Manchester City moved back top of the Premier League with a nerve-jangling 1-0 victory over Tottenham on Saturday. Phil Foden got the crucial goal in the fifth minute in just his second Premier League start as City gained some revenge for their midweek Champions League exit to the same side.
The emotional Champions League exit had the potential to give City a hangover and derail their Premier League hopes. The title remains in their own hands if they keep on winning and this game will have been ringed on their calendar as a dangerous fixture. They weren’t quite at their best but managed to come away with the three points and pile the pressure back on Liverpool ahead of their trip to a rejuvenated Cardiff City.
Kevin De Bruyne‘s frustrating season may have come to an early end with yet another injury. Just when he was ready to kick on to challenge to become the best player in the world, his campaign has been cruelly hit by persistent setbacks. In the short term his absence will be a blow for the crucial Manchester derby on Wednesday, but it may be the opportunity for a long period of recuperation to ensure he’s at his best for next season.
Manager rating out of 10
7 — Pep Guardiola needed to freshen up his side after Wednesday night late heartbreak, but drafting in 18-year-old Foden for just his second Premier League start in such a pivotal game was a big call. It took just five minutes for it to pay off. His side were driven by the emotion of that Champions League exit but, at times, their composure was lost as Spurs created a number of good opportunities. His decision to replace De Bruyne’s flair with the pragmatism of Fernandinho gave them a little more control.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
DF Kyle Walker, 8 — Another demanding performance but the full-back got forward tirelessly and was solid defensively.
DF John Stones, 6 — Poor pass in the opening minute in an uncomfortable start but he regained his composure.
DF Aymeric Laporte, 6 — Had a tough night in the Champions League and again had his problems with Spurs’ quick forwards but made one huge tackle on Son.
DF Oleksandr Zinchenko, 6 — Recalled after injury but wasn’t as effective. Made a couple of rash tackles and gave away possession on occasions.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, 7 — Full of composure on the ball and looked even more secure with Fernandinho alongside him.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 6 — Went off after 35 minutes with what looked like another knee injury and it could be his final blow in a frustrating season hit by injuries.
MF Phil Foden, 7 — Dream start with the opening goal and can be forgiven for one or two loose touches.
FW Raheem Sterling, 7 — Found it harder to create space with Mauricio Pochettino adding extra players to the defence but was more of a threat when switched to striker.
FW Sergio Aguero, 7 — Delightful headed assist for the opening goal and tried to pull Spurs’ centre backs into uncomfortable positions.
MF Fernandinho, 6 — Gave City more bite in midfield when he came on.
FW Leroy Sane, 7 — Added energy and created one glorious chance for Sterling.
MF David Silva, N/R — Showed his experience in the dying minutes.