With his team at the top of the English Premier League, José Mourinho enjoyed bragging rights over Pep Guardiola in their long-standing rivalry when Tottenham beat Manchester City 2-0 on Saturday.
Chelsea rose to second position, while Aston Villa’s strong starting form continued to fade.
A typical game of Guardiola vs. Mourinho saw City enjoy most of the possession, only to be thwarted by Tottenham’s compact defense and split on counterattacks.
“Everyone worked until they were exhausted,” Tottenham forward Harry Kane told Sky Sports. “We knew in the second half that there would be opportunities available and luckily we took advantage of them at the end.”
Kane has scored or assisted at least one goal in each of his last eight league games. Mourinho was in charge of Tottenham for a year, while Guardiola acknowledged that he had work to do to turn City’s season around after signing a two-year contract extension.
Son Heung-min gave Tottenham the lead in the fifth minute when Kane knocked the City’s two center-backs out of position, clearing the way for the South Korean to grab onto Tanguy Ndombele’s pass and score. With a one goal lead, Tottenham were happy to sit back and deflect City’s attacks.
City have yet to score at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in three visits since the Spurs moved in last year. Aymeric Laporte briefly thought that he had finished that run, but his goal was disallowed as Gabriel Jesus controlled the ball with his arm before passing Laporte.
City pushed up and left room for Tottenham to counter. Kane had three pass options at a break in 65 and opted for Giovani Lo Celso, who scored with his first action after coming in as a substitute.
Tottenham have 20 points, two more than Chelsea and Leicester. However, a win over Liverpool on Sunday could put Leicester on top.
“I’d rather be at the top of the league than second, third or fourth, but it’s not an obsession,” Mourinho said. “It is not a problem for me if Leicester wins tomorrow and reaches the top. I just wanted to win my next game. “
WERNER KEY FOR CHELSEA
Timo Werner missed scoring opportunities for Chelsea but still led the team to a 2-0 win at Newcastle.
The German striker took the ball out of his own half in a lightning counterattack before turning it over to Tammy Abraham to score the winning goal. It was Abraham’s third goal in his last three games for Chelsea.
Chelsea had taken the lead when Newcastle defender Federico Fernández threw a Mason Mount cross into his own net. Scoring on the right side of the field was much more difficult for Newcastle, whose first shot on goal didn’t come until a deflected shot in the 82nd minute.
Chelsea ends the day in second place in the Premier League, ahead of Leicester in goal difference.
VILLA LOSES AGAIN
After its high-flying start to the season, Aston Villa seems increasingly earthy.
Solly March’s goal from the edge of the box gave Brighton a 2-1 win at Villa, but it could have ended differently after a controversial injury time incident.
March reached for the ball and caught Mahmoud “Trezeguet” Hassan and the referee gave a penalty, only to reverse his decision after seeing the incident again. The video review indicated that March played the ball.
Villa have lost three of their last four league games, while Brighton claimed their first win since September 20 and now have a six-point cushion for the relegation zone.
VAR HELPS UNITED
Bruno Fernandes scored the only goal of the match when Manchester United beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 with the help of VAR.
First, a video replay nullified a penalty against United by showing Fernandes receiving the ball when he challenged an opponent. He then gave Fernandes two penalty shot opportunities.
Fernandes stepped forward to take the penalty after West Brom’s Darnell Furlong made a maneuver. The Portugal midfielder’s first attempt was stopped by West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, but the VAR showed that Johnstone was slightly off his line. That was a replay and Fernandes duly scored.
United climbs to ninth place and is seven points behind Tottenham.