LONDON – Tottenham Hotspur defeated Manchester City 2-0 on Saturday to take up provisional residence atop the Premier League.
Spurs coach Jose Mourinho came out ahead in the tactical duel with City’s Pep Guardiola just two days after the Spaniard signed a contract extension to stay in Manchester for another two years.
City started brightly before going behind in the fifth minute, when Tottenham caught them napping with a quickly taken free kick in midfield.
Tanguy Ndombele sent the ball deep to Son Heung-min, who got behind the City defense and tucked the ball under Ederson when the visiting goalkeeper came out to cut down the angle.
Harry Kane looked to have put Tottenham 2-0 with help from Son and Steven Bergwijn, but the offside flag was up and it remained a one-goal game.
With 67 percent possession, City had plenty of scope for a comeback and appeared to equalize on a shot by Aymeric Laporte, who had been at fault on Son’s goal.
Amid cries of hand ball from Spurs players, referee Mike Dean consulted the VAR monitor. The replay showed that City’s Gabriel Jesus handled the ball before passing to Laporte and the goal was taken off.
In the second half, Mourinho adopted an approach that he has described in the past with the derogatory phase “parking the bus,” which forced City to rely on long balls through the air and shots from 30 yards out.
Spurs waited for openings on the counter and when one materialized in the 65th minute, they made the most of it. Harry Kane lofted the ball to Giovani Lo Celso and the Argentine made it 2-0 with his first Premier League goal.
With the win, Tottenham is first in the Premier League on 20 points, two more than Chelsea, which extended its league unbeaten streak to seven on Saturday with a 2-0 result against Newcastle United at St. James’ Park.
A first half own goal by Fede Fernandez who was under pressure from Ben Chilwell opened the scoring for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea after just 10 minutes.
Tammy Abraham added a deserved second goal for the visitors with more than 25 minutes left to seal the result.
Chelsea was full of menace, particularly on the counterattack, with Timo Werner guilty of spurning a number of presentable chances to score, although it was his excellent run and pass that set up Abraham.
Newcastle hit the crossbar with a shot from distance by Sean Longstaff, but the 14th-place Magpies never really threatened Edouard Mendy in the Chelsea goal.
Aston Villa, which has been impressive this season after barely avoiding relegation in the pandemic-disrupted 2019-2020 campaign, suffered a disappointing 2-1 home defeat on Saturday to Brighton & Hove Albion.
The visitors grabbed the lead in the 12th minute with a goal by Danny Welbeck. Enzi Konsa equalized for Villa early in the second half, but Brighton’s Solly March scored in the 56th minute to restore the edge for his team.
Brighton went down to 10 men in stoppage time when Tariq Lamptey drew a second yellow card.
On the following sequence, Villa’s Trezeguet went down in the Brighton area after contact with a defender. Referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot, but changed his mind after a VAR review and the squad from the South Coast left Birmingham with all three points to climb to 16th.
Villa is sixth with 15 points.
The day’s action ended with a contest at Old Trafford between Manchester United – still looking for its first home win of the Premier League season – and promoted West Bromwich Albion, in search of its first victory in any location after returning to the top-flight.
While United had 64 percent possession and outshot West Brom 17-7, the Red Devils eked out a 1-0 triumph on a penalty.
The referee awarded the spot kick after an inadvertent hand ball by West Brom’s Darnell Furlong.
Bruno Fernandes took the kick and was stopped by Sam Johnstone. But the referee order a re-kick after confirming that the West Brom keeper came off his line too early.
The United man made good on his second try to put the hosts up 1-0 in the 56th minute, 10 minutes after the referee rescinded a penalty for West Brom that he granted after Fernandes made contact with Conor Gallagher in the box.
Only the crossbar denied West Brom’s Callum Robinson on a chance for the equalizer in the 65th minute.
Johnstone went on to stop a Marcus Rashford strike in the final minutes.
The result lifted United into the top half of the table. In ninth place with 13 points, the Red Devils are two rungs above City.
West Brom languishes in 18th place with just three points.