m Hotspur went into Sunday ahead of Manchester City in the table. They ended it beaten and embarrassed, subjected to a 6-0 thrashing that vaulted Manuel Pellegrini's side above them into fourth place. Every fault in the visitors' play was ruthlessly exploited as City dominated from start to finish, their formerly dominant defence left in tatters by the combination of Jesus Navas and Sergio Aguero.
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City took the lead within seconds of kickoff. Spurs played the ball back to Hugo Lloris, back after the head injury he sustained at Goodison Park, and his upfield kick was directed straight at Aguero. The first shot was stopped, but Jesus Navas seized possession and sent a delightful lob into the top corner from an acute angle.
The visitors didn't seem to let their heads drop after their appalling start, and they might have found their way back into the game immediately through Erik Lamela, who had a shot cleared off the line by Martin Demichelis after the Argentinian snuck his was onto the end of an Aaron Lennon cross. As long as it was 1-0, Tottenham would have felt they had a chance.
Unfortunately for them, City had no intention of keeping the score at 1-0. After a fairly quiet spell in which Spurs dominated possession but failed to do much with it, the hosts managed to double their lead. Again they relied on some rather dodgy play at the back. Lloris once again coughed up the ball (this time under considerably more pressure), and Alvaro Negredo was on hand to fire goalwards. The ball hit Younes Kaboul on the line, which would have been the end of the chance had it not then bounced into Sandro and trickled in.
Spurs had been resolute after conceding the first goal, but the second sparked collapse. Aguero added another just before halftime, nipping in behind the lethargic Kaboul to direct a Navas cross into the far corner, and he got his second five minutes after the restart when Yaya Toure muscled his way through Kyle Walker and squared to the striker for an easy finish.
At this point the only question left was the ultimate margin of victory. Negredo got the goal his play warranted shortly after Aguero's second strike, turning the comically inept Michael Dawson inside out before firing a bullet past Lloris to make it 5-0, and it could easily have been more. Samir Nasri hit the crossbar with what was either a brilliant, audacious chip or a completely mishit cross*, and Fernandinho really should have added another when Navas presented him with a tap-in only to mis-hit the ball.
*It was the second, for the record.
Fernandinho's miss didn't get Spurs off the hook, and Navas would have the final word, beating Jan Vertonghen to a long punt forward and smashing a low shot past Lloris for the sixth and final goal. That strike added insult to injury for Tottenham -- prior to running into the City buzzsaw the visitors had only conceded six goals all season.
It looks like Manchester City are going to take some beating at home, doesn't it?
Manchester City starting lineup (4-4-2): Costel Pantilimon; Gael Clichy, Matija Nastasic (Joleon Lescott 45'), Martin Demichelis, Pablo Zabaleta; Samir Nasri (James Milner 77'), Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Jesus Navas; Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo.
Goals: Navas 1' 90', Sandro (og) 34', Aguero 41' 50', Negredo 55'.
Tottenham Hotspur starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Hugo Lloris; Jan Vertonghen, Younes Kaboul, Michael Dawson, Kyle Walker; Sandro, Paulinho (Moussa Dembele 61'); Erik Lamela, Lewis Holtby , Aaron Lennon; Roberto Soldado (Gylfi Sigurdsson 61').