By Jack Wilkinson
Manchester City 1-0 Tottenham: Phil Foden fires City back to the top
Report as Foden sends the champions top with his first PL goal on only his second PL start
Last Updated: 20/04/19 6:51pm
Phil Foden scored his first Premier League goal as Manchester City battled to a 1-0 win over their Champions League conquerors Tottenham to return to the top of the table.
Four days on from their dramatic quarter-final exit at the hands of Spurs, Foden's fifth-minute header sealed a priceless victory for Pep Guardiola's side on an incredibly tense afternoon at the Etihad Stadium.
Heung-Min Son spurned four first-half chances as Spurs threatened to haunt City again, while a handball in his own penalty area from Kyle Walker went unpunished midway through the second half.
But City held their nerve, securing a 10th successive league victory that moves them a point clear of title rivals Liverpool. Spurs remain third, a point clear of Arsenal having played a game more.
Man City: Ederson (8), Walker (6), Stones (6), Laporte (8), Zinchenko (6), Gundogan (6), Foden (7), De Bruyne (6), B. Silva (9), Sterling (6), Aguero (6).
Subs: Fernandinho (6), Sane (6), D. Silva (n/a).
Tottenham: Gazzaniga (6), Foyth (7), Sanchez (6), Alderweireld (6), Vertonghen (6), Davies (6), Dier (6), Alli (6), Eriksen (7), Moura (6), Son (7).
Subs: Rose (5), Wanyama (6), Llorente (5).
Man of the Match: Bernardo Silva.
How Foden got City back on track
Just as they did in Wednesday's Champions League clash, City made a flying start as Bernardo Silva's in-swinging cross from the right was selflessly headed across goal by Sergio Aguero, and Foden had the simple task of nodding the hosts ahead inside five minutes.
The City youngster, making only his second Premier League start, celebrated passionately in front of the travelling Spurs fans, the outpouring of emotion a visible sign of the anguish still present among Guardiola's side after their European exit.
But that emotion looked set to undermine City as Spurs wasted a host of chances to draw level before the break. Christian Eriksen was thwarted by the feet of Ederson on 14 minutes before the Denmark international turned provider, releasing Son, who was denied by a brilliant Aymeric Laporte challenge.
Bernardo Silva had appeals for a penalty turned down on 20 minutes after tangling with Jan Vertonghen, but referee Michael Oliver was unmoved. City then suffered an injury blow as Kevin De Bruyne was forced off seven minutes before the interval with a leg problem.
Spurs looked to capitalise on the heightened levels of anxiety inside the Etihad following De Bruyne's departure, but Ederson ensured the champions reached half-time ahead, racing off his line to deny Son after the South Korean charged from his own half into the City area.
City had two further penalty appeals waved away early in the second half as referee Oliver chose not to penalise Toby Alderweireld's handball and Juan Foyth's barge on Foden.
Phil Foden was handed his second PL start and John Stones and Oleksandr Zinchenko returned as Man City made three changes from the midweek Champions League exit at the hands of Spurs, who made five alterations ahead of their return to the Etihad.
But Spurs had the stronger claims as Walker's handball, which prevented a long ball from releasing Dele Alli through on goal, and Son's flick, which appeared to strike John Stones' arm, went unpunished.
Raheem Sterling looked to set to exorcise some demons after his midweek VAR heartache with City's second goal on 71 minutes, but his sweeping shot from Leroy Sane's cutback was turned behind by the outstretched leg of Paulo Gazzaniga on 71 minutes.
Ederson then prevented Lucas Moura from hauling Spurs level after he latched onto Alderweireld's long pass, generating unbearable levels of anxiety among the home faithful, but the champions stood firm to return to the summit.
- Manchester City have won 25 home games in all competitions this season, the most they've ever won in a single campaign and the most by an English top-flight club since Man Utd in 2010-11 (26).
- Tottenham have lost five successive Premier League away games for the first time since May 2004, a run of six under manager David Pleat.
- Man City have won their last 10 Premier League games - their longest streak since a run of 18 between August and December 2017, which remains the all-time top-flight record.
- Tottenham have lost 11 Premier League games this season, as many as they had in their previous two campaigns combined (4 in 2016-17, 7 in 2017-18).
- Phil Foden scored his first Premier League goal for Man City, becoming the third youngest player to score in the competition for the club (after Micah Richards and Daniel Sturridge).
- Bernardo Silva was directly involved in seven of Manchester City's 15 shots in this match, having three attempts and creating four.
- Tottenham have lost a Premier League game without Harry Kane taking part for the first time since October 2017 at Manchester United.
Pep Guardiola: "It's an important win in the race for the Premier League. If we drop point, we cannot fight until the end. It was tight, Spurs had more chances than the previous two games, but the effort the players had after a tough day on Wednesday was incredible."
Mauricio Pochettino: "I'm not frustrated with the result - that's football. It was an even game and we deserved more, at least a draw. I'm so happy with the performance in very difficult circumstances. We competed really well, and we had the clearer opportunities. Just because you deserve it, doesn't mean you always get it."
Man of the Match - Bernardo Silva
Bernardo Silva was brilliant from first minute to last, setting the tone as City ensured their title challenge did not suffer the same fate as their Champions League hopes. The Portuguese had a hand in Foden's winning goal and was at the heart of everything City did well, more than vindicating his PFA Young Player of the Year nomination.
City face United in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford on Wednesday (8pm) - live on Sky Sports Premier League from 7pm.
Before that, Spurs host Brighton on Tuesday (7.45pm) - live on Sky Sports Premier League from 7.30pm.