The Ped Report City 4-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Another "test", another pass. No sign of complacency, just a ruthless demolition of a team who at one point earlier this season believed they were in the title race. The scribes who sit around the various tables on TV once said that one day City will hit a golden patch where everything they do will end in goals and they will beat somebody 10-0.
That could quite easily have been last weekend. On a day when Sergigol didn't take any of four acceptable chances, Sterling fluffed another couple, de Jesus didn't hole out from the penalty spot, City didn't get an earlier penalty for an undoubted push on the improving Mangala and Lloris made a couple of decent saves. Well, there's nine misses. Add that to the four super goals that City did put past Tottenham Hotspur and we could have been talking double figures against a side that plays in the Champions League, however temporary that might be, and has easily beaten Real Madrid.
Manchester City are riding the crest of a massive wave. It is not a tidal wave, it is more of a tsunami as week after week the teams who now trail in their wake are looking for someone to throw them a lifeline and reignite a title race that with the passing of each week is starting to look finished.
Spuds, over time, have generally proved tricky customers for City. I know that in recent years we have beaten them, handsomely at times, but so have they City and the outcome of these matches is never an easy one to predict. Last week, as the footballing world prayed for the world's most infamous coach driver to put one over on City, this week they prayed for Spuds to do likewise. From almost minute one, when Aguero headed a scoreable cross wide, you simply knew Spuds didn't fancy it.
This weekend's cabinet re-shuffle saw David Silva out for undisclosed "personal reasons" and de Jesus among the replacements. Aguero was selected at centre forward and Gundogan replaced Silva. I always get "that" feeling when Silva is unavailable not only because I simply love watching him play, but also that sometimes City lack a spark, lack that feeling of open space he masterminds. Gundogan hasn't been at his most sparkling since his return from a long injury, but today he reminded us of what he is here for with a top notch display heralded by the opening goal of the match after only fourteen minutes.
The Blues gained a corner on the left and in the pre-corner hustle and bustle, Gundogan kept his head down at the edge of the box. He must have been invisible to the Tottenham defenders because once Sane sent in the cross he appeared out of nowhere to power a free header into the bottom corner from twelve yards. This clearly stunned the North London big boys who were marking just about everyone else in sight, but let the German go.
Last season I drew some similarities in his play to that of Frank Lampard. Gundogan, too, has this ability to appear from nowhere when the defence believe they are settled and spring a surprise and consequent threat to the opposition goal. Which is precisely what he did here.
That City got to half time only leading 1-0 was pretty much unbelievable. They had half a dozen shots on target and Spurs had mustered nothing at all. Eriksen, Kane and Tin Pan Alli all contributed negative amounts to what was the prelude to an absolute pasting by City.
It was even more unbelievable that "City time" passed with Spurs enjoying their only period of control. They had arrived for the second half in a more determined mood which included some of the darker arts of Association Football, but it was still 55 minutes before they registered one of only two shots on target when Ederson saved at full stretch from Kane.
What followed was two of the most shocking, some might call them tackles, but I call them assaults on City players from both Kane and Alli, England's finest, both of which could have snapped the ankles of Sterling and man-of-the-match De Bruyne. Both received yellow-belly cards when both should have been ejected from the field. In Alli's case there is a good shout for him to have been arrested.
Add to that Dembele for persistent infringement of the laws of the game and you can see the type of opposition City were forced to play in the second half. They had tried to take us on the "Tottenham" way and finished up like a gang of thugs on a stag night.
What was amazing is that City made us wait until the 70th minute to put this match to bed and it was one very angry Kevin de Bruyne that did just that. Still seething from the appalling foul by Tin Pan he found himself in space but a long way from goal. His turn of pace to get into the box was as blistering as the shot that Lloris got a hand to but couldn't keep out. The net minder was fortunate that he didn't end up with a broken wrist. This was quite a sensational goal for City and was followed ten minutes later by yet another of top drawer quality.
But inbetween times De Bruyne once again flew into the Tottenham box only to be felled by Vertonghen, giving Mr Pawson no option than to point to the spot. De Jesus hasn't really been among the goals lately and had a Benteke moment. His penalty was cleanly struck but it hit the inside of the post, and rebounded to Sterling who hit it over when a goal looked a simpler option.
In days gone by this might have sent the Blue heads down, but it did the opposite and it brought one of City's bacon-slicer moves. De Bruyne released Sane into the space behind Trippier and although the goal was begging he slid the ball into Sterling, unattended at the far post for a tap-in.
This was the signal for Pep to haul in Gundogan, who had a good game, his best since his return from injury and add game time for Phil Foden.
As the ninety minutes drew to a close Bernardo Silva played a superb ball into the channels for Sterling who outpaced Donkey Dier, toe poked it through Lloris' legs, ran round him and walked it into the net.
Even at 4-0 there were chances to be had and goals to be scored with Lloris forced into at least two more saves. There also time for Sissoko to put in another leanish challenge with an over-the-top on Delph.
Sadly, and the only blemish on City's day, was that there also time for absentee Eriksen to fashion a consolation goal, albeit a well-taken, into the bottom corner. I thought Ederson should have done better as did he, judging on the way he booted the ball into the crowd in disgust.
An action-packed match where simply there are no more superlatives to be found. What more can one say? This is football from a different planet, a different world altogether. I don't like them saying City are playing the best-ever football played since the Premier League began, but it is starting to look that way.
It is interesting, now, that attention from the media has diverted from activities on the field to those in dressing rooms some time later. Last week we had Moaning Maureen, the most unsuitable Stretford Manager since Frank O'Farrell, commenting and entering our changing room. This weeks the tele-scribes on Sunday Supplement commented on the noise levels and didn't find the Blues singing and sharing in the fans new song to their taste. Well, Messrs Scribes the point you are missing is that with each passing week and each passing victory this outstanding Manchester City team is breaking record after record. So, why shouldn't they celebrate? Those ghastly creatures who masquerade as a football team a mile or two outside Manchester do it, especially Jessie James, so tell me what is wrong with "Park the bus, park the bus, Man United, park the bus, park the bus, I say. Park the bus, park the bus, Man United, playing football the Mourinho way". Watch it on You Tube.
Watching City these days, it is difficult to select a man-of-the-match. It could be anyone. Fernandinho continues to play exceptionally every week. The shaky defence hardly looks under any trouble. Mangala seems to have had a new lease of life. He has the archetypal physique that one would want at centre half but has been prone to neglect in terms of his development as a player. In three short weeks he looks to have turned that around and looks much more solid. But in Kevin De Bruyne you are seeing the complete midfield footballer. Quality passing, free kicks, running distances, assists and goals. He was a dream today and no doubt Banco de Espana CF will be sniffing, but why would you want to play there in a nothing league? That said, could City turn the Premier League into something similar?
Tottenham players must have looked on in envy at Kyle Walker yesterday. Jumping the sinking HMS White Hart Lane for double-your-money title and Champions League contenders, while they play for the Levy levy. Tin Pan Alli, last season's dream machine looks a shadow of what he was purported to be last season. It looks like he and Kane will continue the drain away from Wembley once the season draws its curtains in May.
City's genius is killing off atmospheres around the country, or so I'm told. Chelsea won at Stamford Bridge yesterday but the terraces were flat, as they were at the growing empty seats emporium across the border in Stretford where they just about beat Bournemouth 1-0 after six great saves by De Gea.
I hear now that Johnny Evans is in the sights for a return to Sold Trafford after being linked with a move to City last summer. Why would he move back there? I think it was just a ruse to disturb him in his duties at WBA.
Sue is still fuming over Jurgen Klopp`s comic-cut team selections which are liberally costing his team valuable points. The four points they have thrown away over the last week could have seen them nicely into the Champions League places, instead of sitting one behind…Burnley, the second story of the season so far.
Was Van Dijk benched yesterday for rotation purposes, or has the doorbell been rung? I would still love to see him at the Etihad. And David Luiz looks to be Juventus-bound. Isn`t it exciting?
Less than a month to go and the musical chairs predictions are already in place, together with those dreamt up by the scribes.
Leicester away in the league cup and then Bournemouth at home. The south-coast team probably gave City their most difficult match this season and could have won in Stretford last Wednesday. Another tough week at the top.
A great friend of mine from Leicester asked me this week if we`d be putting out a "Mickey-Mouse" team against them in the Carabao Cup. I told him "Paul, our Mickey-Mouse team would probably finish second in the Premier League!".