A day, quite simply, when a much shrewder Jose Mourinho did a number on Pep Guardiola.
If this match was supposed to be a final test of Tottenham Hotspur’s title credentials, it confirmed so much more than that. Their eventual 2-0 win over Manchester City put them back on top of the table – at least temporarily – and showed the team is only going in one direction. That is whatever direction Mourinho tells them, as they are so clearly focused and committed to his current approach.
By contrast, City looked a much more disparate outfit, as they remain adrift at 10th in the table. Guardiola’s new contract did not offer the immediate jolt the team needed. There was no energy to their play at all. It was all so much flatter than the great Guardiola sides we’re used to. They don’t look a team to fear any more.
From there, Mourinho just did what was obvious, but still displayed absolute focus. He told his side to let City have all the sterile possession they wanted, and pounce the minute they lost it. This happened last season, and it happened again and again here.
Giovani Lo Celso was brought on to steady things, and keep control, but not even Mourinho could have thought that would extend to the scoreline as much as the play. With his first touches, the Argentine won the game. City, meanwhile, again just lost concentration.