... a conference player, it makes things easy for a manager." 7:36PM Post-match interviews Ilkay Gundogan Today was a special performance from the all the team, I'm happy to be on the score sheet but in total we did an incredible job. I was a bit surprised I was that free. I guess the Spurs players didn't know I was strong with my head. I was a bit lucky of course but I'm happy. I've been through tough times, especially games like today where you're able to improve your self confidence, today was a good day. Kevin De Bruyne We know the quality of the team is high, we know this mentally, we want to win every game, we're very busy and mentally we want to keep going. Yeh it was a great performance. It happens, it's part of football, I just blasted it.  No, absolutely not. We are here to win titles, we had a great start, it's still more than half so it's very difficult, very hard. We want to win each game, we're doing a good job. 7:30PM Full time stats Man City vs Spurs shots on goal  Look how narrow City kept Spurs' midfield, then look at the perfect balance for City's shape. Average touch positions (0 min) Possession: Man City vs Spurs   7:27PM Photos Credit: PA   7:24PM FULL TIME What a game. What a performance. "Give them the trophy now", says Frank Lampard. "The best team in Europe," says Rio Ferdinand. Absolutely stunning. 7:23PM GOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL Eriksen scores a brilliant consolation goal! Man City 4 - 1 Spurs (Christian Eriksen, 90 + 3 min) City switch off, Eriksen beats Mangala for pace and opens up the shot on his left foot, tucking it in the bottom right corner. Superb effort. 7:20PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL Spurs are all over the place. Man City 4 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 90 min) They're being toyed with. Bernardo Silva controls the ball and hits a beautiful curling pass behind the defence to Sterling. Dier misses the easy interception, then Sterling accidentally nutmegs Lloris to make it four. This Man City side is easily the best team I've ever seen in the Premier League. 7:17PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Bernardo Silva. De Bruyne is incredible. He's just managed to thread a pass between bodies to Silva, who almost scores with his first touch. Lloris saves at the near post.  Foden links well with Sterling and De Bruyne and tries a high cross into the box which Lloris catches.  Foden's given the ball away now and Spurs have men over on a counter-attack... but City defend well and clear. City are now on the attack! Sterling takes his time... and shoots... and Lloris turns it over!   7:13PM 85 mins Gundogan comes off for Phil Foden for the final few minutes - a big game to come in to. Dele Alli is substituted for Sissoko. That's almost certainly to protect him from a second yellow. 7:11PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL! Jeez louise. They're ridiculously good.  Man City 3 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 80 min) De Bruyne skips through the midfield, threads in Gundogan who slips the ball to Sane, who knows Sterling is waiting slightly further ahead to tap into an empty net. 7:07PM 78 mins Credit: AFP Lamela comes on for Son, which leaves Alli (above, being booked) and Dembele needing to be careful.  Lamela is involved straight away, dribbles into the box, goes past two, passes into the area and Winks takes it on. He needs to shoot! The tackles come in, he stays up, keeps going, keeps going.... and misses the chance. The ball is won in the corner and then De Bruyne has just scooped the ball over Rose and then run around him. Samba magic. I bet Rose feels like quite the fool. 7:05PM MISSED! Jesus stutters as he gets up to take the penalty but hits the post. And then Sterling misses the entire goal from the rebound on his left foot. He's missed the ENTIRE goal.  7:04PM PENALTY! De Bruyne is played into miles of space, skips round Vertonghen and goes down under the slide tackle. A clear penalty. Spurs are falling apart here. 7:03PM 74 mins Spurs need to keep their discipline now. Alli and Dembele are on yellow cards and were frustrated before that goal had even gone in. Jesus, Sane and Sterling have an overload but Jesus' pass is dreadful and puts the ball out for a goal kick. Hoddle adds a new phrase to football language: "That's the thing with City, they can  out possession you" 7:01PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL DE BRUYNE HAS DONE IT! Brilliant by the Belgian.  Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) He recovers from that awful challenge from Alli as City break quickly. Gundogan plays him in down the left and he absolutely batters the ball past Lloris, with Sane making the overlapping run.  De Bruyne goes to the fans and holds up a two and a one finger. 21 is David Silva's number. 6:58PM 69 mins Rose slides in to deny Sterling just as he was about to take a pass from Jesus and be clear in the box on his own. Great defending but he might have hurt himself a little stretching for it. Sane dribbles from the left as he beats Trippier and Son, then shoots at Lloris who can only palm the ball to Sterling, who can't adjust his feet to score what is essentially an open goal from six yards. That was actually much tougher than you'd think. Miss: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 67 min) Dele Alli has gone in overly hard on De Bruyne with a challenge here and left the Belgian in a heap on the floor. That's a red card for me, Clive. And Graham Poll agrees. Alli is frustrated and started kicking out at people ages ago. For some reason Steve McManaman doesn't think that's a red. It's clearly a red card. Yellow.  6:54PM 66 mins Spurs try to play from the back and Vertonghen panics, booting the ball into touch. Walker's touch lets him down soon after though and Spurs win a throw. Eriksen switches play, Winks knocks it on and Kane finds Trippier with a brilliant long pass. Son cuts inside and shoots from near the D but gets underneath it and fires way over the bar. Mangala is too quick for Kane as he chases a ball back but Spurs win it back off Delph. Dembele is caught on the ball (again) and City now have possession. 6:52PM 63 mins Walker fakes to shoot and fools everyone, including Sterling. The pass catches Sterling unaware and he's offside. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Dembele brings down Fernandinho and is booked for persistent fouling. Jesus has changed his left boot for a red one, so has one gold and one red.  6:49PM 60 mins Gabriel Jesus comes on for Aguero. Guardiola wants to change things early before Spurs work their way back into this and Aguero is not happy about it, throwing his gloves to the floor as he leaves the pitch and ignoring Guardiola. And Jesus nearly scores with his first touch! The Brazilian hides between the two centre-backs, sprints onto an early pass from wide right and his so close to controlling it in the six yard box and shooting.  Rose shoots from distance but gets it all wrong. Oh my lord, Ederson has just hit a 70 yard pass onto Sterling's chest, taking the entire of Spurs' forward press out of the game. That is absolute genius. Sane shoots wide from the resulting move but the entire crowd collectively went "woh" for that pass. Out: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Leroy Sané, 59 min)   6:45PM 57 mins Credit: AP Spurs are playing much higher up the pitch in this half and are preventing Man City from getting out with the ball. The passing is quicker and snappier too. Kane spins on the spot 30 yards out and shoots... Ederson saves with a strong hand! That had a lot of power behind it! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 55 min)  Spurs are in control of the ball in this half.  Possession: Man City vs Spurs   6:42PM 54 mins Delph fouls Son and is booked. Spurs have a decent free-kick opportunity here, wide right of the City box.  The delivery is good but Ederson punches away. Kane lunges into a tackle on Sterling - it's a really poor one and he's booked for it. Sterling clutches his shin for a while but is fine. De Bruyne fires a switched pass to Sane and the German is inches away from controlling it and being through on goal.  6:39PM 51 mins Kane opens up the pitch with a pass out wide to Eriksen, he switches it to Son who has to go backwards. Eriksen tucks it inside to Kane, who crosses to Son... this is a great chance! Son can't quite bring the ball down and Sane defends it superbly, blocking the ball with his body and letting Ederson dive on it.  Walker whips a powerful cross into the area, Lloris punches clear and Fernandinho goes down under a challenge from Winks. The referee says plan on and Spurs counter quickly! Kane overhits his pass to Son and it's a goal kick. Pass: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 50 min) Spurs trying to force their way back into this one. 6:36PM 48 mins No changes from either manager at half time. Spurs attack, Man City attack, Spurs attack, now Man City have the ball out wide on the right. Aguero wins a corner.  6:34PM KICK-OFF 2 Some faster passing and better defending of set pieces needed from Spurs, I suspect Man City will grab a couple more goals in the final 15 minutes as Spurs tire from all that pressing. We're back though - let's find out what happens! 6:28PM Graham Poll on Mangala penalty incident This is a rough transcription and not word for word accurate, but: "It's a penalty, we're agreed on that but there are two reasons Pawson hasn't given it. He doesn't have a clear view and the player hasn't gone to ground. "It's a difficult one for players. If he'd have gone to ground, he'd have got the penalty." 6:25PM Telling possession stats Man City vs Spurs Spurs have had more of the ball than most teams at the Etihad, but it's been in defensive areas.   6:20PM Spurs worked hard to keep the ball in that half Possession: Man City vs Spurs  But City are just too good. They're absolutely amazing to watch. 6:18PM HALF TIME City have Spurs rattled but aren't entirely in control here. Spurs have had chances and look dangerous on the counter-attack but on balance, Guardiola's team deserve the lead!  A heavy fog is starting to fall onto the pitch, visible on TV screens and so must be at the match too. Let's hope it doesn't get any thicker though- we want the second half as sharp as this first. Excellent entertainment. 6:15PM 45 mins Mangala doesn't like City's short passing game. Every time he gets it under pressure he fires a long pass up the pitch and gives away possession.  Spurs work a move on the edge of the area and it's chipped into Alli... Ederson dives and wins the ball first. Alli goes tumbling over his head. 6:14PM 44 mins Spurs' passing is still too slow, City are being given chances to win the ball back and are taking them. The game's gone scrappy now with both teams being penalised for silly little fouls while trying to win tackles. 6:13PM 42 mins Alli catches Gundogan with a nasty late tackle, putting his weight down on top of the German's foot.  Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne fizzes the free-kick into the area, Walker wins a throw-in. Spurs chase City all the way back to their goalkeeper. Fernandinho finds Aguero with a clever pass over the top into the box but he's just offside. 6:10PM 39 mins Kane is down holding his face after a really high boot from Otamendi. That's nasty and he's not even been booked for it.  Wait, he has been booked. The referee just takes his time to think about it. Kane must have felt that one, it was a proper boot to the nose. Will he seek revenge?  De Bruyne tells the linesman to "f--- off" as he is penalised for knocking Vertonghen into touch. Football: the gentleman's game. 6:06PM 36 mins De Bruyne is something else. He completely pies Dembele with pace and skill then feeds a perfectly weighted ball into Sane. His first touch is poor and hands the ball to Lloris, who doesn't gather the ball. Spurs eventually get a goal kick after an Aguero shot is just wide. Eriksen has the ball wide left, finds Kane on the edge of the box and he shapes to shoot from distance.... and JUST WIDE! Kane bends it low and hard from distance to the far post and Ederson is beaten, but he's put it wide of the post. Miss: Spurs ( 35 min )   6:03PM 33 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  Trippier is back on his feet and seems to be OK.  6:02PM 32 mins After a brilliant first-time long searching ball from De Bruyne, Sane hits an early pass into Aguero but his shot is blocked. Spurs look rattled.  Trippier gets the better of Sane for the first time and sets Son away. He cuts inside but is swiftly closed down by Sane, who has tracked all the way back. Trippier wins a foul after a heavy, clumsy and late challenge by Delph. Trippier's not enjoying himself as he recovers from that one. 5:59PM 29 mins Man City put their defensive line close to 10 yards from the free-kick. As it turns out it's genius and the free-kick is chipped straight into Ederson's hands. De Bruyne dances through midfield and puts another superb forward pass in behind the defence, Spurs survive once more as Lloris saves from Gundogan and nearly hands the rebound to Sterling. 5:56PM 26 mins Rose finds space on the left! But his cross is awful and the opportunity wasted. Aguero runs through on the left and smashes a shot at goal which Lloris saves well but parries to Sterling. He takes the ball on his left foot, works the space and then balloons a shot waaaaay over the bar. Both have their heads in hands. A big chance gone. Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 24 min) Spurs are committed to playing out from the back here and City are getting closer and closer to punishing them for it. Average touch positions (25 min)   5:54PM 23 mins Sane takes on Trippier, beats him easily and Dier slides in to put the ball out for a corner.  Oooooohhhhh Rose has just shoved Mangala inside the box to put him off a corner but nothing comes of it. The referee must have seen that... and Graham Poll agrees that that is a clear penalty. Craig Pawson is the same referee who gave Everton a penalty for a far softer shove than that! 5:50PM 20 mins End to end stuff here. Spurs are still at this. Possession: Man City vs Spurs   5:48PM 17 mins This game is ace. Spurs are having to work so hard to press City back but now they're losing and could well suffer a drop in confidence. How are they going to react to that goal? City are pressing Spurs high now. 5:46PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! You just can't stop them! Gundogan scores with a header from the corner!  Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Ilkay Gündogan, 14 min) He doesn't even have to time a run, absolutely nobody picks him up from the corner and he scores from the centre of the box! Horrible marking! 5:44PM 13 mins Dele Alli runs with the ball, has Trippier and Rose hugging the touchlines but opts for a reverse through-ball down the middle, and hands possession back to Ederson. Not his best effort. City start working passes around the final third, Sterling comes inside but Dembele intercepts and passes back to Lloris, who slices his clearance after a little bobble up on the pitch. Spurs counter-attack! Son is wide left, Eriksen joins in and hits a bending pass long into the box. Trippier is waiting for it in space... but Kane heads it on and ruins the move! That was a decent opportunity. Glenn Hoddle has noticed that Spurs are leaving Son and Kane upfront as they defend, giving themselves an outball. 5:41PM 10 mins Otamendi hits a brilliant direct pass and turns defence into attack in a split second. Gundogan and Delph look for options but Spurs double up on Sane on the left to stop him going anywhere. And it doesn't work! Sane bursts away from both, gets to the box and pulls the pass across the area... it's cleared up. Magic from Sane. Interception: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Jan Vertonghen, 9 min) Rose gives a free-kick away wide right. De Bruyne curls it into the near post and Aguero heads it on but is just wide.  Out: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 10 min)   5:39PM 8 mins Mangala gives possession away, Trippier is hounded into putting the ball out for a throw as City block his passing options. Spurs are locking onto Mangala quickly here. The high press is working (to an extent so far) and City can't dominate the ball like they have done in recent weeks. A quick early pass ahead of Sterling is swept up by an alert Lloris. It looks like Spurs have been instructed to stop City at source by cutting out passes and dribbles at halfway or by fouling. This worked superbly for them last season.  5:36PM 5 mins Ederson bypasses the high press with a perfectly placed 40 yard pass. He's such a good player. Spurs are looking to hit long switched diagonal passes to get the ball forward and moving up the pitch to win the second ball.  Walker bounces Son into touch and then walks away with the ball like he's moving away from an explosion in a movie, sunglasses on. Top football comedy there. This game is already entertaining and actually fairly open. Spurs looking to win the ball in midfield.. and they foul De Bruyne at the halfway line. That'll be a recurring feature this evening. 5:33PM 2 mins City start on the front foot but Spurs defend calmly. De Bruyne wants to attack from the off and has driven the ball forward a couple of times already.  Danny Rose runs past his man down the left wing, Kane is penalised for nudging Delph off the ball.  Spurs press City high. 5:31PM KICK-OFF Here we go! City get the game started. 5:29PM Let's get pumped   5:27PM Where Spurs can hurt City I might be totally wrong here, but I can see Spurs getting a result against this brilliant Man City side tonight. Let me explain... They have to lose at some point and Spurs are a functional team with an incredibly tactically astute manager. Spurs will defend deep and hit them on the counter-attack like others have done. We know that City's full-backs often leave space in behind and this is where you'll see Eriksen and Son lurking. Rose and Trippier will be tasked with pushing high too, which means City might tuck their full-backs inside to flood the midfield. That'll be an interesting battle. Basically, the main reason City might struggle is that without Silva, Spurs can try to mark De Bruyne out of the game and suddenly they lack that creative spark. Also, Mangala has a mistake in him and doesn't like having the ball at his feet. He'll be a pressing trigger for Spurs' front line.  We're about to find out anyway, here come the players! 5:16PM Managers' pre-match chat A tetchy Pep Guardiola doesn't seem to enjoy his questions: "Of course will be tougher, so we have on one side a lot of confidence we can still beat, relax, every game will be tougher especially against a team like Tottenham. A team with 15 wins in a row that is not normal, sooner or later we'll come back to normality. "Every game is different with managers and players who can do different things." A smiling Pochettino is pretty chilled about it all: "That is the question for six months, I think here in England. They are a fantastic side and playing so well, of course our mentality is try to win and of course we are going to fight a lot for that to happen. They are so far the best team in England. "We are choosing out best side, best players to win every game, it's always a decision about how we want to approach the game. " 5:08PM (Blue) Santa is here Credit: GETTY IMAGES   5:03PM Rio Ferdinand praises Man City "My respect to Pep Guardiola, the tactical genius that he is." 4:55PM Why Man City will miss David Silva so much I wrote this last week on the creative wizardry of David Silva: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player?   4:42PM Missing man The big news is that there is no David Silva for City today. Not sure why at the moment. Kyle Walker starts against his former club. Kieran Trippier, Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli all come into the Spurs starting XI. 4:37PM Team news Team News | How we line-up against Spurs this evening! Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#cityvspurs#mancitypic.twitter.com/B71Lrycena— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 16, 2017 #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Dembele, Winks, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/PQdSbZhlnW— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 16, 2017 4:36PM Match preview Pep Guardiola insists his Manchester City team can get even better despite sweeping almost all comers aside this season. City are 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League after winning their last 15 games, a record in the English top flight. Plaudits have poured in for the stylish and resilient football City have played this term but, for Guardiola, there is no resting on laurels. He said: "What's important is to focus on the pitch what we have to do to play better, to increase our chances and concede few. That's what we have to do. "When I'm happy, it's not because of the result but the way we play. That's what I'm more satisfied by. "I have the feeling we can do better - much, much better. That's what we have to try to insist in them." The City boss is already convinced, however, that this team would have been too good for Guardiola the player. Asked if he could have got into the side, Guardiola, who enjoyed a glittering playing career with Barcelona, said: "No way! Fernandinho is much better!" City's current winning run may be unique in England but it does not yet match Guardiola's personal best as a manager. The Catalan won 16 league games in succession at Barca and bettered even that with Bayern Munich, winning 19 in a row. But such figures are also of no interest to Guardiola, who face Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon. He said: "The record is OK, but records stay there and one day are going to be broken. "Statistics are statistics. It's good to write about that but with the way we play I am satisfied the most."

Manchester City 4 Tottenham 1: Kevin De Bruyne stars as unbeatable City make it 16 wins in a row

It was easy at times to forget that this was the second-best team in the Premier League last season, but on this occasion just another visitor departing the Etihad Stadium wondering how to piece themselves together after the kind of demolition that can shatter confidence. Manchester City’s winning run stands at 16 now and this one was another brutalising experience for Tottenham Hotspur who will have to live with the way they were torn apart over and again in a fixture they drew last season. Pep Guardiola has not just produced a team that dominates possession and wins games but one which now hunts down even its beaten opponents with an unnerving ruthlessness. Guardiola has now matched his longest winning run at Barcelona, in the 2010-2011 season, and he is in sight of the European record of 19 straight wins held by Bayern Munich when they were under the guidance of a certain celebrated Catalan coach. The appetite to annihilate opposing teams seems to be sharpening and it was epitomised by the outstanding Kevin De Bruyne, picking out passes, scoring the second goal himself and playing with an edge that suggests a man anxious to make history. Caught in the City whirlwind, Spurs were clinging on at times and just trying to remind themselves that they were playing the same game. They could point to key absentees among their own side but City achieved this victory without their great playmaker David Silva, left out for a family emergency. Afterwards, Guardiola said that De Bruyne’s appetite to work without the ball, to nick possession and block off channels was as crucial to his influence on the team, and the wider club, as his matchwinning passes and gam-changing goals. Having been flayed in the first half, when Silva’s deputy Ilkay Gundogan scored the first, City eventually broke down Spurs again after the break. De Bruyne scored a second, and Raheem Sterling chipped in with two more in the last ten minutes. It was a day for Spurs to forget Credit: GETTY IMAGES There was time still for Gabriel Jesus to miss a penalty, drilled against the post after he had come on for Sergio Aguero. The Argentine was substituted on 56 minutes, the earliness of it showing that his manager cares not for anyone’s feelings when there is a game to be won. Aguero’s response was the removal of his gloves, tossed onto the pitch with a contemptuous flick and a slow, simmering walk to the touchline. It was a bad day for Spurs who scored deep in injury-time through Christian Eriksen, one of a number of their main men whose game barely flickered into life. There were second half fouls from Harry Kane and Dele Alli that could have earned red cards on another day and the latter was later substituted having scarcely done a thing in the game. Average touch positions (0 min) Mauricio Pochettino refused to discuss the form of the younger of the two Englishmen after the match, adamant that he was not about to single out individuals for blame but he must be concerned about Alli’s form. His stamp on De Bruyne might have been an accident but it was symptomatic of a performance when Alli was simply off the pace and out of the running, unable to assert any influence on the match. The away team were without the long-term injured Toby Alderweireld, as well as Victor Wanyama and Davinson Sanchez and it showed. Their old boy Kyle Walker was on the opposing side and in his former role for Spurs was Kieran Trippier who had a wretched time trying to deal with the pace of Leroy Sane. Even so, the rest of City’s defence – Eliaquim Mangala, Nicolas Otamendi and Fabian Delph – looked vulnerable, but Spurs barely got close to testing them. Gundogan scores City's opening goal from a corner Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne looked every time for the ball out to the left for Sane and sometimes he arrived so quickly that he ran out of pitch before he could shoot. He won the corner for Gundogan’s goal, and the German was unmarked when Sane swung in the cross from the left side for the midfielder to head in. “The way we conceded the goal was a massive mistake,” said Pochettino, but even by then they were on the back foot. De Bruyne’s moment of supreme confidence which is encouraging him to hit passes quicker than ever. He chased down Spurs in possession and he demanded every decision in his favour – including at one point a yellow card for his fellow Belgian Mousa Dembele. Like every player at the very peak of his game he simply expects everything to go his way, and most of the time it did. Possession: Man City vs Spurs There should have been more goals before half-time but it did not quite fall for City. Kane took a boot to the face from Otamendi which earned the Argentine a booking, and the striker did not manage a shot on target before the break. He finally forced the first decent save that Ederson on 55 minutes but City were back in the game quickly. Kane was fortunate to escape worse than a booking for a lunge at the ball that was well short of its target and caught Sterling on the ankle – a foul somewhere in between yellow and red. Alli did much the same to De Bruyne and was also given a yellow card. Guardiola later described the fouls in a television interview as “dangerous”. Whatever opportunity might have been there to build some new momentum was gone and City came back with a vengeance. Before Alli’s stamp, Sane had blasted past Trippier and Hugo Lloris had just about got a hand to his shot strong enough to block it. Then in the 70th minute City broke from back to front again, De Bruyne finally getting the ball in the left channel and unleashing an unstoppable shot past Lloris. Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) De Bruyne won the penalty too, with Jan Vertonghen offering no protest to referee Craig Pawson’s decision to punish a reckless sliding tackle. Jesus had come on for Aguero and he took the penalty, dashing it against the post and Fernandinho skied the rebound. In the final ten minutes Sterling got two goals, the first rolled in from Gundogan’s cross after another City move that had taken them up the pitch at speed. Then there was a fourth after a bad mistake from Eric Dier let Sterling in on goal and he shuffled the ball past Lloris to score. The game was well over when Eriksen sent a left foot shot past Ederson, a postscript to a total thrashing.   7:54PM Expected goals xG map for Manchester City - Tottenham. That's. a. paddlin'. pic.twitter.com/fPDzZwlj4U— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) December 16, 2017   7:52PM Mauricio Pochettino says "Very disappointed, but in the same way you have to accept that the better team won and I think the positive is we try always. We concede early, a poor goal, a massive present and gift for the opponent. Against a team like Man City you cannot do that. "It was our mistake, in this kind of game if you want to win you must concentrate. It changed complete the idea, you need to take risk, the positive thing was to play a team in unbelievable form and I think in the second half we started really well. We had the capacity to play, to dominate, if we should score Harry Kane maybe it's 1-1 and change the game, Harry Winks unbelieveable chance and maybe penalty. But when you are tired and always go forward, go forward you give space." 7:48PM More Guardiola "I have no words to describe [Kevin De Bruyne's] performance today." 7:43PM Pep Guardiola says "That was solid, it was good against one team who are so demanding, intense with quality like Dele Alli, Eriksen, Winks and Harry Kane running in behind. They are one of the strongest teams in the Premier League. "You see the performance of Kevin De Bruyne, when a player runs like... a conference player, it makes things easy for a manager." 7:36PM Post-match interviews Ilkay Gundogan Today was a special performance from the all the team, I'm happy to be on the score sheet but in total we did an incredible job. I was a bit surprised I was that free. I guess the Spurs players didn't know I was strong with my head. I was a bit lucky of course but I'm happy. I've been through tough times, especially games like today where you're able to improve your self confidence, today was a good day. Kevin De Bruyne We know the quality of the team is high, we know this mentally, we want to win every game, we're very busy and mentally we want to keep going. Yeh it was a great performance. It happens, it's part of football, I just blasted it.  No, absolutely not. We are here to win titles, we had a great start, it's still more than half so it's very difficult, very hard. We want to win each game, we're doing a good job. 7:30PM Full time stats Man City vs Spurs shots on goal  Look how narrow City kept Spurs' midfield, then look at the perfect balance for City's shape. Average touch positions (0 min) Possession: Man City vs Spurs   7:27PM Photos Credit: PA   7:24PM FULL TIME What a game. What a performance. "Give them the trophy now", says Frank Lampard. "The best team in Europe," says Rio Ferdinand. Absolutely stunning. 7:23PM GOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL Eriksen scores a brilliant consolation goal! Man City 4 - 1 Spurs (Christian Eriksen, 90 + 3 min) City switch off, Eriksen beats Mangala for pace and opens up the shot on his left foot, tucking it in the bottom right corner. Superb effort. 7:20PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL Spurs are all over the place. Man City 4 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 90 min) They're being toyed with. Bernardo Silva controls the ball and hits a beautiful curling pass behind the defence to Sterling. Dier misses the easy interception, then Sterling accidentally nutmegs Lloris to make it four. This Man City side is easily the best team I've ever seen in the Premier League. 7:17PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Bernardo Silva. De Bruyne is incredible. He's just managed to thread a pass between bodies to Silva, who almost scores with his first touch. Lloris saves at the near post.  Foden links well with Sterling and De Bruyne and tries a high cross into the box which Lloris catches.  Foden's given the ball away now and Spurs have men over on a counter-attack... but City defend well and clear. City are now on the attack! Sterling takes his time... and shoots... and Lloris turns it over!   7:13PM 85 mins Gundogan comes off for Phil Foden for the final few minutes - a big game to come in to. Dele Alli is substituted for Sissoko. That's almost certainly to protect him from a second yellow. 7:11PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL! Jeez louise. They're ridiculously good.  Man City 3 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 80 min) De Bruyne skips through the midfield, threads in Gundogan who slips the ball to Sane, who knows Sterling is waiting slightly further ahead to tap into an empty net. 7:07PM 78 mins Credit: AFP Lamela comes on for Son, which leaves Alli (above, being booked) and Dembele needing to be careful.  Lamela is involved straight away, dribbles into the box, goes past two, passes into the area and Winks takes it on. He needs to shoot! The tackles come in, he stays up, keeps going, keeps going.... and misses the chance. The ball is won in the corner and then De Bruyne has just scooped the ball over Rose and then run around him. Samba magic. I bet Rose feels like quite the fool. 7:05PM MISSED! Jesus stutters as he gets up to take the penalty but hits the post. And then Sterling misses the entire goal from the rebound on his left foot. He's missed the ENTIRE goal.  7:04PM PENALTY! De Bruyne is played into miles of space, skips round Vertonghen and goes down under the slide tackle. A clear penalty. Spurs are falling apart here. 7:03PM 74 mins Spurs need to keep their discipline now. Alli and Dembele are on yellow cards and were frustrated before that goal had even gone in. Jesus, Sane and Sterling have an overload but Jesus' pass is dreadful and puts the ball out for a goal kick. Hoddle adds a new phrase to football language: "That's the thing with City, they can  out possession you" 7:01PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL DE BRUYNE HAS DONE IT! Brilliant by the Belgian.  Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) He recovers from that awful challenge from Alli as City break quickly. Gundogan plays him in down the left and he absolutely batters the ball past Lloris, with Sane making the overlapping run.  De Bruyne goes to the fans and holds up a two and a one finger. 21 is David Silva's number. 6:58PM 69 mins Rose slides in to deny Sterling just as he was about to take a pass from Jesus and be clear in the box on his own. Great defending but he might have hurt himself a little stretching for it. Sane dribbles from the left as he beats Trippier and Son, then shoots at Lloris who can only palm the ball to Sterling, who can't adjust his feet to score what is essentially an open goal from six yards. That was actually much tougher than you'd think. Miss: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 67 min) Dele Alli has gone in overly hard on De Bruyne with a challenge here and left the Belgian in a heap on the floor. That's a red card for me, Clive. And Graham Poll agrees. Alli is frustrated and started kicking out at people ages ago. For some reason Steve McManaman doesn't think that's a red. It's clearly a red card. Yellow.  6:54PM 66 mins Spurs try to play from the back and Vertonghen panics, booting the ball into touch. Walker's touch lets him down soon after though and Spurs win a throw. Eriksen switches play, Winks knocks it on and Kane finds Trippier with a brilliant long pass. Son cuts inside and shoots from near the D but gets underneath it and fires way over the bar. Mangala is too quick for Kane as he chases a ball back but Spurs win it back off Delph. Dembele is caught on the ball (again) and City now have possession. 6:52PM 63 mins Walker fakes to shoot and fools everyone, including Sterling. The pass catches Sterling unaware and he's offside. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Dembele brings down Fernandinho and is booked for persistent fouling. Jesus has changed his left boot for a red one, so has one gold and one red.  6:49PM 60 mins Gabriel Jesus comes on for Aguero. Guardiola wants to change things early before Spurs work their way back into this and Aguero is not happy about it, throwing his gloves to the floor as he leaves the pitch and ignoring Guardiola. And Jesus nearly scores with his first touch! The Brazilian hides between the two centre-backs, sprints onto an early pass from wide right and his so close to controlling it in the six yard box and shooting.  Rose shoots from distance but gets it all wrong. Oh my lord, Ederson has just hit a 70 yard pass onto Sterling's chest, taking the entire of Spurs' forward press out of the game. That is absolute genius. Sane shoots wide from the resulting move but the entire crowd collectively went "woh" for that pass. Out: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Leroy Sané, 59 min)   6:45PM 57 mins Credit: AP Spurs are playing much higher up the pitch in this half and are preventing Man City from getting out with the ball. The passing is quicker and snappier too. Kane spins on the spot 30 yards out and shoots... Ederson saves with a strong hand! That had a lot of power behind it! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 55 min)  Spurs are in control of the ball in this half.  Possession: Man City vs Spurs   6:42PM 54 mins Delph fouls Son and is booked. Spurs have a decent free-kick opportunity here, wide right of the City box.  The delivery is good but Ederson punches away. Kane lunges into a tackle on Sterling - it's a really poor one and he's booked for it. Sterling clutches his shin for a while but is fine. De Bruyne fires a switched pass to Sane and the German is inches away from controlling it and being through on goal.  6:39PM 51 mins Kane opens up the pitch with a pass out wide to Eriksen, he switches it to Son who has to go backwards. Eriksen tucks it inside to Kane, who crosses to Son... this is a great chance! Son can't quite bring the ball down and Sane defends it superbly, blocking the ball with his body and letting Ederson dive on it.  Walker whips a powerful cross into the area, Lloris punches clear and Fernandinho goes down under a challenge from Winks. The referee says plan on and Spurs counter quickly! Kane overhits his pass to Son and it's a goal kick. Pass: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 50 min) Spurs trying to force their way back into this one. 6:36PM 48 mins No changes from either manager at half time. Spurs attack, Man City attack, Spurs attack, now Man City have the ball out wide on the right. Aguero wins a corner.  6:34PM KICK-OFF 2 Some faster passing and better defending of set pieces needed from Spurs, I suspect Man City will grab a couple more goals in the final 15 minutes as Spurs tire from all that pressing. We're back though - let's find out what happens! 6:28PM Graham Poll on Mangala penalty incident This is a rough transcription and not word for word accurate, but: "It's a penalty, we're agreed on that but there are two reasons Pawson hasn't given it. He doesn't have a clear view and the player hasn't gone to ground. "It's a difficult one for players. If he'd have gone to ground, he'd have got the penalty." 6:25PM Telling possession stats Man City vs Spurs Spurs have had more of the ball than most teams at the Etihad, but it's been in defensive areas.   6:20PM Spurs worked hard to keep the ball in that half Possession: Man City vs Spurs  But City are just too good. They're absolutely amazing to watch. 6:18PM HALF TIME City have Spurs rattled but aren't entirely in control here. Spurs have had chances and look dangerous on the counter-attack but on balance, Guardiola's team deserve the lead!  A heavy fog is starting to fall onto the pitch, visible on TV screens and so must be at the match too. Let's hope it doesn't get any thicker though- we want the second half as sharp as this first. Excellent entertainment. 6:15PM 45 mins Mangala doesn't like City's short passing game. Every time he gets it under pressure he fires a long pass up the pitch and gives away possession.  Spurs work a move on the edge of the area and it's chipped into Alli... Ederson dives and wins the ball first. Alli goes tumbling over his head. 6:14PM 44 mins Spurs' passing is still too slow, City are being given chances to win the ball back and are taking them. The game's gone scrappy now with both teams being penalised for silly little fouls while trying to win tackles. 6:13PM 42 mins Alli catches Gundogan with a nasty late tackle, putting his weight down on top of the German's foot.  Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne fizzes the free-kick into the area, Walker wins a throw-in. Spurs chase City all the way back to their goalkeeper. Fernandinho finds Aguero with a clever pass over the top into the box but he's just offside. 6:10PM 39 mins Kane is down holding his face after a really high boot from Otamendi. That's nasty and he's not even been booked for it.  Wait, he has been booked. The referee just takes his time to think about it. Kane must have felt that one, it was a proper boot to the nose. Will he seek revenge?  De Bruyne tells the linesman to "f--- off" as he is penalised for knocking Vertonghen into touch. Football: the gentleman's game. 6:06PM 36 mins De Bruyne is something else. He completely pies Dembele with pace and skill then feeds a perfectly weighted ball into Sane. His first touch is poor and hands the ball to Lloris, who doesn't gather the ball. Spurs eventually get a goal kick after an Aguero shot is just wide. Eriksen has the ball wide left, finds Kane on the edge of the box and he shapes to shoot from distance.... and JUST WIDE! Kane bends it low and hard from distance to the far post and Ederson is beaten, but he's put it wide of the post. Miss: Spurs ( 35 min )   6:03PM 33 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  Trippier is back on his feet and seems to be OK.  6:02PM 32 mins After a brilliant first-time long searching ball from De Bruyne, Sane hits an early pass into Aguero but his shot is blocked. Spurs look rattled.  Trippier gets the better of Sane for the first time and sets Son away. He cuts inside but is swiftly closed down by Sane, who has tracked all the way back. Trippier wins a foul after a heavy, clumsy and late challenge by Delph. Trippier's not enjoying himself as he recovers from that one. 5:59PM 29 mins Man City put their defensive line close to 10 yards from the free-kick. As it turns out it's genius and the free-kick is chipped straight into Ederson's hands. De Bruyne dances through midfield and puts another superb forward pass in behind the defence, Spurs survive once more as Lloris saves from Gundogan and nearly hands the rebound to Sterling. 5:56PM 26 mins Rose finds space on the left! But his cross is awful and the opportunity wasted. Aguero runs through on the left and smashes a shot at goal which Lloris saves well but parries to Sterling. He takes the ball on his left foot, works the space and then balloons a shot waaaaay over the bar. Both have their heads in hands. A big chance gone. Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 24 min) Spurs are committed to playing out from the back here and City are getting closer and closer to punishing them for it. Average touch positions (25 min)   5:54PM 23 mins Sane takes on Trippier, beats him easily and Dier slides in to put the ball out for a corner.  Oooooohhhhh Rose has just shoved Mangala inside the box to put him off a corner but nothing comes of it. The referee must have seen that... and Graham Poll agrees that that is a clear penalty. Craig Pawson is the same referee who gave Everton a penalty for a far softer shove than that! 5:50PM 20 mins End to end stuff here. Spurs are still at this. Possession: Man City vs Spurs   5:48PM 17 mins This game is ace. Spurs are having to work so hard to press City back but now they're losing and could well suffer a drop in confidence. How are they going to react to that goal? City are pressing Spurs high now. 5:46PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! You just can't stop them! Gundogan scores with a header from the corner!  Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Ilkay Gündogan, 14 min) He doesn't even have to time a run, absolutely nobody picks him up from the corner and he scores from the centre of the box! Horrible marking! 5:44PM 13 mins Dele Alli runs with the ball, has Trippier and Rose hugging the touchlines but opts for a reverse through-ball down the middle, and hands possession back to Ederson. Not his best effort. City start working passes around the final third, Sterling comes inside but Dembele intercepts and passes back to Lloris, who slices his clearance after a little bobble up on the pitch. Spurs counter-attack! Son is wide left, Eriksen joins in and hits a bending pass long into the box. Trippier is waiting for it in space... but Kane heads it on and ruins the move! That was a decent opportunity. Glenn Hoddle has noticed that Spurs are leaving Son and Kane upfront as they defend, giving themselves an outball. 5:41PM 10 mins Otamendi hits a brilliant direct pass and turns defence into attack in a split second. Gundogan and Delph look for options but Spurs double up on Sane on the left to stop him going anywhere. And it doesn't work! Sane bursts away from both, gets to the box and pulls the pass across the area... it's cleared up. Magic from Sane. Interception: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Jan Vertonghen, 9 min) Rose gives a free-kick away wide right. De Bruyne curls it into the near post and Aguero heads it on but is just wide.  Out: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 10 min)   5:39PM 8 mins Mangala gives possession away, Trippier is hounded into putting the ball out for a throw as City block his passing options. Spurs are locking onto Mangala quickly here. The high press is working (to an extent so far) and City can't dominate the ball like they have done in recent weeks. A quick early pass ahead of Sterling is swept up by an alert Lloris. It looks like Spurs have been instructed to stop City at source by cutting out passes and dribbles at halfway or by fouling. This worked superbly for them last season.  5:36PM 5 mins Ederson bypasses the high press with a perfectly placed 40 yard pass. He's such a good player. Spurs are looking to hit long switched diagonal passes to get the ball forward and moving up the pitch to win the second ball.  Walker bounces Son into touch and then walks away with the ball like he's moving away from an explosion in a movie, sunglasses on. Top football comedy there. This game is already entertaining and actually fairly open. Spurs looking to win the ball in midfield.. and they foul De Bruyne at the halfway line. That'll be a recurring feature this evening. 5:33PM 2 mins City start on the front foot but Spurs defend calmly. De Bruyne wants to attack from the off and has driven the ball forward a couple of times already.  Danny Rose runs past his man down the left wing, Kane is penalised for nudging Delph off the ball.  Spurs press City high. 5:31PM KICK-OFF Here we go! City get the game started. 5:29PM Let's get pumped   5:27PM Where Spurs can hurt City I might be totally wrong here, but I can see Spurs getting a result against this brilliant Man City side tonight. Let me explain... They have to lose at some point and Spurs are a functional team with an incredibly tactically astute manager. Spurs will defend deep and hit them on the counter-attack like others have done. We know that City's full-backs often leave space in behind and this is where you'll see Eriksen and Son lurking. Rose and Trippier will be tasked with pushing high too, which means City might tuck their full-backs inside to flood the midfield. That'll be an interesting battle. Basically, the main reason City might struggle is that without Silva, Spurs can try to mark De Bruyne out of the game and suddenly they lack that creative spark. Also, Mangala has a mistake in him and doesn't like having the ball at his feet. He'll be a pressing trigger for Spurs' front line.  We're about to find out anyway, here come the players! 5:16PM Managers' pre-match chat A tetchy Pep Guardiola doesn't seem to enjoy his questions: "Of course will be tougher, so we have on one side a lot of confidence we can still beat, relax, every game will be tougher especially against a team like Tottenham. A team with 15 wins in a row that is not normal, sooner or later we'll come back to normality. "Every game is different with managers and players who can do different things." A smiling Pochettino is pretty chilled about it all: "That is the question for six months, I think here in England. They are a fantastic side and playing so well, of course our mentality is try to win and of course we are going to fight a lot for that to happen. They are so far the best team in England. "We are choosing out best side, best players to win every game, it's always a decision about how we want to approach the game. " 5:08PM (Blue) Santa is here Credit: GETTY IMAGES   5:03PM Rio Ferdinand praises Man City "My respect to Pep Guardiola, the tactical genius that he is." 4:55PM Why Man City will miss David Silva so much I wrote this last week on the creative wizardry of David Silva: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player?   4:42PM Missing man The big news is that there is no David Silva for City today. Not sure why at the moment. Kyle Walker starts against his former club. Kieran Trippier, Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli all come into the Spurs starting XI. 4:37PM Team news Team News | How we line-up against Spurs this evening! Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#cityvspurs#mancitypic.twitter.com/B71Lrycena— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 16, 2017 #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Dembele, Winks, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/PQdSbZhlnW— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 16, 2017 4:36PM Match preview Pep Guardiola insists his Manchester City team can get even better despite sweeping almost all comers aside this season. City are 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League after winning their last 15 games, a record in the English top flight. Plaudits have poured in for the stylish and resilient football City have played this term but, for Guardiola, there is no resting on laurels. He said: "What's important is to focus on the pitch what we have to do to play better, to increase our chances and concede few. That's what we have to do. "When I'm happy, it's not because of the result but the way we play. That's what I'm more satisfied by. "I have the feeling we can do better - much, much better. That's what we have to try to insist in them." The City boss is already convinced, however, that this team would have been too good for Guardiola the player. Asked if he could have got into the side, Guardiola, who enjoyed a glittering playing career with Barcelona, said: "No way! Fernandinho is much better!" City's current winning run may be unique in England but it does not yet match Guardiola's personal best as a manager. The Catalan won 16 league games in succession at Barca and bettered even that with Bayern Munich, winning 19 in a row. But such figures are also of no interest to Guardiola, who face Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon. He said: "The record is OK, but records stay there and one day are going to be broken. "Statistics are statistics. It's good to write about that but with the way we play I am satisfied the most."

Manchester City 4 Tottenham 1: Kevin De Bruyne stars as unbeatable City make it 16 wins in a row

It was easy at times to forget that this was the second-best team in the Premier League last season, but on this occasion just another visitor departing the Etihad Stadium wondering how to piece themselves together after the kind of demolition that can shatter confidence. Manchester City’s winning run stands at 16 now and this one was another brutalising experience for Tottenham Hotspur who will have to live with the way they were torn apart over and again in a fixture they drew last season. Pep Guardiola has not just produced a team that dominates possession and wins games but one which now hunts down even its beaten opponents with an unnerving ruthlessness. Guardiola has now matched his longest winning run at Barcelona, in the 2010-2011 season, and he is in sight of the European record of 19 straight wins held by Bayern Munich when they were under the guidance of a certain celebrated Catalan coach. The appetite to annihilate opposing teams seems to be sharpening and it was epitomised by the outstanding Kevin De Bruyne, picking out passes, scoring the second goal himself and playing with an edge that suggests a man anxious to make history. Caught in the City whirlwind, Spurs were clinging on at times and just trying to remind themselves that they were playing the same game. They could point to key absentees among their own side but City achieved this victory without their great playmaker David Silva, left out for a family emergency. Afterwards, Guardiola said that De Bruyne’s appetite to work without the ball, to nick possession and block off channels was as crucial to his influence on the team, and the wider club, as his matchwinning passes and gam-changing goals. Having been flayed in the first half, when Silva’s deputy Ilkay Gundogan scored the first, City eventually broke down Spurs again after the break. De Bruyne scored a second, and Raheem Sterling chipped in with two more in the last ten minutes. It was a day for Spurs to forget Credit: GETTY IMAGES There was time still for Gabriel Jesus to miss a penalty, drilled against the post after he had come on for Sergio Aguero. The Argentine was substituted on 56 minutes, the earliness of it showing that his manager cares not for anyone’s feelings when there is a game to be won. Aguero’s response was the removal of his gloves, tossed onto the pitch with a contemptuous flick and a slow, simmering walk to the touchline. It was a bad day for Spurs who scored deep in injury-time through Christian Eriksen, one of a number of their main men whose game barely flickered into life. There were second half fouls from Harry Kane and Dele Alli that could have earned red cards on another day and the latter was later substituted having scarcely done a thing in the game. Average touch positions (0 min) Mauricio Pochettino refused to discuss the form of the younger of the two Englishmen after the match, adamant that he was not about to single out individuals for blame but he must be concerned about Alli’s form. His stamp on De Bruyne might have been an accident but it was symptomatic of a performance when Alli was simply off the pace and out of the running, unable to assert any influence on the match. The away team were without the long-term injured Toby Alderweireld, as well as Victor Wanyama and Davinson Sanchez and it showed. Their old boy Kyle Walker was on the opposing side and in his former role for Spurs was Kieran Trippier who had a wretched time trying to deal with the pace of Leroy Sane. Even so, the rest of City’s defence – Eliaquim Mangala, Nicolas Otamendi and Fabian Delph – looked vulnerable, but Spurs barely got close to testing them. Gundogan scores City's opening goal from a corner Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne looked every time for the ball out to the left for Sane and sometimes he arrived so quickly that he ran out of pitch before he could shoot. He won the corner for Gundogan’s goal, and the German was unmarked when Sane swung in the cross from the left side for the midfielder to head in. “The way we conceded the goal was a massive mistake,” said Pochettino, but even by then they were on the back foot. De Bruyne’s moment of supreme confidence which is encouraging him to hit passes quicker than ever. He chased down Spurs in possession and he demanded every decision in his favour – including at one point a yellow card for his fellow Belgian Mousa Dembele. Like every player at the very peak of his game he simply expects everything to go his way, and most of the time it did. Possession: Man City vs Spurs There should have been more goals before half-time but it did not quite fall for City. Kane took a boot to the face from Otamendi which earned the Argentine a booking, and the striker did not manage a shot on target before the break. He finally forced the first decent save that Ederson on 55 minutes but City were back in the game quickly. Kane was fortunate to escape worse than a booking for a lunge at the ball that was well short of its target and caught Sterling on the ankle – a foul somewhere in between yellow and red. Alli did much the same to De Bruyne and was also given a yellow card. Guardiola later described the fouls in a television interview as “dangerous”. Whatever opportunity might have been there to build some new momentum was gone and City came back with a vengeance. Before Alli’s stamp, Sane had blasted past Trippier and Hugo Lloris had just about got a hand to his shot strong enough to block it. Then in the 70th minute City broke from back to front again, De Bruyne finally getting the ball in the left channel and unleashing an unstoppable shot past Lloris. Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) De Bruyne won the penalty too, with Jan Vertonghen offering no protest to referee Craig Pawson’s decision to punish a reckless sliding tackle. Jesus had come on for Aguero and he took the penalty, dashing it against the post and Fernandinho skied the rebound. In the final ten minutes Sterling got two goals, the first rolled in from Gundogan’s cross after another City move that had taken them up the pitch at speed. Then there was a fourth after a bad mistake from Eric Dier let Sterling in on goal and he shuffled the ball past Lloris to score. The game was well over when Eriksen sent a left foot shot past Ederson, a postscript to a total thrashing.   7:54PM Expected goals xG map for Manchester City - Tottenham. That's. a. paddlin'. pic.twitter.com/fPDzZwlj4U— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) December 16, 2017   7:52PM Mauricio Pochettino says "Very disappointed, but in the same way you have to accept that the better team won and I think the positive is we try always. We concede early, a poor goal, a massive present and gift for the opponent. Against a team like Man City you cannot do that. "It was our mistake, in this kind of game if you want to win you must concentrate. It changed complete the idea, you need to take risk, the positive thing was to play a team in unbelievable form and I think in the second half we started really well. We had the capacity to play, to dominate, if we should score Harry Kane maybe it's 1-1 and change the game, Harry Winks unbelieveable chance and maybe penalty. But when you are tired and always go forward, go forward you give space." 7:48PM More Guardiola "I have no words to describe [Kevin De Bruyne's] performance today." 7:43PM Pep Guardiola says "That was solid, it was good against one team who are so demanding, intense with quality like Dele Alli, Eriksen, Winks and Harry Kane running in behind. They are one of the strongest teams in the Premier League. "You see the performance of Kevin De Bruyne, when a player runs like... a conference player, it makes things easy for a manager." 7:36PM Post-match interviews Ilkay Gundogan Today was a special performance from the all the team, I'm happy to be on the score sheet but in total we did an incredible job. I was a bit surprised I was that free. I guess the Spurs players didn't know I was strong with my head. I was a bit lucky of course but I'm happy. I've been through tough times, especially games like today where you're able to improve your self confidence, today was a good day. Kevin De Bruyne We know the quality of the team is high, we know this mentally, we want to win every game, we're very busy and mentally we want to keep going. Yeh it was a great performance. It happens, it's part of football, I just blasted it.  No, absolutely not. We are here to win titles, we had a great start, it's still more than half so it's very difficult, very hard. We want to win each game, we're doing a good job. 7:30PM Full time stats Man City vs Spurs shots on goal  Look how narrow City kept Spurs' midfield, then look at the perfect balance for City's shape. Average touch positions (0 min) Possession: Man City vs Spurs   7:27PM Photos Credit: PA   7:24PM FULL TIME What a game. What a performance. "Give them the trophy now", says Frank Lampard. "The best team in Europe," says Rio Ferdinand. Absolutely stunning. 7:23PM GOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL Eriksen scores a brilliant consolation goal! Man City 4 - 1 Spurs (Christian Eriksen, 90 + 3 min) City switch off, Eriksen beats Mangala for pace and opens up the shot on his left foot, tucking it in the bottom right corner. Superb effort. 7:20PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL Spurs are all over the place. Man City 4 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 90 min) They're being toyed with. Bernardo Silva controls the ball and hits a beautiful curling pass behind the defence to Sterling. Dier misses the easy interception, then Sterling accidentally nutmegs Lloris to make it four. This Man City side is easily the best team I've ever seen in the Premier League. 7:17PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Bernardo Silva. De Bruyne is incredible. He's just managed to thread a pass between bodies to Silva, who almost scores with his first touch. Lloris saves at the near post.  Foden links well with Sterling and De Bruyne and tries a high cross into the box which Lloris catches.  Foden's given the ball away now and Spurs have men over on a counter-attack... but City defend well and clear. City are now on the attack! Sterling takes his time... and shoots... and Lloris turns it over!   7:13PM 85 mins Gundogan comes off for Phil Foden for the final few minutes - a big game to come in to. Dele Alli is substituted for Sissoko. That's almost certainly to protect him from a second yellow. 7:11PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL! Jeez louise. They're ridiculously good.  Man City 3 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 80 min) De Bruyne skips through the midfield, threads in Gundogan who slips the ball to Sane, who knows Sterling is waiting slightly further ahead to tap into an empty net. 7:07PM 78 mins Credit: AFP Lamela comes on for Son, which leaves Alli (above, being booked) and Dembele needing to be careful.  Lamela is involved straight away, dribbles into the box, goes past two, passes into the area and Winks takes it on. He needs to shoot! The tackles come in, he stays up, keeps going, keeps going.... and misses the chance. The ball is won in the corner and then De Bruyne has just scooped the ball over Rose and then run around him. Samba magic. I bet Rose feels like quite the fool. 7:05PM MISSED! Jesus stutters as he gets up to take the penalty but hits the post. And then Sterling misses the entire goal from the rebound on his left foot. He's missed the ENTIRE goal.  7:04PM PENALTY! De Bruyne is played into miles of space, skips round Vertonghen and goes down under the slide tackle. A clear penalty. Spurs are falling apart here. 7:03PM 74 mins Spurs need to keep their discipline now. Alli and Dembele are on yellow cards and were frustrated before that goal had even gone in. Jesus, Sane and Sterling have an overload but Jesus' pass is dreadful and puts the ball out for a goal kick. Hoddle adds a new phrase to football language: "That's the thing with City, they can  out possession you" 7:01PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL DE BRUYNE HAS DONE IT! Brilliant by the Belgian.  Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) He recovers from that awful challenge from Alli as City break quickly. Gundogan plays him in down the left and he absolutely batters the ball past Lloris, with Sane making the overlapping run.  De Bruyne goes to the fans and holds up a two and a one finger. 21 is David Silva's number. 6:58PM 69 mins Rose slides in to deny Sterling just as he was about to take a pass from Jesus and be clear in the box on his own. Great defending but he might have hurt himself a little stretching for it. Sane dribbles from the left as he beats Trippier and Son, then shoots at Lloris who can only palm the ball to Sterling, who can't adjust his feet to score what is essentially an open goal from six yards. That was actually much tougher than you'd think. Miss: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 67 min) Dele Alli has gone in overly hard on De Bruyne with a challenge here and left the Belgian in a heap on the floor. That's a red card for me, Clive. And Graham Poll agrees. Alli is frustrated and started kicking out at people ages ago. For some reason Steve McManaman doesn't think that's a red. It's clearly a red card. Yellow.  6:54PM 66 mins Spurs try to play from the back and Vertonghen panics, booting the ball into touch. Walker's touch lets him down soon after though and Spurs win a throw. Eriksen switches play, Winks knocks it on and Kane finds Trippier with a brilliant long pass. Son cuts inside and shoots from near the D but gets underneath it and fires way over the bar. Mangala is too quick for Kane as he chases a ball back but Spurs win it back off Delph. Dembele is caught on the ball (again) and City now have possession. 6:52PM 63 mins Walker fakes to shoot and fools everyone, including Sterling. The pass catches Sterling unaware and he's offside. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Dembele brings down Fernandinho and is booked for persistent fouling. Jesus has changed his left boot for a red one, so has one gold and one red.  6:49PM 60 mins Gabriel Jesus comes on for Aguero. Guardiola wants to change things early before Spurs work their way back into this and Aguero is not happy about it, throwing his gloves to the floor as he leaves the pitch and ignoring Guardiola. And Jesus nearly scores with his first touch! The Brazilian hides between the two centre-backs, sprints onto an early pass from wide right and his so close to controlling it in the six yard box and shooting.  Rose shoots from distance but gets it all wrong. Oh my lord, Ederson has just hit a 70 yard pass onto Sterling's chest, taking the entire of Spurs' forward press out of the game. That is absolute genius. Sane shoots wide from the resulting move but the entire crowd collectively went "woh" for that pass. Out: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Leroy Sané, 59 min)   6:45PM 57 mins Credit: AP Spurs are playing much higher up the pitch in this half and are preventing Man City from getting out with the ball. The passing is quicker and snappier too. Kane spins on the spot 30 yards out and shoots... Ederson saves with a strong hand! That had a lot of power behind it! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 55 min)  Spurs are in control of the ball in this half.  Possession: Man City vs Spurs   6:42PM 54 mins Delph fouls Son and is booked. Spurs have a decent free-kick opportunity here, wide right of the City box.  The delivery is good but Ederson punches away. Kane lunges into a tackle on Sterling - it's a really poor one and he's booked for it. Sterling clutches his shin for a while but is fine. De Bruyne fires a switched pass to Sane and the German is inches away from controlling it and being through on goal.  6:39PM 51 mins Kane opens up the pitch with a pass out wide to Eriksen, he switches it to Son who has to go backwards. Eriksen tucks it inside to Kane, who crosses to Son... this is a great chance! Son can't quite bring the ball down and Sane defends it superbly, blocking the ball with his body and letting Ederson dive on it.  Walker whips a powerful cross into the area, Lloris punches clear and Fernandinho goes down under a challenge from Winks. The referee says plan on and Spurs counter quickly! Kane overhits his pass to Son and it's a goal kick. Pass: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 50 min) Spurs trying to force their way back into this one. 6:36PM 48 mins No changes from either manager at half time. Spurs attack, Man City attack, Spurs attack, now Man City have the ball out wide on the right. Aguero wins a corner.  6:34PM KICK-OFF 2 Some faster passing and better defending of set pieces needed from Spurs, I suspect Man City will grab a couple more goals in the final 15 minutes as Spurs tire from all that pressing. We're back though - let's find out what happens! 6:28PM Graham Poll on Mangala penalty incident This is a rough transcription and not word for word accurate, but: "It's a penalty, we're agreed on that but there are two reasons Pawson hasn't given it. He doesn't have a clear view and the player hasn't gone to ground. "It's a difficult one for players. If he'd have gone to ground, he'd have got the penalty." 6:25PM Telling possession stats Man City vs Spurs Spurs have had more of the ball than most teams at the Etihad, but it's been in defensive areas.   6:20PM Spurs worked hard to keep the ball in that half Possession: Man City vs Spurs  But City are just too good. They're absolutely amazing to watch. 6:18PM HALF TIME City have Spurs rattled but aren't entirely in control here. Spurs have had chances and look dangerous on the counter-attack but on balance, Guardiola's team deserve the lead!  A heavy fog is starting to fall onto the pitch, visible on TV screens and so must be at the match too. Let's hope it doesn't get any thicker though- we want the second half as sharp as this first. Excellent entertainment. 6:15PM 45 mins Mangala doesn't like City's short passing game. Every time he gets it under pressure he fires a long pass up the pitch and gives away possession.  Spurs work a move on the edge of the area and it's chipped into Alli... Ederson dives and wins the ball first. Alli goes tumbling over his head. 6:14PM 44 mins Spurs' passing is still too slow, City are being given chances to win the ball back and are taking them. The game's gone scrappy now with both teams being penalised for silly little fouls while trying to win tackles. 6:13PM 42 mins Alli catches Gundogan with a nasty late tackle, putting his weight down on top of the German's foot.  Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne fizzes the free-kick into the area, Walker wins a throw-in. Spurs chase City all the way back to their goalkeeper. Fernandinho finds Aguero with a clever pass over the top into the box but he's just offside. 6:10PM 39 mins Kane is down holding his face after a really high boot from Otamendi. That's nasty and he's not even been booked for it.  Wait, he has been booked. The referee just takes his time to think about it. Kane must have felt that one, it was a proper boot to the nose. Will he seek revenge?  De Bruyne tells the linesman to "f--- off" as he is penalised for knocking Vertonghen into touch. Football: the gentleman's game. 6:06PM 36 mins De Bruyne is something else. He completely pies Dembele with pace and skill then feeds a perfectly weighted ball into Sane. His first touch is poor and hands the ball to Lloris, who doesn't gather the ball. Spurs eventually get a goal kick after an Aguero shot is just wide. Eriksen has the ball wide left, finds Kane on the edge of the box and he shapes to shoot from distance.... and JUST WIDE! Kane bends it low and hard from distance to the far post and Ederson is beaten, but he's put it wide of the post. Miss: Spurs ( 35 min )   6:03PM 33 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  Trippier is back on his feet and seems to be OK.  6:02PM 32 mins After a brilliant first-time long searching ball from De Bruyne, Sane hits an early pass into Aguero but his shot is blocked. Spurs look rattled.  Trippier gets the better of Sane for the first time and sets Son away. He cuts inside but is swiftly closed down by Sane, who has tracked all the way back. Trippier wins a foul after a heavy, clumsy and late challenge by Delph. Trippier's not enjoying himself as he recovers from that one. 5:59PM 29 mins Man City put their defensive line close to 10 yards from the free-kick. As it turns out it's genius and the free-kick is chipped straight into Ederson's hands. De Bruyne dances through midfield and puts another superb forward pass in behind the defence, Spurs survive once more as Lloris saves from Gundogan and nearly hands the rebound to Sterling. 5:56PM 26 mins Rose finds space on the left! But his cross is awful and the opportunity wasted. Aguero runs through on the left and smashes a shot at goal which Lloris saves well but parries to Sterling. He takes the ball on his left foot, works the space and then balloons a shot waaaaay over the bar. Both have their heads in hands. A big chance gone. Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 24 min) Spurs are committed to playing out from the back here and City are getting closer and closer to punishing them for it. Average touch positions (25 min)   5:54PM 23 mins Sane takes on Trippier, beats him easily and Dier slides in to put the ball out for a corner.  Oooooohhhhh Rose has just shoved Mangala inside the box to put him off a corner but nothing comes of it. The referee must have seen that... and Graham Poll agrees that that is a clear penalty. Craig Pawson is the same referee who gave Everton a penalty for a far softer shove than that! 5:50PM 20 mins End to end stuff here. Spurs are still at this. Possession: Man City vs Spurs   5:48PM 17 mins This game is ace. Spurs are having to work so hard to press City back but now they're losing and could well suffer a drop in confidence. How are they going to react to that goal? City are pressing Spurs high now. 5:46PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! You just can't stop them! Gundogan scores with a header from the corner!  Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Ilkay Gündogan, 14 min) He doesn't even have to time a run, absolutely nobody picks him up from the corner and he scores from the centre of the box! Horrible marking! 5:44PM 13 mins Dele Alli runs with the ball, has Trippier and Rose hugging the touchlines but opts for a reverse through-ball down the middle, and hands possession back to Ederson. Not his best effort. City start working passes around the final third, Sterling comes inside but Dembele intercepts and passes back to Lloris, who slices his clearance after a little bobble up on the pitch. Spurs counter-attack! Son is wide left, Eriksen joins in and hits a bending pass long into the box. Trippier is waiting for it in space... but Kane heads it on and ruins the move! That was a decent opportunity. Glenn Hoddle has noticed that Spurs are leaving Son and Kane upfront as they defend, giving themselves an outball. 5:41PM 10 mins Otamendi hits a brilliant direct pass and turns defence into attack in a split second. Gundogan and Delph look for options but Spurs double up on Sane on the left to stop him going anywhere. And it doesn't work! Sane bursts away from both, gets to the box and pulls the pass across the area... it's cleared up. Magic from Sane. Interception: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Jan Vertonghen, 9 min) Rose gives a free-kick away wide right. De Bruyne curls it into the near post and Aguero heads it on but is just wide.  Out: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 10 min)   5:39PM 8 mins Mangala gives possession away, Trippier is hounded into putting the ball out for a throw as City block his passing options. Spurs are locking onto Mangala quickly here. The high press is working (to an extent so far) and City can't dominate the ball like they have done in recent weeks. A quick early pass ahead of Sterling is swept up by an alert Lloris. It looks like Spurs have been instructed to stop City at source by cutting out passes and dribbles at halfway or by fouling. This worked superbly for them last season.  5:36PM 5 mins Ederson bypasses the high press with a perfectly placed 40 yard pass. He's such a good player. Spurs are looking to hit long switched diagonal passes to get the ball forward and moving up the pitch to win the second ball.  Walker bounces Son into touch and then walks away with the ball like he's moving away from an explosion in a movie, sunglasses on. Top football comedy there. This game is already entertaining and actually fairly open. Spurs looking to win the ball in midfield.. and they foul De Bruyne at the halfway line. That'll be a recurring feature this evening. 5:33PM 2 mins City start on the front foot but Spurs defend calmly. De Bruyne wants to attack from the off and has driven the ball forward a couple of times already.  Danny Rose runs past his man down the left wing, Kane is penalised for nudging Delph off the ball.  Spurs press City high. 5:31PM KICK-OFF Here we go! City get the game started. 5:29PM Let's get pumped   5:27PM Where Spurs can hurt City I might be totally wrong here, but I can see Spurs getting a result against this brilliant Man City side tonight. Let me explain... They have to lose at some point and Spurs are a functional team with an incredibly tactically astute manager. Spurs will defend deep and hit them on the counter-attack like others have done. We know that City's full-backs often leave space in behind and this is where you'll see Eriksen and Son lurking. Rose and Trippier will be tasked with pushing high too, which means City might tuck their full-backs inside to flood the midfield. That'll be an interesting battle. Basically, the main reason City might struggle is that without Silva, Spurs can try to mark De Bruyne out of the game and suddenly they lack that creative spark. Also, Mangala has a mistake in him and doesn't like having the ball at his feet. He'll be a pressing trigger for Spurs' front line.  We're about to find out anyway, here come the players! 5:16PM Managers' pre-match chat A tetchy Pep Guardiola doesn't seem to enjoy his questions: "Of course will be tougher, so we have on one side a lot of confidence we can still beat, relax, every game will be tougher especially against a team like Tottenham. A team with 15 wins in a row that is not normal, sooner or later we'll come back to normality. "Every game is different with managers and players who can do different things." A smiling Pochettino is pretty chilled about it all: "That is the question for six months, I think here in England. They are a fantastic side and playing so well, of course our mentality is try to win and of course we are going to fight a lot for that to happen. They are so far the best team in England. "We are choosing out best side, best players to win every game, it's always a decision about how we want to approach the game. " 5:08PM (Blue) Santa is here Credit: GETTY IMAGES   5:03PM Rio Ferdinand praises Man City "My respect to Pep Guardiola, the tactical genius that he is." 4:55PM Why Man City will miss David Silva so much I wrote this last week on the creative wizardry of David Silva: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player?   4:42PM Missing man The big news is that there is no David Silva for City today. Not sure why at the moment. Kyle Walker starts against his former club. Kieran Trippier, Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli all come into the Spurs starting XI. 4:37PM Team news Team News | How we line-up against Spurs this evening! Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#cityvspurs#mancitypic.twitter.com/B71Lrycena— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 16, 2017 #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Dembele, Winks, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/PQdSbZhlnW— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 16, 2017 4:36PM Match preview Pep Guardiola insists his Manchester City team can get even better despite sweeping almost all comers aside this season. City are 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League after winning their last 15 games, a record in the English top flight. Plaudits have poured in for the stylish and resilient football City have played this term but, for Guardiola, there is no resting on laurels. He said: "What's important is to focus on the pitch what we have to do to play better, to increase our chances and concede few. That's what we have to do. "When I'm happy, it's not because of the result but the way we play. That's what I'm more satisfied by. "I have the feeling we can do better - much, much better. That's what we have to try to insist in them." The City boss is already convinced, however, that this team would have been too good for Guardiola the player. Asked if he could have got into the side, Guardiola, who enjoyed a glittering playing career with Barcelona, said: "No way! Fernandinho is much better!" City's current winning run may be unique in England but it does not yet match Guardiola's personal best as a manager. The Catalan won 16 league games in succession at Barca and bettered even that with Bayern Munich, winning 19 in a row. But such figures are also of no interest to Guardiola, who face Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon. He said: "The record is OK, but records stay there and one day are going to be broken. "Statistics are statistics. It's good to write about that but with the way we play I am satisfied the most."

Manchester City 4 Tottenham 1: Kevin De Bruyne stars as unbeatable City make it 16 wins in a row

It was easy at times to forget that this was the second-best team in the Premier League last season, but on this occasion just another visitor departing the Etihad Stadium wondering how to piece themselves together after the kind of demolition that can shatter confidence. Manchester City’s winning run stands at 16 now and this one was another brutalising experience for Tottenham Hotspur who will have to live with the way they were torn apart over and again in a fixture they drew last season. Pep Guardiola has not just produced a team that dominates possession and wins games but one which now hunts down even its beaten opponents with an unnerving ruthlessness. Guardiola has now matched his longest winning run at Barcelona, in the 2010-2011 season, and he is in sight of the European record of 19 straight wins held by Bayern Munich when they were under the guidance of a certain celebrated Catalan coach. The appetite to annihilate opposing teams seems to be sharpening and it was epitomised by the outstanding Kevin De Bruyne, picking out passes, scoring the second goal himself and playing with an edge that suggests a man anxious to make history. Caught in the City whirlwind, Spurs were clinging on at times and just trying to remind themselves that they were playing the same game. They could point to key absentees among their own side but City achieved this victory without their great playmaker David Silva, left out for a family emergency. Afterwards, Guardiola said that De Bruyne’s appetite to work without the ball, to nick possession and block off channels was as crucial to his influence on the team, and the wider club, as his matchwinning passes and gam-changing goals. Having been flayed in the first half, when Silva’s deputy Ilkay Gundogan scored the first, City eventually broke down Spurs again after the break. De Bruyne scored a second, and Raheem Sterling chipped in with two more in the last ten minutes. It was a day for Spurs to forget Credit: GETTY IMAGES There was time still for Gabriel Jesus to miss a penalty, drilled against the post after he had come on for Sergio Aguero. The Argentine was substituted on 56 minutes, the earliness of it showing that his manager cares not for anyone’s feelings when there is a game to be won. Aguero’s response was the removal of his gloves, tossed onto the pitch with a contemptuous flick and a slow, simmering walk to the touchline. It was a bad day for Spurs who scored deep in injury-time through Christian Eriksen, one of a number of their main men whose game barely flickered into life. There were second half fouls from Harry Kane and Dele Alli that could have earned red cards on another day and the latter was later substituted having scarcely done a thing in the game. Average touch positions (0 min) Mauricio Pochettino refused to discuss the form of the younger of the two Englishmen after the match, adamant that he was not about to single out individuals for blame but he must be concerned about Alli’s form. His stamp on De Bruyne might have been an accident but it was symptomatic of a performance when Alli was simply off the pace and out of the running, unable to assert any influence on the match. The away team were without the long-term injured Toby Alderweireld, as well as Victor Wanyama and Davinson Sanchez and it showed. Their old boy Kyle Walker was on the opposing side and in his former role for Spurs was Kieran Trippier who had a wretched time trying to deal with the pace of Leroy Sane. Even so, the rest of City’s defence – Eliaquim Mangala, Nicolas Otamendi and Fabian Delph – looked vulnerable, but Spurs barely got close to testing them. Gundogan scores City's opening goal from a corner Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne looked every time for the ball out to the left for Sane and sometimes he arrived so quickly that he ran out of pitch before he could shoot. He won the corner for Gundogan’s goal, and the German was unmarked when Sane swung in the cross from the left side for the midfielder to head in. “The way we conceded the goal was a massive mistake,” said Pochettino, but even by then they were on the back foot. De Bruyne’s moment of supreme confidence which is encouraging him to hit passes quicker than ever. He chased down Spurs in possession and he demanded every decision in his favour – including at one point a yellow card for his fellow Belgian Mousa Dembele. Like every player at the very peak of his game he simply expects everything to go his way, and most of the time it did. Possession: Man City vs Spurs There should have been more goals before half-time but it did not quite fall for City. Kane took a boot to the face from Otamendi which earned the Argentine a booking, and the striker did not manage a shot on target before the break. He finally forced the first decent save that Ederson on 55 minutes but City were back in the game quickly. Kane was fortunate to escape worse than a booking for a lunge at the ball that was well short of its target and caught Sterling on the ankle – a foul somewhere in between yellow and red. Alli did much the same to De Bruyne and was also given a yellow card. Guardiola later described the fouls in a television interview as “dangerous”. Whatever opportunity might have been there to build some new momentum was gone and City came back with a vengeance. Before Alli’s stamp, Sane had blasted past Trippier and Hugo Lloris had just about got a hand to his shot strong enough to block it. Then in the 70th minute City broke from back to front again, De Bruyne finally getting the ball in the left channel and unleashing an unstoppable shot past Lloris. Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) De Bruyne won the penalty too, with Jan Vertonghen offering no protest to referee Craig Pawson’s decision to punish a reckless sliding tackle. Jesus had come on for Aguero and he took the penalty, dashing it against the post and Fernandinho skied the rebound. In the final ten minutes Sterling got two goals, the first rolled in from Gundogan’s cross after another City move that had taken them up the pitch at speed. Then there was a fourth after a bad mistake from Eric Dier let Sterling in on goal and he shuffled the ball past Lloris to score. The game was well over when Eriksen sent a left foot shot past Ederson, a postscript to a total thrashing.   7:54PM Expected goals xG map for Manchester City - Tottenham. That's. a. paddlin'. pic.twitter.com/fPDzZwlj4U— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) December 16, 2017   7:52PM Mauricio Pochettino says "Very disappointed, but in the same way you have to accept that the better team won and I think the positive is we try always. We concede early, a poor goal, a massive present and gift for the opponent. Against a team like Man City you cannot do that. "It was our mistake, in this kind of game if you want to win you must concentrate. It changed complete the idea, you need to take risk, the positive thing was to play a team in unbelievable form and I think in the second half we started really well. We had the capacity to play, to dominate, if we should score Harry Kane maybe it's 1-1 and change the game, Harry Winks unbelieveable chance and maybe penalty. But when you are tired and always go forward, go forward you give space." 7:48PM More Guardiola "I have no words to describe [Kevin De Bruyne's] performance today." 7:43PM Pep Guardiola says "That was solid, it was good against one team who are so demanding, intense with quality like Dele Alli, Eriksen, Winks and Harry Kane running in behind. They are one of the strongest teams in the Premier League. "You see the performance of Kevin De Bruyne, when a player runs like... a conference player, it makes things easy for a manager." 7:36PM Post-match interviews Ilkay Gundogan Today was a special performance from the all the team, I'm happy to be on the score sheet but in total we did an incredible job. I was a bit surprised I was that free. I guess the Spurs players didn't know I was strong with my head. I was a bit lucky of course but I'm happy. I've been through tough times, especially games like today where you're able to improve your self confidence, today was a good day. Kevin De Bruyne We know the quality of the team is high, we know this mentally, we want to win every game, we're very busy and mentally we want to keep going. Yeh it was a great performance. It happens, it's part of football, I just blasted it.  No, absolutely not. We are here to win titles, we had a great start, it's still more than half so it's very difficult, very hard. We want to win each game, we're doing a good job. 7:30PM Full time stats Man City vs Spurs shots on goal  Look how narrow City kept Spurs' midfield, then look at the perfect balance for City's shape. Average touch positions (0 min) Possession: Man City vs Spurs   7:27PM Photos Credit: PA   7:24PM FULL TIME What a game. What a performance. "Give them the trophy now", says Frank Lampard. "The best team in Europe," says Rio Ferdinand. Absolutely stunning. 7:23PM GOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL Eriksen scores a brilliant consolation goal! Man City 4 - 1 Spurs (Christian Eriksen, 90 + 3 min) City switch off, Eriksen beats Mangala for pace and opens up the shot on his left foot, tucking it in the bottom right corner. Superb effort. 7:20PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL Spurs are all over the place. Man City 4 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 90 min) They're being toyed with. Bernardo Silva controls the ball and hits a beautiful curling pass behind the defence to Sterling. Dier misses the easy interception, then Sterling accidentally nutmegs Lloris to make it four. This Man City side is easily the best team I've ever seen in the Premier League. 7:17PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Bernardo Silva. De Bruyne is incredible. He's just managed to thread a pass between bodies to Silva, who almost scores with his first touch. Lloris saves at the near post.  Foden links well with Sterling and De Bruyne and tries a high cross into the box which Lloris catches.  Foden's given the ball away now and Spurs have men over on a counter-attack... but City defend well and clear. City are now on the attack! Sterling takes his time... and shoots... and Lloris turns it over!   7:13PM 85 mins Gundogan comes off for Phil Foden for the final few minutes - a big game to come in to. Dele Alli is substituted for Sissoko. That's almost certainly to protect him from a second yellow. 7:11PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL! Jeez louise. They're ridiculously good.  Man City 3 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 80 min) De Bruyne skips through the midfield, threads in Gundogan who slips the ball to Sane, who knows Sterling is waiting slightly further ahead to tap into an empty net. 7:07PM 78 mins Credit: AFP Lamela comes on for Son, which leaves Alli (above, being booked) and Dembele needing to be careful.  Lamela is involved straight away, dribbles into the box, goes past two, passes into the area and Winks takes it on. He needs to shoot! The tackles come in, he stays up, keeps going, keeps going.... and misses the chance. The ball is won in the corner and then De Bruyne has just scooped the ball over Rose and then run around him. Samba magic. I bet Rose feels like quite the fool. 7:05PM MISSED! Jesus stutters as he gets up to take the penalty but hits the post. And then Sterling misses the entire goal from the rebound on his left foot. He's missed the ENTIRE goal.  7:04PM PENALTY! De Bruyne is played into miles of space, skips round Vertonghen and goes down under the slide tackle. A clear penalty. Spurs are falling apart here. 7:03PM 74 mins Spurs need to keep their discipline now. Alli and Dembele are on yellow cards and were frustrated before that goal had even gone in. Jesus, Sane and Sterling have an overload but Jesus' pass is dreadful and puts the ball out for a goal kick. Hoddle adds a new phrase to football language: "That's the thing with City, they can  out possession you" 7:01PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL DE BRUYNE HAS DONE IT! Brilliant by the Belgian.  Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) He recovers from that awful challenge from Alli as City break quickly. Gundogan plays him in down the left and he absolutely batters the ball past Lloris, with Sane making the overlapping run.  De Bruyne goes to the fans and holds up a two and a one finger. 21 is David Silva's number. 6:58PM 69 mins Rose slides in to deny Sterling just as he was about to take a pass from Jesus and be clear in the box on his own. Great defending but he might have hurt himself a little stretching for it. Sane dribbles from the left as he beats Trippier and Son, then shoots at Lloris who can only palm the ball to Sterling, who can't adjust his feet to score what is essentially an open goal from six yards. That was actually much tougher than you'd think. Miss: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 67 min) Dele Alli has gone in overly hard on De Bruyne with a challenge here and left the Belgian in a heap on the floor. That's a red card for me, Clive. And Graham Poll agrees. Alli is frustrated and started kicking out at people ages ago. For some reason Steve McManaman doesn't think that's a red. It's clearly a red card. Yellow.  6:54PM 66 mins Spurs try to play from the back and Vertonghen panics, booting the ball into touch. Walker's touch lets him down soon after though and Spurs win a throw. Eriksen switches play, Winks knocks it on and Kane finds Trippier with a brilliant long pass. Son cuts inside and shoots from near the D but gets underneath it and fires way over the bar. Mangala is too quick for Kane as he chases a ball back but Spurs win it back off Delph. Dembele is caught on the ball (again) and City now have possession. 6:52PM 63 mins Walker fakes to shoot and fools everyone, including Sterling. The pass catches Sterling unaware and he's offside. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Dembele brings down Fernandinho and is booked for persistent fouling. Jesus has changed his left boot for a red one, so has one gold and one red.  6:49PM 60 mins Gabriel Jesus comes on for Aguero. Guardiola wants to change things early before Spurs work their way back into this and Aguero is not happy about it, throwing his gloves to the floor as he leaves the pitch and ignoring Guardiola. And Jesus nearly scores with his first touch! The Brazilian hides between the two centre-backs, sprints onto an early pass from wide right and his so close to controlling it in the six yard box and shooting.  Rose shoots from distance but gets it all wrong. Oh my lord, Ederson has just hit a 70 yard pass onto Sterling's chest, taking the entire of Spurs' forward press out of the game. That is absolute genius. Sane shoots wide from the resulting move but the entire crowd collectively went "woh" for that pass. Out: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Leroy Sané, 59 min)   6:45PM 57 mins Credit: AP Spurs are playing much higher up the pitch in this half and are preventing Man City from getting out with the ball. The passing is quicker and snappier too. Kane spins on the spot 30 yards out and shoots... Ederson saves with a strong hand! That had a lot of power behind it! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 55 min)  Spurs are in control of the ball in this half.  Possession: Man City vs Spurs   6:42PM 54 mins Delph fouls Son and is booked. Spurs have a decent free-kick opportunity here, wide right of the City box.  The delivery is good but Ederson punches away. Kane lunges into a tackle on Sterling - it's a really poor one and he's booked for it. Sterling clutches his shin for a while but is fine. De Bruyne fires a switched pass to Sane and the German is inches away from controlling it and being through on goal.  6:39PM 51 mins Kane opens up the pitch with a pass out wide to Eriksen, he switches it to Son who has to go backwards. Eriksen tucks it inside to Kane, who crosses to Son... this is a great chance! Son can't quite bring the ball down and Sane defends it superbly, blocking the ball with his body and letting Ederson dive on it.  Walker whips a powerful cross into the area, Lloris punches clear and Fernandinho goes down under a challenge from Winks. The referee says plan on and Spurs counter quickly! Kane overhits his pass to Son and it's a goal kick. Pass: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 50 min) Spurs trying to force their way back into this one. 6:36PM 48 mins No changes from either manager at half time. Spurs attack, Man City attack, Spurs attack, now Man City have the ball out wide on the right. Aguero wins a corner.  6:34PM KICK-OFF 2 Some faster passing and better defending of set pieces needed from Spurs, I suspect Man City will grab a couple more goals in the final 15 minutes as Spurs tire from all that pressing. We're back though - let's find out what happens! 6:28PM Graham Poll on Mangala penalty incident This is a rough transcription and not word for word accurate, but: "It's a penalty, we're agreed on that but there are two reasons Pawson hasn't given it. He doesn't have a clear view and the player hasn't gone to ground. "It's a difficult one for players. If he'd have gone to ground, he'd have got the penalty." 6:25PM Telling possession stats Man City vs Spurs Spurs have had more of the ball than most teams at the Etihad, but it's been in defensive areas.   6:20PM Spurs worked hard to keep the ball in that half Possession: Man City vs Spurs  But City are just too good. They're absolutely amazing to watch. 6:18PM HALF TIME City have Spurs rattled but aren't entirely in control here. Spurs have had chances and look dangerous on the counter-attack but on balance, Guardiola's team deserve the lead!  A heavy fog is starting to fall onto the pitch, visible on TV screens and so must be at the match too. Let's hope it doesn't get any thicker though- we want the second half as sharp as this first. Excellent entertainment. 6:15PM 45 mins Mangala doesn't like City's short passing game. Every time he gets it under pressure he fires a long pass up the pitch and gives away possession.  Spurs work a move on the edge of the area and it's chipped into Alli... Ederson dives and wins the ball first. Alli goes tumbling over his head. 6:14PM 44 mins Spurs' passing is still too slow, City are being given chances to win the ball back and are taking them. The game's gone scrappy now with both teams being penalised for silly little fouls while trying to win tackles. 6:13PM 42 mins Alli catches Gundogan with a nasty late tackle, putting his weight down on top of the German's foot.  Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne fizzes the free-kick into the area, Walker wins a throw-in. Spurs chase City all the way back to their goalkeeper. Fernandinho finds Aguero with a clever pass over the top into the box but he's just offside. 6:10PM 39 mins Kane is down holding his face after a really high boot from Otamendi. That's nasty and he's not even been booked for it.  Wait, he has been booked. The referee just takes his time to think about it. Kane must have felt that one, it was a proper boot to the nose. Will he seek revenge?  De Bruyne tells the linesman to "f--- off" as he is penalised for knocking Vertonghen into touch. Football: the gentleman's game. 6:06PM 36 mins De Bruyne is something else. He completely pies Dembele with pace and skill then feeds a perfectly weighted ball into Sane. His first touch is poor and hands the ball to Lloris, who doesn't gather the ball. Spurs eventually get a goal kick after an Aguero shot is just wide. Eriksen has the ball wide left, finds Kane on the edge of the box and he shapes to shoot from distance.... and JUST WIDE! Kane bends it low and hard from distance to the far post and Ederson is beaten, but he's put it wide of the post. Miss: Spurs ( 35 min )   6:03PM 33 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  Trippier is back on his feet and seems to be OK.  6:02PM 32 mins After a brilliant first-time long searching ball from De Bruyne, Sane hits an early pass into Aguero but his shot is blocked. Spurs look rattled.  Trippier gets the better of Sane for the first time and sets Son away. He cuts inside but is swiftly closed down by Sane, who has tracked all the way back. Trippier wins a foul after a heavy, clumsy and late challenge by Delph. Trippier's not enjoying himself as he recovers from that one. 5:59PM 29 mins Man City put their defensive line close to 10 yards from the free-kick. As it turns out it's genius and the free-kick is chipped straight into Ederson's hands. De Bruyne dances through midfield and puts another superb forward pass in behind the defence, Spurs survive once more as Lloris saves from Gundogan and nearly hands the rebound to Sterling. 5:56PM 26 mins Rose finds space on the left! But his cross is awful and the opportunity wasted. Aguero runs through on the left and smashes a shot at goal which Lloris saves well but parries to Sterling. He takes the ball on his left foot, works the space and then balloons a shot waaaaay over the bar. Both have their heads in hands. A big chance gone. Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 24 min) Spurs are committed to playing out from the back here and City are getting closer and closer to punishing them for it. Average touch positions (25 min)   5:54PM 23 mins Sane takes on Trippier, beats him easily and Dier slides in to put the ball out for a corner.  Oooooohhhhh Rose has just shoved Mangala inside the box to put him off a corner but nothing comes of it. The referee must have seen that... and Graham Poll agrees that that is a clear penalty. Craig Pawson is the same referee who gave Everton a penalty for a far softer shove than that! 5:50PM 20 mins End to end stuff here. Spurs are still at this. Possession: Man City vs Spurs   5:48PM 17 mins This game is ace. Spurs are having to work so hard to press City back but now they're losing and could well suffer a drop in confidence. How are they going to react to that goal? City are pressing Spurs high now. 5:46PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! You just can't stop them! Gundogan scores with a header from the corner!  Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Ilkay Gündogan, 14 min) He doesn't even have to time a run, absolutely nobody picks him up from the corner and he scores from the centre of the box! Horrible marking! 5:44PM 13 mins Dele Alli runs with the ball, has Trippier and Rose hugging the touchlines but opts for a reverse through-ball down the middle, and hands possession back to Ederson. Not his best effort. City start working passes around the final third, Sterling comes inside but Dembele intercepts and passes back to Lloris, who slices his clearance after a little bobble up on the pitch. Spurs counter-attack! Son is wide left, Eriksen joins in and hits a bending pass long into the box. Trippier is waiting for it in space... but Kane heads it on and ruins the move! That was a decent opportunity. Glenn Hoddle has noticed that Spurs are leaving Son and Kane upfront as they defend, giving themselves an outball. 5:41PM 10 mins Otamendi hits a brilliant direct pass and turns defence into attack in a split second. Gundogan and Delph look for options but Spurs double up on Sane on the left to stop him going anywhere. And it doesn't work! Sane bursts away from both, gets to the box and pulls the pass across the area... it's cleared up. Magic from Sane. Interception: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Jan Vertonghen, 9 min) Rose gives a free-kick away wide right. De Bruyne curls it into the near post and Aguero heads it on but is just wide.  Out: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 10 min)   5:39PM 8 mins Mangala gives possession away, Trippier is hounded into putting the ball out for a throw as City block his passing options. Spurs are locking onto Mangala quickly here. The high press is working (to an extent so far) and City can't dominate the ball like they have done in recent weeks. A quick early pass ahead of Sterling is swept up by an alert Lloris. It looks like Spurs have been instructed to stop City at source by cutting out passes and dribbles at halfway or by fouling. This worked superbly for them last season.  5:36PM 5 mins Ederson bypasses the high press with a perfectly placed 40 yard pass. He's such a good player. Spurs are looking to hit long switched diagonal passes to get the ball forward and moving up the pitch to win the second ball.  Walker bounces Son into touch and then walks away with the ball like he's moving away from an explosion in a movie, sunglasses on. Top football comedy there. This game is already entertaining and actually fairly open. Spurs looking to win the ball in midfield.. and they foul De Bruyne at the halfway line. That'll be a recurring feature this evening. 5:33PM 2 mins City start on the front foot but Spurs defend calmly. De Bruyne wants to attack from the off and has driven the ball forward a couple of times already.  Danny Rose runs past his man down the left wing, Kane is penalised for nudging Delph off the ball.  Spurs press City high. 5:31PM KICK-OFF Here we go! City get the game started. 5:29PM Let's get pumped   5:27PM Where Spurs can hurt City I might be totally wrong here, but I can see Spurs getting a result against this brilliant Man City side tonight. Let me explain... They have to lose at some point and Spurs are a functional team with an incredibly tactically astute manager. Spurs will defend deep and hit them on the counter-attack like others have done. We know that City's full-backs often leave space in behind and this is where you'll see Eriksen and Son lurking. Rose and Trippier will be tasked with pushing high too, which means City might tuck their full-backs inside to flood the midfield. That'll be an interesting battle. Basically, the main reason City might struggle is that without Silva, Spurs can try to mark De Bruyne out of the game and suddenly they lack that creative spark. Also, Mangala has a mistake in him and doesn't like having the ball at his feet. He'll be a pressing trigger for Spurs' front line.  We're about to find out anyway, here come the players! 5:16PM Managers' pre-match chat A tetchy Pep Guardiola doesn't seem to enjoy his questions: "Of course will be tougher, so we have on one side a lot of confidence we can still beat, relax, every game will be tougher especially against a team like Tottenham. A team with 15 wins in a row that is not normal, sooner or later we'll come back to normality. "Every game is different with managers and players who can do different things." A smiling Pochettino is pretty chilled about it all: "That is the question for six months, I think here in England. They are a fantastic side and playing so well, of course our mentality is try to win and of course we are going to fight a lot for that to happen. They are so far the best team in England. "We are choosing out best side, best players to win every game, it's always a decision about how we want to approach the game. " 5:08PM (Blue) Santa is here Credit: GETTY IMAGES   5:03PM Rio Ferdinand praises Man City "My respect to Pep Guardiola, the tactical genius that he is." 4:55PM Why Man City will miss David Silva so much I wrote this last week on the creative wizardry of David Silva: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player?   4:42PM Missing man The big news is that there is no David Silva for City today. Not sure why at the moment. Kyle Walker starts against his former club. Kieran Trippier, Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli all come into the Spurs starting XI. 4:37PM Team news Team News | How we line-up against Spurs this evening! Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#cityvspurs#mancitypic.twitter.com/B71Lrycena— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 16, 2017 #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Dembele, Winks, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/PQdSbZhlnW— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 16, 2017 4:36PM Match preview Pep Guardiola insists his Manchester City team can get even better despite sweeping almost all comers aside this season. City are 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League after winning their last 15 games, a record in the English top flight. Plaudits have poured in for the stylish and resilient football City have played this term but, for Guardiola, there is no resting on laurels. He said: "What's important is to focus on the pitch what we have to do to play better, to increase our chances and concede few. That's what we have to do. "When I'm happy, it's not because of the result but the way we play. That's what I'm more satisfied by. "I have the feeling we can do better - much, much better. That's what we have to try to insist in them." The City boss is already convinced, however, that this team would have been too good for Guardiola the player. Asked if he could have got into the side, Guardiola, who enjoyed a glittering playing career with Barcelona, said: "No way! Fernandinho is much better!" City's current winning run may be unique in England but it does not yet match Guardiola's personal best as a manager. The Catalan won 16 league games in succession at Barca and bettered even that with Bayern Munich, winning 19 in a row. But such figures are also of no interest to Guardiola, who face Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon. He said: "The record is OK, but records stay there and one day are going to be broken. "Statistics are statistics. It's good to write about that but with the way we play I am satisfied the most."

Manchester City 4 Tottenham 1: Kevin De Bruyne stars as unbeatable City make it 16 wins in a row

It was easy at times to forget that this was the second-best team in the Premier League last season, but on this occasion just another visitor departing the Etihad Stadium wondering how to piece themselves together after the kind of demolition that can shatter confidence. Manchester City’s winning run stands at 16 now and this one was another brutalising experience for Tottenham Hotspur who will have to live with the way they were torn apart over and again in a fixture they drew last season. Pep Guardiola has not just produced a team that dominates possession and wins games but one which now hunts down even its beaten opponents with an unnerving ruthlessness. Guardiola has now matched his longest winning run at Barcelona, in the 2010-2011 season, and he is in sight of the European record of 19 straight wins held by Bayern Munich when they were under the guidance of a certain celebrated Catalan coach. The appetite to annihilate opposing teams seems to be sharpening and it was epitomised by the outstanding Kevin De Bruyne, picking out passes, scoring the second goal himself and playing with an edge that suggests a man anxious to make history. Caught in the City whirlwind, Spurs were clinging on at times and just trying to remind themselves that they were playing the same game. They could point to key absentees among their own side but City achieved this victory without their great playmaker David Silva, left out for a family emergency. Afterwards, Guardiola said that De Bruyne’s appetite to work without the ball, to nick possession and block off channels was as crucial to his influence on the team, and the wider club, as his matchwinning passes and gam-changing goals. Having been flayed in the first half, when Silva’s deputy Ilkay Gundogan scored the first, City eventually broke down Spurs again after the break. De Bruyne scored a second, and Raheem Sterling chipped in with two more in the last ten minutes. It was a day for Spurs to forget Credit: GETTY IMAGES There was time still for Gabriel Jesus to miss a penalty, drilled against the post after he had come on for Sergio Aguero. The Argentine was substituted on 56 minutes, the earliness of it showing that his manager cares not for anyone’s feelings when there is a game to be won. Aguero’s response was the removal of his gloves, tossed onto the pitch with a contemptuous flick and a slow, simmering walk to the touchline. It was a bad day for Spurs who scored deep in injury-time through Christian Eriksen, one of a number of their main men whose game barely flickered into life. There were second half fouls from Harry Kane and Dele Alli that could have earned red cards on another day and the latter was later substituted having scarcely done a thing in the game. Average touch positions (0 min) Mauricio Pochettino refused to discuss the form of the younger of the two Englishmen after the match, adamant that he was not about to single out individuals for blame but he must be concerned about Alli’s form. His stamp on De Bruyne might have been an accident but it was symptomatic of a performance when Alli was simply off the pace and out of the running, unable to assert any influence on the match. The away team were without the long-term injured Toby Alderweireld, as well as Victor Wanyama and Davinson Sanchez and it showed. Their old boy Kyle Walker was on the opposing side and in his former role for Spurs was Kieran Trippier who had a wretched time trying to deal with the pace of Leroy Sane. Even so, the rest of City’s defence – Eliaquim Mangala, Nicolas Otamendi and Fabian Delph – looked vulnerable, but Spurs barely got close to testing them. Gundogan scores City's opening goal from a corner Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne looked every time for the ball out to the left for Sane and sometimes he arrived so quickly that he ran out of pitch before he could shoot. He won the corner for Gundogan’s goal, and the German was unmarked when Sane swung in the cross from the left side for the midfielder to head in. “The way we conceded the goal was a massive mistake,” said Pochettino, but even by then they were on the back foot. De Bruyne’s moment of supreme confidence which is encouraging him to hit passes quicker than ever. He chased down Spurs in possession and he demanded every decision in his favour – including at one point a yellow card for his fellow Belgian Mousa Dembele. Like every player at the very peak of his game he simply expects everything to go his way, and most of the time it did. Possession: Man City vs Spurs There should have been more goals before half-time but it did not quite fall for City. Kane took a boot to the face from Otamendi which earned the Argentine a booking, and the striker did not manage a shot on target before the break. He finally forced the first decent save that Ederson on 55 minutes but City were back in the game quickly. Kane was fortunate to escape worse than a booking for a lunge at the ball that was well short of its target and caught Sterling on the ankle – a foul somewhere in between yellow and red. Alli did much the same to De Bruyne and was also given a yellow card. Guardiola later described the fouls in a television interview as “dangerous”. Whatever opportunity might have been there to build some new momentum was gone and City came back with a vengeance. Before Alli’s stamp, Sane had blasted past Trippier and Hugo Lloris had just about got a hand to his shot strong enough to block it. Then in the 70th minute City broke from back to front again, De Bruyne finally getting the ball in the left channel and unleashing an unstoppable shot past Lloris. Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) De Bruyne won the penalty too, with Jan Vertonghen offering no protest to referee Craig Pawson’s decision to punish a reckless sliding tackle. Jesus had come on for Aguero and he took the penalty, dashing it against the post and Fernandinho skied the rebound. In the final ten minutes Sterling got two goals, the first rolled in from Gundogan’s cross after another City move that had taken them up the pitch at speed. Then there was a fourth after a bad mistake from Eric Dier let Sterling in on goal and he shuffled the ball past Lloris to score. The game was well over when Eriksen sent a left foot shot past Ederson, a postscript to a total thrashing.   7:54PM Expected goals xG map for Manchester City - Tottenham. That's. a. paddlin'. pic.twitter.com/fPDzZwlj4U— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) December 16, 2017   7:52PM Mauricio Pochettino says "Very disappointed, but in the same way you have to accept that the better team won and I think the positive is we try always. We concede early, a poor goal, a massive present and gift for the opponent. Against a team like Man City you cannot do that. "It was our mistake, in this kind of game if you want to win you must concentrate. It changed complete the idea, you need to take risk, the positive thing was to play a team in unbelievable form and I think in the second half we started really well. We had the capacity to play, to dominate, if we should score Harry Kane maybe it's 1-1 and change the game, Harry Winks unbelieveable chance and maybe penalty. But when you are tired and always go forward, go forward you give space." 7:48PM More Guardiola "I have no words to describe [Kevin De Bruyne's] performance today." 7:43PM Pep Guardiola says "That was solid, it was good against one team who are so demanding, intense with quality like Dele Alli, Eriksen, Winks and Harry Kane running in behind. They are one of the strongest teams in the Premier League. "You see the performance of Kevin De Bruyne, when a player runs like... a conference player, it makes things easy for a manager." 7:36PM Post-match interviews Ilkay Gundogan Today was a special performance from the all the team, I'm happy to be on the score sheet but in total we did an incredible job. I was a bit surprised I was that free. I guess the Spurs players didn't know I was strong with my head. I was a bit lucky of course but I'm happy. I've been through tough times, especially games like today where you're able to improve your self confidence, today was a good day. Kevin De Bruyne We know the quality of the team is high, we know this mentally, we want to win every game, we're very busy and mentally we want to keep going. Yeh it was a great performance. It happens, it's part of football, I just blasted it.  No, absolutely not. We are here to win titles, we had a great start, it's still more than half so it's very difficult, very hard. We want to win each game, we're doing a good job. 7:30PM Full time stats Man City vs Spurs shots on goal  Look how narrow City kept Spurs' midfield, then look at the perfect balance for City's shape. Average touch positions (0 min) Possession: Man City vs Spurs   7:27PM Photos Credit: PA   7:24PM FULL TIME What a game. What a performance. "Give them the trophy now", says Frank Lampard. "The best team in Europe," says Rio Ferdinand. Absolutely stunning. 7:23PM GOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL Eriksen scores a brilliant consolation goal! Man City 4 - 1 Spurs (Christian Eriksen, 90 + 3 min) City switch off, Eriksen beats Mangala for pace and opens up the shot on his left foot, tucking it in the bottom right corner. Superb effort. 7:20PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL Spurs are all over the place. Man City 4 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 90 min) They're being toyed with. Bernardo Silva controls the ball and hits a beautiful curling pass behind the defence to Sterling. Dier misses the easy interception, then Sterling accidentally nutmegs Lloris to make it four. This Man City side is easily the best team I've ever seen in the Premier League. 7:17PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Bernardo Silva. De Bruyne is incredible. He's just managed to thread a pass between bodies to Silva, who almost scores with his first touch. Lloris saves at the near post.  Foden links well with Sterling and De Bruyne and tries a high cross into the box which Lloris catches.  Foden's given the ball away now and Spurs have men over on a counter-attack... but City defend well and clear. City are now on the attack! Sterling takes his time... and shoots... and Lloris turns it over!   7:13PM 85 mins Gundogan comes off for Phil Foden for the final few minutes - a big game to come in to. Dele Alli is substituted for Sissoko. That's almost certainly to protect him from a second yellow. 7:11PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL! Jeez louise. They're ridiculously good.  Man City 3 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 80 min) De Bruyne skips through the midfield, threads in Gundogan who slips the ball to Sane, who knows Sterling is waiting slightly further ahead to tap into an empty net. 7:07PM 78 mins Credit: AFP Lamela comes on for Son, which leaves Alli (above, being booked) and Dembele needing to be careful.  Lamela is involved straight away, dribbles into the box, goes past two, passes into the area and Winks takes it on. He needs to shoot! The tackles come in, he stays up, keeps going, keeps going.... and misses the chance. The ball is won in the corner and then De Bruyne has just scooped the ball over Rose and then run around him. Samba magic. I bet Rose feels like quite the fool. 7:05PM MISSED! Jesus stutters as he gets up to take the penalty but hits the post. And then Sterling misses the entire goal from the rebound on his left foot. He's missed the ENTIRE goal.  7:04PM PENALTY! De Bruyne is played into miles of space, skips round Vertonghen and goes down under the slide tackle. A clear penalty. Spurs are falling apart here. 7:03PM 74 mins Spurs need to keep their discipline now. Alli and Dembele are on yellow cards and were frustrated before that goal had even gone in. Jesus, Sane and Sterling have an overload but Jesus' pass is dreadful and puts the ball out for a goal kick. Hoddle adds a new phrase to football language: "That's the thing with City, they can  out possession you" 7:01PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL DE BRUYNE HAS DONE IT! Brilliant by the Belgian.  Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) He recovers from that awful challenge from Alli as City break quickly. Gundogan plays him in down the left and he absolutely batters the ball past Lloris, with Sane making the overlapping run.  De Bruyne goes to the fans and holds up a two and a one finger. 21 is David Silva's number. 6:58PM 69 mins Rose slides in to deny Sterling just as he was about to take a pass from Jesus and be clear in the box on his own. Great defending but he might have hurt himself a little stretching for it. Sane dribbles from the left as he beats Trippier and Son, then shoots at Lloris who can only palm the ball to Sterling, who can't adjust his feet to score what is essentially an open goal from six yards. That was actually much tougher than you'd think. Miss: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 67 min) Dele Alli has gone in overly hard on De Bruyne with a challenge here and left the Belgian in a heap on the floor. That's a red card for me, Clive. And Graham Poll agrees. Alli is frustrated and started kicking out at people ages ago. For some reason Steve McManaman doesn't think that's a red. It's clearly a red card. Yellow.  6:54PM 66 mins Spurs try to play from the back and Vertonghen panics, booting the ball into touch. Walker's touch lets him down soon after though and Spurs win a throw. Eriksen switches play, Winks knocks it on and Kane finds Trippier with a brilliant long pass. Son cuts inside and shoots from near the D but gets underneath it and fires way over the bar. Mangala is too quick for Kane as he chases a ball back but Spurs win it back off Delph. Dembele is caught on the ball (again) and City now have possession. 6:52PM 63 mins Walker fakes to shoot and fools everyone, including Sterling. The pass catches Sterling unaware and he's offside. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Dembele brings down Fernandinho and is booked for persistent fouling. Jesus has changed his left boot for a red one, so has one gold and one red.  6:49PM 60 mins Gabriel Jesus comes on for Aguero. Guardiola wants to change things early before Spurs work their way back into this and Aguero is not happy about it, throwing his gloves to the floor as he leaves the pitch and ignoring Guardiola. And Jesus nearly scores with his first touch! The Brazilian hides between the two centre-backs, sprints onto an early pass from wide right and his so close to controlling it in the six yard box and shooting.  Rose shoots from distance but gets it all wrong. Oh my lord, Ederson has just hit a 70 yard pass onto Sterling's chest, taking the entire of Spurs' forward press out of the game. That is absolute genius. Sane shoots wide from the resulting move but the entire crowd collectively went "woh" for that pass. Out: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Leroy Sané, 59 min)   6:45PM 57 mins Credit: AP Spurs are playing much higher up the pitch in this half and are preventing Man City from getting out with the ball. The passing is quicker and snappier too. Kane spins on the spot 30 yards out and shoots... Ederson saves with a strong hand! That had a lot of power behind it! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 55 min)  Spurs are in control of the ball in this half.  Possession: Man City vs Spurs   6:42PM 54 mins Delph fouls Son and is booked. Spurs have a decent free-kick opportunity here, wide right of the City box.  The delivery is good but Ederson punches away. Kane lunges into a tackle on Sterling - it's a really poor one and he's booked for it. Sterling clutches his shin for a while but is fine. De Bruyne fires a switched pass to Sane and the German is inches away from controlling it and being through on goal.  6:39PM 51 mins Kane opens up the pitch with a pass out wide to Eriksen, he switches it to Son who has to go backwards. Eriksen tucks it inside to Kane, who crosses to Son... this is a great chance! Son can't quite bring the ball down and Sane defends it superbly, blocking the ball with his body and letting Ederson dive on it.  Walker whips a powerful cross into the area, Lloris punches clear and Fernandinho goes down under a challenge from Winks. The referee says plan on and Spurs counter quickly! Kane overhits his pass to Son and it's a goal kick. Pass: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 50 min) Spurs trying to force their way back into this one. 6:36PM 48 mins No changes from either manager at half time. Spurs attack, Man City attack, Spurs attack, now Man City have the ball out wide on the right. Aguero wins a corner.  6:34PM KICK-OFF 2 Some faster passing and better defending of set pieces needed from Spurs, I suspect Man City will grab a couple more goals in the final 15 minutes as Spurs tire from all that pressing. We're back though - let's find out what happens! 6:28PM Graham Poll on Mangala penalty incident This is a rough transcription and not word for word accurate, but: "It's a penalty, we're agreed on that but there are two reasons Pawson hasn't given it. He doesn't have a clear view and the player hasn't gone to ground. "It's a difficult one for players. If he'd have gone to ground, he'd have got the penalty." 6:25PM Telling possession stats Man City vs Spurs Spurs have had more of the ball than most teams at the Etihad, but it's been in defensive areas.   6:20PM Spurs worked hard to keep the ball in that half Possession: Man City vs Spurs  But City are just too good. They're absolutely amazing to watch. 6:18PM HALF TIME City have Spurs rattled but aren't entirely in control here. Spurs have had chances and look dangerous on the counter-attack but on balance, Guardiola's team deserve the lead!  A heavy fog is starting to fall onto the pitch, visible on TV screens and so must be at the match too. Let's hope it doesn't get any thicker though- we want the second half as sharp as this first. Excellent entertainment. 6:15PM 45 mins Mangala doesn't like City's short passing game. Every time he gets it under pressure he fires a long pass up the pitch and gives away possession.  Spurs work a move on the edge of the area and it's chipped into Alli... Ederson dives and wins the ball first. Alli goes tumbling over his head. 6:14PM 44 mins Spurs' passing is still too slow, City are being given chances to win the ball back and are taking them. The game's gone scrappy now with both teams being penalised for silly little fouls while trying to win tackles. 6:13PM 42 mins Alli catches Gundogan with a nasty late tackle, putting his weight down on top of the German's foot.  Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne fizzes the free-kick into the area, Walker wins a throw-in. Spurs chase City all the way back to their goalkeeper. Fernandinho finds Aguero with a clever pass over the top into the box but he's just offside. 6:10PM 39 mins Kane is down holding his face after a really high boot from Otamendi. That's nasty and he's not even been booked for it.  Wait, he has been booked. The referee just takes his time to think about it. Kane must have felt that one, it was a proper boot to the nose. Will he seek revenge?  De Bruyne tells the linesman to "f--- off" as he is penalised for knocking Vertonghen into touch. Football: the gentleman's game. 6:06PM 36 mins De Bruyne is something else. He completely pies Dembele with pace and skill then feeds a perfectly weighted ball into Sane. His first touch is poor and hands the ball to Lloris, who doesn't gather the ball. Spurs eventually get a goal kick after an Aguero shot is just wide. Eriksen has the ball wide left, finds Kane on the edge of the box and he shapes to shoot from distance.... and JUST WIDE! Kane bends it low and hard from distance to the far post and Ederson is beaten, but he's put it wide of the post. Miss: Spurs ( 35 min )   6:03PM 33 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  Trippier is back on his feet and seems to be OK.  6:02PM 32 mins After a brilliant first-time long searching ball from De Bruyne, Sane hits an early pass into Aguero but his shot is blocked. Spurs look rattled.  Trippier gets the better of Sane for the first time and sets Son away. He cuts inside but is swiftly closed down by Sane, who has tracked all the way back. Trippier wins a foul after a heavy, clumsy and late challenge by Delph. Trippier's not enjoying himself as he recovers from that one. 5:59PM 29 mins Man City put their defensive line close to 10 yards from the free-kick. As it turns out it's genius and the free-kick is chipped straight into Ederson's hands. De Bruyne dances through midfield and puts another superb forward pass in behind the defence, Spurs survive once more as Lloris saves from Gundogan and nearly hands the rebound to Sterling. 5:56PM 26 mins Rose finds space on the left! But his cross is awful and the opportunity wasted. Aguero runs through on the left and smashes a shot at goal which Lloris saves well but parries to Sterling. He takes the ball on his left foot, works the space and then balloons a shot waaaaay over the bar. Both have their heads in hands. A big chance gone. Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 24 min) Spurs are committed to playing out from the back here and City are getting closer and closer to punishing them for it. Average touch positions (25 min)   5:54PM 23 mins Sane takes on Trippier, beats him easily and Dier slides in to put the ball out for a corner.  Oooooohhhhh Rose has just shoved Mangala inside the box to put him off a corner but nothing comes of it. The referee must have seen that... and Graham Poll agrees that that is a clear penalty. Craig Pawson is the same referee who gave Everton a penalty for a far softer shove than that! 5:50PM 20 mins End to end stuff here. Spurs are still at this. Possession: Man City vs Spurs   5:48PM 17 mins This game is ace. Spurs are having to work so hard to press City back but now they're losing and could well suffer a drop in confidence. How are they going to react to that goal? City are pressing Spurs high now. 5:46PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! You just can't stop them! Gundogan scores with a header from the corner!  Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Ilkay Gündogan, 14 min) He doesn't even have to time a run, absolutely nobody picks him up from the corner and he scores from the centre of the box! Horrible marking! 5:44PM 13 mins Dele Alli runs with the ball, has Trippier and Rose hugging the touchlines but opts for a reverse through-ball down the middle, and hands possession back to Ederson. Not his best effort. City start working passes around the final third, Sterling comes inside but Dembele intercepts and passes back to Lloris, who slices his clearance after a little bobble up on the pitch. Spurs counter-attack! Son is wide left, Eriksen joins in and hits a bending pass long into the box. Trippier is waiting for it in space... but Kane heads it on and ruins the move! That was a decent opportunity. Glenn Hoddle has noticed that Spurs are leaving Son and Kane upfront as they defend, giving themselves an outball. 5:41PM 10 mins Otamendi hits a brilliant direct pass and turns defence into attack in a split second. Gundogan and Delph look for options but Spurs double up on Sane on the left to stop him going anywhere. And it doesn't work! Sane bursts away from both, gets to the box and pulls the pass across the area... it's cleared up. Magic from Sane. Interception: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Jan Vertonghen, 9 min) Rose gives a free-kick away wide right. De Bruyne curls it into the near post and Aguero heads it on but is just wide.  Out: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 10 min)   5:39PM 8 mins Mangala gives possession away, Trippier is hounded into putting the ball out for a throw as City block his passing options. Spurs are locking onto Mangala quickly here. The high press is working (to an extent so far) and City can't dominate the ball like they have done in recent weeks. A quick early pass ahead of Sterling is swept up by an alert Lloris. It looks like Spurs have been instructed to stop City at source by cutting out passes and dribbles at halfway or by fouling. This worked superbly for them last season.  5:36PM 5 mins Ederson bypasses the high press with a perfectly placed 40 yard pass. He's such a good player. Spurs are looking to hit long switched diagonal passes to get the ball forward and moving up the pitch to win the second ball.  Walker bounces Son into touch and then walks away with the ball like he's moving away from an explosion in a movie, sunglasses on. Top football comedy there. This game is already entertaining and actually fairly open. Spurs looking to win the ball in midfield.. and they foul De Bruyne at the halfway line. That'll be a recurring feature this evening. 5:33PM 2 mins City start on the front foot but Spurs defend calmly. De Bruyne wants to attack from the off and has driven the ball forward a couple of times already.  Danny Rose runs past his man down the left wing, Kane is penalised for nudging Delph off the ball.  Spurs press City high. 5:31PM KICK-OFF Here we go! City get the game started. 5:29PM Let's get pumped   5:27PM Where Spurs can hurt City I might be totally wrong here, but I can see Spurs getting a result against this brilliant Man City side tonight. Let me explain... They have to lose at some point and Spurs are a functional team with an incredibly tactically astute manager. Spurs will defend deep and hit them on the counter-attack like others have done. We know that City's full-backs often leave space in behind and this is where you'll see Eriksen and Son lurking. Rose and Trippier will be tasked with pushing high too, which means City might tuck their full-backs inside to flood the midfield. That'll be an interesting battle. Basically, the main reason City might struggle is that without Silva, Spurs can try to mark De Bruyne out of the game and suddenly they lack that creative spark. Also, Mangala has a mistake in him and doesn't like having the ball at his feet. He'll be a pressing trigger for Spurs' front line.  We're about to find out anyway, here come the players! 5:16PM Managers' pre-match chat A tetchy Pep Guardiola doesn't seem to enjoy his questions: "Of course will be tougher, so we have on one side a lot of confidence we can still beat, relax, every game will be tougher especially against a team like Tottenham. A team with 15 wins in a row that is not normal, sooner or later we'll come back to normality. "Every game is different with managers and players who can do different things." A smiling Pochettino is pretty chilled about it all: "That is the question for six months, I think here in England. They are a fantastic side and playing so well, of course our mentality is try to win and of course we are going to fight a lot for that to happen. They are so far the best team in England. "We are choosing out best side, best players to win every game, it's always a decision about how we want to approach the game. " 5:08PM (Blue) Santa is here Credit: GETTY IMAGES   5:03PM Rio Ferdinand praises Man City "My respect to Pep Guardiola, the tactical genius that he is." 4:55PM Why Man City will miss David Silva so much I wrote this last week on the creative wizardry of David Silva: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player?   4:42PM Missing man The big news is that there is no David Silva for City today. Not sure why at the moment. Kyle Walker starts against his former club. Kieran Trippier, Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli all come into the Spurs starting XI. 4:37PM Team news Team News | How we line-up against Spurs this evening! Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#cityvspurs#mancitypic.twitter.com/B71Lrycena— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 16, 2017 #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Dembele, Winks, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/PQdSbZhlnW— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 16, 2017 4:36PM Match preview Pep Guardiola insists his Manchester City team can get even better despite sweeping almost all comers aside this season. City are 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League after winning their last 15 games, a record in the English top flight. Plaudits have poured in for the stylish and resilient football City have played this term but, for Guardiola, there is no resting on laurels. He said: "What's important is to focus on the pitch what we have to do to play better, to increase our chances and concede few. That's what we have to do. "When I'm happy, it's not because of the result but the way we play. That's what I'm more satisfied by. "I have the feeling we can do better - much, much better. That's what we have to try to insist in them." The City boss is already convinced, however, that this team would have been too good for Guardiola the player. Asked if he could have got into the side, Guardiola, who enjoyed a glittering playing career with Barcelona, said: "No way! Fernandinho is much better!" City's current winning run may be unique in England but it does not yet match Guardiola's personal best as a manager. The Catalan won 16 league games in succession at Barca and bettered even that with Bayern Munich, winning 19 in a row. But such figures are also of no interest to Guardiola, who face Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon. He said: "The record is OK, but records stay there and one day are going to be broken. "Statistics are statistics. It's good to write about that but with the way we play I am satisfied the most."

Manchester City 4 Tottenham 1: Kevin De Bruyne stars as unbeatable City make it 16 wins in a row

It was easy at times to forget that this was the second-best team in the Premier League last season, but on this occasion just another visitor departing the Etihad Stadium wondering how to piece themselves together after the kind of demolition that can shatter confidence. Manchester City’s winning run stands at 16 now and this one was another brutalising experience for Tottenham Hotspur who will have to live with the way they were torn apart over and again in a fixture they drew last season. Pep Guardiola has not just produced a team that dominates possession and wins games but one which now hunts down even its beaten opponents with an unnerving ruthlessness. Guardiola has now matched his longest winning run at Barcelona, in the 2010-2011 season, and he is in sight of the European record of 19 straight wins held by Bayern Munich when they were under the guidance of a certain celebrated Catalan coach. The appetite to annihilate opposing teams seems to be sharpening and it was epitomised by the outstanding Kevin De Bruyne, picking out passes, scoring the second goal himself and playing with an edge that suggests a man anxious to make history. Caught in the City whirlwind, Spurs were clinging on at times and just trying to remind themselves that they were playing the same game. They could point to key absentees among their own side but City achieved this victory without their great playmaker David Silva, left out for a family emergency. Afterwards, Guardiola said that De Bruyne’s appetite to work without the ball, to nick possession and block off channels was as crucial to his influence on the team, and the wider club, as his matchwinning passes and gam-changing goals. Having been flayed in the first half, when Silva’s deputy Ilkay Gundogan scored the first, City eventually broke down Spurs again after the break. De Bruyne scored a second, and Raheem Sterling chipped in with two more in the last ten minutes. It was a day for Spurs to forget Credit: GETTY IMAGES There was time still for Gabriel Jesus to miss a penalty, drilled against the post after he had come on for Sergio Aguero. The Argentine was substituted on 56 minutes, the earliness of it showing that his manager cares not for anyone’s feelings when there is a game to be won. Aguero’s response was the removal of his gloves, tossed onto the pitch with a contemptuous flick and a slow, simmering walk to the touchline. It was a bad day for Spurs who scored deep in injury-time through Christian Eriksen, one of a number of their main men whose game barely flickered into life. There were second half fouls from Harry Kane and Dele Alli that could have earned red cards on another day and the latter was later substituted having scarcely done a thing in the game. Average touch positions (0 min) Mauricio Pochettino refused to discuss the form of the younger of the two Englishmen after the match, adamant that he was not about to single out individuals for blame but he must be concerned about Alli’s form. His stamp on De Bruyne might have been an accident but it was symptomatic of a performance when Alli was simply off the pace and out of the running, unable to assert any influence on the match. The away team were without the long-term injured Toby Alderweireld, as well as Victor Wanyama and Davinson Sanchez and it showed. Their old boy Kyle Walker was on the opposing side and in his former role for Spurs was Kieran Trippier who had a wretched time trying to deal with the pace of Leroy Sane. Even so, the rest of City’s defence – Eliaquim Mangala, Nicolas Otamendi and Fabian Delph – looked vulnerable, but Spurs barely got close to testing them. Gundogan scores City's opening goal from a corner Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne looked every time for the ball out to the left for Sane and sometimes he arrived so quickly that he ran out of pitch before he could shoot. He won the corner for Gundogan’s goal, and the German was unmarked when Sane swung in the cross from the left side for the midfielder to head in. “The way we conceded the goal was a massive mistake,” said Pochettino, but even by then they were on the back foot. De Bruyne’s moment of supreme confidence which is encouraging him to hit passes quicker than ever. He chased down Spurs in possession and he demanded every decision in his favour – including at one point a yellow card for his fellow Belgian Mousa Dembele. Like every player at the very peak of his game he simply expects everything to go his way, and most of the time it did. Possession: Man City vs Spurs There should have been more goals before half-time but it did not quite fall for City. Kane took a boot to the face from Otamendi which earned the Argentine a booking, and the striker did not manage a shot on target before the break. He finally forced the first decent save that Ederson on 55 minutes but City were back in the game quickly. Kane was fortunate to escape worse than a booking for a lunge at the ball that was well short of its target and caught Sterling on the ankle – a foul somewhere in between yellow and red. Alli did much the same to De Bruyne and was also given a yellow card. Guardiola later described the fouls in a television interview as “dangerous”. Whatever opportunity might have been there to build some new momentum was gone and City came back with a vengeance. Before Alli’s stamp, Sane had blasted past Trippier and Hugo Lloris had just about got a hand to his shot strong enough to block it. Then in the 70th minute City broke from back to front again, De Bruyne finally getting the ball in the left channel and unleashing an unstoppable shot past Lloris. Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) De Bruyne won the penalty too, with Jan Vertonghen offering no protest to referee Craig Pawson’s decision to punish a reckless sliding tackle. Jesus had come on for Aguero and he took the penalty, dashing it against the post and Fernandinho skied the rebound. In the final ten minutes Sterling got two goals, the first rolled in from Gundogan’s cross after another City move that had taken them up the pitch at speed. Then there was a fourth after a bad mistake from Eric Dier let Sterling in on goal and he shuffled the ball past Lloris to score. The game was well over when Eriksen sent a left foot shot past Ederson, a postscript to a total thrashing.   7:54PM Expected goals xG map for Manchester City - Tottenham. That's. a. paddlin'. pic.twitter.com/fPDzZwlj4U— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) December 16, 2017   7:52PM Mauricio Pochettino says "Very disappointed, but in the same way you have to accept that the better team won and I think the positive is we try always. We concede early, a poor goal, a massive present and gift for the opponent. Against a team like Man City you cannot do that. "It was our mistake, in this kind of game if you want to win you must concentrate. It changed complete the idea, you need to take risk, the positive thing was to play a team in unbelievable form and I think in the second half we started really well. We had the capacity to play, to dominate, if we should score Harry Kane maybe it's 1-1 and change the game, Harry Winks unbelieveable chance and maybe penalty. But when you are tired and always go forward, go forward you give space." 7:48PM More Guardiola "I have no words to describe [Kevin De Bruyne's] performance today." 7:43PM Pep Guardiola says "That was solid, it was good against one team who are so demanding, intense with quality like Dele Alli, Eriksen, Winks and Harry Kane running in behind. They are one of the strongest teams in the Premier League. "You see the performance of Kevin De Bruyne, when a player runs like... a conference player, it makes things easy for a manager." 7:36PM Post-match interviews Ilkay Gundogan Today was a special performance from the all the team, I'm happy to be on the score sheet but in total we did an incredible job. I was a bit surprised I was that free. I guess the Spurs players didn't know I was strong with my head. I was a bit lucky of course but I'm happy. I've been through tough times, especially games like today where you're able to improve your self confidence, today was a good day. Kevin De Bruyne We know the quality of the team is high, we know this mentally, we want to win every game, we're very busy and mentally we want to keep going. Yeh it was a great performance. It happens, it's part of football, I just blasted it.  No, absolutely not. We are here to win titles, we had a great start, it's still more than half so it's very difficult, very hard. We want to win each game, we're doing a good job. 7:30PM Full time stats Man City vs Spurs shots on goal  Look how narrow City kept Spurs' midfield, then look at the perfect balance for City's shape. Average touch positions (0 min) Possession: Man City vs Spurs   7:27PM Photos Credit: PA   7:24PM FULL TIME What a game. What a performance. "Give them the trophy now", says Frank Lampard. "The best team in Europe," says Rio Ferdinand. Absolutely stunning. 7:23PM GOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL Eriksen scores a brilliant consolation goal! Man City 4 - 1 Spurs (Christian Eriksen, 90 + 3 min) City switch off, Eriksen beats Mangala for pace and opens up the shot on his left foot, tucking it in the bottom right corner. Superb effort. 7:20PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL Spurs are all over the place. Man City 4 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 90 min) They're being toyed with. Bernardo Silva controls the ball and hits a beautiful curling pass behind the defence to Sterling. Dier misses the easy interception, then Sterling accidentally nutmegs Lloris to make it four. This Man City side is easily the best team I've ever seen in the Premier League. 7:17PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Bernardo Silva. De Bruyne is incredible. He's just managed to thread a pass between bodies to Silva, who almost scores with his first touch. Lloris saves at the near post.  Foden links well with Sterling and De Bruyne and tries a high cross into the box which Lloris catches.  Foden's given the ball away now and Spurs have men over on a counter-attack... but City defend well and clear. City are now on the attack! Sterling takes his time... and shoots... and Lloris turns it over!   7:13PM 85 mins Gundogan comes off for Phil Foden for the final few minutes - a big game to come in to. Dele Alli is substituted for Sissoko. That's almost certainly to protect him from a second yellow. 7:11PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL! Jeez louise. They're ridiculously good.  Man City 3 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 80 min) De Bruyne skips through the midfield, threads in Gundogan who slips the ball to Sane, who knows Sterling is waiting slightly further ahead to tap into an empty net. 7:07PM 78 mins Credit: AFP Lamela comes on for Son, which leaves Alli (above, being booked) and Dembele needing to be careful.  Lamela is involved straight away, dribbles into the box, goes past two, passes into the area and Winks takes it on. He needs to shoot! The tackles come in, he stays up, keeps going, keeps going.... and misses the chance. The ball is won in the corner and then De Bruyne has just scooped the ball over Rose and then run around him. Samba magic. I bet Rose feels like quite the fool. 7:05PM MISSED! Jesus stutters as he gets up to take the penalty but hits the post. And then Sterling misses the entire goal from the rebound on his left foot. He's missed the ENTIRE goal.  7:04PM PENALTY! De Bruyne is played into miles of space, skips round Vertonghen and goes down under the slide tackle. A clear penalty. Spurs are falling apart here. 7:03PM 74 mins Spurs need to keep their discipline now. Alli and Dembele are on yellow cards and were frustrated before that goal had even gone in. Jesus, Sane and Sterling have an overload but Jesus' pass is dreadful and puts the ball out for a goal kick. Hoddle adds a new phrase to football language: "That's the thing with City, they can  out possession you" 7:01PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL DE BRUYNE HAS DONE IT! Brilliant by the Belgian.  Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) He recovers from that awful challenge from Alli as City break quickly. Gundogan plays him in down the left and he absolutely batters the ball past Lloris, with Sane making the overlapping run.  De Bruyne goes to the fans and holds up a two and a one finger. 21 is David Silva's number. 6:58PM 69 mins Rose slides in to deny Sterling just as he was about to take a pass from Jesus and be clear in the box on his own. Great defending but he might have hurt himself a little stretching for it. Sane dribbles from the left as he beats Trippier and Son, then shoots at Lloris who can only palm the ball to Sterling, who can't adjust his feet to score what is essentially an open goal from six yards. That was actually much tougher than you'd think. Miss: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 67 min) Dele Alli has gone in overly hard on De Bruyne with a challenge here and left the Belgian in a heap on the floor. That's a red card for me, Clive. And Graham Poll agrees. Alli is frustrated and started kicking out at people ages ago. For some reason Steve McManaman doesn't think that's a red. It's clearly a red card. Yellow.  6:54PM 66 mins Spurs try to play from the back and Vertonghen panics, booting the ball into touch. Walker's touch lets him down soon after though and Spurs win a throw. Eriksen switches play, Winks knocks it on and Kane finds Trippier with a brilliant long pass. Son cuts inside and shoots from near the D but gets underneath it and fires way over the bar. Mangala is too quick for Kane as he chases a ball back but Spurs win it back off Delph. Dembele is caught on the ball (again) and City now have possession. 6:52PM 63 mins Walker fakes to shoot and fools everyone, including Sterling. The pass catches Sterling unaware and he's offside. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Dembele brings down Fernandinho and is booked for persistent fouling. Jesus has changed his left boot for a red one, so has one gold and one red.  6:49PM 60 mins Gabriel Jesus comes on for Aguero. Guardiola wants to change things early before Spurs work their way back into this and Aguero is not happy about it, throwing his gloves to the floor as he leaves the pitch and ignoring Guardiola. And Jesus nearly scores with his first touch! The Brazilian hides between the two centre-backs, sprints onto an early pass from wide right and his so close to controlling it in the six yard box and shooting.  Rose shoots from distance but gets it all wrong. Oh my lord, Ederson has just hit a 70 yard pass onto Sterling's chest, taking the entire of Spurs' forward press out of the game. That is absolute genius. Sane shoots wide from the resulting move but the entire crowd collectively went "woh" for that pass. Out: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Leroy Sané, 59 min)   6:45PM 57 mins Credit: AP Spurs are playing much higher up the pitch in this half and are preventing Man City from getting out with the ball. The passing is quicker and snappier too. Kane spins on the spot 30 yards out and shoots... Ederson saves with a strong hand! That had a lot of power behind it! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 55 min)  Spurs are in control of the ball in this half.  Possession: Man City vs Spurs   6:42PM 54 mins Delph fouls Son and is booked. Spurs have a decent free-kick opportunity here, wide right of the City box.  The delivery is good but Ederson punches away. Kane lunges into a tackle on Sterling - it's a really poor one and he's booked for it. Sterling clutches his shin for a while but is fine. De Bruyne fires a switched pass to Sane and the German is inches away from controlling it and being through on goal.  6:39PM 51 mins Kane opens up the pitch with a pass out wide to Eriksen, he switches it to Son who has to go backwards. Eriksen tucks it inside to Kane, who crosses to Son... this is a great chance! Son can't quite bring the ball down and Sane defends it superbly, blocking the ball with his body and letting Ederson dive on it.  Walker whips a powerful cross into the area, Lloris punches clear and Fernandinho goes down under a challenge from Winks. The referee says plan on and Spurs counter quickly! Kane overhits his pass to Son and it's a goal kick. Pass: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 50 min) Spurs trying to force their way back into this one. 6:36PM 48 mins No changes from either manager at half time. Spurs attack, Man City attack, Spurs attack, now Man City have the ball out wide on the right. Aguero wins a corner.  6:34PM KICK-OFF 2 Some faster passing and better defending of set pieces needed from Spurs, I suspect Man City will grab a couple more goals in the final 15 minutes as Spurs tire from all that pressing. We're back though - let's find out what happens! 6:28PM Graham Poll on Mangala penalty incident This is a rough transcription and not word for word accurate, but: "It's a penalty, we're agreed on that but there are two reasons Pawson hasn't given it. He doesn't have a clear view and the player hasn't gone to ground. "It's a difficult one for players. If he'd have gone to ground, he'd have got the penalty." 6:25PM Telling possession stats Man City vs Spurs Spurs have had more of the ball than most teams at the Etihad, but it's been in defensive areas.   6:20PM Spurs worked hard to keep the ball in that half Possession: Man City vs Spurs  But City are just too good. They're absolutely amazing to watch. 6:18PM HALF TIME City have Spurs rattled but aren't entirely in control here. Spurs have had chances and look dangerous on the counter-attack but on balance, Guardiola's team deserve the lead!  A heavy fog is starting to fall onto the pitch, visible on TV screens and so must be at the match too. Let's hope it doesn't get any thicker though- we want the second half as sharp as this first. Excellent entertainment. 6:15PM 45 mins Mangala doesn't like City's short passing game. Every time he gets it under pressure he fires a long pass up the pitch and gives away possession.  Spurs work a move on the edge of the area and it's chipped into Alli... Ederson dives and wins the ball first. Alli goes tumbling over his head. 6:14PM 44 mins Spurs' passing is still too slow, City are being given chances to win the ball back and are taking them. The game's gone scrappy now with both teams being penalised for silly little fouls while trying to win tackles. 6:13PM 42 mins Alli catches Gundogan with a nasty late tackle, putting his weight down on top of the German's foot.  Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne fizzes the free-kick into the area, Walker wins a throw-in. Spurs chase City all the way back to their goalkeeper. Fernandinho finds Aguero with a clever pass over the top into the box but he's just offside. 6:10PM 39 mins Kane is down holding his face after a really high boot from Otamendi. That's nasty and he's not even been booked for it.  Wait, he has been booked. The referee just takes his time to think about it. Kane must have felt that one, it was a proper boot to the nose. Will he seek revenge?  De Bruyne tells the linesman to "f--- off" as he is penalised for knocking Vertonghen into touch. Football: the gentleman's game. 6:06PM 36 mins De Bruyne is something else. He completely pies Dembele with pace and skill then feeds a perfectly weighted ball into Sane. His first touch is poor and hands the ball to Lloris, who doesn't gather the ball. Spurs eventually get a goal kick after an Aguero shot is just wide. Eriksen has the ball wide left, finds Kane on the edge of the box and he shapes to shoot from distance.... and JUST WIDE! Kane bends it low and hard from distance to the far post and Ederson is beaten, but he's put it wide of the post. Miss: Spurs ( 35 min )   6:03PM 33 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  Trippier is back on his feet and seems to be OK.  6:02PM 32 mins After a brilliant first-time long searching ball from De Bruyne, Sane hits an early pass into Aguero but his shot is blocked. Spurs look rattled.  Trippier gets the better of Sane for the first time and sets Son away. He cuts inside but is swiftly closed down by Sane, who has tracked all the way back. Trippier wins a foul after a heavy, clumsy and late challenge by Delph. Trippier's not enjoying himself as he recovers from that one. 5:59PM 29 mins Man City put their defensive line close to 10 yards from the free-kick. As it turns out it's genius and the free-kick is chipped straight into Ederson's hands. De Bruyne dances through midfield and puts another superb forward pass in behind the defence, Spurs survive once more as Lloris saves from Gundogan and nearly hands the rebound to Sterling. 5:56PM 26 mins Rose finds space on the left! But his cross is awful and the opportunity wasted. Aguero runs through on the left and smashes a shot at goal which Lloris saves well but parries to Sterling. He takes the ball on his left foot, works the space and then balloons a shot waaaaay over the bar. Both have their heads in hands. A big chance gone. Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 24 min) Spurs are committed to playing out from the back here and City are getting closer and closer to punishing them for it. Average touch positions (25 min)   5:54PM 23 mins Sane takes on Trippier, beats him easily and Dier slides in to put the ball out for a corner.  Oooooohhhhh Rose has just shoved Mangala inside the box to put him off a corner but nothing comes of it. The referee must have seen that... and Graham Poll agrees that that is a clear penalty. Craig Pawson is the same referee who gave Everton a penalty for a far softer shove than that! 5:50PM 20 mins End to end stuff here. Spurs are still at this. Possession: Man City vs Spurs   5:48PM 17 mins This game is ace. Spurs are having to work so hard to press City back but now they're losing and could well suffer a drop in confidence. How are they going to react to that goal? City are pressing Spurs high now. 5:46PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! You just can't stop them! Gundogan scores with a header from the corner!  Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Ilkay Gündogan, 14 min) He doesn't even have to time a run, absolutely nobody picks him up from the corner and he scores from the centre of the box! Horrible marking! 5:44PM 13 mins Dele Alli runs with the ball, has Trippier and Rose hugging the touchlines but opts for a reverse through-ball down the middle, and hands possession back to Ederson. Not his best effort. City start working passes around the final third, Sterling comes inside but Dembele intercepts and passes back to Lloris, who slices his clearance after a little bobble up on the pitch. Spurs counter-attack! Son is wide left, Eriksen joins in and hits a bending pass long into the box. Trippier is waiting for it in space... but Kane heads it on and ruins the move! That was a decent opportunity. Glenn Hoddle has noticed that Spurs are leaving Son and Kane upfront as they defend, giving themselves an outball. 5:41PM 10 mins Otamendi hits a brilliant direct pass and turns defence into attack in a split second. Gundogan and Delph look for options but Spurs double up on Sane on the left to stop him going anywhere. And it doesn't work! Sane bursts away from both, gets to the box and pulls the pass across the area... it's cleared up. Magic from Sane. Interception: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Jan Vertonghen, 9 min) Rose gives a free-kick away wide right. De Bruyne curls it into the near post and Aguero heads it on but is just wide.  Out: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 10 min)   5:39PM 8 mins Mangala gives possession away, Trippier is hounded into putting the ball out for a throw as City block his passing options. Spurs are locking onto Mangala quickly here. The high press is working (to an extent so far) and City can't dominate the ball like they have done in recent weeks. A quick early pass ahead of Sterling is swept up by an alert Lloris. It looks like Spurs have been instructed to stop City at source by cutting out passes and dribbles at halfway or by fouling. This worked superbly for them last season.  5:36PM 5 mins Ederson bypasses the high press with a perfectly placed 40 yard pass. He's such a good player. Spurs are looking to hit long switched diagonal passes to get the ball forward and moving up the pitch to win the second ball.  Walker bounces Son into touch and then walks away with the ball like he's moving away from an explosion in a movie, sunglasses on. Top football comedy there. This game is already entertaining and actually fairly open. Spurs looking to win the ball in midfield.. and they foul De Bruyne at the halfway line. That'll be a recurring feature this evening. 5:33PM 2 mins City start on the front foot but Spurs defend calmly. De Bruyne wants to attack from the off and has driven the ball forward a couple of times already.  Danny Rose runs past his man down the left wing, Kane is penalised for nudging Delph off the ball.  Spurs press City high. 5:31PM KICK-OFF Here we go! City get the game started. 5:29PM Let's get pumped   5:27PM Where Spurs can hurt City I might be totally wrong here, but I can see Spurs getting a result against this brilliant Man City side tonight. Let me explain... They have to lose at some point and Spurs are a functional team with an incredibly tactically astute manager. Spurs will defend deep and hit them on the counter-attack like others have done. We know that City's full-backs often leave space in behind and this is where you'll see Eriksen and Son lurking. Rose and Trippier will be tasked with pushing high too, which means City might tuck their full-backs inside to flood the midfield. That'll be an interesting battle. Basically, the main reason City might struggle is that without Silva, Spurs can try to mark De Bruyne out of the game and suddenly they lack that creative spark. Also, Mangala has a mistake in him and doesn't like having the ball at his feet. He'll be a pressing trigger for Spurs' front line.  We're about to find out anyway, here come the players! 5:16PM Managers' pre-match chat A tetchy Pep Guardiola doesn't seem to enjoy his questions: "Of course will be tougher, so we have on one side a lot of confidence we can still beat, relax, every game will be tougher especially against a team like Tottenham. A team with 15 wins in a row that is not normal, sooner or later we'll come back to normality. "Every game is different with managers and players who can do different things." A smiling Pochettino is pretty chilled about it all: "That is the question for six months, I think here in England. They are a fantastic side and playing so well, of course our mentality is try to win and of course we are going to fight a lot for that to happen. They are so far the best team in England. "We are choosing out best side, best players to win every game, it's always a decision about how we want to approach the game. " 5:08PM (Blue) Santa is here Credit: GETTY IMAGES   5:03PM Rio Ferdinand praises Man City "My respect to Pep Guardiola, the tactical genius that he is." 4:55PM Why Man City will miss David Silva so much I wrote this last week on the creative wizardry of David Silva: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player?   4:42PM Missing man The big news is that there is no David Silva for City today. Not sure why at the moment. Kyle Walker starts against his former club. Kieran Trippier, Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli all come into the Spurs starting XI. 4:37PM Team news Team News | How we line-up against Spurs this evening! Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#cityvspurs#mancitypic.twitter.com/B71Lrycena— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 16, 2017 #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Dembele, Winks, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/PQdSbZhlnW— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 16, 2017 4:36PM Match preview Pep Guardiola insists his Manchester City team can get even better despite sweeping almost all comers aside this season. City are 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League after winning their last 15 games, a record in the English top flight. Plaudits have poured in for the stylish and resilient football City have played this term but, for Guardiola, there is no resting on laurels. He said: "What's important is to focus on the pitch what we have to do to play better, to increase our chances and concede few. That's what we have to do. "When I'm happy, it's not because of the result but the way we play. That's what I'm more satisfied by. "I have the feeling we can do better - much, much better. That's what we have to try to insist in them." The City boss is already convinced, however, that this team would have been too good for Guardiola the player. Asked if he could have got into the side, Guardiola, who enjoyed a glittering playing career with Barcelona, said: "No way! Fernandinho is much better!" City's current winning run may be unique in England but it does not yet match Guardiola's personal best as a manager. The Catalan won 16 league games in succession at Barca and bettered even that with Bayern Munich, winning 19 in a row. But such figures are also of no interest to Guardiola, who face Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon. He said: "The record is OK, but records stay there and one day are going to be broken. "Statistics are statistics. It's good to write about that but with the way we play I am satisfied the most."

Manchester City 4 Tottenham 1: Kevin De Bruyne stars as unbeatable City make it 16 wins in a row

It was easy at times to forget that this was the second-best team in the Premier League last season, but on this occasion just another visitor departing the Etihad Stadium wondering how to piece themselves together after the kind of demolition that can shatter confidence. Manchester City’s winning run stands at 16 now and this one was another brutalising experience for Tottenham Hotspur who will have to live with the way they were torn apart over and again in a fixture they drew last season. Pep Guardiola has not just produced a team that dominates possession and wins games but one which now hunts down even its beaten opponents with an unnerving ruthlessness. Guardiola has now matched his longest winning run at Barcelona, in the 2010-2011 season, and he is in sight of the European record of 19 straight wins held by Bayern Munich when they were under the guidance of a certain celebrated Catalan coach. The appetite to annihilate opposing teams seems to be sharpening and it was epitomised by the outstanding Kevin De Bruyne, picking out passes, scoring the second goal himself and playing with an edge that suggests a man anxious to make history. Caught in the City whirlwind, Spurs were clinging on at times and just trying to remind themselves that they were playing the same game. They could point to key absentees among their own side but City achieved this victory without their great playmaker David Silva, left out for a family emergency. Afterwards, Guardiola said that De Bruyne’s appetite to work without the ball, to nick possession and block off channels was as crucial to his influence on the team, and the wider club, as his matchwinning passes and gam-changing goals. Having been flayed in the first half, when Silva’s deputy Ilkay Gundogan scored the first, City eventually broke down Spurs again after the break. De Bruyne scored a second, and Raheem Sterling chipped in with two more in the last ten minutes. It was a day for Spurs to forget Credit: GETTY IMAGES There was time still for Gabriel Jesus to miss a penalty, drilled against the post after he had come on for Sergio Aguero. The Argentine was substituted on 56 minutes, the earliness of it showing that his manager cares not for anyone’s feelings when there is a game to be won. Aguero’s response was the removal of his gloves, tossed onto the pitch with a contemptuous flick and a slow, simmering walk to the touchline. It was a bad day for Spurs who scored deep in injury-time through Christian Eriksen, one of a number of their main men whose game barely flickered into life. There were second half fouls from Harry Kane and Dele Alli that could have earned red cards on another day and the latter was later substituted having scarcely done a thing in the game. Average touch positions (0 min) Mauricio Pochettino refused to discuss the form of the younger of the two Englishmen after the match, adamant that he was not about to single out individuals for blame but he must be concerned about Alli’s form. His stamp on De Bruyne might have been an accident but it was symptomatic of a performance when Alli was simply off the pace and out of the running, unable to assert any influence on the match. The away team were without the long-term injured Toby Alderweireld, as well as Victor Wanyama and Davinson Sanchez and it showed. Their old boy Kyle Walker was on the opposing side and in his former role for Spurs was Kieran Trippier who had a wretched time trying to deal with the pace of Leroy Sane. Even so, the rest of City’s defence – Eliaquim Mangala, Nicolas Otamendi and Fabian Delph – looked vulnerable, but Spurs barely got close to testing them. Gundogan scores City's opening goal from a corner Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne looked every time for the ball out to the left for Sane and sometimes he arrived so quickly that he ran out of pitch before he could shoot. He won the corner for Gundogan’s goal, and the German was unmarked when Sane swung in the cross from the left side for the midfielder to head in. “The way we conceded the goal was a massive mistake,” said Pochettino, but even by then they were on the back foot. De Bruyne’s moment of supreme confidence which is encouraging him to hit passes quicker than ever. He chased down Spurs in possession and he demanded every decision in his favour – including at one point a yellow card for his fellow Belgian Mousa Dembele. Like every player at the very peak of his game he simply expects everything to go his way, and most of the time it did. Possession: Man City vs Spurs There should have been more goals before half-time but it did not quite fall for City. Kane took a boot to the face from Otamendi which earned the Argentine a booking, and the striker did not manage a shot on target before the break. He finally forced the first decent save that Ederson on 55 minutes but City were back in the game quickly. Kane was fortunate to escape worse than a booking for a lunge at the ball that was well short of its target and caught Sterling on the ankle – a foul somewhere in between yellow and red. Alli did much the same to De Bruyne and was also given a yellow card. Guardiola later described the fouls in a television interview as “dangerous”. Whatever opportunity might have been there to build some new momentum was gone and City came back with a vengeance. Before Alli’s stamp, Sane had blasted past Trippier and Hugo Lloris had just about got a hand to his shot strong enough to block it. Then in the 70th minute City broke from back to front again, De Bruyne finally getting the ball in the left channel and unleashing an unstoppable shot past Lloris. Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) De Bruyne won the penalty too, with Jan Vertonghen offering no protest to referee Craig Pawson’s decision to punish a reckless sliding tackle. Jesus had come on for Aguero and he took the penalty, dashing it against the post and Fernandinho skied the rebound. In the final ten minutes Sterling got two goals, the first rolled in from Gundogan’s cross after another City move that had taken them up the pitch at speed. Then there was a fourth after a bad mistake from Eric Dier let Sterling in on goal and he shuffled the ball past Lloris to score. The game was well over when Eriksen sent a left foot shot past Ederson, a postscript to a total thrashing.   7:54PM Expected goals xG map for Manchester City - Tottenham. That's. a. paddlin'. pic.twitter.com/fPDzZwlj4U— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) December 16, 2017   7:52PM Mauricio Pochettino says "Very disappointed, but in the same way you have to accept that the better team won and I think the positive is we try always. We concede early, a poor goal, a massive present and gift for the opponent. Against a team like Man City you cannot do that. "It was our mistake, in this kind of game if you want to win you must concentrate. It changed complete the idea, you need to take risk, the positive thing was to play a team in unbelievable form and I think in the second half we started really well. We had the capacity to play, to dominate, if we should score Harry Kane maybe it's 1-1 and change the game, Harry Winks unbelieveable chance and maybe penalty. But when you are tired and always go forward, go forward you give space." 7:48PM More Guardiola "I have no words to describe [Kevin De Bruyne's] performance today." 7:43PM Pep Guardiola says "That was solid, it was good against one team who are so demanding, intense with quality like Dele Alli, Eriksen, Winks and Harry Kane running in behind. They are one of the strongest teams in the Premier League. "You see the performance of Kevin De Bruyne, when a player runs like... a conference player, it makes things easy for a manager." 7:36PM Post-match interviews Ilkay Gundogan Today was a special performance from the all the team, I'm happy to be on the score sheet but in total we did an incredible job. I was a bit surprised I was that free. I guess the Spurs players didn't know I was strong with my head. I was a bit lucky of course but I'm happy. I've been through tough times, especially games like today where you're able to improve your self confidence, today was a good day. Kevin De Bruyne We know the quality of the team is high, we know this mentally, we want to win every game, we're very busy and mentally we want to keep going. Yeh it was a great performance. It happens, it's part of football, I just blasted it.  No, absolutely not. We are here to win titles, we had a great start, it's still more than half so it's very difficult, very hard. We want to win each game, we're doing a good job. 7:30PM Full time stats Man City vs Spurs shots on goal  Look how narrow City kept Spurs' midfield, then look at the perfect balance for City's shape. Average touch positions (0 min) Possession: Man City vs Spurs   7:27PM Photos Credit: PA   7:24PM FULL TIME What a game. What a performance. "Give them the trophy now", says Frank Lampard. "The best team in Europe," says Rio Ferdinand. Absolutely stunning. 7:23PM GOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL Eriksen scores a brilliant consolation goal! Man City 4 - 1 Spurs (Christian Eriksen, 90 + 3 min) City switch off, Eriksen beats Mangala for pace and opens up the shot on his left foot, tucking it in the bottom right corner. Superb effort. 7:20PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL Spurs are all over the place. Man City 4 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 90 min) They're being toyed with. Bernardo Silva controls the ball and hits a beautiful curling pass behind the defence to Sterling. Dier misses the easy interception, then Sterling accidentally nutmegs Lloris to make it four. This Man City side is easily the best team I've ever seen in the Premier League. 7:17PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Bernardo Silva. De Bruyne is incredible. He's just managed to thread a pass between bodies to Silva, who almost scores with his first touch. Lloris saves at the near post.  Foden links well with Sterling and De Bruyne and tries a high cross into the box which Lloris catches.  Foden's given the ball away now and Spurs have men over on a counter-attack... but City defend well and clear. City are now on the attack! Sterling takes his time... and shoots... and Lloris turns it over!   7:13PM 85 mins Gundogan comes off for Phil Foden for the final few minutes - a big game to come in to. Dele Alli is substituted for Sissoko. That's almost certainly to protect him from a second yellow. 7:11PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL! Jeez louise. They're ridiculously good.  Man City 3 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 80 min) De Bruyne skips through the midfield, threads in Gundogan who slips the ball to Sane, who knows Sterling is waiting slightly further ahead to tap into an empty net. 7:07PM 78 mins Credit: AFP Lamela comes on for Son, which leaves Alli (above, being booked) and Dembele needing to be careful.  Lamela is involved straight away, dribbles into the box, goes past two, passes into the area and Winks takes it on. He needs to shoot! The tackles come in, he stays up, keeps going, keeps going.... and misses the chance. The ball is won in the corner and then De Bruyne has just scooped the ball over Rose and then run around him. Samba magic. I bet Rose feels like quite the fool. 7:05PM MISSED! Jesus stutters as he gets up to take the penalty but hits the post. And then Sterling misses the entire goal from the rebound on his left foot. He's missed the ENTIRE goal.  7:04PM PENALTY! De Bruyne is played into miles of space, skips round Vertonghen and goes down under the slide tackle. A clear penalty. Spurs are falling apart here. 7:03PM 74 mins Spurs need to keep their discipline now. Alli and Dembele are on yellow cards and were frustrated before that goal had even gone in. Jesus, Sane and Sterling have an overload but Jesus' pass is dreadful and puts the ball out for a goal kick. Hoddle adds a new phrase to football language: "That's the thing with City, they can  out possession you" 7:01PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL DE BRUYNE HAS DONE IT! Brilliant by the Belgian.  Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) He recovers from that awful challenge from Alli as City break quickly. Gundogan plays him in down the left and he absolutely batters the ball past Lloris, with Sane making the overlapping run.  De Bruyne goes to the fans and holds up a two and a one finger. 21 is David Silva's number. 6:58PM 69 mins Rose slides in to deny Sterling just as he was about to take a pass from Jesus and be clear in the box on his own. Great defending but he might have hurt himself a little stretching for it. Sane dribbles from the left as he beats Trippier and Son, then shoots at Lloris who can only palm the ball to Sterling, who can't adjust his feet to score what is essentially an open goal from six yards. That was actually much tougher than you'd think. Miss: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 67 min) Dele Alli has gone in overly hard on De Bruyne with a challenge here and left the Belgian in a heap on the floor. That's a red card for me, Clive. And Graham Poll agrees. Alli is frustrated and started kicking out at people ages ago. For some reason Steve McManaman doesn't think that's a red. It's clearly a red card. Yellow.  6:54PM 66 mins Spurs try to play from the back and Vertonghen panics, booting the ball into touch. Walker's touch lets him down soon after though and Spurs win a throw. Eriksen switches play, Winks knocks it on and Kane finds Trippier with a brilliant long pass. Son cuts inside and shoots from near the D but gets underneath it and fires way over the bar. Mangala is too quick for Kane as he chases a ball back but Spurs win it back off Delph. Dembele is caught on the ball (again) and City now have possession. 6:52PM 63 mins Walker fakes to shoot and fools everyone, including Sterling. The pass catches Sterling unaware and he's offside. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Dembele brings down Fernandinho and is booked for persistent fouling. Jesus has changed his left boot for a red one, so has one gold and one red.  6:49PM 60 mins Gabriel Jesus comes on for Aguero. Guardiola wants to change things early before Spurs work their way back into this and Aguero is not happy about it, throwing his gloves to the floor as he leaves the pitch and ignoring Guardiola. And Jesus nearly scores with his first touch! The Brazilian hides between the two centre-backs, sprints onto an early pass from wide right and his so close to controlling it in the six yard box and shooting.  Rose shoots from distance but gets it all wrong. Oh my lord, Ederson has just hit a 70 yard pass onto Sterling's chest, taking the entire of Spurs' forward press out of the game. That is absolute genius. Sane shoots wide from the resulting move but the entire crowd collectively went "woh" for that pass. Out: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Leroy Sané, 59 min)   6:45PM 57 mins Credit: AP Spurs are playing much higher up the pitch in this half and are preventing Man City from getting out with the ball. The passing is quicker and snappier too. Kane spins on the spot 30 yards out and shoots... Ederson saves with a strong hand! That had a lot of power behind it! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 55 min)  Spurs are in control of the ball in this half.  Possession: Man City vs Spurs   6:42PM 54 mins Delph fouls Son and is booked. Spurs have a decent free-kick opportunity here, wide right of the City box.  The delivery is good but Ederson punches away. Kane lunges into a tackle on Sterling - it's a really poor one and he's booked for it. Sterling clutches his shin for a while but is fine. De Bruyne fires a switched pass to Sane and the German is inches away from controlling it and being through on goal.  6:39PM 51 mins Kane opens up the pitch with a pass out wide to Eriksen, he switches it to Son who has to go backwards. Eriksen tucks it inside to Kane, who crosses to Son... this is a great chance! Son can't quite bring the ball down and Sane defends it superbly, blocking the ball with his body and letting Ederson dive on it.  Walker whips a powerful cross into the area, Lloris punches clear and Fernandinho goes down under a challenge from Winks. The referee says plan on and Spurs counter quickly! Kane overhits his pass to Son and it's a goal kick. Pass: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 50 min) Spurs trying to force their way back into this one. 6:36PM 48 mins No changes from either manager at half time. Spurs attack, Man City attack, Spurs attack, now Man City have the ball out wide on the right. Aguero wins a corner.  6:34PM KICK-OFF 2 Some faster passing and better defending of set pieces needed from Spurs, I suspect Man City will grab a couple more goals in the final 15 minutes as Spurs tire from all that pressing. We're back though - let's find out what happens! 6:28PM Graham Poll on Mangala penalty incident This is a rough transcription and not word for word accurate, but: "It's a penalty, we're agreed on that but there are two reasons Pawson hasn't given it. He doesn't have a clear view and the player hasn't gone to ground. "It's a difficult one for players. If he'd have gone to ground, he'd have got the penalty." 6:25PM Telling possession stats Man City vs Spurs Spurs have had more of the ball than most teams at the Etihad, but it's been in defensive areas.   6:20PM Spurs worked hard to keep the ball in that half Possession: Man City vs Spurs  But City are just too good. They're absolutely amazing to watch. 6:18PM HALF TIME City have Spurs rattled but aren't entirely in control here. Spurs have had chances and look dangerous on the counter-attack but on balance, Guardiola's team deserve the lead!  A heavy fog is starting to fall onto the pitch, visible on TV screens and so must be at the match too. Let's hope it doesn't get any thicker though- we want the second half as sharp as this first. Excellent entertainment. 6:15PM 45 mins Mangala doesn't like City's short passing game. Every time he gets it under pressure he fires a long pass up the pitch and gives away possession.  Spurs work a move on the edge of the area and it's chipped into Alli... Ederson dives and wins the ball first. Alli goes tumbling over his head. 6:14PM 44 mins Spurs' passing is still too slow, City are being given chances to win the ball back and are taking them. The game's gone scrappy now with both teams being penalised for silly little fouls while trying to win tackles. 6:13PM 42 mins Alli catches Gundogan with a nasty late tackle, putting his weight down on top of the German's foot.  Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne fizzes the free-kick into the area, Walker wins a throw-in. Spurs chase City all the way back to their goalkeeper. Fernandinho finds Aguero with a clever pass over the top into the box but he's just offside. 6:10PM 39 mins Kane is down holding his face after a really high boot from Otamendi. That's nasty and he's not even been booked for it.  Wait, he has been booked. The referee just takes his time to think about it. Kane must have felt that one, it was a proper boot to the nose. Will he seek revenge?  De Bruyne tells the linesman to "f--- off" as he is penalised for knocking Vertonghen into touch. Football: the gentleman's game. 6:06PM 36 mins De Bruyne is something else. He completely pies Dembele with pace and skill then feeds a perfectly weighted ball into Sane. His first touch is poor and hands the ball to Lloris, who doesn't gather the ball. Spurs eventually get a goal kick after an Aguero shot is just wide. Eriksen has the ball wide left, finds Kane on the edge of the box and he shapes to shoot from distance.... and JUST WIDE! Kane bends it low and hard from distance to the far post and Ederson is beaten, but he's put it wide of the post. Miss: Spurs ( 35 min )   6:03PM 33 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  Trippier is back on his feet and seems to be OK.  6:02PM 32 mins After a brilliant first-time long searching ball from De Bruyne, Sane hits an early pass into Aguero but his shot is blocked. Spurs look rattled.  Trippier gets the better of Sane for the first time and sets Son away. He cuts inside but is swiftly closed down by Sane, who has tracked all the way back. Trippier wins a foul after a heavy, clumsy and late challenge by Delph. Trippier's not enjoying himself as he recovers from that one. 5:59PM 29 mins Man City put their defensive line close to 10 yards from the free-kick. As it turns out it's genius and the free-kick is chipped straight into Ederson's hands. De Bruyne dances through midfield and puts another superb forward pass in behind the defence, Spurs survive once more as Lloris saves from Gundogan and nearly hands the rebound to Sterling. 5:56PM 26 mins Rose finds space on the left! But his cross is awful and the opportunity wasted. Aguero runs through on the left and smashes a shot at goal which Lloris saves well but parries to Sterling. He takes the ball on his left foot, works the space and then balloons a shot waaaaay over the bar. Both have their heads in hands. A big chance gone. Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 24 min) Spurs are committed to playing out from the back here and City are getting closer and closer to punishing them for it. Average touch positions (25 min)   5:54PM 23 mins Sane takes on Trippier, beats him easily and Dier slides in to put the ball out for a corner.  Oooooohhhhh Rose has just shoved Mangala inside the box to put him off a corner but nothing comes of it. The referee must have seen that... and Graham Poll agrees that that is a clear penalty. Craig Pawson is the same referee who gave Everton a penalty for a far softer shove than that! 5:50PM 20 mins End to end stuff here. Spurs are still at this. Possession: Man City vs Spurs   5:48PM 17 mins This game is ace. Spurs are having to work so hard to press City back but now they're losing and could well suffer a drop in confidence. How are they going to react to that goal? City are pressing Spurs high now. 5:46PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! You just can't stop them! Gundogan scores with a header from the corner!  Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Ilkay Gündogan, 14 min) He doesn't even have to time a run, absolutely nobody picks him up from the corner and he scores from the centre of the box! Horrible marking! 5:44PM 13 mins Dele Alli runs with the ball, has Trippier and Rose hugging the touchlines but opts for a reverse through-ball down the middle, and hands possession back to Ederson. Not his best effort. City start working passes around the final third, Sterling comes inside but Dembele intercepts and passes back to Lloris, who slices his clearance after a little bobble up on the pitch. Spurs counter-attack! Son is wide left, Eriksen joins in and hits a bending pass long into the box. Trippier is waiting for it in space... but Kane heads it on and ruins the move! That was a decent opportunity. Glenn Hoddle has noticed that Spurs are leaving Son and Kane upfront as they defend, giving themselves an outball. 5:41PM 10 mins Otamendi hits a brilliant direct pass and turns defence into attack in a split second. Gundogan and Delph look for options but Spurs double up on Sane on the left to stop him going anywhere. And it doesn't work! Sane bursts away from both, gets to the box and pulls the pass across the area... it's cleared up. Magic from Sane. Interception: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Jan Vertonghen, 9 min) Rose gives a free-kick away wide right. De Bruyne curls it into the near post and Aguero heads it on but is just wide.  Out: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 10 min)   5:39PM 8 mins Mangala gives possession away, Trippier is hounded into putting the ball out for a throw as City block his passing options. Spurs are locking onto Mangala quickly here. The high press is working (to an extent so far) and City can't dominate the ball like they have done in recent weeks. A quick early pass ahead of Sterling is swept up by an alert Lloris. It looks like Spurs have been instructed to stop City at source by cutting out passes and dribbles at halfway or by fouling. This worked superbly for them last season.  5:36PM 5 mins Ederson bypasses the high press with a perfectly placed 40 yard pass. He's such a good player. Spurs are looking to hit long switched diagonal passes to get the ball forward and moving up the pitch to win the second ball.  Walker bounces Son into touch and then walks away with the ball like he's moving away from an explosion in a movie, sunglasses on. Top football comedy there. This game is already entertaining and actually fairly open. Spurs looking to win the ball in midfield.. and they foul De Bruyne at the halfway line. That'll be a recurring feature this evening. 5:33PM 2 mins City start on the front foot but Spurs defend calmly. De Bruyne wants to attack from the off and has driven the ball forward a couple of times already.  Danny Rose runs past his man down the left wing, Kane is penalised for nudging Delph off the ball.  Spurs press City high. 5:31PM KICK-OFF Here we go! City get the game started. 5:29PM Let's get pumped   5:27PM Where Spurs can hurt City I might be totally wrong here, but I can see Spurs getting a result against this brilliant Man City side tonight. Let me explain... They have to lose at some point and Spurs are a functional team with an incredibly tactically astute manager. Spurs will defend deep and hit them on the counter-attack like others have done. We know that City's full-backs often leave space in behind and this is where you'll see Eriksen and Son lurking. Rose and Trippier will be tasked with pushing high too, which means City might tuck their full-backs inside to flood the midfield. That'll be an interesting battle. Basically, the main reason City might struggle is that without Silva, Spurs can try to mark De Bruyne out of the game and suddenly they lack that creative spark. Also, Mangala has a mistake in him and doesn't like having the ball at his feet. He'll be a pressing trigger for Spurs' front line.  We're about to find out anyway, here come the players! 5:16PM Managers' pre-match chat A tetchy Pep Guardiola doesn't seem to enjoy his questions: "Of course will be tougher, so we have on one side a lot of confidence we can still beat, relax, every game will be tougher especially against a team like Tottenham. A team with 15 wins in a row that is not normal, sooner or later we'll come back to normality. "Every game is different with managers and players who can do different things." A smiling Pochettino is pretty chilled about it all: "That is the question for six months, I think here in England. They are a fantastic side and playing so well, of course our mentality is try to win and of course we are going to fight a lot for that to happen. They are so far the best team in England. "We are choosing out best side, best players to win every game, it's always a decision about how we want to approach the game. " 5:08PM (Blue) Santa is here Credit: GETTY IMAGES   5:03PM Rio Ferdinand praises Man City "My respect to Pep Guardiola, the tactical genius that he is." 4:55PM Why Man City will miss David Silva so much I wrote this last week on the creative wizardry of David Silva: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player?   4:42PM Missing man The big news is that there is no David Silva for City today. Not sure why at the moment. Kyle Walker starts against his former club. Kieran Trippier, Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli all come into the Spurs starting XI. 4:37PM Team news Team News | How we line-up against Spurs this evening! Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#cityvspurs#mancitypic.twitter.com/B71Lrycena— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 16, 2017 #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Dembele, Winks, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/PQdSbZhlnW— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 16, 2017 4:36PM Match preview Pep Guardiola insists his Manchester City team can get even better despite sweeping almost all comers aside this season. City are 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League after winning their last 15 games, a record in the English top flight. Plaudits have poured in for the stylish and resilient football City have played this term but, for Guardiola, there is no resting on laurels. He said: "What's important is to focus on the pitch what we have to do to play better, to increase our chances and concede few. That's what we have to do. "When I'm happy, it's not because of the result but the way we play. That's what I'm more satisfied by. "I have the feeling we can do better - much, much better. That's what we have to try to insist in them." The City boss is already convinced, however, that this team would have been too good for Guardiola the player. Asked if he could have got into the side, Guardiola, who enjoyed a glittering playing career with Barcelona, said: "No way! Fernandinho is much better!" City's current winning run may be unique in England but it does not yet match Guardiola's personal best as a manager. The Catalan won 16 league games in succession at Barca and bettered even that with Bayern Munich, winning 19 in a row. But such figures are also of no interest to Guardiola, who face Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon. He said: "The record is OK, but records stay there and one day are going to be broken. "Statistics are statistics. It's good to write about that but with the way we play I am satisfied the most."

Manchester City 4 Tottenham 1, live reaction: Kevin De Bruyne stars as unbeatable City make it 16 wins in a row

Latest betting offers: get City to win at 25/1 or Spurs at 60/1  It was easy at time to forget that this was the second best team in the Premier League last season, another visitor to the Etihad Stadium being demolished piece by piece by the winning machine built by Pep Guardiola that seems only to be improving with every consecutive victory. That winning run stands at 16 now and this one was another brutalising experience for Mauricio Pochettino’s side who were only very briefly in this game at the start of the second half and for much of the rest of it were just trying to remind themselves that they were playing the same game. They could point to key absentees among their own side but Manchester City achieved this victory without their great playmaker David Silva, left out for personal reasons. In his absence Kevin De Bruyne conducted the orchestra, scoring the decisive second and it was Silva’s deputy Ilkay Gundogan who scored the first. Raheem Sterling chipped in with two of his own in the last ten minutes and amid all this there was time still for Gabriel Jesus to miss a penalty. He had come on before the hour for Sergio Aguero who had demonstrated his displeasure by removing his gloves and tossing them onto the pitch with a contemptuous flick. A bad day for Spurs who scored deep in injury-time through Christian Eriksen, one of a number of their main men who barely flickered into life. There were second half fouls from Harry Kane and Dele Alli that could have earned red cards on another day and the latter was later substituted having scarcely done a thing in the game. Credit: GETTY IMAGES If Pochettino was looking balefully at the toes of his shoes for much of the breaks in play in the first  half then it was because he will have been struggling to accept the version of the Spurs side that he watched before the break. The game was played around them for so long, Pochettino’s side frantically backpedalling for much of it and unable to ask City any serious questions of their own. The away team were without the long-term injured Toby Alderweireld, as well as Victor Wanyama and Davinson Sanchez and to beat the best, they clearly had to have the best options at their disposal. Against their old boy Kyle Walker for the first time on the Spurs right side in his place was Kieran Trippier and he had a wretched time of it trying to deal with the pace of Leroy Sane. Average touch positions (0 min) Not that many full-backs would have coped with the German’s speed and relentless running in behind, but it was Sane who looked the most dangerous of City’s front three and he who won the corner from which they scored on 14 minutes. In the middle Kevin De Bruyne looked every time for the ball out to the left for Sane and sometimes he arrived so quickly that he ran out of pitch before he could shoot. When the ball dropped in the area, Ilkay Gundogan was unmarked when Sane swung in the corner from the left side, and he headed in - an avoidable goal from Spurs’ point of view, even if they were on the back foot for the whole of the first half. Gundogan scores City's opening goal from a corner Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne was the key influencer in the game, a player in a moment of supreme confidence which is encouraging him to hit passes quicker than ever before. He chased Spurs down in possession and he demanded every decision go his way – even calling for a yellow card for his fellow Belgian Mousa Dembele at one point. Like every player at the very peak of his game he simply expects everything to go his way, and most of the time it does. There should have been more goals before half-time but it did not quite fall for City, especially when a rebound from Sergio Aguero’s saved shot just eluded Raheem Sterling as he rushed into the area. City just kept coming at the away side and for a while it was a matter of survival. There were too few of Spurs’ big names with an active part in the first half, especially Dele Alli. Harry Kane did his best and took a boot to the face from Nicolas Otamendi which earned the Argentine a booking, about the only time City put a foot wrong before the break. Spurs did not manage an attempt on target and Kane’s right foot shot just wide of the post was as close as they got before the break. Something had to change for Spurs and although Pochettino resisted the temptation to make a half-time change, for a while he saw a different performance after the break. There were still moments when they were overrun, and when Lloris had to rescue his side but they did at least muster some possession of their own. Possession: Man City vs Spurs For the first time they got through to a City defence missing Vincent Kompany and John Stones and asked the occasional question. Kane forced the first decent save that Ederson had to make, but they could not assert the pressure for long enough to make a difference. Kane was also fortunate to escape worse than a booking for a lunge at the ball that was well short of its target and caught Sterling flush on the ankle. His England team-mate almost rolled off the pitch in agony and it might will have gone through the mind of referee Craig Pawson that Kane had to go – a foul somewhere in between yellow and red. Alli did much the same to De Bruyne and was also given a yellow card. Whatever opportunity might have been there to build some new momentum was gone and City came back with a vengeance. Before Alli’s stamp, Sane had blasted past Trippier and Lloris had just about got a hand to his shot strong enough to block it. Then in the 70th minute City broke from back to front again, De Bruyne finally getting the ball in the left channel and unleashing a shot past Lloris that was unstoppable. Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) He won the penalty too, with Jan Vertonghen offering no protest to Pawson’s decision to punish a reckless sliding tackle. Jesus had come on for Aguero and he took the penalty, dashing it against the post and Fernandinho skied the rebound. In the final ten minutes Sterling got two, the first rolled in from Gundogan’s cross and then another after a bad mistake from Eric Dier let him in on goal. The game was well over when Eriksen sent a left foot shot past Ederson, a postscript to a thrashing. 7:54PM Expected goals xG map for Manchester City - Tottenham. That's. a. paddlin'. pic.twitter.com/fPDzZwlj4U— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) December 16, 2017   7:52PM Mauricio Pochettino says "Very disappointed, but in the same way you have to accept that the better team won and I think the positive is we try always. We concede early, a poor goal, a massive present and gift for the opponent. Against a team like Man City you cannot do that. "It was our mistake, in this kind of game if you want to win you must concentrate. It changed complete the idea, you need to take risk, the positive thing was to play a team in unbelievable form and I think in the second half we started really well. We had the capacity to play, to dominate, if we should score Harry Kane maybe it's 1-1 and change the game, Harry Winks unbelieveable chance and maybe penalty. But when you are tired and always go forward, go forward you give space." 7:48PM More Guardiola "I have no words to describe [Kevin De Bruyne's] performance today." 7:43PM Pep Guardiola says "That was solid, it was good against one team who are so demanding, intense with quality like Dele Alli, Eriksen, Winks and Harry Kane running in behind. They are one of the strongest teams in the Premier League. "You see the performance of Kevin De Bruyne, when a player runs like... a conference player, it makes things easy for a manager." 7:36PM Post-match interviews Ilkay Gundogan Today was a special performance from the all the team, I'm happy to be on the score sheet but in total we did an incredible job. I was a bit surprised I was that free. I guess the Spurs players didn't know I was strong with my head. I was a bit lucky of course but I'm happy. I've been through tough times, especially games like today where you're able to improve your self confidence, today was a good day. Kevin De Bruyne We know the quality of the team is high, we know this mentally, we want to win every game, we're very busy and mentally we want to keep going. Yeh it was a great performance. It happens, it's part of football, I just blasted it.  No, absolutely not. We are here to win titles, we had a great start, it's still more than half so it's very difficult, very hard. We want to win each game, we're doing a good job. 7:30PM Full time stats Man City vs Spurs shots on goal  Look how narrow City kept Spurs' midfield, then look at the perfect balance for City's shape. Average touch positions (0 min) Possession: Man City vs Spurs   7:27PM Photos Credit: PA   7:24PM FULL TIME What a game. What a performance. "Give them the trophy now", says Frank Lampard. "The best team in Europe," says Rio Ferdinand. Absolutely stunning. 7:23PM GOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL Eriksen scores a brilliant consolation goal! Man City 4 - 1 Spurs (Christian Eriksen, 90 + 3 min) City switch off, Eriksen beats Mangala for pace and opens up the shot on his left foot, tucking it in the bottom right corner. Superb effort. 7:20PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL Spurs are all over the place. Man City 4 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 90 min) They're being toyed with. Bernardo Silva controls the ball and hits a beautiful curling pass behind the defence to Sterling. Dier misses the easy interception, then Sterling accidentally nutmegs Lloris to make it four. This Man City side is easily the best team I've ever seen in the Premier League. 7:17PM 88 mins Sane is replaced by Bernardo Silva. De Bruyne is incredible. He's just managed to thread a pass between bodies to Silva, who almost scores with his first touch. Lloris saves at the near post.  Foden links well with Sterling and De Bruyne and tries a high cross into the box which Lloris catches.  Foden's given the ball away now and Spurs have men over on a counter-attack... but City defend well and clear. City are now on the attack! Sterling takes his time... and shoots... and Lloris turns it over!   7:13PM 85 mins Gundogan comes off for Phil Foden for the final few minutes - a big game to come in to. Dele Alli is substituted for Sissoko. That's almost certainly to protect him from a second yellow. 7:11PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL! Jeez louise. They're ridiculously good.  Man City 3 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 80 min) De Bruyne skips through the midfield, threads in Gundogan who slips the ball to Sane, who knows Sterling is waiting slightly further ahead to tap into an empty net. 7:07PM 78 mins Credit: AFP Lamela comes on for Son, which leaves Alli (above, being booked) and Dembele needing to be careful.  Lamela is involved straight away, dribbles into the box, goes past two, passes into the area and Winks takes it on. He needs to shoot! The tackles come in, he stays up, keeps going, keeps going.... and misses the chance. The ball is won in the corner and then De Bruyne has just scooped the ball over Rose and then run around him. Samba magic. I bet Rose feels like quite the fool. 7:05PM MISSED! Jesus stutters as he gets up to take the penalty but hits the post. And then Sterling misses the entire goal from the rebound on his left foot. He's missed the ENTIRE goal.  7:04PM PENALTY! De Bruyne is played into miles of space, skips round Vertonghen and goes down under the slide tackle. A clear penalty. Spurs are falling apart here. 7:03PM 74 mins Spurs need to keep their discipline now. Alli and Dembele are on yellow cards and were frustrated before that goal had even gone in. Jesus, Sane and Sterling have an overload but Jesus' pass is dreadful and puts the ball out for a goal kick. Hoddle adds a new phrase to football language: "That's the thing with City, they can  out possession you" 7:01PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL DE BRUYNE HAS DONE IT! Brilliant by the Belgian.  Man City 2 - 0 Spurs (Kevin De Bruyne, 70 min) He recovers from that awful challenge from Alli as City break quickly. Gundogan plays him in down the left and he absolutely batters the ball past Lloris, with Sane making the overlapping run.  De Bruyne goes to the fans and holds up a two and a one finger. 21 is David Silva's number. 6:58PM 69 mins Rose slides in to deny Sterling just as he was about to take a pass from Jesus and be clear in the box on his own. Great defending but he might have hurt himself a little stretching for it. Sane dribbles from the left as he beats Trippier and Son, then shoots at Lloris who can only palm the ball to Sterling, who can't adjust his feet to score what is essentially an open goal from six yards. That was actually much tougher than you'd think. Miss: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Raheem Sterling, 67 min) Dele Alli has gone in overly hard on De Bruyne with a challenge here and left the Belgian in a heap on the floor. That's a red card for me, Clive. And Graham Poll agrees. Alli is frustrated and started kicking out at people ages ago. For some reason Steve McManaman doesn't think that's a red. It's clearly a red card. Yellow.  6:54PM 66 mins Spurs try to play from the back and Vertonghen panics, booting the ball into touch. Walker's touch lets him down soon after though and Spurs win a throw. Eriksen switches play, Winks knocks it on and Kane finds Trippier with a brilliant long pass. Son cuts inside and shoots from near the D but gets underneath it and fires way over the bar. Mangala is too quick for Kane as he chases a ball back but Spurs win it back off Delph. Dembele is caught on the ball (again) and City now have possession. 6:52PM 63 mins Walker fakes to shoot and fools everyone, including Sterling. The pass catches Sterling unaware and he's offside. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Dembele brings down Fernandinho and is booked for persistent fouling. Jesus has changed his left boot for a red one, so has one gold and one red.  6:49PM 60 mins Gabriel Jesus comes on for Aguero. Guardiola wants to change things early before Spurs work their way back into this and Aguero is not happy about it, throwing his gloves to the floor as he leaves the pitch and ignoring Guardiola. And Jesus nearly scores with his first touch! The Brazilian hides between the two centre-backs, sprints onto an early pass from wide right and his so close to controlling it in the six yard box and shooting.  Rose shoots from distance but gets it all wrong. Oh my lord, Ederson has just hit a 70 yard pass onto Sterling's chest, taking the entire of Spurs' forward press out of the game. That is absolute genius. Sane shoots wide from the resulting move but the entire crowd collectively went "woh" for that pass. Out: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Leroy Sané, 59 min)   6:45PM 57 mins Credit: AP Spurs are playing much higher up the pitch in this half and are preventing Man City from getting out with the ball. The passing is quicker and snappier too. Kane spins on the spot 30 yards out and shoots... Ederson saves with a strong hand! That had a lot of power behind it! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 55 min)  Spurs are in control of the ball in this half.  Possession: Man City vs Spurs   6:42PM 54 mins Delph fouls Son and is booked. Spurs have a decent free-kick opportunity here, wide right of the City box.  The delivery is good but Ederson punches away. Kane lunges into a tackle on Sterling - it's a really poor one and he's booked for it. Sterling clutches his shin for a while but is fine. De Bruyne fires a switched pass to Sane and the German is inches away from controlling it and being through on goal.  6:39PM 51 mins Kane opens up the pitch with a pass out wide to Eriksen, he switches it to Son who has to go backwards. Eriksen tucks it inside to Kane, who crosses to Son... this is a great chance! Son can't quite bring the ball down and Sane defends it superbly, blocking the ball with his body and letting Ederson dive on it.  Walker whips a powerful cross into the area, Lloris punches clear and Fernandinho goes down under a challenge from Winks. The referee says plan on and Spurs counter quickly! Kane overhits his pass to Son and it's a goal kick. Pass: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 50 min) Spurs trying to force their way back into this one. 6:36PM 48 mins No changes from either manager at half time. Spurs attack, Man City attack, Spurs attack, now Man City have the ball out wide on the right. Aguero wins a corner.  6:34PM KICK-OFF 2 Some faster passing and better defending of set pieces needed from Spurs, I suspect Man City will grab a couple more goals in the final 15 minutes as Spurs tire from all that pressing. We're back though - let's find out what happens! 6:28PM Graham Poll on Mangala penalty incident This is a rough transcription and not word for word accurate, but: "It's a penalty, we're agreed on that but there are two reasons Pawson hasn't given it. He doesn't have a clear view and the player hasn't gone to ground. "It's a difficult one for players. If he'd have gone to ground, he'd have got the penalty." 6:25PM Telling possession stats Man City vs Spurs Spurs have had more of the ball than most teams at the Etihad, but it's been in defensive areas.   6:20PM Spurs worked hard to keep the ball in that half Possession: Man City vs Spurs  But City are just too good. They're absolutely amazing to watch. 6:18PM HALF TIME City have Spurs rattled but aren't entirely in control here. Spurs have had chances and look dangerous on the counter-attack but on balance, Guardiola's team deserve the lead!  A heavy fog is starting to fall onto the pitch, visible on TV screens and so must be at the match too. Let's hope it doesn't get any thicker though- we want the second half as sharp as this first. Excellent entertainment. 6:15PM 45 mins Mangala doesn't like City's short passing game. Every time he gets it under pressure he fires a long pass up the pitch and gives away possession.  Spurs work a move on the edge of the area and it's chipped into Alli... Ederson dives and wins the ball first. Alli goes tumbling over his head. 6:14PM 44 mins Spurs' passing is still too slow, City are being given chances to win the ball back and are taking them. The game's gone scrappy now with both teams being penalised for silly little fouls while trying to win tackles. 6:13PM 42 mins Alli catches Gundogan with a nasty late tackle, putting his weight down on top of the German's foot.  Credit: GETTY IMAGES De Bruyne fizzes the free-kick into the area, Walker wins a throw-in. Spurs chase City all the way back to their goalkeeper. Fernandinho finds Aguero with a clever pass over the top into the box but he's just offside. 6:10PM 39 mins Kane is down holding his face after a really high boot from Otamendi. That's nasty and he's not even been booked for it.  Wait, he has been booked. The referee just takes his time to think about it. Kane must have felt that one, it was a proper boot to the nose. Will he seek revenge?  De Bruyne tells the linesman to "f--- off" as he is penalised for knocking Vertonghen into touch. Football: the gentleman's game. 6:06PM 36 mins De Bruyne is something else. He completely pies Dembele with pace and skill then feeds a perfectly weighted ball into Sane. His first touch is poor and hands the ball to Lloris, who doesn't gather the ball. Spurs eventually get a goal kick after an Aguero shot is just wide. Eriksen has the ball wide left, finds Kane on the edge of the box and he shapes to shoot from distance.... and JUST WIDE! Kane bends it low and hard from distance to the far post and Ederson is beaten, but he's put it wide of the post. Miss: Spurs ( 35 min )   6:03PM 33 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES  Trippier is back on his feet and seems to be OK.  6:02PM 32 mins After a brilliant first-time long searching ball from De Bruyne, Sane hits an early pass into Aguero but his shot is blocked. Spurs look rattled.  Trippier gets the better of Sane for the first time and sets Son away. He cuts inside but is swiftly closed down by Sane, who has tracked all the way back. Trippier wins a foul after a heavy, clumsy and late challenge by Delph. Trippier's not enjoying himself as he recovers from that one. 5:59PM 29 mins Man City put their defensive line close to 10 yards from the free-kick. As it turns out it's genius and the free-kick is chipped straight into Ederson's hands. De Bruyne dances through midfield and puts another superb forward pass in behind the defence, Spurs survive once more as Lloris saves from Gundogan and nearly hands the rebound to Sterling. 5:56PM 26 mins Rose finds space on the left! But his cross is awful and the opportunity wasted. Aguero runs through on the left and smashes a shot at goal which Lloris saves well but parries to Sterling. He takes the ball on his left foot, works the space and then balloons a shot waaaaay over the bar. Both have their heads in hands. A big chance gone. Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 24 min) Spurs are committed to playing out from the back here and City are getting closer and closer to punishing them for it. Average touch positions (25 min)   5:54PM 23 mins Sane takes on Trippier, beats him easily and Dier slides in to put the ball out for a corner.  Oooooohhhhh Rose has just shoved Mangala inside the box to put him off a corner but nothing comes of it. The referee must have seen that... and Graham Poll agrees that that is a clear penalty. Craig Pawson is the same referee who gave Everton a penalty for a far softer shove than that! 5:50PM 20 mins End to end stuff here. Spurs are still at this. Possession: Man City vs Spurs   5:48PM 17 mins This game is ace. Spurs are having to work so hard to press City back but now they're losing and could well suffer a drop in confidence. How are they going to react to that goal? City are pressing Spurs high now. 5:46PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! You just can't stop them! Gundogan scores with a header from the corner!  Man City 1 - 0 Spurs (Ilkay Gündogan, 14 min) He doesn't even have to time a run, absolutely nobody picks him up from the corner and he scores from the centre of the box! Horrible marking! 5:44PM 13 mins Dele Alli runs with the ball, has Trippier and Rose hugging the touchlines but opts for a reverse through-ball down the middle, and hands possession back to Ederson. Not his best effort. City start working passes around the final third, Sterling comes inside but Dembele intercepts and passes back to Lloris, who slices his clearance after a little bobble up on the pitch. Spurs counter-attack! Son is wide left, Eriksen joins in and hits a bending pass long into the box. Trippier is waiting for it in space... but Kane heads it on and ruins the move! That was a decent opportunity. Glenn Hoddle has noticed that Spurs are leaving Son and Kane upfront as they defend, giving themselves an outball. 5:41PM 10 mins Otamendi hits a brilliant direct pass and turns defence into attack in a split second. Gundogan and Delph look for options but Spurs double up on Sane on the left to stop him going anywhere. And it doesn't work! Sane bursts away from both, gets to the box and pulls the pass across the area... it's cleared up. Magic from Sane. Interception: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Jan Vertonghen, 9 min) Rose gives a free-kick away wide right. De Bruyne curls it into the near post and Aguero heads it on but is just wide.  Out: Man City 0 - 0 Spurs (Sergio Agüero, 10 min)   5:39PM 8 mins Mangala gives possession away, Trippier is hounded into putting the ball out for a throw as City block his passing options. Spurs are locking onto Mangala quickly here. The high press is working (to an extent so far) and City can't dominate the ball like they have done in recent weeks. A quick early pass ahead of Sterling is swept up by an alert Lloris. It looks like Spurs have been instructed to stop City at source by cutting out passes and dribbles at halfway or by fouling. This worked superbly for them last season.  5:36PM 5 mins Ederson bypasses the high press with a perfectly placed 40 yard pass. He's such a good player. Spurs are looking to hit long switched diagonal passes to get the ball forward and moving up the pitch to win the second ball.  Walker bounces Son into touch and then walks away with the ball like he's moving away from an explosion in a movie, sunglasses on. Top football comedy there. This game is already entertaining and actually fairly open. Spurs looking to win the ball in midfield.. and they foul De Bruyne at the halfway line. That'll be a recurring feature this evening. 5:33PM 2 mins City start on the front foot but Spurs defend calmly. De Bruyne wants to attack from the off and has driven the ball forward a couple of times already.  Danny Rose runs past his man down the left wing, Kane is penalised for nudging Delph off the ball.  Spurs press City high. 5:31PM KICK-OFF Here we go! City get the game started. 5:29PM Let's get pumped   5:27PM Where Spurs can hurt City I might be totally wrong here, but I can see Spurs getting a result against this brilliant Man City side tonight. Let me explain... They have to lose at some point and Spurs are a functional team with an incredibly tactically astute manager. Spurs will defend deep and hit them on the counter-attack like others have done. We know that City's full-backs often leave space in behind and this is where you'll see Eriksen and Son lurking. Rose and Trippier will be tasked with pushing high too, which means City might tuck their full-backs inside to flood the midfield. That'll be an interesting battle. Basically, the main reason City might struggle is that without Silva, Spurs can try to mark De Bruyne out of the game and suddenly they lack that creative spark. Also, Mangala has a mistake in him and doesn't like having the ball at his feet. He'll be a pressing trigger for Spurs' front line.  We're about to find out anyway, here come the players! 5:16PM Managers' pre-match chat A tetchy Pep Guardiola doesn't seem to enjoy his questions: "Of course will be tougher, so we have on one side a lot of confidence we can still beat, relax, every game will be tougher especially against a team like Tottenham. A team with 15 wins in a row that is not normal, sooner or later we'll come back to normality. "Every game is different with managers and players who can do different things." A smiling Pochettino is pretty chilled about it all: "That is the question for six months, I think here in England. They are a fantastic side and playing so well, of course our mentality is try to win and of course we are going to fight a lot for that to happen. They are so far the best team in England. "We are choosing out best side, best players to win every game, it's always a decision about how we want to approach the game. " 5:08PM (Blue) Santa is here Credit: GETTY IMAGES   5:03PM Rio Ferdinand praises Man City "My respect to Pep Guardiola, the tactical genius that he is." 4:55PM Why Man City will miss David Silva so much I wrote this last week on the creative wizardry of David Silva: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player?   4:42PM Missing man The big news is that there is no David Silva for City today. Not sure why at the moment. Kyle Walker starts against his former club. Kieran Trippier, Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli all come into the Spurs starting XI. 4:37PM Team news Team News | How we line-up against Spurs this evening! Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#cityvspurs#mancitypic.twitter.com/B71Lrycena— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 16, 2017 #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose, Dembele, Winks, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/PQdSbZhlnW— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 16, 2017 4:36PM Match preview Pep Guardiola insists his Manchester City team can get even better despite sweeping almost all comers aside this season. City are 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League after winning their last 15 games, a record in the English top flight. Plaudits have poured in for the stylish and resilient football City have played this term but, for Guardiola, there is no resting on laurels. He said: "What's important is to focus on the pitch what we have to do to play better, to increase our chances and concede few. That's what we have to do. "When I'm happy, it's not because of the result but the way we play. That's what I'm more satisfied by. "I have the feeling we can do better - much, much better. That's what we have to try to insist in them." The City boss is already convinced, however, that this team would have been too good for Guardiola the player. Asked if he could have got into the side, Guardiola, who enjoyed a glittering playing career with Barcelona, said: "No way! Fernandinho is much better!" City's current winning run may be unique in England but it does not yet match Guardiola's personal best as a manager. The Catalan won 16 league games in succession at Barca and bettered even that with Bayern Munich, winning 19 in a row. But such figures are also of no interest to Guardiola, who face Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon. He said: "The record is OK, but records stay there and one day are going to be broken. "Statistics are statistics. It's good to write about that but with the way we play I am satisfied the most."

Watch: Christian Pulisic Scores Winning Goal in 89th Minute for Dortmund

It's been quite the week for Christian Pulisic.

He won the U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year honor Thursday and then scored the winning goal for Borussia Dortmund on Saturday in the 89th minute against Hoffenheim.

The 19-year-old from Pennsylvania was able to help his club complete a comeback when he got the ball past the goalkeeper and scored on a touch after knocking the ball in the air to himself. It's his third Bundesliga goal of the season.

With the win Saturday, the club sits at third in the Bundesliga table, 13 points behind league leader Bayern Munich.

Pulisic helped Dortmund to the German Cup this year and aided the U.S. national team during its failed World Cup qualifying campaign.

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