Manchester City player ratings v TottenhamManchester City player ratings v Tottenham
Manchester City player ratings v Tottenham

Man City player ratings v Tottenham: Two score 8/10 as Haaland double sinks Arsenal hopes - gallery

Manchester City’s nail-biting win means that they head into the final day of the season in pole position.

Manchester City took a giant step towards winning a fourth consecutive Premier League title on Tuesday, as they beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in a potentially decisive night in the race for top spot.

But this was far from a routine victory for a side who have now won eight in a row and are two points clear of Arsenal going into the final day of the season. After a difficult opening 45, Erling Haaland’s brace after the break sealed a crucial win - City’s first in the league at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

In the first half, City were sluggish and disjointed - a faultless side over recent weeks were evidently feeling the nerves. Phil Foden had the only real chance of the opening period, when he fastened onto Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s sliced clearance and volleyed at goal. But the instinctive reactions - and big right hand - of Guglielmo Vicario denied him.

The champions couldn’t quite find the right pass to find a route through Spurs’ high line, and twice late offside flags denied dangerous openings. City were clearly not expecting Ange Postecoglou’s approach, with Tottenham flooding the middle and operating without a striker.

The hosts’ only real chance in the first half came when Rodrigo Bentancur fired at goal after six minutes and forced Ederson to tip the attempt over. That no injury-time was added on top of the initial 45 told its own story.

Spurs provided few gaps for City to exploit all night, yet when Kevin De Bruyne’s in the team that often doesn’t matter, and seven minutes into the second period the Belgian’s pass provided the decisive moment.

It’s difficult to imagine a more typical City goal as Bernardo Silva’s pass picked out De Bruyne’s dart inside, before the 32-year-old’s inch-perfect cross was tapped home by Haaland from just a few yards out. That was his 89th goal for City and perhaps his easiest of the lot.

‘Stand up if you hate Arsenal’ rang around the stadium on a peculiar night in north London. But Spurs diligently stuck to their task and the introduction of Dejan Kulusevski provided more of an attacking impetus. He had three shots after coming on, two of which were saved and another flew over.

But the biggest chance fell to Heung-min Son, who nicked the ball from Manuel Akanji and, bearing down on goal, failed to slide the ball past Stefan Ortega. The German replaced Ederson after he sustained a head injury from a collision with Cristian Romero, and it’s no exageration to claim his exploits may have clinched the title for City.

It proved a costly miss for Tottenham, who still held out some hope of making the top four prior to tonight. A few minutes after Son’s miss, Foden’s crossfield pass found Doku. He drove inside and was tripped in the box by Pedro Porro. Were any Spurs fans secretly pleased when a spot-kick was awarded? Either way, Haaland converted his penalty and coolly lapped up the applause from the away corner.

His team-mates weren’t so composed. Their passionate celebrations said everything about the importance of the win and how difficult it was to achieve. They returned to that corner after the full-time whistle - hugging, singing and beaming ear to ear. City have one more game to go, but this could be remembered as the night Pep Guardiola’s serial winners secured another title.

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