Manchester City overcame a sticky Wembley pitch to return the top of the Premier League with a 1-0 win over Tottenham. The playing surface at the national stadium was in a poor condition due to Sunday’s NFL game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Philadelphia Eagles but that did not bother City as Riyad Mahrez’s sixth-minute goal proved enough. The visitors needed only six minutes to prove playing on the surface was not going to be a problem as they raced into the lead with a goal that seemed far too easy.
Kieran Trippier failed to deal with a long ball, which Sterling raced on to before skinning his England team-mate and laying it on a plate for Mahrez to tuck home from close range. It was his fourth league goal of the season and was a fitting tribute to his former chairman at Leicester Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who tragically died in a helicopter crash on Saturday night. Tottenham, to their credit, mounted a promising response, with Harry Kane rifling a 25-yard effort just over while Toby Alderweireld headed straight at Ederson from a corner.
City’s left-hand side was proving to be a weak point and Spurs twice got in on goal, but wasted good positions. City had further chances to extend their lead, with Mahrez forcing Hugo Lloris into a smart save at his near post while the France goalkeeper also had to keep out a David Silva effort. Ten minutes into the second half, Bernardo Silva advanced down the right and appeared to present an open goal to David Silva, but the midfielder chose to take a touch and pass to Sterling, who then saw his shot blocked on the line by Ben Davies.
Sergio Aguero, searching for his 150th league goal for City, then had two quickfire chances to reach the landmark as he was fed by David Silva but Lloris got down low and then the goalkeeper had to fist away an effort from distance. Tottenham’s golden chance for an equaliser came in the final 10 minutes as City were robbed of possession and Dele Alli could not have made it easier for Lamela but the Argentinian painfully blazed over and with it, Spurs’ chance was gone.