Tottenham top after beating Man City, Villa fades in EPL
LONDON (AP) — With his team top of the English Premier League, Jose Mourinho enjoyed bragging rights over Pep Guardiola in their longstanding rivalry as Tottenham beat Manchester City 2-0 on Saturday.
Chelsea moved up to second while Aston Villa’s strong early form continued to fade.
A typical Guardiola vs. Mourinho game saw City enjoy the lion’s share of possession, only to be frustrated by Tottenham’s compact defense and sliced apart on counter-attacks.
“Everyone worked their socks off,” Tottenham forward Harry Kane told Sky Sports. “We knew in the second half that chances would be available and thankfully we took some in the end.”
Kane has either scored or assisted at least one goal in each of his last eight league games. Mourinho was marking a year in charge at Tottenham, while Guardiola acknowledged 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 pulled both City center-backs out of position, leaving the way clear for the South Korean to latch onto Tanguy Ndombele’s pass and score. With a one-goal advantage, Tottenham was happy to sit back and deflect City’s attacks.
City has yet to score at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in three visits since Spurs moved in last year. Aymeric Laporte briefly thought he had ended that run, but his goal was disallowed because Gabriel Jesus controlled the ball with his arm before passing to Laporte.
City pushed up and left space for Tottenham to counter. Kane had three passing options on a 65th-minute break and he opted for Giovani Lo Celso, who scored with his first action after coming on as a substitute.
Tottenham has 20 points, two more than Chelsea and Leicester. A win over Liverpool on Sunday could put Leicester top, though.
“I prefer to be top of the league than second, third or fourth but it is not an obsession,” Mourinho said. “It is not a problem for me if tomorrow Leicester win and go top. I just wanted to win my next game.”
WERNER KEY FOR CHELSEA
Timo Werner missed chances to score for Chelsea, but he still lifted the team to a 2-0 win at Newcastle.
The Germany forward brought the ball out of his own half on a lightning solo counter before laying it off to Tammy Abraham to score the winning goal. It was Abraham’s third goal in his last three games for Chelsea.
Chelsea had earlier taken the lead when Newcastle defender Federico Fernandez knocked Mason Mount’s cross into his own net. Scoring at the correct end of the field was much tougher for Newcastle, whose first shot on goal didn’t come until a deflected shot in the 82nd minute.
Chelsea ends the day second in the Premier League, above Leicester on goal difference.
VILLA LOSES AGAIN
After its high-flying start to the season, Aston Villa looks increasingly earthbound.
Solly March’s goal from the edge of the box gave Brighton a 2-1 win at Villa, but it could have finished differently after a contentious stoppage-time incident.
March reached for the ball and caught Mahmoud “Trezeguet” Hassan and the referee gave a penalty, only to reverse his decision after watching the incident again. Video review indicated March played the ball.
Villa has lost three of its last four league games, while Brighton claimed its first win since Sept. 20 and now has a six-point cushion to the relegation zone.
VAR HELPS UNITED
Bruno Fernandes scored the only goal of the game as Manchester United beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 with some help from VAR.
First, a video replay overturned a penalty given against United by showing Fernandes got the ball when challenging an opponent. Then it gave Fernandes two chances at a spot-kick.
Fernandes stepped up to take the penalty after West Brom’s Darnell Furlong handballed. The Portugal midfielder’s first attempt was saved by West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, but VAR showed that Johnstone was slightly off his line. That meant a retake and Fernandes duly scored.
United moves up to ninth and is seven points off Tottenham.
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