Hugo Lloris' struggles continue, Harry Kane quiet as Spurs fall to Man City
Spurs' unbeaten run in the Premier League came to an end as they were comprehensively defeated by champions-elect Manchester City. The visitors started much brighter, moving the ball around quickly, and cruised into a two-goal lead by taking advantage of poor defending.
Tottenham got a goal back just before the break through a deflection off Christian Eriksen, and the home team briefly threatened a revival early in the second half. But City were by far the better side, and when another Hugo Lloris error gifted them a third goal it was game over.
With a seven-point advantage over fifth-place Chelsea, this was a game Spurs could afford to lose. And if Tottenham were going to have a collective off day, then they might as well do it against the best side in the league, who would be favourites to win even when Spurs were playing at their best.
Too many Spurs players had poor games, and had City been more clinical in their finishing, they could have been out of sight by half-time. Tottenham lacked the tactical awareness to combat City's speed on the break and created almost no clear-cut chances. The form of Lloris is also a major cause for concern.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Mauricio Pochettino will need to take a long, hard look at both his own preparation and his players' attitude. For much of the game, it looked as if Spurs had been the side who had suffered the bruising midweek disappointment rather than the visitors. Tottenham were slow to the ball and had few ideas how to break City down. Pochettino also miscalculated, playing Erik Lamela ahead of Heung-Min Son, and the club's stand-off with Toby Alderweireld has left them with a weakened defensive line.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Hugo Lloris, 3 -- His third poor game in a row. Lloris looks to be having a crisis of confidence that is leading him to poor decision-making. Gave away a reckless foul -- albeit outside the area -- that led to the penalty and made two elementary handling errors in the second half, the second of which led to City's third goal.
DF Kieran Trippier, 6 -- Struggled throughout to cope with the pace of Leroy Sane and all too frequently gave the ball away under pressure. Made little impact going forward.
DF Davinson Sanchez, 5 -- A bit of a horror show. Allowed Gabriel Jesus to run away from him to score City's first goal and showed no sign of learning his lesson. On two other occasions in the second half the City strikers escaped Sanchez.
DF Jan Vertonghen, 9 -- The Spurs' man of the match by a long way. The one really solid player with positional awareness who could contain City's attacks. Strong in the tackle and quick on the break.
DF Ben Davies, 6 -- Not at his best. Made some impression in the first half but was unable to find the telling final ball. Improved slightly in the second half, taking up more advanced positions.
MF Eric Dier, 5 -- Another player who seems to be suffering a crisis of confidence. As against Stoke the previous week, he all too often gave the ball away in dangerous areas and contributed little going forward.
MF Mousa Dembele, 6 -- A shadow of his usual self in the first half, as he frequently lost the ball when wanting more time than was available. More on his game in the second half without ever threatening.
MF Erik Lamela, 5 -- Hard to see why he was picked ahead of Heung-Min Son. Lacked the speed, strength or skill to catch City on the break, and his distribution was poor. Also offered little tracking back.
MF Christian Eriksen, 7 -- Slightly fortunate to score when the ball rebounded off him but deserves credit for being in the right place at the right time. The one player who looked like he might be able to find the pass to break down City, but did so all too rarely.
MF Dele Alli, 6 -- Largely ineffectual as he was allowed little time to settle on the ball. Showed the odd flash of skill, but by the time he was substituted he was looking marginalised.
FW Harry Kane, 4 -- Almost anonymous throughout apart from one pass to play in Eriksen. Easily contained by the City defence. There must be concerns he is still not fully fit after picking up the injury against Bournemouth.
MF Heung-Min Son, 6 -- Made an immediate impact when he came on and Spurs threatened for an equaliser. Was then starved of possession and faded out of game.
MF Lucas Moura, N/R -- Unafraid to run at City's defenders and caused them a few jitters. Did enough to suggest he might be worth a place in starting XI against Brighton on Tuesday.
MF Moussa Sissoko, N/R -- Late replacement for Dembele. Barely had a touch.
John Crace is one of ESPN FC's Tottenham bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @JohnJCrace.