Manchester City 6 Tottenham 0 match report: Spurs humiliated by City's firepower at the Etihad


Etihad Stadium

The first five seconds or so of Tottenham’s performance yesterday were perfectly acceptable but, unfortunately for Andre Villas-Boas, it just went rapidly downhill from there.

There followed a duff clearance by Hugo Lloris from Younes Kaboul’s back pass and within a matter of seconds Jesus Navas had scored the first goal for Manchester City, setting the tone for the afternoon. For Villas-Boas this result was clearly a humiliating experience and, as the agony wore on, the Spurs manager made little effort to communicate with his players.

City are phenomenal at home, with 18 goals in their last three games at the Etihad, but this was an afternoon in which all Tottenham’s shortcomings were exposed. Villas-Boas even made good on his recent promise to bring on Emmanuel Adebayor for his first appearance of the season, a prospect he can never have considered when his club were embarking on that ambitious, post-Gareth Bale rebuilding programme this summer.

Five goals up before the hour, City really might have had at least three more after that before Navas scored the sixth and Spurs went quietly to their fate. Moussa Dembélé, a second-half substitute, made a slight improvement but by then the damage had been done. This City attack looks capable of slicing up any side in the league at home and to compete you really have to be at your best – a standard from which Spurs fell well short.

It did not help that their key player, Sandro, who put the second City goal into his own net, looked well below par and at one point was sick on the pitch. It was unfortunate for him, but a succinct verdict on his team’s performance. Around him, Lewis Holtby lasted until half-time and Paulinho was outplayed by his opposing countryman Fernandinho. In fact, wherever you looked on the pitch, Villas-Boas’ men lost their individual battles.

They have not scored in their last three league games and not won in the league since beating Hull on 27 October. It was hard to recall a chance carved out by an attacking three of Aaron Lennon, Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela. By the time substitute James Milner hit a long ball from right-back from which Navas ran on to score the sixth – after Jan Vertonghen’s error – one imagined that they were already revving the Spurs team coach outside.

Vertonghen’s mistake was symbolic of a Spurs defence finally giving way. Before this defeat they had conceded six goals in 11 league games; they doubled that total to finish the day with a goal difference of minus three. Defeat to City was always a possibility, whatever the circumstances, but to concede within 14 seconds and never look in the running is unacceptable for a club with pretensions to finish in the top four.

For City, this was a strong return to form since that pre-international break defeat to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, and served only to make their away form all the more difficult to explain. Manuel Pellegrini made five changes from that side of two weeks ago and they were excellent, none more so than Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo.

The two of them are a joy to watch at times. The first goal had come when Aguero’s initial shot was saved and Navas chipped in the rebound from the right. Villas-Boas observed that “our game plan finished after 15 seconds” and certainly that seemed to be the case.

It was Aguero’s shot that made the second goal. Having been saved by Lloris it fell to Negredo whose nicely improvised volley rattled in off Kaboul and then Sandro. Possession had been conceded by another poor clearance from Lloris. That came in the 34th minute and when Aguero clipped in the third from Navas’s cross six minutes later the game was over.

“Difficult to explain” was Villas-Boas’s assessment of the game, although he later conceded that his team should be “ashamed”. It was Spurs’ heaviest defeat since the club lost 7-1 to Newcastle in December 1996, in the days when Clive Wilson and David Howells were in the team. But this is a different club in a different era and these kind of aberrations are supposed to be a thing of the past.

Spurs’ best chance was a shot by Paulinho that may not have been on target before it was kicked away by Martin Demichelis on the line. In desperation, Villas-Boas brought on Adebayor at half-time, ignoring Jermain Defoe, but there was precious little change. Negredo laid the ball off beautifully to Yaya Touré five minutes after half-time and he held off Kyle Walker to square the ball for Aguero’s second goal.

Goodness, it was easy for City in those 10 minutes before the hour. Samir Nasri hit the bar with the outside of his right foot when attempting a cross. Then Negredo turned Michael Dawson inside out and struck a shot past Lloris for the fifth goal on 55 minutes. In the away end, the Spurs fans sang: “We’re Tottenham Hotspur, we’ll sing when we’re s***” and they were obliged to keep going for the next 30 minutes.

There were other chances for City: a Negredo header that went over the bar, another opportunity for Touré and a miss by Fernandinho. Dembélé ran through the centre with 10 minutes left and teed up Adebayor but this was not Spurs’ day. Then came the final goal, a long ball from Milner that exposed Vertonghen – he has many qualities, but they were not obvious on this occasion – and Navas scored the sixth.

The conundrum for Pellegrini is how he takes this show on the road. City do not play away from home in the league until a week on Wednesday when they go to West Bromwich Albion. This victory takes them back up to fourth and within six points of the leaders, Arsenal. Spurs, a further two points back in ninth, are the ambitious club with all the problems now.

“Everything can change again, so we can get a lift from three points,” Villas-Boas said post-match. And in a league where these two clubs have lost eight matches between them already, that is undeniable. But it has to change quickly for Spurs, and unless their attack clicks soon, the damage to their ambitions this season will keep being done.

Manchester City (4-4-2): Pantilimon 6; Zabaleta 6, Demichelis 6, Nastasic 6 (Lescott 6, ht), Clichy 6; Navas 7, Fernandinho 7, Toure 8, Nasri 7 (Milner 6, 77); Negredo 8, Aguero 8 (Garcia 6, 66).

Tottenham (4-1-2-3): Lloris 5; Walker 4, Dawson 4, Kaboul 4, Vertonghen 3; Sandro 5; Paulinho 5 (Dembele 6, 61), Holtby 3 (Adebayor 4, ht); Lennon 5, Soldado 4 (Sigurdsson 5, 61), Lamela 3.

Booked: Manchester City Toure Tottenham Sandro, Vertonghen, Walker

Referee: H Webb (South Yorkshire)

Man of the match: Aguero

Rating: 7

Attendance: 47,228

A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn